Takoyaki Tanota (たこ焼き たのた) - Costa Mesa, CA

(Pictures for this review taken with my Motorola Droid.)

With his shaggy hair tucked into a black baseball cap, he looks like a worn out roadie as he hunches over the sizzling hot griddle. A skilled flick of an oil-soaked cloth cleans each indentation, brushing a glistening layer over the ebony surface. Then, a thin, creamy batter is ladled on in a explosion of savory steam, filling the trays to the brim.

Large chunks of tender, stewed octopus are added next, unerringly dropped into the starch-shrouded wells and blanketed in a fragrant rain of thinly sliced green onions, fried tempura crisps, and pickled ginger. He waits patiently as the mixture thickens and puffs... then bursts back into motion, hands a blur as he criss-crosses the tray with a pointed metal skewer, neatly dividing each mound into squares.

A few deft twists, and each pallid serving is magically transformed into a golden orb of goodness. Another short wait as the takoyaki set up before they're nonchalantly flipped from the griddle into waiting boxes to cool.

Streams of Japanese mayonnaise and tart sauce, a dusting of seaweed powder, more sliced green onions, and the cooking is finally over. But not, alas, the waiting.

Inside each glorious sphere is a molten tide of mouth-searing custard waiting to gush forth in a tongue-blistering torrent. It's a test of wills. How long can one resist the maddening aromas? How long before the urge to satisfy lust overwhelms caution and rational thought? Unfortunately for me, it's never long enough...

Takoyaki Tanota - Ow! Mmmm...


4 pieces - 3.00
6 pieces - 4.00
8 pieces - 5.00

Flavor: A
Ambience: A
Service: A

Overall: A

Takoyaki Tanota
(In front of Marukai most weekends)
2975 Harbor Blvd
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Takoyaki Tanota website

Their event schedule can be found here.

They also have a food truck that cruises Los Angeles. Follow them on Twitter!


I worked at a takoyaki stall as a teen one summer. This was before the whole mayo phenomenon on everything! ;) Interesting tidbit, I read that recent takoyaki casts are teflon coated so they use wooden chopsticks instead of iron picks. I'm hungry.

I am so glad you are going to start blogging again. This is a great, unique find!

I am very stingy when it comes to bookmarking websites. I just bookmarked yours. What a honor :)

Yowza, that looks good! I got an ebelskiver pan which can double for takoyaki and kanom krok, but haven't tried making the savories yet. An inspiring post, another worthy use for my bottle of kewpie mayo.

Hey CP - Man that's some great photos from a Droid! Makes me quite hungry.

No freaking way!!! I missing out, dang it.

"Large chunks of tender, stewed octopus are added next, unerringly dropped into the starch-shrouded wells and blanketed into a fragrant rain of thinly sliced green onions, fried tempura crisps and pickled ginger' -Wow, Panda: you really are back. Look out Jonathan Gold!

Ooo.. I frequent this area quite often on free weekends. Will have to give it a run.

These look good CP. Ima have to go get some of these soon....

Wow you're amazing! I'm a new follower now :)

Maybe you can follow me back too?

CP: time to ring in the new year with a new post! Give us more! GG

I love takoyaki and now I have an unbearable craving for them thanks to your post. Drool!

By the way, I know your friend Jim Brenner for law school. I saw him at a function recently and he asked if I knew a Chubby Panda food blogger. Small world!

Delicious looking! Thanks for share.

@taste tester

Seriously? Small world! =) He's mentioned from time to time on this blog as Semajim. Really really good friend of mine from high school.

OH MI GOD DUDE. I'VE BEEN THERE. EVERYONE SHOULD GO TO THIS STAND IT'S SO AWESOME. And I totally know that "I-really-should-wait-or-else-I'll-burn-my-tongue-but-oh-my-god-I-want-it-now" feeling.

To answer your question from Chowhound regarding Florence:


Their new restaurant: