Tenkatori Karaage

3001 Bristol St D, Costa Mesa
(714) 641-7004

Recent Reviews

Mimi L.

-:::- VENUE -:::- Located in a semi-run down looking strip mall where 7-11 resides. Parking is super tight & limited in the store front. But there are additional parking in the back or to the side. Prior to the pandemic, seating within this little shop is extremely minimal. Also, no restrooms here for public use. Really it's best to do take-out. Tenkatori is THE spot to get your karaage fix! -:::- SERVICE / TAKE-OUT -:::- Majority of the time I do phone in my order. If they aren't so busy it can take them as fast as 10-15 minutes to make. Otherwise, if they are busy wait can be up to 30 minutes. Staff has all been very courteous & friendly. I haven't had a single bad encounter nor experience here. All orders are fried to order. You won't see the karaage hanging out under the heat lamps. Hence the wait & it's worth it! -:::- FOOD -:::- Tenkatori is known for their chicken karaage. The word karaage implies the food & technique of which the ingredient is lightly coated with flour & then deep-fried. The Japanese style fried chicken nuggets here is exceptionally juicy, flavorful, crispy & very satisfying to the soul. Tenkatori also serve other chicken parts, pieces with bone-in, combos & family packs. But I much prefer just the karaage - which arrives in a convenient, tender-sized sections or what I would refer to them as the "nuggets." I love the original and sweet & spicy flavor (really not spicy at all). Next time, I'll try to venture out & try out their other items. As for take out to-go orders, keep the box open so the steam can escape. This prevents your karaage from getting soggy. It remains freshly hot out to warm for about an hour. Even if you save the karaage for hours later it's still pretty darn good. Damn, as I'm writing this I'm already regretting I didn't get more than 5 pieces! Greedy tummy of mine :P For the quantity & the quality the prices are fair here! O..o..O..o..O..oXo..O..o..O..o..O | | | -:: OVERALL RATING ::- | | | | 3.5/5.0 :: Venue | | 4.5/5.0 :: Service | | 4.5/5.0 :: Take-Out | | 4.5/5.0 :: Food | |________________________ |

Jacqueline N.

I only got the original Karaage and my review is only for that. It was so moist and tender. I would love to come back and try their other sauces.

Simon K.

Their Gluten free Karaage chicken is freaking good. This is like a little hole in the wall type of place that you'd want to keep in your books.

Cindy T.

Love this place and thank you for offering contactless ordering. This place is always good and cheap but I little more expensive through grubhub/yelp. But it is ok since I want to support small business and I get the peace of mind through contactless ordering. Our order was ready when we got there.

Susan O.

What a treat for my whole family! We enjoyed it so much we ordered it again the following evening. Take out was packed well and still warm when we served it in our hotel room. I wish we had chicken like this in South Dakota! Best of all, it was GF.

Angie P.

Decided on fried chicken for Sunday cheat meal. My go-to fried chicken place closed their kitchen early that day so I chose a random good reviewed place on yelp and drove straight there. Damn I'm so glad it was Tenkatori. Although busy, the front staff was very friendly. I ended up ordering the combination karaage box combo and my sister ordered the sweet and spicy karaage box combo. Only + $1 for a variety of small dishes which IMP provided balance to the meal. The chicken wings were much bigger than I thought. All chicken pieces were crunchy (even after a 20 min drive home), lightly seasoned, and juicy inside. I do wish they were a tad bit saltier. Definitely going to be a highly cherished place on my yelp bookmark for takeouts.

Eric S.

Call ahead. Order take out. Easy to order and even though they were busy. Five piece Karaage is a great deal. Crispy and lightly seasoned. Eat your fried chicken quickly so that the chicken stays crispy. They keep the to-go container open being conscious that the circulating steam will make the chicken soggy. I love fried chicken and I love wings. This combines these two things together even though the Karaage is made with thighs. Keep supporting the small businesses out there when you can.

Yuki Nakamoto

Awesome Japanese Gluten-Free Fried Chicken here!! $20 Family combo is perfect for 2-3 of us.

Glen Fujimoto

Chicken Karaage is the best: large pieces, crunchy, freshly made!

Ken Stokes

Great service and wonderful flavor. A homey restaurant you must enjoy more than once.

Brian Do

They have gluten free options with dedicated fryer. Not a totally GF kitchen but they are knowledgeable and cautious :)

Brian H.

I've been to Tenkatori a couple times, and I always order the tartar sauce chicken. Chicken quality is amazinggggggg- very juicy, thick, and tasty. Definitely my go to spot for asian style fried chicken.

Julia W.

One of my favorite causal Japanese restaurants in OC because of the reasonable prices and large amount of food you get. They also bring out your food pretty quickly. It is a pretty small restaurant but I've never had trouble finding seating. They're karaage chicken is especially good, although everything is tasty. I would recommend asking for extra teriyaki sauce for the chicken and rice. I like that they've recently switched to metal plates if you eat there! My only request would be to offer brown rice as well. Overall, I definitely recommend Tenkatori!

Yasmin F.

Okay so I still think the food is amazing but I am removing one star because I called in a to go order and was told I couldn't leave a custom amount for a tip and that if I wanted to leave over it had to be a minimum amount. I know their is a customizable option for gratuity so I felt that was odd. Also the gluten free food option is amazing! However, there is not gluten free dipping sauce option. There are several options that look amazing but not one option that we can try. Please consider accommodating since that would really be amazing for the gluten free patrons.


Boneless thigh karaage w sweet & spicy, and sweet & sour sauces on the side:

Bonnie Y.

GREAT fried chickens!!! However - never gets the box combo because everything else is really not to standard and unnecessary. the breading for the tempuras were WAY too thick and no flavors, the rolls were OK... plenty of sauces you can get - but they don't have the Japanese seasoning that is usually for karaage? that really needs to change.... small parking lot and very limited seatings. would definitely come back - but only to get the yummy chicken karaages - and i'll ask this time if they have the seasonings to go!

Sari K.

Boneless thigh karaage w sweet & spicy, and sweet & sour sauces on the side: Omg! This place is so good! I'm honestly not too much of a fan of karaage compared to regular fries chicken but this seriously changed my mind. It's super crunchy and light and there's extra skin pieces that are pulled apart so they are extra crispy. I love it!!! Not too oily either but it's fried so it's still gonna be oily. The sweet and spicy sauce kind of reminds me of a slightly spiced sweet and sour but with a stronger soy flavor. The sweet and sour is super unique and I was trying to pinpoint what flavor I was tasting and strawberry came to mind; it sounds weird but it actually works bc it's not too sweet and has that slight sour zing!!!

Rainier V.

Came in here for a quick lunch. Was not busy at all on a Saturday! We were surprised to find this place in the old sushi box location! We're kind of sad it's gone, but excited this is here! The workers are nice and very helpful. We ordered a 5 pc and side of Gyoza! We also ordered some ranch and a (tan tan)peanut sauce the server recommended(tasted like Vietnamese peanut spring roll sauce) The chicken was fried perfectly. Super crispy and covered in batter. Pretty affordable and we'll be coming back soon!

Monica T.

Bargain for the box meal. Definitely satisfies and will always order at least once a month

Miguel M.

Tenkatori is great Japanese fried chicken! I always get the Karaage with the miso soup and sides of California roll + veggies. The fact that they have the brown rice option is incredible haha. Only wish the hot sauce containers were bigger, but no biggie. It's bomb delicious.

Noel Lau

Fried chicken is really juicy but the store at Gardina taste better

Vivian P.

One of my favorites for fried chicken / karaage. It's a super small restaurant more for takeout orders. I always get the 5 piece original karaage and the gizzards. Gizzards is a different texture and it's so good with the eel sauce! They also have box combos which are a good deal and it comes with salad/veggies, fried tempura/croquettes, and half sized California roll. This place does take a while so call in and order ahead! My only con here is that they charge you for every sauce besides soy sauce. They used to give one out with your order but started to cheap out.

Jen C.

Came on a Monday around 2:00 for a late lunch. We both got the box lunches and it was not worth it. The tempura was so bad that neither me or my husband could eat it and he LOVES tempura. It was cold, and tasted like it was fried on old oil hours ago. The only thing hot and crispy was the karaage chicken. The steamed veggies were just a few broccoli pieces and carrots. Also cold. The yuzu cole slaw was wilted and tasted slightly bitter. Wasn't impressed.

Jun C.

The best Karaage restaurant in the OC. This is where you come to fill your hunger with Japanese lil salty fried chicken!! The meat is really juicy on both Karaage and Sunagimo, the gizzard. Man... The gizzard is fresh. It's chewy and crunchy at the same time. I love getting 7oz of it and chew on it on the way home. As for the Karaage, I usually order a box set menu. There are many options and I go with adding two more Karaage, 4 California rolls, and steamed veggies. It comes with miso soup. I totally love the portion. It's awesome! I take the spicy sauce so if the saltiness kinda dies out as you are eating all these chickens, then apply the hot sauce for the kick! Staffs are all very nice. The Caucasian lady is super nice, and the Latino girl is super nice. I love this restaurant.

Sean D.

My wife and I visited here for the first time on 12/22/19. We were greeted warmly by the young lady behind the counter (who was also VERY helpful!). We ordered the 12-piece Karaage, some potstickers, some tempura shrimp, and a side of curry sauce (very flavorful!). Do NOT expect the chicken to be the size of McNuggets. Each piece of chicken was the size of AT LEAST three McNuggets! Hot, juicy, and crispy! While we were eating, at least six more customers ordered 'to go.' Please do NOT expect this place to be order-and-go. Your food is cooked when you order... which is great! We will happily return to Tenkatori Karaage... often!

Maki T.

the first time I tried Tenkatori was at OC japan fair. It was the best karaage I've ever had in the US (I'm native Japanese if that means anything) besides my mom's of course. They told me they had a store in the Gardena Tokyo Central, which was a bit far, so I was sad that I'd never be able to eat it again. I was so glad to find a branch near me in Costa Mesa!! I'm assuming this is their little branch, but I really hope they're here to stay! Their karaage is the perfect balance of juicy and crispy. There's plenty of chicken to bite into, not like those cheap, mostly-batter fried chickens. I personally really like nankotsu (cartilage). Their nankotsu has a little bit more meat to it than I like, but it's still really good. I also really like the sweet & spicy sauce to go with it I just recently tried the shrimp tempura roll too, and it's not too bad. It's not an amazing "sushi" roll from a sushi joint, but it's not bad at all. A tip for if you're getting it to go - leave the to-go box open so the steam can escape. This will prevent your karaage from going soggy. If it gets a bit too soggy by the time you get home, bake it a little bit in your toaster oven/ air fryer/ oven and you're good to go.

Seia W.

FOOD: The food was ok but I really felt like it was over priced. We had the karaage, and some of the spicy mayo sauce, and a roll. The karaage was really good but I felt like they were too large per piece and were sometimes difficult to eat. SERVICE: Although the place itself gives off alot of authentic vibes, I'm not sure it actually is. The lady taking our orders at the front was very nice, but I don't think she was the best at understanding what we were saying so it took a while to order our food. The food took a good amount of time to come out, and you put away your own tray and plates. AMBIANCE: Casual. Order and sit down kind of place. PARKING: Good size parking lot.

Spencer Chang

Tenkatori Karaage is my favorite lunch spot near Irvine. The food is cooked fresh to order, always prepared meticulously, and a very generous portion of food for the price. The service is excellent and always polite and friendly. The restaurant is remodeled from its older days as Sushi Box.

Red Raul

I’ve had waaaay better Teriyaki Chicken! I don’t eat fry foods much so I’m pretty sure that That’s what all the good reviews are all about! So let’s talk about the $6.60 Teriyaki Chicken bowl with veggies. A big bed of cool white rice and a regular portion of lukewarm chicken. ( not generous at all ) two pieces of cold broccoli and four little slices of carrots NOT Impressed

Amanda Wooldridge

Perfect experience everytime I go! ♥️

Marion S.

Overall: In regards to quality, this place is honestly a hit or miss for me. Quantity and price is always great for a quick bite of Japanese food which is rare in the area. My tip for the best quality chicken and california rolls is to go during peak times when it's usually cooked to order and the food is fresh! I still recommend this restaurant, because when the chicken is freshly cooked it really is one of the best kaarages in the area. Price: You can not beat the price here! Other than mitsuwa, Tenkatori Karaage seems like the only fast-food restaurant that specializes in chicken Karaage. In most of the other japanese restaurants, they can run pretty pricey for a Chicken Karaage (usually just for an appetizer size too). For the quantity you get here, this place is definitely worth the bang for your buck! Quality: I noted that they have best quality Chicken Karaage during the peak times (lunch/right after work - usually dinner time) . They are absolutely delicious when its freshly cooked! Warm, crispy and juicy! Although, there have been times when the Karaage was not as fresh. When it's not freshly cooked, its pretty disappointing because it's a bit cold, not as crisp, and a bit tougher to eat. Also depending on the cooks behind, the California rolls can be a bit sad and poorly made. There were a couple times the California rolls just fell apart upon touch and looked a bit old where the avocado was browning and the seaweed was no longer crispy and instead was soggy. Again, there are other times where the california rolls are just perfect. The croquettes, on the other hand, always seem to be amazing!

Lo H.

I went for the belly-busting yet budget-friendly box, which is customizable. Love the massive pieces of chicken karaage! They have a crispy coating that isn't greasy or heavy, and the dark meat inside is juicy and tender. The 4-piece California rolls were ok, and the miso soup was pretty standard. And not to sound nitpicky, but the steamed veggies tasted like they were boiled in salt water. I am not a fan of the styrofoam packaging (due to health and environmental reasons). I get that it's cheaper and more convenient if people want to take leftovers home, but I would have preferred to use paper plates. It's a great place for lunch since they have small tables, hightops, and some bar seating. There's a good selection of sauces (extra cost) for the chicken and wings. It took a while to get our meals, but I like to think it's because the chicken isn't just being reheated in the microwave. I really like the karaage, so I'll come back just to get them.

Nancie M.

Go the 5 pc spicy chicken brown rice and California roll and spicy tuna roll. Nice peeps clean and cheap for what you get overall great bargain for this areas.

Quyen L.

AMAZING. FREAKIN' AMAZING. We ordered five pieces of karaage, took a 40 minute drive to our hotel, and even with the chicken somewhat "cold," we were still absolutely obsessed. The establishment itself is small, but most people tend to order to-go, so if you really want to sit and eat there, it shouldn't be an issue. The menu is simply organized, and offers some interesting items like fried gizzards, fried bone cartilages, sushi rolls,and various appetizers. All karaage items are made fresh to order so keep in mind that it will take some time for it to be served. Even then, our mouths were watering for every second of it. The karaage was mind-blowingly DELICIOUS. The outer layer was crispy (even after that long car ride) and the chicken was unbelievably juicy. We also got an order of the spicy yuzu aioli sauce that provided a tasty, tangy undertone which helped to brighten up the dish. Tenkatori Karaage is the absolute place for all chicken lovers. The karaage couldn't have honestly been any more perfect. Oh, what we would do to come back again...

Eva L.

Tenkatori Karaage is worth coming to when you want a delicious, large, filling meal with variety. The first time I had it, I only had the chicken in Gardena. I had no idea there was a Costa Mesa location until recently. I recommend going straight for the box. You can have the karaage with a variety of options (healthy or not so healthy!). It automatically comes with rice & miso soup which is so good. I got mine with the edamame and the veggies. The pieces of chicken were so juicy and fresh. It was definitely enough to be a meal in itself, but I had the other sides along with it as well. (10/10) This place is really tiny, so try not to come at a busy time. Luckily we were a party of 3, so we grabbed a small table. If anything, definitely order to-go and enjoy it!

Nikkie C.

Sadly I won't be going here ever again. I have been coming to this place since I was in high school so over 15 years. I always get the California rolls and I don't like soy sauce so I get eel sauce. Never once had an issue in 15 years. A month ago I placed a huge order $50 worth of food. We go to pick it up and my husband asked for a few side of eel sauce and the new owner told him no. Flat out no, not we charge now or anything just they didn't give that anymore. I only eat the Cali rolls with the eel sauce any sushi place I go to I order it that way, again I have been here for over 15 years. So I go in and I said cancel my order and just give me my money back because I won't even be able to enjoy my dinner. She said umm well we don't give eel sauce unless you order crunchy roll and we did have one order of crunchy rolls. So she said she would only give us one. So again I said cancel my order, I'm spending $50 at your establishment and your not will to give me a few condiments that I'm asking for. Then she goes in the back and talks to someone and comes out and says it's gonna be .50 cents per sauce, they are tiny little dip by the way and I'm hungry and upset at this point I was like fine so she changed me and then when u go to pay she said she can't take my debit card so I needed to go find cash. She still was so rude she wouldn't give me sauce for my rolls. I regret even paying for the sauce I should have gotten a refund and gone elsewhere. As I said I WIll NEVER COME HERE AGAIN. I'm so disappointed in the rude way I was treated as paying customer who didn't even take soy sauce always tips and has been a loyal customers for years. The new management is bad and I don't see this business being here for long if this is how they treat people. You lost a good costumer and all of my family and friends as well.

Luis Giles

Food is really good, but this is not an option to have a quick lunch while at work. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes for your order to be ready, and not too many people waiting for they seem to be lost, the cooks dont even know which orders they are pulling and cashier seems to get fustrated. More training is needed and better communication. Ill give it another try another time or call ahead although i tried calling and wasnt successful.

B C.

Chicken are always cooked to perfection. Can't get tired of the sweet and sour.

L K.

Wow...just wow. Small place...so groups larger than 3 are ass out. The selection was very broad for karaage and I was not disappointed. I got the sweet and spicy and it was definitely one of the better karaage I've had. A little saucy, but the flavor was great. The chicken was hot and juicy and the breading was thick. Not a typical fan of thick breading but this place was on point! Nice work folks.

Kazuzzu H.

I love Tenkatori Karaage. We buy 1 kg (2.2lb) karaage to go. Place is pretty small and not many tables to sit down and eat. We normally just do take out and we freeze left over karaage. Just microwave them and put them in toaster oven then they get crunchy and still juicy. I call 10 mins ahead of time so they are ready when I get there!