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Izakaya in SF/East Bay

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Hi,
Just came back from BC where, thanks to Chowhounds, I enjoyed Vancouver's incredible Izakaya selection. Now I miss it and searching online has turned up very little. I found a chowhound thread from a few years ago that concluded that there is no Izakaya in SF, but I'm hoping that's changed since. Any recommendations?
Thanks!

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  1. SF's izakaya selections are far and few in between and likely don't compare. You will either find a mix of small plate type things combined with or without sushi/sashimi, skewers, cooked food, fusiony type offerings, up to and/or including commonly seen things to traditional typical Japanese eats. Now I have never eaten at the following but you may want to explore further and get opinions before you go.

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    Oyaji Restaurant
    3123 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

    Namu
    439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

    Uzen Japanese Cuisine
    5415 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

    Kirala Restaurant
    2100 Ward St, Berkeley, CA 94705

    Sozai Restaurant
    1500 Irving Street, San Francisco, CA 94122

    O Izakaya Lounge
    1625 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

    Ryoko Restaurant & Bar
    619 Taylor St, San Francisco, CA 94102

    Halu
    312 8th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

    Hana Zen
    115 Cyril Magnin, San Francisco, CA 94102

    1. Correction: I have been to Kirala in Berkeley. Good for getting robata and some skewers.

      Other comments

      Halu is probably the best bet in the city (good for skewers and small plates). Most of my J-food friends vouch for this mom and pop run shop.

      Kappa in SF Japantown is NOT an izakaya but high end koryori (elegant small plates). Very pricey but supremely high quality.

      Ryoko's is open very very late, reports (outside of CH...) of having Japanese beef sushi available (from Gunma prefecture) but I'm not sure how the other dishes are.

      O izakaya lounge seems a bit fusiony from what I've read.

      Also if you hit up Sushi Yoshi in Newark, if that is within your reach, he has some of the best agemono or kushi-age in town (deep fried items, some on skewers), although most people go for the sushi which is good value (but Yoshi is a one man operation for sushi so expect to sit down 2+ hours for a meal).

      Better choices if you go to the South Bay though... holler if you need a list.

      -----
      Oyaji Restaurant
      3123 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

      Namu
      439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

      Uzen Japanese Cuisine
      5415 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

      Kirala Restaurant
      2100 Ward St, Berkeley, CA 94705

      Sozai Restaurant
      1500 Irving Street, San Francisco, CA 94122

      O Izakaya Lounge
      1625 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

      Ryoko Restaurant & Bar
      619 Taylor St, San Francisco, CA 94102

      Halu
      312 8th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

      Hana Zen
      115 Cyril Magnin, San Francisco, CA 94102

      1 Reply
      1. re: K K

        Kirala has a robata bar, as well as a sushi bar and hot dishes from the kitchen, but not an izakaya-type atmosphere.

      2. Sebo in SF's Hayes Valley has izakaya dishes on Sundays only. There's a recent report on newly opened Otoro in the same neighborhood. I love Namu, which has some fusiony touches.

        1. looking for the same......oh man i love the izakayas back home in vancouver....where did you go? Guu, Hapa, and kingyo are my faves

          1. Oyaji has no frills izakaya food--sushi, yakitori, ramen, etc. And lots of people getting very drunk, which I suppose, makes it pretty authentic.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sfbing

              Earlier in the evening Oyaji's a popular neighborhood restaurant with most of the customers drinking moderately or not at all. After the stories I'd heard about it, I was surprised to see families with kids.