Shirube is a Tokyo-based izakaya that decided to open its first international location in Santa Monica. And we’re thankful they did—because this place is excellent. Come here for drinks and small plates: the sake pours are generous and the menu of grilled, fried, or noodle-y dishes is reasonably priced. Sit at the bar for a front-row view of sweet corn ribs sizzling in the fryer, juicy duck breast seared on charcoal, and delicate halibut sashimi plated over ice. Shirube is perfect for a casual meal and drinks on the Westside that feels like a gourmet experience, minus the high prices that usually come with it (Most dishes are under $20). Get the mixed sashimi plate for two.

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