Fresh, filling, and light Japanese onigiri (also known as omusubi or rice balls with filling) in a hip joint in Santa Monica. Definitely a nice place to go to if you like Japanese food, if you're a foodie in general, or if you just want a nice snack while you're walking down the fun Main Street in Santa Monica.
By Shopping Syndra
What is onigiri?
If you've ever been lucky enough to have some onigiri (おにぎり) in Japan--whether it was at a restaurant, at 7-Eleven, or at a subway station--then you know that these little rice balls are functional food at its best.
You can eat 'em on the go, warm or cold, and be filled up and yet not be depressed that you're eating some crazy junk food that people are silently judging you about.
The thing is, Japanese onigiri, or omusubi, is not incredibly easy to find in the United States like it is in Japan. The best bet is to find some Japanese supermarket--like Nijiya, Mitsuwa, Marukai, etc.--and then go straight to the prepared foods aisle.
You can get them here!
Or...You can go to Sunny Blue in Santa Monica! Sunny Blue specializes in onigiri, and it has tons of different kinds and fillings!
yesterday: at santa monica dom REALLY suggested to me, out of all people, to find us the nearest subway. ended up going to the most amazing little rice ball place, sunny blue. i ordered so many. pic.twitter.com/cxnIKos1Q0
— every emotion is necessary in life (@bjork_yorke) May 29, 2018
Sunny Blue is a pretty small space with friendly employees diligently working away at making the onigiri. There are perhaps five chairs in the entire shop, so you probably want to plan on just eating the onigiri outside in the warm Santa Monica sun instead.
It's cool though--Sunny Blue is on Main St. which is safe and has tons of people walking by to see the different shops and restaurants.
The onigiri definitely does have that nice and fresh Japanese taste but also has that American flair in the way that it's presented. At around $3-$4 a pop, it makes sense to get a couple of 'em so that you're adequately full; surprisingly, they do fill you up quicker than expected.
Craigslist pulls thru once again. Sunny Blue Rice Balls in Santa Monica to celebrate Metronomy tix pic.twitter.com/Dd4bnPBq
— Nick Wilson (@Treasure_MA) May 3, 2012
Aren't they so photogenic?
Sunny Blue. Chicken Curry and Miso Beef Omusubi. Inari with Buckwheat Noodles. Santa Monica, CA. pic.twitter.com/xziizKK1lP
— Ian Wong (@radsdr) May 22, 2015
What's on the menu?
The choices on the menu are plentiful; there's Sunny Blue Curry, Miso Beef, Tokyo Tori, and Spicy Salmon, for instance! Each one is definitely packed with flavor. The furikake sprinkled on top with the nice and crispy seaweed (nori) is to die for!
Also, they do have froyo and udon here—or so we heard. We’ve never tried 'em ourselves but maybe you can and be a trailblazer!
There's a bunch of street parking (metered) and various lots. I would honestly go for the street parking because I find that lots are just more expensive in general. I guess you make up for it with time saved in not looking sometimes and also in the lack of parking tickets, though. To each their own!
So the next time you're in Santa Monica, definitely check out Main Street and stop by Sunny Blue for your Japanese onigiri fix!