The SoCal “poke” trend

Poke  /poʊˈkeɪ/ , the Hawaiian verb for “section” or “to slice or cut,”is a raw salad served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine.

Who knew poke was going to be L.A.’s next big food craze? It seems like just yesterday people were asking me what in the world “poke” was, and yet now, you can find it in almost every neighborhood in L.A. A couple months ago, I made it a mission to find the best poke in L.A. Though it’s still an ongoing project, here’s a personal list of the places I’ve been to, listed alphabetically.

1.     Bear Flag Fish Co. (Newport Beach)

I will always consider this place the OG of all poke. Bear Flag was the first poke place I went to in L.A., before the hype started. Their fish is fresh and their choices are simple: tuna or salmon. You can’t go wrong with this Bear Flag, even though it is a little pricier than other options in L.A.

Tip: Keep it simple with a serving of 50/50 tuna and salmon poke with a side of chips.

Bear Flag Co. photo courtesy of @extrappetite

  1.     Jus’ Poke (Redondo Beach) 

This place has got to be my favorites so far. From the quality to the price to the serving size, Jus’ Poke is the way to go. The only downside I can find with this place is that they only serve tuna, and salmon is my favorite. I tried the spicy poke and the shoyu poke with a side of seaweed salad and spicy edamame. The flavors all complemented each other.

Tip: Their poke bowl comes with two types of poke and two sides — huge portions, very affordable and filling!

Jus' Poke. Photo courtesy of @extrappetite.

Jus’ Poke. Photo courtesy of @extrappetite.

  1.     Poke Bar (West Hollywood) 

Compared to the poke places I’ve been to by the beach, this place lacked the wow factor. On the plus side, they had a wide variety of flavors and served both tuna and salmon. I tried the spicy tuna poke and salmon poke seaweed salad. Their portion size is a little smaller than usual, which might be why it wasn’t my favorite. All things aside, this place is still pretty good given that it’s located in Hollywood and the prices are very rational.

Tip: Try free samples of the different types of poke before you order.

Photo courtesy of @extraappetite

Poke Bar. Photo courtesy of @extraappetite

  1.     Poke N’ Roll (Glendale) 

This place felt like a Chipotle but for poke where you build your own “sushi box.” You pick your base (rice or salad), two types of fish (free crab meat), three sides and your choice of sauce. It wasn’t exactly traditional poke, but it was still pretty filling and affordable.

Tip: Mix and match your sushi bowl with the wide variety of cooked and raw fish available.

Photo courtesy of @kimmy.actually

Poke N’ Roll. Photo courtesy of @kimmy.actually

  1.     Poke Poke (Venice Beach) 

I like how this place is conveniently located in one of the most popular beaches in L.A. They have an infinite variety of sides you can choose to have with your poke. Unfortunately for me, they also only serve tuna here. Compared to the other places I’ve been to, Poke Poke did not stand out as much. Nevertheless, it’s still a great spot to grab a quick snack or lunch and chill out by the water.

Tip: Mix it up and add some macadamia nuts to your poke bowl — the crunchy nuttiness adds a whole new level.

Photo courtesy of @jxi430

Poke Poke. Photo courtesy of @jxi430

Next on the list:

The adventure continues as I check out these new up-and-coming poke places around L.A. Since school’s starting to get a little busy, the next few spots I’m planning to hit will be closer to campus:

1.     Ohana Poke Co. (downtown L.A.)

Photo courtesy of @jxi430

Ohana Poke Co. Photo courtesy of @jxi430

  1.     PokiNometry (Hollywood)
Photo courtesy of @whoabraddahjoe

PokiNometry. Photo courtesy of @whoabraddahjoe

3. Wiki Poki (Koreatown)

Photo courtesy of @susan.pak

Wiki Poki. Photo courtesy of @susan.pak