Matcha is a green tea powder of varying grades made from whole ground tea leaves from Japan. Cafes and boutiques across Los Angeles focus on teaching the ceremonial rituals of making the tea itself, along with matcha-centric menus. Meanwhile, a slew of cafes and restaurants are offering innovative dishes and drinks with matcha.
The powder is thought to be a natural detoxifier, rich in fiber and chlorophyll, and providing vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc, and magnesium. It is purported to help boost metabolism, burn calories, lower cholesterol and blood sugar, plus have a calming effect.
Matcha has been added to lattes, lemonade, ice cream, smoothies, cocktails, candy, custards and baked goods. We can't confirm that matcha makes these items healthier. But we can dream, can’t we? Here are the best places in L.A. to go green and get your matcha fix.
Located in West Hollywood, Catch LA is perched above Melrose and San Vicente under a retractable open-air dining room with views from the Hollywood Hills to downtown. Catch LA has a global reach with locations in New York, Dubai and Playa Carmen. The menu is filled with extravagant seafood and sushi dishes, as well as steak and vegan options.
The cocktail menu leans into the creatively exotic, so it’s fitting that the appropriately named Detox Retox includes matcha, Avión Silver Tequila, fresh cucumber, mint and lime. Served in a glass juice jar, it could be justified as the "boozy" version of a green drink.
8715 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood
Bea Bea's is well-known for its outrageous pancake, waffle and French toast concoctions. The Green Tea Monster is among the top pancake orders - a stack of three plate-size matcha green tea pancakes are filled with white chocolate chips, and topped with green tea mascarpone, powdered sugar, and a large mound of house-made whipped cream. Don’t forget the maple syrup served on the side. Bea Bea's also serves up a mighty fine green tea latte.
353 N. Pass Ave., Burbank
Matcha drinks and donuts star alongside other food and drink items at Café Dulce, the popular eatery with locations in Little Tokyo, ROW DTLA, USC Village and Vernon. There is an extensive matcha bar menu with hot and cold drinks. The blueberry latte, either hot or cold, is a favorite. On the sweet side, the green tea donut filled with vanilla custard is a definite must! Find it alongside other donut flavors, including bacon and fruity pebbles.
Hamasaku is a sophisticated sushi restaurant located in a West L.A. corner strip mall. Hamasaku is owned by Creative Artists’ Agency co-founder Michael Ovitz, whose Japanese art collection graces the restaurant's modern walls. In addition to stunning dishes, the can't-miss dessert is the Matcha Budino— a blend of matcha green tea and white chocolate topped with a dollop of whipped cream and raspberries.
11043 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles
Opened in 2017, Midori Matcha is a sleek, modern matcha café located in the Weller Court shopping center in Little Tokyo, across from the monument dedicated to Space Shuttle Challenger astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka. The mall is also home to a slew of Japanese themed stores and eateries, including Marukai Supermarket and Kinokuniya bookstore. Founder Jason Dmitry Steinbuchel started his matcha business as a wholesaler of bottled drinks made with ceremonial grade stone-ground, organic matcha. His first brick and mortar serves up a menu of cold brewed drinks, including matcha with blueberry or coconut; limeade with fresh lime; granita ice cream shake; soft serve; lattes, and more. Pastries filled with matcha, include beignets, eclairs, and brownies come courtesy of nearby Pitchoun Bakery. Stop by for a refresher as you take in the sights, or hang out, read, or study - wifi and limited outlets are available.
123 Astronaut Ellison South Onizuka St #101-C, Little Tokyo
Paradocs Coffee and Tea
Tako and Yumiko Hirano opened Paradocs Coffee and Tea on Fairfax Avenue in Little Ethopia. Tako mans the tiny café's front counter, while his wife, Yumiko, makes practically all menu items on-site, including bread, pastries, soup and gelato. She gained matcha knowledge from her aunt who rose to the ranks of “master” in Kyoto, Japan. Matcha selections include: a croissant with matcha/almond paste, matcha brownies, and numerous matcha hot and cold drinks, including authentic ceremonial tea, and an affogato with homemade gelato and freshly whisked matcha.
1032 S. Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles
Tea Master Matcha Cafe & Green Tea Shop
The matcha green tea soft serve at Tea Master Matcha Cafe & Green Tea Shop, the tiny tea shop in Little Tokyo's Honda Plaza, is among the very best in L.A. Soft and creamy, yet dense, the ice cream is sprinkled lightly with matcha powder. Also, most unique is the Tokyo Style amazake smoothie with matcha, quinoa, chia seeds, almond milk, almond butter, and mochi mugi barley. Owner Dai sells tea drinks, tea sets, bento lunches, and food specials, such as rice balls, and can answer any matcha question.
450 E 2nd St, Little Tokyo