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Japanese in Santa Rosa

Can anyone recommend a good Japanese restaurant in Santa Rosa.
Does not have to be fancy - looking for good tempura and maybe chirashi.
Planning on being in Santa Rosa this Saturday night.

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  1. I prefer Osake in Santa Rosa or Hana in Rohnert Park

    Osake Japanese Restaurant
    2446 Patio Ct, Santa Rosa, CA 95405

    Hana Japanese Restaurant
    101 Golf Course Drive, Rohnert Park, CA 94928

    1. The tempura is good at Osake... they have some Sushi that is good (Salmon Roll with Scallions... Nigiri is decent)... however, I have to warn you most Sushi here is of the hideous, way oversized, Suburban trap variety.. with all the fusiony sins that most Japanese will cringe about. The clueless morons at the Michelin Guide gave it an honorable mention... its decent but I don't know what they were smoking. Honestly, right now I am debating whether the Salmon & Tuna Nigiri is actually better at Whole Foods (granted they are about the same price though!)

      Enough rambling.... yes the Tempura is very good. Oh now that I remember, there is a place in Windsor (I can't remember the name exactly but I believe its Sedju or something like that) that was very good on all fronts.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Eat_Nopal

        I think the restaurant you're referring to is Senju. My parents have been a few times and said they liked it. I want to clear this up because it is a completely seperate restaurant from Ume, where I've been with my dad and did not enjoy at all. For Santa Rosa standards, I found the decor rather stylish and modern, but I was very disappointed in the food. I especially remember ordering ankimo (which I love as well, choconinja) and receiving something fishy and strangely dull to my palate. I remember reading the PD's Biteclub article about the sushi round up, and Heather Irwin chose Ume as her favorite of the bunch. Maybe I went on an off night (Jeff Cox's very favorable review is framed beside the register), but I have no desire to return to Ume.

        I still haven't been to Cafe Japan, so I'd like to go. The only issue there is the staggering costs. I have no problem paying that for the occasional splurge meal at a fantastic restaurant, but to go there for the first time and pay that is something for me to think twice about.

        I think Hana is a pretty safe bet and probably the best of the restaurants I've tried in Sonoma County.

        1. re: LikeFrogButOOOH

          Its been a couple of years... and I just can't remember the name... but I believe we took the main exit in Windsor (that leads to the downtown area).... but went west (I belive on Old Redwood Hwy).... and it was just a small place that reminded me of your typical Sushi joint in West L.A's Little Japan.

      2. I agree with Scott M about Hana - it's pretty decent, and they do serve chirashi (and great Agedashi tofu there, too!); would also add Yao Kiku to the list, but as probably the third choice - it's on Yulupa Avenue, near Bennett Valley road.

        1. I like Yao Kiku. I went to Cafe Japan on the downtown square for the first time recently, it was good-- also packed at 9 pm on a Wednesday!

          1. I'm a big fan of Cafe Japan, in downtown Santa Rosa. Small restaurant with great food. Chef Yo is Japanese and had his culinary training in Japan before moving here. Focus on quality, often organic, often local ingredients. The tempura is some of the best I've had in Sonoma county...light, golden crispy deliciousness. The sushi is lovely as well...I adore their house-pickled saba. Cafe Japan is the reason I fell in love with ankimo (monkfish liver). Don't miss the miso with nameko mushrooms...mmm.

            2 Replies
            1. re: chocolateninja

              Hm...did PlaceLinking break?

              Cafe Japan
              98 Old Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

              Yao-Kiku Japanese Restaurant
              2700 Yulupa Ave # 23, Santa Rosa, CA

              1. re: chocolateninja

                Picture of Cafe Japan's tempura dinner. (I think I may have eaten a couple of pieces before this photo was shot)

              2. Those are all good places but for really good Japanese you have to drive to Sushi Tozai in sebastopol (10 min drive) or Ume in windsor (15 min drive). They're both worth the short drive.

                Sushi Tozai
                7531 Healdsburg Ave, Sebastopol, CA 95472

                UME Japanese Bistro
                8710 Old Redwood Hwy, Windsor, CA 95492

                4 Replies
                1. re: rollinhard

                  I've tried Sushi Tozai once, probably about six months after they opened, and thought they were just okay. I think Ume was the place that Eat Nopal was trying to remember the name of. I have yet to eat there, and I've heard good things about it..what are some of your favourite dishes or things you think stand out there?

                  Oh, and with all the freeway exits/onramps closing because of construction, the drive from downtown Santa Rosa to Sebastopol (they are closing the 3rd Street on ramp starting May 1st thru Oct.) is going to take longer than 10 minutes. Even if you don't take the freeway, traffic downtown is gonna be a mess for quite a while.

                  1. re: chocolateninja

                    I've always been impressed with the quality of food at Sushi Tozai. The traditional ambiance is kind of bare, but just about every piece of sushi I've had was well above average.

                    I admit, I've only been to Ume once, but I loved it. My friend who had been there many times did all the ordering. Everything we had was very good, but the carburetor roll was awesome. Another roll that stood out (but I forget the name of it...summer something) was very light and refreshing. We went on a thursday night and the parking lot and restaurant was completely full. We had a banana/tempura type dessert which was just OK, despite the decent ice cream.

                    Yeah I forgot about the closures coming up...not cool. Still should only take 25 minutes max to get to Ume from santa rosa, unless you go during rush hour. I still think it's worth the drive.

                  2. re: rollinhard

                    Ume was a tad weird, the one time I went there. The decor was sort of dusty and falling apart, not like a dive, but like a place that was originally designed to be fancy but not quite finished, and then neglected. Maybe they had terrible roof leaks or something, I don't know.

                    This is partly my own fault for not asking, but all the sushi rolls I ordered had that sweet sauce found on eel, and lots of mayonnaise-- I could have been more careful ordering.

                    1. re: wearybashful

                      The decor was very clean and simple when I was there (about 2 weeks ago).

                  3. sushi tozai or yao kiku