In the center of Laguna Beach are a few boutiques mostly selling art, along with a few other clothes and surfer shops. Amongst this is a small restaurant that has been serving sushi for twenty years now. Ever since Hapi Sushi opened in 1983, it’s been a local hangout and the interiors haven’t changed at all. It looks like a dive and definitely isn’t a typical Japanese sushi place especially with the Van Morrison playing in the background. The atmosphere is unique in that way – a casual California version of a sushi bar. There are different rolls on the menu plus some specials listed on the board behind the sushi counter. The menu doesn’t list prices but expect to spend about $15 per person for a selection of California-style rolls and a miso soup.
On the evening we went, the place was pack having packed with locals having a quick meal. There were four of us plus my 5-year old who was fast asleep on the banquette. We ordered miso soup and followed with the crunchy roll (asparagus with crispy tempura batter), 79 special (grilled unagi roll with a sliver of strawberry and balsamic vinegar glaze), the special baked mussels, squid-jalapeno tempura), crispy mushroom with spicy mustard and a salmon skin temaki. The rolls were different, not authentically Japanese but delicious. It’s only in California that this kind of place could exist.