If you’re looking for simple sushi, try Berkeley’s Kiku Sushi. Here, you’ll find a classic menu that offers items such as salmon skin rolls, Dragon rolls, and shrimp tempura rolls, as well as high-quality nigiri and sashimi. To get the best value, come during lunch and order the Sushi Lunch Special, which includes six pieces of nigiri, one roll, and a bowl of miso soup for under $15. Or try the equally budget-friendly Moriawase Box, which features four pieces of sashimi, four pieces of nigiri, one roll, and miso soup.
Vegetarians who are often frustrated by their limited options at other Japanese restaurants will fall in love with Cha-Ya. This restaurant has an entirely vegetarian menu, and all even non-vegetarians should give it a try. Order the vegetable tempura roll, which is filled with squash, carrots, yam, and green beans, or the vegan roll, with spinach, tofu, cucumber, broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, and picked ginger. Make sure you save room for dessert; the vegan ice cream sundae with pineapple, green tea sauce, azuki bean sauce, and soy vanilla ice cream is so good that it rivals most traditional sundaes.
Cha-Ya, 1686 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA, USA +1 (510) 981-1213
SUMO Roll is Berkeley’s answer to San Francisco’s popular Sushirrito. This Berkeley eatery offers sushi rolls the size of burritos, and they’re all stuffed with delicious and high quality ingredients. Try the Shinsen with longfin tuna, picked daikon, bell peppers, and ginger-soy aioli, or the Upstream with ginger lemon wild salmon, romaine lettuce, crunchy noodles, and green beans. All menu items can be made gluten-free, and vegetarians and vegans have plenty of options as well to ensure that everyone can have a SUMO Roll experience.
SUMO Roll, 2173 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA, USA +1 (510) 841-9000
Uzen, located on Oakland’s popular College Avenue, has some of the most authentic Japanese food you’ll find this side of the Pacific Ocean. All of the dishes are so beautifully plated that it will seem a shame to dig in, but once you take a bite, you’ll be glad that you did. You can’t go wrong with a simple sashimi or nigiri selection, but if you’re hankering for something a little different, go for the deep fried softshell crab or the miso marinated black cod.
Uzen, 5415 College Avenue, Oakland, CA, USA +1 (510) 654-7753