Tasty treats for the holidays


On the Bridge’s loco moco. courtesy of On the Bridge

Due to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has tightened restrictions to various industries, including restaurants. This holiday season, consider supporting a Japanese or Japanese American mom-and-pop restaurant by purchasing a gift card or two. The following restaurants sell gift cards both in-person and online.

San Francisco’s Japantown

On the Bridge’s loco moco. courtesy of On the Bridge

On the Bridge, a Japanese fusion restaurant in the Japan Center Malls in San Francisco’s Japantown, is known for their chicken katsu curry, katsu curry don (bowl) and a Hawai‘i favorite, loco moco, which consists of white rice, topped with a hamburger, an egg and gravy. The restaurant is open daily from noon to 8 p.m. They offer takeout.
1581 Webster St., Suite, 205, San Francisco; https://www.fb.com/OnTheBridgeSF; (415) 922-7765.

Pa‘ina Restaurant and Lounge on Post St. in San Francisco’s Japantown, is known for its Spam musubi, loco moco and kimchi fried rice.
1865 Post St. (between Webster and Fillmore streets)
San Francisco; http://www.painasf.com, painalounge@gmail.com; (415) 829-2642.

Takara Restaurant, located in the Japan Center East Mall in the Peace Plaza in San Francisco’s Japantown, is known for their iron pot rice dinner and chirashi (scattered).
22 Peace Plaza Suite 505, San Francisco; http://www.takararestaurant.com; (415) 921-2000.

Kissako Tea in the Japan Center Malls in San Francisco’s Japantown, sells mitarashi dango (rice flour dumpling glazed in sweet soy sauce) and onigiri (rice balls). They are open from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, and offer curbside pickup and takeout.
1581 Webster St., Suite 195, San Francisco; http://ow.ly/vkuW50Cnl5o; (415) 567-4988.

East Bay

Mitama Japanese Restaurant’s omakase nigiri combination. photo courtesy of Inter-Pacific Publication

Mitama Japanese Restaurant in Berkeley, Calif., has a variety of sushi, sashimi and chicken teriyaki bento. The restaurant is open for takeout from noon to 8 p.m. everyday except Monday.
3201 College Ave., Berkeley, Calif.; http://www.mitamasushi.com; (510) 652-6157.

Kirala Japanese Cuisine in Berkeley, Calif., is known for its tempura, sashimi and hamachi (yellowtail).
Takeout location: 1511 Shattuck St., Berkeley, Calif. http://www.kiralaberkeley.com; (510)649-1384.

Shiro maguro (white tuna) and the Fireball roll, a cooked spicy tuna roll with chili sauce, are among the items on the menu at Sato Japanese Restaurant in Pleasanton, Calif.
3015 Hopyard Road,  Suite K, Pleasanton, Calif. https://satojapanese.com; (925) 462-3131.

Mikuni Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar serves up spicy tuna rolls and bento box meals at its various locations.
2075 Diamond Blvd., Suite 100, Concord, Calif.; 8525 Bond Road, Elk Grove, Calif.; mikunisushi.com; (925) 265-7660.

Jo’s Sushi Bar in Pleasant Hill, Calif., is known for its spider roll, saba and volcano roll.
2217 Morello Ave., Pleasant Hill, Calif.; https://jossushibar.com; (925) 671-9925.


Taishoken Ramen’s Tokusei Tsukemen. courtesy of Taishoken Ramen

Taishoken Ramen’s menu in San Mateo, Calif. showcases Tokusei Tsukemen, Tokusei ramen and Ajitama spicy ramen, among other dishes. They are open daily for takeout and outdoor dining, Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. and on the weekends, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.
47 E. 4th Ave. San Mateo, Calif.; https://www.taishokenusa.com; taishoken.usa@gmail.com; (650) 445-7579.

Dohatsuten Ramen and Tapas in Palo Alto, Calif. has several popular dishes, including a kurobuta (“black hog” pork) chashu (pork) ramen, agedashi (deep fried) tofu and onigiri. The restaurant is open for takeout and outdoor dining daily Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for lunch and on the weekends from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; for dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 8:30 p.m.
799 San Antonio Road, Palo Alto, Calif.; https://www.dohatsutenramen.com; (650) 493-2878.

Izakaya Ginji in San Mateo, Calif. features yakitori don, beef curry with chicken cutlet and buta (pork) kimchi carbonara.
301 E. 4th Ave., San Mateo, Calif.; https://izakaya-ginji.square.site/; ginjirestaurant@yahoo.com; (650) 348-1110.

Hanabi in Burlingame, Calif. serves up miso, clam and shoyu ramen.
723 California Drive, Burlingame, Calif.; (650) 342-8888.

San Jose’s Japantown
Kazoo Japanese Restaurant in San Jose’s Japantown, is known for their sushi platters and bento meals. The restaurant offers takeout, online ordering and delivery. They are offering a holiday sushi and sashimi platter for $85.
250 Jackson St., San Jose, Calif.;
https://www.kazoorestaurant.com; https://ordering.app/kazoo; info@kazoorestaurant.com; (408) 288-9611.

JT Express’ shave ice. courtesy of JT Express

JT Express, a Japanese restaurant in San Jose’s Japantown, dishes out takoyaki (grilled octopus balls) and shave ice. The restaurant is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday for takeout and delivery.
170 Jackson St., San Jose, Calif.; http://www.tengusushisj.com; tengu.sushi.catering@gmail.com; (408) 275-9491.

At Jtown Pizza in San Jose’s Japantown diners may enjoy meatball egg rolls, spicy bamboo pizza and Godzilla pizza.
625 N. 6th St., San Jose, Calif.; https://www.jtownpizza.com; (408) 326-2910.

Sacramento, Calif.
Binchoyaki Izakaya Dining in Sacramento, Calif., is known for their duck breast, pork belly and bacon wrapped asparagus.
2226 10th St. Sacramento, Calif.; https://www.binchoyaki.com; (916) 469-9448.

At Akebono Japanese Restaurant in Sacramento, Calif., diners may find the “Dream Come True” roll, sushi boat combo and challenge ramen.
4960 Freeport Blvd. Sacramento, Calif. http://akebonojapaneserestaurant.com/; (916) 731-8288.

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