About IYASARE

1830 Fourth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
View Larger Map

Inspired by the artisanal ingredients and simple, rustic flavors of his native Tohoku region, chef-proprietor Shotaro Kamio blends the obscure with the familiar for surprisingly extraordinary tastes. Craft beer, wine and sake. Seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. Comfortable, casual indoor and heated patio garden seating

If there is no reservation available at your desired time, please call the restaurant. We accept phone bookings for our communal table, Chef's table and patio.

Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Japanese

Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Mon-Sun 11:30am-2:00pm
Dinner: Mon-Th, Sun 5:30pm-9:00pm
Dinner: Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:00pm

Cross Street:
Hearst Ave

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(510) 845-8100

Website:
http://www.iyasare-berkeley.com/

Executive Chef:
Shotaro Kamio

Additional:
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Send a Gift Card

Buy now and send it instantly by email, or print a card to give in person.

IYASARE Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.4

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.4

service

4.3

ambience

4.2

noise

Moderate

93% would recommend it to a friend

fit for foodies (83)
special occasion (55)
neighborhood gem (51)
See All
great for lunch (42)
great for outdoor dining (41)
romantic (24)
hot spot (18)
good for groups (17)
notable wine list (8)
vibrant bar scene (6)
great for brunch (5)
kid-friendly (3)
late-night find (2)
scenic view (1)
Sort By:
Newest
440 reviews
Loading Reviews ...
food2
ambience2
service3
value2

Not Japanese food. It's just a bunch of ...

Dined 4 days ago

Not Japanese food. It's just a bunch of gringos and their impression of it with a bit of fusion. The uni (sea urchin) wasn't fresh. The eel was decent. They need to figure out what the hell they're doing with the tempura cuz it was a mess. Not worth the price. Gone in a year or two.

food5
ambience5
service5

Excellent service. Great sake!

vip
Dined 4 days ago

Excellent service. Great sake!

food5
ambience5
service5

What an unexpected surprise! First time ...

vip
Dined 4 days ago

What an unexpected surprise! First time dining here and so glad I did. Food was terrific and presentation wonderful. Plus a very creative cocktail list. The icing on the cake was that we got to bring our pup. I will be returning soon.

food4
ambience4
service2
value3

Our service/waitress was wonderful, very ...

Dined on June 20, 2016

Our service/waitress was wonderful, very informative, kind and fast. The Reason for the 2 stars however is because she failed to mention that she accidentally over charged 3 of the 4 credit cards that we used to pay for dinner. She rectified it but it would have been ideal had she told us before we sign our receipts. Other than that the food was excellent but i wouldn't recommend going with a group of 5 or higher because the dishes are small for family style dining and the flavors too spread out.

Tags: fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Went for the first time, for a birthday ...

Dined on June 19, 2016

Went for the first time, for a birthday dinner. The food was everything and more than previous great reviews had said ...just wonderful. It's certainly not your typical Japanese restaurant. Service was great and there were some "above and beyonds" - such as not charging for a cocktail that I decided I didn't like and didn't finish. The décor was lovely too, all in all a wonderful night out and we can't wait to go back.

Tags: fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Innovative food, creative cocktails, fri ...

Dined on June 16, 2016

Innovative food, creative cocktails, friendly staff. Lunch and dinner menu are quite different, so you must do both. I enjoy eating there for any meal, with or without friends.

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot
food4
ambience3
service3
value2

This was my second time at Iyasare. The ...

Dined on June 13, 2016

This was my second time at Iyasare. The food is good quality and well prepared. I've given it only two stars because of the kitchen timing and the service. We spent over two hours there, and not because we wanted to sit around for an especially long time and chat. The food took a long time to come out and the rhythm of the kitchen was really off -- long waits between appetizers (while we waited, we watched a couple of the appetizers we ordered go to people who came in after us) and a really long wait between two of the entrees and the third. By the time the last entree came out, we didn't want it anymore and ended up taking most of it home. Also, we didn't have a server. The hostess filled in. She didn't apologize or let us know what was happening, as if we might not notice. I understand that sometimes restaurants are short staffed, but acknowledge it! Service was okay, overall, but she should have apologized for the long waits. Maybe she didn't want to draw attention to them and risk a lower tip, but it's not like it wasn't obvious to us and I wouldn't (and didn't) penalize a server for a slow kitchen. Again, I like the food but probably won't go back.

Tags: fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food2
ambience4
service1
value2

Pretentious Service/Mediocre Food

vip
Dined on June 4, 2016

This was our 4th time at Iyasare. Despite not finding much on the menu we liked, we brought friends who we thought would appreciate the menu. First, the wait staff was ridiculously pretentious and inappropriate. They spoke to us like we were idiots who couldn't read the menu. They behaved in an entirely inappropriate manner when discussing the menu and offering drinks. Then they didn't return for quite a while. The small plates were barely there. This was our last time at this restaurant.

food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Fantastic, as always

vip
Dined on May 30, 2016

This was our fourth visit to Iyasare; it has become our go-to choice for a fabulous experience in Berkeley/Oakland . The food is fantastic and innovative, the service is excellent and the overall experience is always great. I also like that they have added the service charge to the check, so its established up front; if for some reason you are unhappy with the service they will adjust it, but there has been no opportunity to even consider that the service or food were less than excellent. I do wish I didn't have to enter my credit card information every time I want to make a reservation.

Tags: fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion
food4
ambience3
service5

Mentaiko spaghetti with Cod roe was so t ...

Dined on May 30, 2016

Mentaiko spaghetti with Cod roe was so tasty; full of flavor and halibut with coconut sauce was excellent. Ive had the tempura with shrimp which is like no other. Not a spot of grease on the serving paper and so crunchy on the outside.

food2
ambience3
service4

Surpringly I found the food nearly taste ...

vip
Dined on May 23, 2016

Surpringly I found the food nearly tasteless. I was surprised because of its rating and that my husband has enjoyed lunch there. The fist sashimi dish was off. Does cocoanut really go with raw fish? I don't think so. The other one was more flavorful. The tempura were ok but if you use your fingers they will be covered in grease. The baby octopus came with s nice sauce. Just ok even though it wax the best. Not to my taste. And I do like Japanese food. Maybe better at lunch.

food3
ambience4
service4
value2

The service and ambiance were great, but ...

Dined on May 21, 2016

The service and ambiance were great, but the dishes here are more beautiful than tasty. Our group loves food, especially asian flavors. You could say most of us are "foodies." I chose this restaurant based on the website and the chef/owner being from Japan, where food is delicious. I did not see him in the kitchen. The ingredients itself were good, but the overly combined flavors were very strange in some dishes. We tried several recommended dishes, spent a lot of money and were dissapointed in the end. I'm sorry to say, this fusion style did not work.

food4
ambience4
service4
value3

Very good lunch for 8 people

vip
Dined on May 17, 2016

We got some sake (a bottle of Wakatake Onikoroshi junmai gingo) and two orders of agedashi tofu and nasu as appetizers for the table. Both were wonderful. Then we each got lunch (ramen, unagi don, seafood sashimi salad). Very good food. One of us paid for the lunch, and the other for the sake. My criticism is that the wait staff did not clearly inform us that an 18% gratuity had been added to the bill. The menu said that a gratuity "might be added" for parties of 6 or more. I paid for the sake and did not notice that the gratuity had been added until I got home, so the restaurant received a VERY large tip on the sake.

Tags: fit for foodies, great for lunch
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

All staff at Iyasare are fantastic, esp ...

Dined on May 14, 2016

All staff at Iyasare are fantastic, especially hostess Sabrina and waitperson Anna.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food5
ambience3
service5
value4

We began with both the kakiage tempura w ...

vip
Dined on May 12, 2016

We began with both the kakiage tempura with tiger prawns and the agedaski tofu tempura. Both were heavenly. The kakiage is a destination dish, if you eat nothing else. We accompanied our meal with sake recommended for our tastes by our server Lindsey who is so knowledgable, personable, and sensitive, it is as if she herself were a course in the dinner. We were not enamoured of the pork shoulder, which was excellent, because the halibut and risotto special were truly epicurean. I refer you to the menu for details of these inventive, complex, delicious dishes. Truly memorable evening

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food4
ambience4
service5
value4

Japanese cuisine with a difference

Dined on May 9, 2016

This is definitely a pleasant change from the Usual Japanese Restaurant. More creative, allowing the chef to shine rather than imitating everyone else. We had the tempura vegetables as an appetizer and were surprised that all the veggies were combined together in a 3"x3" cake and then tempura-ized. Actually it was creative but not that good. My sushi salad was great with lovely very thin slices of several types of fish. My friend's bowl with pork belly was served in a way that was VERY difficult to eat. The service people were very informative and friendly.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

We enjooyed our first time at Iyasare

vip
Dined on May 8, 2016

This was our first time at Iyasare. The cuisine is very different from that of a standard Japanese restaurant, but was delicious. The sound level was almost unbearable, at least partly because we were seated next to the bar, and had to bear the very loud talk between two folks seated at the bar. Next time we will ask to be seated away from the bar.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
food5
ambience5
service5

Surprising young family friendly! Will r ...

Dined on May 7, 2016

Surprising young family friendly! Will return again.

food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Different kind of Japanese food

Dined on May 7, 2016

Iyasare is a lovely alternative to a typical teriyaki/sushi/yakitori/ramen restaurant. The delicious food is a treat when looking for a sophisticated Japanese experience. The people are lovely, the ambiance serene . I cannot eat here and not have the Kakiage Tempura !

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Great asian fusion, great nasu miso, sake

vip
Dined on May 5, 2016

Great asian fusion, great nasu miso, sake, replaced ochame, salmon,outside dining option

Tags: fit for foodies, notable wine list
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

Beautiful innovative delicious...

Dined on May 2, 2016

My husband and I had a wonderful dinner at Iyasare. We have dined at a number of top rated restaurants in the Bay Area, and this was one of our favorites. Fresh ingredients, beautifully presented and everything was delicious. Dishes ranged from unusual and innovative combinations to elevated comfort food. Attention to detail as obvious. We had seven dishes and dessert and enjoyed all of them with our favorites being the Ocean Umami and the Octopus Terrine. I told my husband that if our dinner consisted of only several plates of the ocean umami I would be completely satisfied. We were hoping to try the uni risotto, but it was unavailable. The service was attentive and knowledgeable and very sweet in that they acknowledged our special occasion. The space is lovely without being precious. Many diners were dressed casually. Iyasare lives up to the meaning of its name, "healing". After our meal we felt sated and left happier than when we first sat down. Looking forward to having lunch for a different experience.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Fabulous Japanese Tapas

Dined on April 30, 2016

Thanks to a friend who shared the top bay area restaurants to try, I found this awesome place!!! - really creative, fresh, beautiful assortment of seafood, vegetables, herbs - I think we just about tried most of what was on the menu - everything was delicious and so different!! Unagi appetizer, hamachi, maguro, beet cured ocean trout? wow! and then a karaage of veggies, okonomi yaki with prawns - came sizzling on a hot plate - and oh so delicious!!! A nice blood orange soda, pot of genmaicha and the bottom 3 desserts (I can't remember what, but not the one with the red beans; maybe I'll try it next time) Anyways, we will be back - the service was stellar, food amazing - can't say enough good things about this place! =)

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
food4
ambience3
service2
value4

Over All

vip
Dined on April 29, 2016

First, and most importantly the food is delicious . The Ramen is superb. Sashimi salad was the best I've ever had . The service could be better. It's a small place so the tables are very close together, which I don't like. Next time I'll try the patio .

Tags: fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
food5
ambience5
service5

We came to this retardant to celebrate m ...

Dined on April 24, 2016

We came to this retardant to celebrate my first week of work, after 23 years of education... This place is the best Japanese food in town! Every single dish is amazing! I've had so many Japanese food back in Toronto and food-wise, Iyasare absolutely beats all. Here's a review of what we had: - Eel: most grilled eel I've had are a bit oily. This one carries a great balance of fiber and fat: the texture is right! The eggplant and assorted vegetables on the bottom layer adds a hint of freshness! - Seafood risotto (special): the fried oyster is nothing like anywhere else: it doesn't carry any oil at all. You can only feel it when it's about to finish your entire bite. The sea urchin is excellent! - Beef tongue: I don't think non-Asian usually has this dish, but it's rareness is perfectly chosen so that every bite you can feel the flavor of the beef without any unpleasant flesh taste. I love the chili sauce: they are made from scratch in house I'm sure. - Black cod: I used to have it in the Guu in Toronto all the time. The taste is similar (miso) but the texture of the fish is better. Big thank to California!

food4
ambience3
service3
value4

Disappointed but will go back for the food!

Dined on April 23, 2016

I am surprised that they ask credit for reservation but they grantee a table. We ariaved for our reservatio for 5 people, table was not ready, so we sat in the bar, after 30 min, we asked about the table, still was not avialable, we were offered table for four, was uncomfortable elbowing each other. I expected at least someone to apologize, instead we have been ignored, oh well!

Tags: fit for foodies
food2
ambience4
service4
value2

skimpy salmon

Dined on April 19, 2016

I ordered the broiled salmon, which normally includes 2 good size pieces, so a friend and I ordered it to share. This time, however, the plate came with one skimpy little piece and it wasn't very good. I was embarrassed as I had persuaded my friend that one plate would be enough to share, and we didn't have time to order anything else. The kicker was that the price was the same. So they just doubled their profit by cutting the portion in half. Was not happy.

food5
ambience5
service5

Best Japanese restaurant in the East Bay ...

Dined on April 16, 2016

Best Japanese restaurant in the East Bay, bar none. I love this restaurant!

food2
ambience3
service5
value2

disappointing

vip
Dined on April 16, 2016

We have dined at Iyasare several times in the last 6 months. Our first experience was very good although the service needed improvement. The last several times we couldn't help but notice that the menu has not changed. The mains have been the same for the last several months. It is fine to keep the signature dishes but the chef needs to add new choices.

food4
ambience4
service4

Refined Japanese, lovely decor and wonde ...

vip
Dined on April 11, 2016

Refined Japanese, lovely decor and wonderful sake and cocktail selection

food5
ambience5
service5
value4

IYASARE

vip
Dined on April 9, 2016

The food at Iyasare both for lunch and dinner is exquisite. Presentation is beautiful and I love everything I have tried here. Loved the ramen choices on the lunch menu which are usually not available in the evening. Great cocktail menu as well! I would recommend this place without hesitation.

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, great for lunch
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Everything Perfect!

vip
Dined on April 7, 2016

My spouse and I shared several dishes at Iyasare. We started with an octopus salad that was perfectly cooked and lovely to look at. We also shared a large tempura of mixed, slivered vegetables. The appetizer portion was huge....and yummy. Our main course was the salmon with vegetables. Iyasare does fish better than any Bay Area restaurant: moist salmon with just a hint of miso. Our only complaint: we had no room for dessert, but we'll be back.

Tags: fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
food4
ambience4
service3
value4

Unique

Dined on March 27, 2016

Each dish is so special with unique combinations of ingredients and flavors and each Japanese plate on which it is served is different and beautiful. An artful dining experience.

Tags: fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Superb as ever

vip
Dined on March 26, 2016

The quality of the food is outstanding, the service was great. Highly recommend it

Tags: great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch
food5
ambience5
service4
value4

Warm, friendly staff, delicious food dis ...

Dined on March 17, 2016

Warm, friendly staff, delicious food displayed with style. Superb saki and fish dishes.

Tags: special occasion
food4
ambience3
service2
value2

Much Below expectations

Dined on March 13, 2016

We have friends who've raved about Iyasare for some time now, so we gave it a go. We shared an appetizer (bacon-wrapped mocha) followed by individual entrees (Wagyu sirloin for her, cedar plank salmon for me). The mocha appetizer was interesting, and we each gave it "pretty good". My barely-seared salmon was tasty but average, and the accompanying stuff (some grilled onions and an undefinable mix of I don't know what) were reasonably flavorful but not at all integrated with the salmon. The beef was presented as four small medallions and also came with some accompanying mixture that was flavorful but didn't enhance the beef itself. And all of this is the good news. The not-so-good news: The lighting level was quite low, and the menu was presented on medium-gray paper with relatively small and quite "lightweight" font. Only by twisting and holding it just above the upward-facing accent lights at the wall behind us could we read it at all; perhaps that's why we don't know what accompanied our fish and meat. The other big downer for me was our server's insistence that she was part of a "we" with us: "Are we having still water or sparkling water?" "What are we thinking about for entrees?" "Are we ready for dessert?" I know this passes for sophistication in the minds of many, but it does nothing for me. I appreciate friendliness - but they aren't my dining companion and there is no team of which she and we are members. All in all, this was a forgettable meal and an experience that was hampered by impractical lighting and a server's style that drives me nuts.

food4
ambience3
service4
value4

Excellent food and service. But the spac ...

Dined on February 27, 2016

Excellent food and service. But the space needs better air ventilation as it got unbearably hot in there and we finally asked the waiter if they could turn on the air or open some windows. Also, the acoustics are such that the noise level is very high.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Great fish!

vip
Dined on February 24, 2016

My wife and I shared the seaweed and tofu salad to begin with. It was the only dish I've found disappointing here. It might have been interesting if the tofu had not been tasteless and flabby. The whole salad was barely dressed. Maybe if smoked tofu had been used it might have been interesting. The two donburi dishes were excellent--one with unagi and the other with himachi.

Tags: fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service4

Great place for a date night. Loved the ...

Dined on February 22, 2016

Great place for a date night. Loved the food. Overall, great

food5
ambience5
service5

Exceptional and unusual flavor combinati ...

Dined on February 22, 2016

Exceptional and unusual flavor combinations. One of the best Japanese fusion restaurants ever.

food5
ambience4
service4
value3

The food was delicious and inventive. Sc ...

Dined on February 15, 2016

The food was delicious and inventive. Scallops were perfectly cooked. It was an outstanding meal.

Tags: fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch

Report this review as inappropriate?

If you believe this review should be removed from OpenTable, please let us know and someone will investigate.