From Our Editors
Five Things to Know About Kiraku
The husband-and-wife team of Daiki and Sanae Saito strike a harmonious balance at their izakaya-style Japanese restaurant. In the kitchen, Daiki blends his French culinary training with Japanese traditions to craft a wide array of elegant small plates. Sanae oversees the front of house, greeting guests with warm towels and ensuring proper beverage service. Read on for more about this welcoming izakaya in Berkeley:
- Trust the server’s advice. The sizable menu of small plates features recognizable items, such as salmon sashimi or yaki udon, alongside more adventurous dishes like the Sake Thief, a tiny dish of fermented bonito stomach. Servers can help point out dishes that are more acquired tastes.
- There are dozens of items that cost $6 or less. Kiraku describes its food as “Japanese tapas,” so dishes lend themselves to being shared among friends.
- Take a chance on a bottle of sake. Daiki holds a Kikizake-shi license, making him the sake equivalent of a sommelier. The sake and shochu selection is curated to complement the seasonal flavors of the menu.
- The Asahi is thoroughly Japanese. The beer is imported from Japan, and then it’s poured from a Japanese serving machine that produces a creamy foam—a hallmark of Japanese drafts.
- Don’t worry if you don’t finish that bottle of sake. Kiraku has a bottle save program for bottles of sake and shochu, preserving bottles of sake for up to a month and bottles of shochu up to three months. Guests can save the rest of their drinks for the next time they come in and impress friends with their personalized bottle.