Izakaya In San Diego??
My wife and I just moved to San Diego and we want to take her brother and his wife for a celebratory dinner. I want to take them to a great Izakaya (I like Furaibo in LA). Any recs for us? We are in Solana Beach but we are willing to drive. Please help; thank you.
An Olde Threadde, but keeping to the subject:
Izakaya Ouan in Hillcrest where Yu Me Ya used to be. Really good. Zen lack of clutter, but with the game on the tv which is on the mark for the genre. Not the cheapest menu, but certainly not too spendy. Better than the previous occupant. Staff is mostly the same.
Open till 2am with a late night menu that does grease right. That is, ramen and fried gyoza etcetera.
Regular dinner, we had great simple chicken broth soba and a spicy chirashi bowl, both served with a poached egg that is David Chang worthy, great veggie tempura (daikoroshi, or grated radish, thoughtfully pre-added to the dipping sauce), a bang-up kaki furai (fried oysters in panko with the MSG-delicious kewpie-mayo and tonkatsu sauce drizzle), and some kimchi in sesame oil, two beers and some sake for 70 bucks.
Given your location you ought to check out Yumeya as Josh has suggested.
But for those familiar with Izakayas, S.D. presents a dilemma. Yumeya does not have the broad menu of a true Izakaya, and tends to have some improvisational items as well. However it certainly has the atmosphere down. On the other hand Sakura has the broad menu of an Izakaya, but poorly lacks in the atmosphere department.
There is Izakaya Masa in Mission Hills on Fort Stockton, though I have yet to go but only peered inside when they were closed. However like Sakura, it'll be quite a drive from Solana Beach.
Closer in there is Izakaya Shimbashi in the Del Mar Plaza, though as a relatively new opening I haven't yet checked them out either.
Overall given the circumstances Yumeya will be a good bet, and best of all they have very competent sake service, with excellent guidance and generous free samples.
(Along a slightly different direction you are lucky to be very close to the county's best Sushi bar, Kaito Sushi. Their food is spectacularly good, though surprisingly unassuming in looks and decor. Much has been written about them on these boards. Friday, Saturday, and Tuesdays will offer the best selection and will be certain to please any Sushi fanatic, and for most will be an eye-opening experience.)