If you want yakitori in the East Bay, go to Ippuku as soon as it opens at 5pm and order as many of the Japanese grilled skewers as you can. The space is small and casual, and you might smell like smoke for a few days after eating here, but the food is great. You can play things safe and get fried chicken, but you should order some of the more interesting skewers, too - like chicken cartilage or bacon mochi. Take your closest friends and spend three hours drinking sake and trying foods you didn’t even know you could get in Berkeley.
More spots in BerkeleySee more
Gypsy’s Trattoria Italiana
Gypsy’s Trattoria Italiana serves good and cheap Italian food right next to Berkeley’s campus.
Cheese Board Pizza
Cheese Board Pizza in Berkeley does only one type of pizza every day. It tends to be kind of unusual, but it’s always worth the long wait.
Bette’s Oceanview Diner
Bette’s in Berkeley is an upscale 1950s-style diner that does a boozy brunch worth the guaranteed 45-minute wait.
More Japanese spotsSee more
Elephant Sushi in Russian Hill usually has a bit of a wait, so try to head there on the early side (they open at 6).
Niku Steakhouse in the Design District is one of the best - and most expensive - steakhouses in SF.
Suggested by our writers
Onsen is a Japanese restaurant attached to a communal bathhouse in the Tenderloin. And it’s definitely better than it sounds.
A fairly corporate Financial District Japanese spot that's perfectly suited to dinner with your boss.
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