Most Creative Izakaya


Now that the East Bay has the luxury of about a half a dozen decent options for Japanese izakaya, you should head over to Kiraku, where you can feast on idiosyncratic small-plate offerings like crunchy corn tempura dusted with green-tea salt. And if you ever get bored of the regular menu (you won't), there are always interesting daily specials, which might include a few varieties of sashimi you haven't heard of before or, if you're lucky, a bowl of remarkably tender — "silky" doesn't begin to describe it — house-made tofu served over a bed of ice. Daiki and Sanae Saito, the husband-and-wife team that runs Kiraku, are putting out smart, whimsical food — and most importantly, almost all of it is delicious.

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