Kiraku, an izakaya located in Berkeley, literally means ‘to relax.’ As its name suggests, this Japanese tapas restaurant provides a casual place for people to come and relax after a long day with a wide range of food and drinks.
Service was very good before we even ordered our food. The moment we were seated, we were given warm towels to wipe our hands before the meal.
This tsumami sampler was a nice way to start our meal and stir up our appetite.
The tofu skin added an interesting texture to the creamy uni and fresh ikura.
The toro was smooth and buttery, the kurodai was more tender than we expected, and the hotate was sweeet ^__^
I don’t like to eat beef tongue because I don’t like the thought of eating it nor the texture of it (this applies to other organs as well). However, I actually enjoyed how Kiraku prepared the tongue because it was not too chewy at all, and the truffle oil and salt enhanced its flavor.
This is Kiraku’s most popular item. The green tea salt complemented the sweetness of the corn, which was fried perfectly to be crunchy yet juicy at the same time.
This had salmon, ikura, snow crab, and uni over rice. The bowl was mini indeed because it was the size of my palm..!
It was my first time trying this, and I would get it again. Its texture reminded me of somewhat firm cheese.
This was served with okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, green onions, and bonito flakes. The sauces added just enough moisture and flavor to the well cooked taro.
Also known as blancmange, blanc manger translates to “white food” (both spellings are pronounced as blan manjay). It really reminded us of panna cotta, but a little google searching taught me that the difference between the two is that blanc manger is made with nuts (usually almonds) and is thicker because it is solidified with cornstarch, whereas panna cotta is solidified with gelatin.
This dessert at Kiraku was topped off with cream, red bean, and small tapioca balls. It was easy to eat at the end of our long meal because it was smooth, light, and refreshing.
You won’t be able to imagine how much I loved this. I want to know their recipe SO badly because it was perfect.
Unfortunately it was smaller than the size of my palm, but definitely worth the $6 if you’re a sweet potato lover like me!
The wait staff were kind, always smiling, and refilled our water and tea without us having to ask. Reservations are highly recommended because as it is a small place, the restaurant fills up quickly. There were people waiting outside almost the whole time we were eating! There is a $30 minimum requirement per person for reservations, but that shouldn’t be a problem if you come hungry and/or want to try a lot of their menu items. If you want to go to an izakaya that offers a lot of unique food, try this place out!
2566B Telegraph Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704