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“Try Something new...and Late Night Happy Hour” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Oto-Oto Izakaya Japonaise

Oto-Oto Izakaya Japonaise
Ranked #19 of 134 Restaurants in Monrovia
Cuisines: Japanese, Sushi, Asian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
IL
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Try Something new...and Late Night Happy Hour”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 28, 2014

I really liked this place, I had to work late and then friends and I decided to get some food. This restaurant is open late and it has happy hour from 10-midnight. I was amazed - a lot of people came in after 10 pm!! The waiter suggested we review the menu for 10 minutes since it was 9:50 when we got there and he wanted us to be able to get the happy hour pricing - GREAT PLACE - GREAT SERVICE!

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
Thank BadBetsy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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38 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    17
    17
    2
    2
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
SIERRA MADRE
Level Contributor
48 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“This has become our go-to Happy Hour spot”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 12, 2014

My friend and I checked out Oto-Oto last year and we've been going several times a month ever since. Happy Hour (which goes until 6:30) menu is a little limited but you can still get full on the offerings. Favorites are the Ruby Crush (drink with fresh squeeze grapefruit), truffled edamame, bacon mochi, and the poorly named "tuna pizza" which is actually Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice Cake and my current obsession. My friend, who teaches Japanese and spent a number of years living in Japan, loves the atmosphere and says the food is very authentic. I know the owner of a popular Japanese restaurant in L.A. who sends me on food-tasting missions to their competitors on the West Side, so I've had quite a number of different takes on popular Japanese-American dishes, especially sushi, yakitori, mochis, fish collars, desserts, sakes--you name it. Oto-Oto compares far better than some of the hugely popular, celebrity-strewn Japanese places all over the flashier parts of L.A. I was also relieved to see their original selection of desserts instead of the ubiquitous Cisco cheesecake bombes, banana spring rolls and deep fried ice cream. Oto-Oto has deliciously light edamame and sweet potato ice creams, almond custard, green tea creme brulee. Highly recommended. They're also pretty accommodating about giving us the tables we want, or spots at the bar. Servers are very sweet and friendly, attentive and offer great suggestions.

  • Visited February 2014
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank native210
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, California
Level Contributor
404 reviews
217 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 176 helpful votes
“Great food, confusing menu, spotty service”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 12, 2014

I have mixed feelings about this place. The food was great! I've rarely found food in the U.S. that compares favorably with my experiences in Japan. This place does very well. That said, the menu was hard to sort out (mostly because of how it's organized) with many choices. The waiter was earnest but perhaps new and not familiar with what the restaurant served. We visited at the recommendation of our hotel nearby. If we lived nearby, we'd visit again.

  • Visited March 2014
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank gosaka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Duarte, California
Level Contributor
55 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Lousy Slow Service + Mediocre Food”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 11, 2014

Came here last Saturday with my husband for a late dinner (after 8:30 pm). We were greeted by the hostess and said it would be a few minutes. We were seated maybe within 8-10 minutes. I was surprised to see this place pretty busy so late (I guess I'm an old woman because I like to eat dinner around 6-7 pm, but life gets in the way so wasn't able to eat earlier).

Anyways, I was greatly disappointed with my entire dining experience. It all started with the lack of service from our server Karen (as it says on our receipt). The table on both our right and left side had the same server and she was not very attentive to them either (so I guess I shouldn't feel as bad since we weren't the only ones singled out I suppose...).

When she first came over to our table, she gave us a menu and asked if we would like a drink. We both just ordered water and took a look at the menu. Karen comes back but only attends to the two tables next to us and ignores us. Later on she comes back and brings water to the 2 tables next to us and said she will come back for water for us... well she eventually came back to take our dinner order, but no water. Pretty much 20 minutes after she said she would come back with our water, she came. She didn't lie, she did come back, but I just assumed that she was going to come back right away.

Anyways, she never checked up on us during our meal time and another server brought over our food (she also rarely checked up on the the tables next to us as well). This is what we had:

Beef tongue & chicken hearts- this came out the fastest, since it doesn't really take that long to make this to be honest. These two items were my husband's favorite of the entire meal. I didn't have any because I just wasn't in the mood to try, but I am sure it was good.

Chirashi bowl- What a disappointment because this was smaller than I expected. For maybe a few dollars more, I have had chirashi bowls with much more pieces of fish and thicker as well. I suppose you get what you pay for, but thought this was rather disappointing. I did like the sweet sushi style rice in the bowl though.

Velvety Roll- My husband liked this roll but I wasn't a fan. This roll has a snow crab filling that is topped with a slivered, thinly sliced, scallop. Underneath the scallop is a perilla leaf which totally killed the flavor of each roll. The perilla leaf has such a strong flavor that all I could taste was that instead of the seafood used in this roll. Honestly the roll would have been better without the perilla leaf. The plate that this roll was served on looked pretty and unique (for a different presentation style) but was a bad idea because there is not gripe on the bottom and so this place easily slid on our table and almost fell a few times when a server brought our other food items to our table. When this server moved our plates to make room for the other food, he almost knocked our roll on the floor.

Monkfish Foie Gras Roll- This was my favorite of all the dishes we ordered. I have had monkfish liver before, but I liked that this had a nice tender, somewhat sweet (from the sauce that was poured on) and savory flavor. I really liked each piece I ate and was sad that it only came with 6 pieces.

Overall, I was extremely disappointed with my dinner and would never come back here again. Service was something left to be desired and food was pretty sad. Pricing is expensive for what we got, especially when most of it was just "meh" to me. Portions is also rather stingy as well. I would not come back here and do not recommend this place to anyone.

By the way, this plaza is located in the same plaza as Zen Buffet, Daphne's Greek Cafe & Taisho Bowl. You can find Oto Oto in the back corner behind Daphne's Greek Cafe. Parking is not a problem.

  • Visited February 2014
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank meowmix318
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Monrovia, California
Level Contributor
373 reviews
221 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 289 helpful votes
“Quick take out - Enjoyed at home”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 26, 2014

I had to rush home from work during lunch today to meet the plumber, and stopped by Oto Oto Monrovia for take out on the way home.

I had a delicious Salmon Skin Salad $4.95 on my last visit, and ordered it to go, along with a bowl of Miso soup.

The salad is as delicious as it is beautiful. Crunchy-chewy strips of salmon strips topped a bowl of fresh lettuce, watercress, avocado, tiny plum tomato halves, and a dice of red and yellow bell peppers. Dressing on the side. Wow, I could eat this salad every day! It went nicely with a steaming (microwaved) bowl of Miso $2.95.

$8 for a perfect and fast Oto Oto lunch at home! You can have a good Japanese meal on a budget!

  • Visited February 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank astrojane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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