Vegan Japanese food

A new vegan, organic Japanese restaurant in Little Tokyo. Also serves fusion food.

Added by conde.kedar on Mar 19 08 (last updated Aug 25 12)

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After a long Sunday of walking around somewhat-deserted areas, I was very thankful to arrive at Shojin. I must say that I was very surprised to find such a nice vegan restaurant inside a shopping mall, but the service and quality was far from what you'd expect from a mall restaurant.

I started with the pumpkin croquettes, which the server recommended, but I was somewhat disappointed with them. The flavor of the croquettes was good (soft, creamy pumpkin filling, and a crispy, breaded exterior), but for some reason, they were paired with a homemade, warm ketchup. Who serves ketchup with pumpkin? Moreover, who serves ketchup - period! - in an upscale restaurant? I think the dish would be much better served with a creamy white sauce.

I then went with the spicy ramen soup, which was, indeed, very spicy. I will admit to sweating a bit while I ate, but the flavor was very good. For some reason, I wasn't impressed with the first few bites (perhaps it was just too hot), but when I let it cool a bit, I absolutely loved it. The vegetables and noodles were standard, but the broth was extremely flavorful, which really is the most important component of a soup.

I finished with the lava cake, which takes 15 minutes to prepare, I believe because they bake it fresh for you (the little dish it came in was oven-hot). The cake itself was pretty average but the hot chocolate inside made it interesting. It also came with a small scoop of vegan ice cream which balanced it out.

Overall, I enjoyed my meal and I would dine here again. However, as mentioned by conde.kedar, the portions are small for what you pay, so be prepared to drop some money if you're hungry.

Image for conde.kedar

rating star

Shojin offers an upscale experience at reasonable prices. Portion sizes are a bit small, but the ambience and service are excellent. We arrived late and stayed past closing, but our server was continually warm and gracious. I took three colleagues to this place, two of whom are non-veg, but everyone loved the joint.

The grilled seitan roll appetizer was delicious and savory, as were the Nasu miso vegetables, which all of my colleagues loved. They also enjoyed their three-mushroom pasta, whereas I found my BBQ seitan with broccoli a bit too slight---it needed rice (which was an extra charge) and its portion size needed to be increased to justify its price ($11.95).

Desserts were a mixed bag. The green tea moss cake was unusual and while I liked it, no one else did. It might have been too strange a taste for some. The peach and apple cobbler with mint ice cream was a bit pedestrian for me, though tasty enough. The walnut chocolate cake was too flat for my tastes, without enough zing or sugar.

Still, Shojin is to be recommended. The location is a bit shady, and it's on the third floor of a shopping mall which seems to close earlier than the restaurant does, so make sure to get there by 9pm at the latest. We got in because the security guard saw us and let us in.

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Inside the Little Tokyo Shopping Center, on Alameda & 3rd Sts. There is a parking lot on the south side of the mall - park 4th floor of the parking lot, which has a direct path to the 3rd floor of the mall.


Accepts Reservations


$$ - average


  • MasterCard Visa


  • Japanese
  • Eclectic (Fusion)


  • (Mostly) Organic
  • Quiet
  • Romantic


Special Bento Box

Special Bento Box

Green Tea "Moss" Cake Squash croquettes with homemade ketchup Interior of main room looking towards window & shopping center


5:30pm - 11pm
5:30pm - midnight
noon - midnight
noon - 10pm

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