Kirala

★★★★☆
This popular Berkeley restaurant features eclectic Japanese cuisine with a focus on sushi and grilled skewer dishes.
  • 2100 Ward St

    Berkeley, CA 94705

    Cross street: Shattuck Avenue

    Map & Directions
  • 510-556-3093

About Kirala

Hours
Mon 5:30pm-9:30pm Tue-Fri 11:30am-2pm, 5:30pm-9:30pm Sat 5:30pm-9:30pm Sun 5pm-9pm

Food

Food
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I absolutely LOVE Japanese food, but this place doesn't do the cuisine justice. The sushi was totally bland. The eel pieces just tasted like cooking oil--yuck!--and the green beans with tempura were soggy. The food was just totally lacking that bright, fresh flavor and texture that makes Japanese food delicious. I am giving them two stars because the food wasn't HORRIBLE--it just wasn't very good either. I did find the service very friendly and efficient, though.

1
★★☆☆☆

I absolutely LOVE Japanese food, but this place doesn't do the cuisine justice. The sushi was totally bland. The eel pieces just tasted like cooking oil--yuck!--and the green beans with tempura were soggy. The food was just totally lacking that bright, fresh flavor and texture that makes Japanese food delicious. I am giving them two stars because the food wasn't HORRIBLE--it just wasn't very good either. I did find the service very friendly and efficient, though.

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This place is extremely popular. It has a cult-like following. You always see a long line of people waiting outside. It serves two kinds of food: Sushi and Robata (grilled small dishes. Prepared when ordered). Sushi is very fresh. Robata is O.K.

The ambiance was great. With the long wait, I would suggest you try some other places. There is a great deal of good Japanese restaurants in the Bay Area. I definitely recommend you try some other restaurants. This place is good but not great.

4
★★★★☆

This place is extremely popular. It has a cult-like following. You always see a long line of people waiting outside. It serves two kinds of food: Sushi and Robata (grilled small dishes. Prepared when ordered). Sushi is very fresh. Robata is O.K.

The ambiance was great. With the long wait, I would suggest you try some other places. There is a great deal of good Japanese restaurants in the Bay Area. I definitely recommend you try some other restaurants. This place is good but not great.

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This place is not worth your time. With such great reviews online my partner and I were excited about having dinner here. Let down is an understatement. The wait was estimated at 30 minutes but we waited almost 2 hours for our table. With no lobby or place to stand, this put our evening off to a bad start. Once we sat down the service was so so and the sushi was NOT good. After leaving I became sick and threw up. Today my partner is sick in bed thanks to bad sushi.

0
★☆☆☆☆

This place is not worth your time. With such great reviews online my partner and I were excited about having dinner here. Let down is an understatement. The wait was estimated at 30 minutes but we waited almost 2 hours for our table. With no lobby or place to stand, this put our evening off to a bad start. Once we sat down the service was so so and the sushi was NOT good. After leaving I became sick and threw up. Today my partner is sick in bed thanks to bad sushi.

Cons: the entire experience

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It's quite difficult to be seated here pretty much any night of the week. Prepare to wait 30 minutes to an hour.

Other than that, they have good food and sushi. They also have a great sake selection. They serve a couple of flights which are great intros to sake tasting.

Entrees run about $15.

3
★★★☆☆

It's quite difficult to be seated here pretty much any night of the week. Prepare to wait 30 minutes to an hour.

Other than that, they have good food and sushi. They also have a great sake selection. They serve a couple of flights which are great intros to sake tasting.

Entrees run about $15.

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took an hour and a half to be seated, others who had come later then us were seated first and we had to keep reminding them that we were there. when we were finally seated they had messed up my order and my friends. When we tried to tell our waiter he did not understand. He had brought me the nigiri combination when i had ordered the sashimi combination. Then the hostess came over and fixed our order but when the sashimi mix had come it was a very small portion for the price. Not to mention on the menu it said which fish it came with and when they brought it to me there was no salmon, and thats the main reason why I get sashimi is for the salmon. When i asked where it was they said that they were out, but they could have told me this before i ordered. everytime i go it is a very long wait, and it is not worth it at all. I recommend man puku on college avenue where its more of a casual restaurant but prices and food is great!

0
★☆☆☆☆

took an hour and a half to be seated, others who had come later then us were seated first and we had to keep reminding them that we were there. when we were finally seated they had messed up my order and my friends. When we tried to tell our waiter he did not understand. He had brought me the nigiri combination when i had ordered the sashimi combination. Then the hostess came over and fixed our order but when the sashimi mix had come it was a very small portion for the price. Not to mention on the menu it said which fish it came with and when they brought it to me there was no salmon, and thats the main reason why I get sashimi is for the salmon. When i asked where it was they said that they were out, but they could have told me this before i ordered. everytime i go it is a very long wait, and it is not worth it at all. I recommend man puku on college avenue where its more of a casual restaurant but prices and food is great!

Pros: food isnt bad. restaurant is nice and fancy inside

Cons: always crowded. always a long wait, bad service, expensive

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I can't understand why they are famos.....taste was very bad.\r\nIf you like this restaurante,You don't know Japanese food.

0
★☆☆☆☆

I can't understand why they are famos.....taste was very bad.\r\nIf you like this restaurante,You don't know Japanese food.

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*The menu at Kirala is unique to it's area, (East Bay) so I'd say they have a bit of a captive audience syndrome. Customers flock from miles around to enjoy well reviewed sushi and noodles at this large and convenient location. I've been there a few times for lunch, but not yet for dinner, And I have to say, it's really not worth the headache. \r\n\r\nIf you want to know the truth about the crowds outside their doors, I'm happy to give it to you. 1) They're only open for a small window at lunch time; reopening for dinner a bit later. 2) They seem to have a large following of regulars, who will be expedited to the top of the waiting list and will get your table if you make the mistake of standing outside, or sitting on the railing out of the way of the busy wait staff. 3) If you have managed to make it in for lunch, once you sit down, you may be there for a while. While the menu is vast, a guessing game with your server must ensue, before you can place an order for food. Apparently all the great sushi specials, and many standard sushi selections as well, are being saved for the dinner crowd and not made available to lunch time diners. They can't tell you what you can have, you just have to keep trying until they say yes.\r\n\r\nOverall: sushi is fresh, noodles good, -maybe a tad tricky, but any eager restaurateur would do well to open a sushi/noodle place right across the street with the same fare, offering honest straight forward service, seating or standing room for customers to line up and a clear lunch menu and a clear dinner menu. The tyranny of the Kirala rule over Berkeley would be over.

0
★☆☆☆☆

*The menu at Kirala is unique to it's area, (East Bay) so I'd say they have a bit of a captive audience syndrome. Customers flock from miles around to enjoy well reviewed sushi and noodles at this large and convenient location. I've been there a few times for lunch, but not yet for dinner, And I have to say, it's really not worth the headache. \r\n\r\nIf you want to know the truth about the crowds outside their doors, I'm happy to give it to you. 1) They're only open for a small window at lunch time; reopening for dinner a bit later. 2) They seem to have a large following of regulars, who will be expedited to the top of the waiting list and will get your table if you make the mistake of standing outside, or sitting on the railing out of the way of the busy wait staff. 3) If you have managed to make it in for lunch, once you sit down, you may be there for a while. While the menu is vast, a guessing game with your server must ensue, before you can place an order for food. Apparently all the great sushi specials, and many standard sushi selections as well, are being saved for the dinner crowd and not made available to lunch time diners. They can't tell you what you can have, you just have to keep trying until they say yes.\r\n\r\nOverall: sushi is fresh, noodles good, -maybe a tad tricky, but any eager restaurateur would do well to open a sushi/noodle place right across the street with the same fare, offering honest straight forward service, seating or standing room for customers to line up and a clear lunch menu and a clear dinner menu. The tyranny of the Kirala rule over Berkeley would be over.

Pros: Unique menu, easy to park roomy seating.

Cons: difficult seating policy, vast menu, but nothing actually available

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I just don't think it's as good as people say. I've eaten my fair share of good Japanese food, and this is in slightly above average range. The sushi is by far better than anything else I've had in Berkeley, but again I don't think that's saying all that much. Been here several times, and it's usually pretty crowded. Never sat there, but there's a group table in the back, next to the bathrooms if you like that... \r\n\r\nHere's my one bad experience. Ordered one of the grilled fish items. I'm not a picky eater, but it came out like fish jerky. There's a time and place for a good, dry smoked fish, but this wasn't it. What made it really bad is that the waitress tried to defend the place by saying that this was how the fish came out, even though other restaurants that make a similar dish make it moist and flakey. That was honestly her justification. For a good 2-3 minutes she went on about it, and then the same thing when she came back with another item we ordered. Pretty comical...

2
★★★★☆

I just don't think it's as good as people say. I've eaten my fair share of good Japanese food, and this is in slightly above average range. The sushi is by far better than anything else I've had in Berkeley, but again I don't think that's saying all that much. Been here several times, and it's usually pretty crowded. Never sat there, but there's a group table in the back, next to the bathrooms if you like that... \r\n\r\nHere's my one bad experience. Ordered one of the grilled fish items. I'm not a picky eater, but it came out like fish jerky. There's a time and place for a good, dry smoked fish, but this wasn't it. What made it really bad is that the waitress tried to defend the place by saying that this was how the fish came out, even though other restaurants that make a similar dish make it moist and flakey. That was honestly her justification. For a good 2-3 minutes she went on about it, and then the same thing when she came back with another item we ordered. Pretty comical...

Pros: Good sushi

Cons: Over hyped, crowded

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My girlfriend and I have been here twice, we just ate here for lunch recently and tried to order a shrimp tempura roll but the waitress told us it wasnt on the menu. Thats weird... we had it last time for dinner. Oh well, we ordered our meal and began eating. During the meal, a middle aged man to our left making small talk with the sushi chef asked about a shrimp tempura roll. The two sushi chefs glance at one another and give eachother a conspicuous nod as one reaches behind the counter and pulls out what appears to be a piece of shrimp tempura. Befuddled, my girlfriend and I sat there and watched the sushi chef make and serve the man what appeared to be a shrimp tempura roll, after we were told it wasnt on the menu. We asked the man sitting next to us, ""is that shrimp tempura?"" Dumbfoundedly, he gives us an exasperated ""uhhh"" then looks to the sushi chef and asks ""what is this again?"" The sushi chef informs us that yes infact it is shrimp tempura, to which we responded ""can we get one of those then?"" The chef looks at us and says its not on the menu and that we cant order it. The man clearly wasnt a regular, it was lame that we knew the chefs made a shrimp tempura for the man next to us yet refused to make one for us. The sushi is overpriced for what you get, not worth the time or money for service like that. We left a few cents for the tip and vowed to never return. I suggest you never return either.

0
★☆☆☆☆

My girlfriend and I have been here twice, we just ate here for lunch recently and tried to order a shrimp tempura roll but the waitress told us it wasnt on the menu. Thats weird... we had it last time for dinner. Oh well, we ordered our meal and began eating. During the meal, a middle aged man to our left making small talk with the sushi chef asked about a shrimp tempura roll. The two sushi chefs glance at one another and give eachother a conspicuous nod as one reaches behind the counter and pulls out what appears to be a piece of shrimp tempura. Befuddled, my girlfriend and I sat there and watched the sushi chef make and serve the man what appeared to be a shrimp tempura roll, after we were told it wasnt on the menu. We asked the man sitting next to us, ""is that shrimp tempura?"" Dumbfoundedly, he gives us an exasperated ""uhhh"" then looks to the sushi chef and asks ""what is this again?"" The sushi chef informs us that yes infact it is shrimp tempura, to which we responded ""can we get one of those then?"" The chef looks at us and says its not on the menu and that we cant order it. The man clearly wasnt a regular, it was lame that we knew the chefs made a shrimp tempura for the man next to us yet refused to make one for us. The sushi is overpriced for what you get, not worth the time or money for service like that. We left a few cents for the tip and vowed to never return. I suggest you never return either.

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Let's start by saying the sushi was really good - I've had tastier tuna poke but it was still tasty. The high-points were the sushi & a special, braised short ribs - absolutely delish. I also liked the minced chicken appetizer but it wasn't a favorite at our table. The definite downers were the asparagus wrapped w/beef & the garlic beef - the vegis w/this dish were excellent but the beef was very dry (it was dry w/the asparagus as well). Service was good and nice. We got there early (about 6p) and it was pretty packed but we got seated immediately. I will go again and try a noodle dish as every one we saw looked amazing.

2
★★★★☆

Let's start by saying the sushi was really good - I've had tastier tuna poke but it was still tasty. The high-points were the sushi & a special, braised short ribs - absolutely delish. I also liked the minced chicken appetizer but it wasn't a favorite at our table. The definite downers were the asparagus wrapped w/beef & the garlic beef - the vegis w/this dish were excellent but the beef was very dry (it was dry w/the asparagus as well). Service was good and nice. We got there early (about 6p) and it was pretty packed but we got seated immediately. I will go again and try a noodle dish as every one we saw looked amazing.

Pros: Sushi, good waitress

Cons: Beef dishes dry.

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The food at Kirala is so good that it overcomes the wait. The fish is nice and fresh, the robata dishes are nicely prepared, not drenched in teriyaki sauce like a lot of places around here; just basted on. Speaking from a Japanese guys point of view, this place is very good, and i know whats good and whats not. Trust me, haha.\r\n\r\nNot to mention the nice selection of sake too. Try the ""Koshi-no-Kanbai."" Very good but expensive, but why not splurge once in a while right?

2
★★★★★

The food at Kirala is so good that it overcomes the wait. The fish is nice and fresh, the robata dishes are nicely prepared, not drenched in teriyaki sauce like a lot of places around here; just basted on. Speaking from a Japanese guys point of view, this place is very good, and i know whats good and whats not. Trust me, haha.\r\n\r\nNot to mention the nice selection of sake too. Try the ""Koshi-no-Kanbai."" Very good but expensive, but why not splurge once in a while right?

Pros: Food, Drinks, a bar serving sake and beer while waiting.

Cons: The wait, parking, over crowded.

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This is my favorite Japanese restuarant in the Bay Area. The fish is extremely fresh and they have a cool grilled skewer menu. This place is also vegetarian friendly. THe downside to this place is no reservations and it's always super crowded.

5
★★★★★

This is my favorite Japanese restuarant in the Bay Area. The fish is extremely fresh and they have a cool grilled skewer menu. This place is also vegetarian friendly. THe downside to this place is no reservations and it's always super crowded.

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but don't expect a quiet, romantic setting. Been coming here for years. This place has excellent sushi and people wait for up to an hour to get it. It's not a large restaurant so it's crowded and often loud. Sometimes louder when someone's been hitting the (very nice) sake bar. Can't emphasize the quality enough! Always fresh, delicious fish that is well-prepared. Service isn't the most attentive but they are friendly and again, you won't care after your first taste. It's wins Best Of for a reason!

2
★★★★★

but don't expect a quiet, romantic setting. Been coming here for years. This place has excellent sushi and people wait for up to an hour to get it. It's not a large restaurant so it's crowded and often loud. Sometimes louder when someone's been hitting the (very nice) sake bar. Can't emphasize the quality enough! Always fresh, delicious fish that is well-prepared. Service isn't the most attentive but they are friendly and again, you won't care after your first taste. It's wins Best Of for a reason!

Pros: the BEST sushi you've had

Cons: not the best amience you've experienced

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This place has a line going around the corner on weekends, and they don't take reservations. It does get crowded and loud but the sushi is exquisite, fresh, and simply great.

They are a bit pricey but it's worth it as an occasional treat. Get their early on the weekends or better yet, going during the week.

4
★★★★☆

This place has a line going around the corner on weekends, and they don't take reservations. It does get crowded and loud but the sushi is exquisite, fresh, and simply great.

They are a bit pricey but it's worth it as an occasional treat. Get their early on the weekends or better yet, going during the week.

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the fish is always fresh! always! i have tried other sushi places... expensive ones, regular ones, trendy ones, and nothing has ever come close to the quality of Kirala. the price is a little on the high end for an east bay joint but comared to some places in the city, its a bargain. i highly recommend the robata scallops & bacon asparagus. for sushi, go for anything! its all delicious. worth the wait if you come during peak hours. try coming around 9PM when its slowing down, and the sushi chefs will often kick down freebies at the end of the night.

2
★★★★★

the fish is always fresh! always! i have tried other sushi places... expensive ones, regular ones, trendy ones, and nothing has ever come close to the quality of Kirala. the price is a little on the high end for an east bay joint but comared to some places in the city, its a bargain. i highly recommend the robata scallops & bacon asparagus. for sushi, go for anything! its all delicious. worth the wait if you come during peak hours. try coming around 9PM when its slowing down, and the sushi chefs will often kick down freebies at the end of the night.

Pros: sushi, robata, sake

Cons: long wait, crowded

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I love Kirala. I can over look a wait for the food there. I love their sushi it is very fresh. I was joking with a friend on about how in the back they must a tank with the fish swiming around for them to serve sushi that tasted that good. I love the robata grill. I recomend the baby Lobster tail and the wasabi chicken.

2
★★★★★

I love Kirala. I can over look a wait for the food there. I love their sushi it is very fresh. I was joking with a friend on about how in the back they must a tank with the fish swiming around for them to serve sushi that tasted that good. I love the robata grill. I recomend the baby Lobster tail and the wasabi chicken.

Pros: Excellent food, Fresh sushi

Cons: Pricey, No Reservations

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This restaurant is always lively and packed. Not only do they have an array of fantastic japanese food, tranquil music, friendly service, and a great atmosphere makes this place a fantastic date spot. Try their grilled skewers they're definitely one of their more popular items. With a huge array of different ingredients, pick your favorite!

5
★★★★★

This restaurant is always lively and packed. Not only do they have an array of fantastic japanese food, tranquil music, friendly service, and a great atmosphere makes this place a fantastic date spot. Try their grilled skewers they're definitely one of their more popular items. With a huge array of different ingredients, pick your favorite!

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The food served from the robata grill is very good. The sushi is fresh and decent portion. The only negative factors are: 1) parking can sometimes be tough, 2) make reservations or else you're not being seated for ages, and 3) it can get a little pricey. But still a recommended restaurant.

2
★★★★★

The food served from the robata grill is very good. The sushi is fresh and decent portion. The only negative factors are: 1) parking can sometimes be tough, 2) make reservations or else you're not being seated for ages, and 3) it can get a little pricey. But still a recommended restaurant.

Pros: Robata grill

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Service, ambience not recommended. UC students and young professionals mistakenly think Kirala has good sashimi/sushi. From the perspective of a native Japanese, the sushi and sashimi is of poor quality and should be avoid. The balance of the menu is mediocre at best.

1
★★★☆☆

Service, ambience not recommended. UC students and young professionals mistakenly think Kirala has good sashimi/sushi. From the perspective of a native Japanese, the sushi and sashimi is of poor quality and should be avoid. The balance of the menu is mediocre at best.

Pros: cheap, good size serving

Cons: bad sushi rice, bad raw fish, poor ambience

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If you're looking for good sushi in the Berkeley area, definitely check out this place. They also have really good grilled items including the scallops and the asparagus.\nLines are very long though and take an average of one hour!

2
★★★★☆

If you're looking for good sushi in the Berkeley area, definitely check out this place. They also have really good grilled items including the scallops and the asparagus.\nLines are very long though and take an average of one hour!

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During my college days at Cal, my friend and I frequented Kirala; after graduation, didn't visit Berkeley much, but we still look forward to dinners at Kirala like it was our first time. The food is spectacular, it is considered the BEST sushi in the east bay, but moreover, the BEST sushi in the bay area despite the long wait.

2
★★★★★

During my college days at Cal, my friend and I frequented Kirala; after graduation, didn't visit Berkeley much, but we still look forward to dinners at Kirala like it was our first time. The food is spectacular, it is considered the BEST sushi in the east bay, but moreover, the BEST sushi in the bay area despite the long wait.

Pros: Food

Cons: No reservations, Long wait

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Despite the long wait for a seat, Kirala serves the best sushi in the east bay. During the long wait, sit at the bar and enjoy some sake. You can rest assured that they are serving you the best sushi since the chefs are japanese unlike most places nowadays and also these chefs do have quite a character. Their California roll and rock n' roll are awesome but look for their daily sushi/sashimi specials because toro is to die for.

2
★★★★☆

Despite the long wait for a seat, Kirala serves the best sushi in the east bay. During the long wait, sit at the bar and enjoy some sake. You can rest assured that they are serving you the best sushi since the chefs are japanese unlike most places nowadays and also these chefs do have quite a character. Their California roll and rock n' roll are awesome but look for their daily sushi/sashimi specials because toro is to die for.

Pros: japanese sushi chefs, best value for lunch, best ca roll

Cons: , crowded, no ambience

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Kirala has been around for years, as evidenced by the pictures adorned throughout the restaurant of long-time diners. The crowds are still there, and the food is fresh and tasty as ever. However, I cannot get over the fact that the prices are outrageously high. The robata grill, one of Kirala's main selling points, produces great tasting fare. But $4.00 for one skewer is just not fair. The rolls are also expensive ranging from $7 to $12 per roll. Paying $150 for four people dining on just sushi and robata skewers is too much. If we had wine and beer, the price would have been much higher. Another thing is that the restaurant does not take reservations, which is not a good selling point.

1
★★★☆☆

Kirala has been around for years, as evidenced by the pictures adorned throughout the restaurant of long-time diners. The crowds are still there, and the food is fresh and tasty as ever. However, I cannot get over the fact that the prices are outrageously high. The robata grill, one of Kirala's main selling points, produces great tasting fare. But $4.00 for one skewer is just not fair. The rolls are also expensive ranging from $7 to $12 per roll. Paying $150 for four people dining on just sushi and robata skewers is too much. If we had wine and beer, the price would have been much higher. Another thing is that the restaurant does not take reservations, which is not a good selling point.

Pros: Fresh food, Good presentation

Cons: , Noisy, Not a good value

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Kirala made me feel like I was back in Tokyo, hanging out at a Ginza sushi joint. In other words, the fish is extremely fresh, the beer is plentiful, and the customers are packed in tight. Despite the crowds, it's worth it. Everything was delicious, including the sake.

2
★★★★★

Kirala made me feel like I was back in Tokyo, hanging out at a Ginza sushi joint. In other words, the fish is extremely fresh, the beer is plentiful, and the customers are packed in tight. Despite the crowds, it's worth it. Everything was delicious, including the sake.

Pros: Food, Tokyo atmosphere, Great bartender

Cons: , Loud

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the wait is worth your while. if you like sushi, you came to the right place. With the Jazzy atmosphere yet Traditional sushi you want, Kirala has always been Bayarea's Best! Try it and it won't let you down. Check out the Specials, some are very rare to find around here.

2
★★★★★

the wait is worth your while. if you like sushi, you came to the right place. With the Jazzy atmosphere yet Traditional sushi you want, Kirala has always been Bayarea's Best! Try it and it won't let you down. Check out the Specials, some are very rare to find around here.

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Kirala has some of the freshest sushi I have ever had during my 20+ years of sushi eating. I have been visiting this establishment for well over 12 years and it is still the best sushi in the Bay Area as far as I am concerned. Yes the wait can be brutal at times but its worth it. Make sure you try the grilled items as well. The baby lobster tail is fantastic !

2
★★★★★

Kirala has some of the freshest sushi I have ever had during my 20+ years of sushi eating. I have been visiting this establishment for well over 12 years and it is still the best sushi in the Bay Area as far as I am concerned. Yes the wait can be brutal at times but its worth it. Make sure you try the grilled items as well. The baby lobster tail is fantastic !

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THIS IS THE BEST JAPANESES RESTARANT I'VE EVER ATE IN THE EAST BAY AREA!\nTHEY HAVE A GOOD VARIETY OF GRILLED( ROBATA) FOODS AND REALLY FRESH SUSHI! IF YOU ARE IN THE BAY AREA , THIS IS A MUST! WE ALWAYS HAVE TO EAT THERE ON OUR VACATION.

2
★★★★★

THIS IS THE BEST JAPANESES RESTARANT I'VE EVER ATE IN THE EAST BAY AREA!\nTHEY HAVE A GOOD VARIETY OF GRILLED( ROBATA) FOODS AND REALLY FRESH SUSHI! IF YOU ARE IN THE BAY AREA , THIS IS A MUST! WE ALWAYS HAVE TO EAT THERE ON OUR VACATION.

Pros: GREAT TASTING FOOD, FRIENDLY STAFF, BEST SUSHI

Cons: CROWDED, LONG LINES,WORTH WAIT

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Who cares that you'll likely have to wiat? Go to the bar & get a drink. Great sushi, one of the few robata grils around the bay, good rolls, decent prices... you can't go wrong here.

2
★★★★★

Who cares that you'll likely have to wiat? Go to the bar & get a drink. Great sushi, one of the few robata grils around the bay, good rolls, decent prices... you can't go wrong here.

Pros: fresh fish, great crowd

Cons: you gotta wait

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been to many Japanese restaurants in the bayarea and this is probably the best I can afford (sorry, can't afford a $200 per person meal in a high-end Japantown sushi joint). We usually skip the robata and go straight to the fresh fish. My nigiri recommendations are uni, suzuki, amaebi, oyster, and salmon (smoke and fresh). For rolls, try the rainbow and the spicy tuna. Good sake selection but it is a bit over-priced. Good food, friendly service. It is worth the wait!

2
★★★★★

been to many Japanese restaurants in the bayarea and this is probably the best I can afford (sorry, can't afford a $200 per person meal in a high-end Japantown sushi joint). We usually skip the robata and go straight to the fresh fish. My nigiri recommendations are uni, suzuki, amaebi, oyster, and salmon (smoke and fresh). For rolls, try the rainbow and the spicy tuna. Good sake selection but it is a bit over-priced. Good food, friendly service. It is worth the wait!

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Pretty much everyone I know likes sushi and everyone who I've taken here has enjoyed it. The wait sucks, there's no reservation taken, pretty crowded, but I've always gone back to stick out the wait ever since I was a student at Berkeley (5 years ago). \nIt's clean, fresh, and not outrageously pricey.

2
★★★★★

Pretty much everyone I know likes sushi and everyone who I've taken here has enjoyed it. The wait sucks, there's no reservation taken, pretty crowded, but I've always gone back to stick out the wait ever since I was a student at Berkeley (5 years ago). \nIt's clean, fresh, and not outrageously pricey.

Pros: always clean

Cons: crowded

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i took my sister here for her birthday and she was not too impressed. the service could use improvement--the waiter scowled at us after we asked to have the butter removed from our potato on a skewer appetizer. the wait is VERY long--be prepared to wait up to an hour before you're seated.\n\nvegetarian options are few but i thought the food was ok, nothing exquisite. atmosphere is nice though.

1
★★☆☆☆

i took my sister here for her birthday and she was not too impressed. the service could use improvement--the waiter scowled at us after we asked to have the butter removed from our potato on a skewer appetizer. the wait is VERY long--be prepared to wait up to an hour before you're seated.\n\nvegetarian options are few but i thought the food was ok, nothing exquisite. atmosphere is nice though.

Pros: good ambience

Cons: LONG wait

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The rice was hard and the service was bad the first time I went. I gave them another try but the food just isn't that great. It's pretty pricey for what you get.

1
★★★☆☆

The rice was hard and the service was bad the first time I went. I gave them another try but the food just isn't that great. It's pretty pricey for what you get.

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On my first exploration, Kirala showed good potential. However, the potential was marred by some real problems. I went specifically for the robata. What I had was fairly good, though 1) the ume chicken was described as basted where in fact ume paste was squirted a la ketchup a grilled chicken piece. 2) the bacon used in bacon wrapped asparagus was too salty, marring an otherwise nice bit of texture and flavor. My nigori (unfiltered) sake was so thick im guessing i got a whole bottle's worth of sediment in one glass. Which suggested they didnt know to shake the bottle with each pouring. Service was extraordinarily slow; 45 min between a 4 pc order and service. With all that, they showed enough promise that I'd give them a second chance.

1
★★★☆☆

On my first exploration, Kirala showed good potential. However, the potential was marred by some real problems. I went specifically for the robata. What I had was fairly good, though 1) the ume chicken was described as basted where in fact ume paste was squirted a la ketchup a grilled chicken piece. 2) the bacon used in bacon wrapped asparagus was too salty, marring an otherwise nice bit of texture and flavor. My nigori (unfiltered) sake was so thick im guessing i got a whole bottle's worth of sediment in one glass. Which suggested they didnt know to shake the bottle with each pouring. Service was extraordinarily slow; 45 min between a 4 pc order and service. With all that, they showed enough promise that I'd give them a second chance.

Pros: intruiging menu, robata grill, varied sake selection

Cons: overworked grill chef, very slow service

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The sushi here is great, as is the atmosphere. However, the restaurant does not take reservations and can have 2 hour waits. Because people decide to hang around, the waiting areas are crowded with nowhere to sit. The neighborhood isn't savory either.

2
★★★★★

The sushi here is great, as is the atmosphere. However, the restaurant does not take reservations and can have 2 hour waits. Because people decide to hang around, the waiting areas are crowded with nowhere to sit. The neighborhood isn't savory either.

Pros: good food, nice staff

Cons: long waits, no reservations, not near anything

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Proof that people in Berkeley need to get out more. With its trendy loft-style decor, Berkeley folks are apparently fooled into thinking Kirala is actually good. Unfortunately, its way overhyped, and they don't take their sushi very seriously. The rice isn't done properly (falls apart when you bite into it). The fish isn't fresh, meaning it's more pungent in a bad fishy way, and leaves a funky after-taste. Also, the seaweed is sub-par: it's tough and too chewy. We also caught them *re-grilling* unagi which had already been grilled; a big No-No! The overall quality of their rolls leaves much to be desired. They lack subtlety and sophistication. It's not horrible, but you can find much better sushi in SF. Actually, no, I take that back. Berkeley yuppies - keep flocking in droves to Kirala. I don't want to wait hours for a table at *my* favorite sushi bars.

1
★★★☆☆

Proof that people in Berkeley need to get out more. With its trendy loft-style decor, Berkeley folks are apparently fooled into thinking Kirala is actually good. Unfortunately, its way overhyped, and they don't take their sushi very seriously. The rice isn't done properly (falls apart when you bite into it). The fish isn't fresh, meaning it's more pungent in a bad fishy way, and leaves a funky after-taste. Also, the seaweed is sub-par: it's tough and too chewy. We also caught them *re-grilling* unagi which had already been grilled; a big No-No! The overall quality of their rolls leaves much to be desired. They lack subtlety and sophistication. It's not horrible, but you can find much better sushi in SF. Actually, no, I take that back. Berkeley yuppies - keep flocking in droves to Kirala. I don't want to wait hours for a table at *my* favorite sushi bars.

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This place is good, but not great like it's hyped up to be. Try the grill, that's pretty good.

1
★★★☆☆

This place is good, but not great like it's hyped up to be. Try the grill, that's pretty good.

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Although it was really crowded, the service was good, the sushi was excellent and very fresh tasting. Great place to eat with friends.

2
★★★★☆

Although it was really crowded, the service was good, the sushi was excellent and very fresh tasting. Great place to eat with friends.

Cons: parking

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Kirala is the best sushi on the face of the planet...enough said.

2
★★★★★

Kirala is the best sushi on the face of the planet...enough said.

Pros: Excellent Quality

Cons: Not the best service, VERY CROWDED, On the expensive side

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Kirala is decent if you don't mind the crowd and wait. They have good grill and usually parking is not a problem. Price is average for the food, I think.

2
★★★★☆

Kirala is decent if you don't mind the crowd and wait. They have good grill and usually parking is not a problem. Price is average for the food, I think.

Pros: Grill, Parking

Cons: It's in Berekeley...

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-Long wait to get a table.\n-Long wait for the food. \n-did not see the waitor for 30 minutes straight.\n-my tea was not refilled unless i jumped up to get someone's attention.\n-the small appetizers made us eat like scavangers and always wanting for more, took years for the other food to come. \nThe sushi was fabulous, rolls are hefty-filling, but sushi fell apart.

1
★★☆☆☆

-Long wait to get a table.\n-Long wait for the food. \n-did not see the waitor for 30 minutes straight.\n-my tea was not refilled unless i jumped up to get someone's attention.\n-the small appetizers made us eat like scavangers and always wanting for more, took years for the other food to come. \nThe sushi was fabulous, rolls are hefty-filling, but sushi fell apart.

Pros: hefty portions, feel fabulous, variety of sake

Cons: pricey, bad service, spend 1/2 time waitin

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Usually has really good sushi, but not all the time. \nVery expensive and has a long wait

2
★★★★☆

Usually has really good sushi, but not all the time. \nVery expensive and has a long wait

Cons: long waits

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My husband and I were so disappointed about the food. The sukiyaki with seafood was not fresh, and my favorite meal is Chirashi which tasted digusting and fishy (not fresh at all). However, the waiter was very friendly. If you like to dine in over there, please place an order for sushi only.

1
★★☆☆☆

My husband and I were so disappointed about the food. The sukiyaki with seafood was not fresh, and my favorite meal is Chirashi which tasted digusting and fishy (not fresh at all). However, the waiter was very friendly. If you like to dine in over there, please place an order for sushi only.

Pros: friendly staff

Message from Kirala

What a treat to find an excellent neighborhood restaurant like Kirala.



Kirala is not just another good Japanese restaurant and sushi bar. Kirala has one-of-a-kind sushi creations and delicious specialties from Robata grill that you will not find anywhere else. For 15 years, it's been consistently voted one of the Best Japanese restaurants, where loyal patrons spend a relaxed evening ordering tasty appetizers and main dishes, while enjoying Japanese beer and premium sakes from Japan.

Key Points

  • Kabobs
  • Variety of sushi
  • Authentic Japanese food
 

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