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Japanese in East Bay?

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Not looking for an O Chame kind of a rec...want a real authentic hole in the wall kind of place. Any thoughts?

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  1. I like Serika in Theater Square in Orinda. Not a hole in the wall, but not O Chame form over function, either. The owner is a real Tokyo trained sushi chef, no gimmicks, just good food. One of the few restaurants where both sushi and cooked dishes are good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: recycleit

      I'll second Serika. Always fresh, good service, nice nigiri as well as some non-traditional rolls. Seems like the same guys have been behind the bar for years.

    2. Norikonoko is where I go when I'm looking for homestyle Japanese: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/36992.... Very homey (family-run?) hole in the wall with only homestyle dishes (no sushi, or if any, I've never noticed it).

      1 Reply
      1. re: coolbean98

        Me too. It's indeed family run. From my point of view one of the very few restaurants where the people cooking grew up with delicious Japanese food and want to share it with others. I've never seen sushi either.

      2. Banzai Sushi is hole in the wall, mom and pop, very homey. Sushi is stronger than their cooked dishes. In Berkeley on Camelia St. behind REI on San Pablo/Gilman.

        1. oh, gosh, the only place is Kirala on Shattuck, by the Berkeley Bowl. Absolutely fresh, and worth waiting in line for (no reservations). I drive from SF just to eat there.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Tamlin63

            Looking at the line, you might think that Kirala was the only Japanese restaurant in Berkeley. Good food but it's no hole in the wall. I love their butterfish.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I how I miss that, among other dishes.

            2. re: Tamlin63

              Joshu-ya on Dwight and Telegraph is as good if not better than Kirala but about half the price. I would reccomend sitting at the bar, the fish tends to be better when you do, along with faster service.

            3. try yume in alameda. they don't do crazy rolls here just real simple fresh sushi in a tiny setting on the 2nd floor. you have to get there early or be prepared to wait.