BERKELEY’s BEST ●Restaurants
Kirala 2100 Ward St./Shattuck Ave.; South Berkeley. Pass the inevitable wait here in the tiny bar, where a dish of edamame (soybeans) and a bottle of sake or Japanese beer speed it along. The Japanese fare includes appetizers (delicate seafood or pork gyoza (like pot stickers); light-as-air tempura), robata grill items (spicy sardines; baby lobster tail with tiny red caviar; silky shitake mushrooms), an array of sushi (fresh water or sea eel among them) and sashimi, and full meals with soup, salad, and rice. A la carte portions are delicious but small, so do order a side of rice.
Before or after, Berkeley Bowl (2020 Oregon St.) is just a block away. This counter-culture grocery store is legendary for its produce section and also has a large take-out selection. The name comes from the fact that it began life in a former bowling alley.