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Sep 18, 2001 02:37 PM

Genki/ Japanese in Berkeley

  • g

I just had dinner there for the first time, and was a bit disappointed. It is priced similarly as places like Ebisu, but is not quite as good (then again, few places are). The meal was fairly decent, but the atmosphere and surroundings are not up to par.

I miss the old Toraya on Solano, which had it all (good sushi, main courses and pleasant surroundings). Anyone has some recommendations in the area, besides the always massively-mobbed Kirala?

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  1. Although I have talked to many Japanese men and women(Japanese-native and California-native), none of them praised any Japanese restaurant in Berkeley.

    Have you ever been to Japanese Buddhist temples in Berkeley? The city is, I think, only place in the continental U.S.--except L.A.--that has both Nishi and Higashi Honganji sects. (This is not a Japan-related discussion board, read travel books of Kyoto.)

    For Nishi, the following Web site gives information about its food events--actually religious activities.

    Because I have never visited there, I can not say anything, but I know U.S.-based Japanese Buddhist temples are open to anybody; non-Japanese and non-Buddhist.


    1. Wow, the old Toraya on Solano. Haven't thought of that place in a while. I used to wait tables there the summer before it closed, which is 12 years ago, I think. I didn't think much of the food, actually, though what it offered had a kind of comfort quality to it -- or maybe it was because it gave me an opportunity to hang out with the older nisei/sansei who staffed the place. That Toraya was one of three in the bay area (I think the other two are still in operation), owned by a family and ran by three siblings. They were able to get their hands on some really good fish because they normally bought in enough quantity for all three restaurants, and they were one of the only places that used real crab in their rolls. If I remember correctly, the closing of the Berkeley branch came as somewhat of a scandal. They certainly did feed me well, though.

      1. "I just had dinner there for the first time, and was a bit disappointed"

        Because of the terrorism? Today's the S.F. Chronicle had the following.

        "Sushi bars were particularly hard hit. Haru Kumaki
        of Genki in Berkeley, who uses five different
        purveyors, had to wait on yellowtail tuna and
        Spanish mackerel he gets from Japan, as well as
        some bluefin tuna and halibut from the East Coast.
        He was able to get some fish by train, and said his
        fish supply was back to about 70 percent by
        Tuesday. Other fish sellers said they expected the
        market to be back to normal by the end of the

        The entire article that discuss other restaurants can be read by clicking on "Click".


        1. For the current issue of the East Bay Express, Norikonoko was picked for the Best Japanese restaurant in the East Bay.


          1 Reply
          1. re: Hiko Ikeda


            That's exactly the kind of tip I was looking for. Have you tried it?