Why Sawtelle Japantown is a Great After-Dinner Date Destination on the West Side

Updated on Jul 23, 2023

If you’re looking for a way to extend a dinner date that is going really well, consider checking out Sawtelle Japantown, just east of the 10 Freeway near the 405.

You can browse the manga stores, reserve a Karaoke room, or just take in the night-market-like feel. But most importantly, there is a wonderful assortment of dessert options, many of which are open late!

This crowd is youthful and casual, with many UCLA students flocking here. You’ll most likely be grabbing dessert to go and eating it while walking around taking everything in.

If you’re far from the West Side of Los Angeles, don’t fret. In mid-city, check out a similar vibe in Koreatown. If you’re downtown or on the east side, check out Little Tokyo!

Logistics

It’s easy to get to Sawtelle Japantown because it’s right off the 405 Santa Monica Boulevard exit near the 10 freeway. Officially, Sawtelle Japantown starts a few blocks south of Santa Monica Boulevard and runs down to Olympic, but the most crowded part is toward Olympic.

I often park on Sawtelle towards the north though since it’s easier to find spots there. I don’t even try to park in the mini-malls at the south end, as traffic can be jammed, especially on weekend nights.

TIP: If you can’t find street parking, park in the underground parking lot at The Block, the mall located at Sawtelle and Olympic. Cost is only $10 flat fee on evenings.

Our Favorite Dessert and Tea Spots

Whether you’re craving soft serve, regular ice cream, baked goods, boba tea, shaved ice, crepes, or even a Disneyland Dole Whip, you can find it here. You’ll find many Asian-inspired flavors, such as taro, ube, and matcha, so it’s a great place to be a little adventurous and try something new!

These are some of our favorite places for dessert and tea starting from the northern end of Sawtelle and moving southward.

Teaspoon

If you’re craving boba tea after dinner, Teaspoon is a good choice. It is a newer addition to Sawtell, with a clean, well-lit interior. Grab some tea and stroll down the rest of Sawtelle!

Teaspoon
Teaspoon

B Sweet

B Sweet is one of my favorite dessert spots on Sawtelle. It specializes in rich, sumptuous bread pudding. Not only are the desserts great, but I love the vibe with the big lit-up sign and colored mo. They’ve even had a live band outside a few times when I visited.

B Sweet on Sawtelle at night
B Sweet, specializing in bread pudding, is an ideal after-dinner dessert option

As a post-dinner date destination, you can’t go wrong with B Sweet, unless you’re looking for a lighter dessert option. Thankfully, there are plenty to choose from.

Millet Crepe

Millet Crepe features dessert crepes wrapped in a cone shape that you can eat while walking around! You’ll find a long line on weekend nights here, which tells you how good they are.

Long line at Millet Crepe
Long line at Millet Crepe

If you don’t know which one to try, get their signature Creme brûlée; it’s probably their most famous and popular crepe!

MeloMelo Coconut Dessert

Across the street from B Sweet is MeloMelo, featuring their coconut-based dessert, which comes in a reusable glass jar and has the consistency of a light flan or custard. In addition to the inherent coconut flavor, there are a variety of other ingredients that can be added. Oh, and they also feature Greek yogurt desserts.

We tried their coconut dessert and liked it. It’s expensive at over twelve dollars per jar, but two can easily share one jar and the ingredients are premium quality.

Unlike some of the dessert places on Sawtelle, they do have a decent amount of indoor seating.

Tip: this dessert goes well with some of the less sweet Asian baked goods sold on Sawtelle.  One of which is right next door, Supita!

Supita Tart Specialists

Supita features egg tarts, dessert breads, and other baked goods. Their Hong Kong and Portuguese style tarts are their signature offerings, so give them a try if you haven’t been here before. These tarts have a faithful following, so you might find a line here.

If you’re not accustomed to Asian desserts, you might like the sweeter Portuguese-style egg tarts which taste more as you’d expect in a Western “dessert”. The Hong Kong-style egg tarts are not nearly as sweet, and the egg flavor is strong, especially with the egg white tart; it’s almost more like a breakfast quiche.

We also tried their Taro buns. Because they are not as sweet, we found them to go extremely well with the Melo Melo dessert we got next door!

Yifang Taiwan Fruit Tea

Yifang has a faithful following for its boba tea. They have some wonderful flavors and you can specify sweetness.

Like most dessert spots on Sawtelle, everything is “to go”. You order at a kiosk and pick up your teas at a window. Highly recommended for after-dinner tea!

SomiSomi soft Serve & Taiyaki

SomiSomi is one of our favorite dessert options on Sawtelle. We jokingly call their dessert “fish ice cream”, but don’t worry, it’s not fish-flavored! It’s soft serve in a fish-shaped “waffle” called Taiyaki. When served in a cup, it kinda looks like a dead fish barfing up its last meal, but actually, the combination of soft serve with freshly baked pastry is friggin’ amazing.

Tip: you can also get the Taiyaki on the side, freshly made and warm, with some gooey fillings like custard and Nutella. It goes great with the soft serve.

SomiSomi has other locations in L.A. including Third Street Promenade, Little Tokyo, Long Beach, and Koreatown, as well as in Orange County. So, it’s not unique to Sawtelle, but we still often choose it when we go to Sawtelle!

There’s almost always a line out the door, which tells you how good this place is! There is no indoor seating, but there is some parklet seating outside. If you want soft serve with a warm pastry, look no further than SomiSomi! Just be prepared to wait in line (don’t worry, it goes fast).

Mochi Dochi Gourmet Hot Dog and Donut

Mochi Dochi is located in the Sawtelle Place mall and features mochi dogs and mochi donuts (also known as Pon-de-ring). The mochi donuts have a more chewy texture than American donuts and a slightly different shape which is very Instagrammable!

Every day of the week, they have different mochi donut flavor offerings. Churro and original glazed are always offered.

This place has a loyal following and is a great choice if you want to try a different take on a donut!

Beard Papas

Beard Papas is a chain originating from Osaka, Japan specializing in Asian-style cream puffs with flavors like ube and green tea, along with more regular flavors like chocolate éclair and vanilla.

The Sawtelle Place mini-mall location is not the best but the cream puffs are some of my favorite desserts on Sawtelle, and there is often a line. No in-store dining area, so grab and go!

Don't even try to park at the Sawtelle Place mall during peak hours
Don’t even try to park at the Sawtelle Place mall during peak hours

Wanderlust Creamery

Wanderlust is a specialty ice cream chain featuring “globally inspired” flavors, which is pretty appropriate for Sawtelle!

This is one of our “go-to” local ice cream places along with Jeni’s, Salt & Straw, and Sweet Rose Creamery. My favorite seasonal flavor is “Sakura Crunch” with bits of strawberry “kit kats” mixed in! Some of the flavors are pretty exotic, so check out this place if you are adventurous!

Volcano Tea House

Volcano Tea House has a faithful local following who enjoy their Taiwanese boba tea and popcorn chicken. Definitely worth checking out while you’re at the Sawtelle Center mall!

Sunmerry Bakery

Also located in the Sawtelle Center mall, Sunmerry is a popular bakery featuring Asian-style dessert breads, donuts, and cakes baked daily. Not as sweet or heavy as B Sweet. They also feature boba tea and pork buns.

Sunmerry Bakery
Sunmerry Bakery

I like the vibe of the Sawtelle Center mall, as it has some interesting Japanese stores and a night market feel. Worth walking through even if you don’t buy anything here.

Brian’s Shave Ice

Brian’s Shave Ice features Hawaiian style flavored shaved ice with optional fillings! They also serve Fosselman’s ice cream. But, I know them for their Dole Whips, the same as the ones at Disneyland (or so they claim… and they haven’t been sued yet!) Definitely a great place to find a cool dessert on a warm evening.

Honeymee

Right next door to Brian’s is Honeymee, a staple for UCLA students looking for really good soft serve, frozen yogurt and tea.

Some folks have noticed that they are not open as often as you would expect. Luckily, there are many other options on Sawtelle if that is the case.

Artelice Pâtisserie

Rounding out this list of dessert restaurants on Sawtelle is Artelice Pâtisserie, located around the corner from Sawtelle on Olympic. They have some of the most beautiful French pastries around. They also have macarons, croissants, and coffee. A bit out of the way, but highly recommended!

And More!

Those are just some of our favorite dessert options on Sawtelle!

Don’t forget to check out the Japanese-themed stores while you stroll around with your dessert.

There are also tons of great Japanese restaurants if you want to grab dinner there too! Especially ramen and udon!

Or, rent a karaoke room and hang out until the wee hours of the morning!

What is your favorite thing to do in Sawtelle Japantown? Let me know in the comments below! – Brian

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