If you want yakitori in the East Bay, go to Ippuku as soon as it opens at 5pm and order as many of the Japanese grilled skewers as you can. The space is small and casual, and you might smell like smoke for a few days after eating here, but the food is great. You can play things safe and get fried chicken, but you should order some of the more interesting skewers, too - like chicken cartilage or bacon mochi. Take your closest friends and spend three hours drinking sake and trying foods you didn’t even know you could get in Berkeley.
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Chez Panisse Cafe
Chez Panisse Cafe in Berkeley is the more casual (and possibly better) sister spot to Chez Panisse, which is located just downstairs.
Gregoire in Berkeley is a tiny, takeout-only spot where you can get perfect picnic food.
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Mamanoko serves sushi and Japanese small plates from their location in the Marina. We love the vegetable tempura fritters.
Hot Zushi in Lower Haight is a pretty great sushi place that’s right across from a laundromat.
Serious quality sushi, provided you're willing to pay. Akiko's Restaurant will even serve you up a baby barracuda.
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Onsen is a Japanese restaurant attached to a communal bathhouse in the Tenderloin. And it’s definitely better than it sounds.
A fairly corporate Financial District Japanese spot that's perfectly suited to dinner with your boss.
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