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“Good Japanese tepanyaki restuarant near the sea at end of University Ave”

Hana Japan Steak & Seafood
Ranked #246 of 788 Restaurants in Berkeley
Cuisines: Japanese
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed August 17, 2015 via mobile

Am surprised to find a good Japanese tepanyaki restaurant near my hotel. The Japanese cook was excellent, putting on a good show throwing utensils and balancing an egg before the actual cooking, and started a fire to impress us all. The steak and scallops tasted great. Will come back for the lobster soon.

Thank pcoolguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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26 - 30 of 47 reviews

Reviewed August 10, 2015 via mobile

This Japanese has great food at reasonable prices. Service is not that good (this is the reason for not being a 5 star). You have the option of a typical Tepanyaki table shared with other people or have a regular table at the bar, which was our preference. Service was slow and erratic, but the food was excellent!!!

Thank Homero V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed June 30, 2015

My first time there and it was great. I love to watch them cook our food in front of us and it was good. We really had a good time and enjoyed our dinner as well.

Thank Rosalyn B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed May 28, 2015

We have been here before but this time we took my mother-in-law for her 89th Birthday! Besides being located at Berkeley's Marina this place has an elevator access for handicap so they don't have to use the staircase to go into the place.
On Saturday they open for dinner only from 4 p.m., and we and other families arrived early and were waiting outside, and one of the staff members came down and said that they were not open yet but we were welcome to sit down indoors, and even went to open the elevator for my mother-in-law, and other ladies in need for it!
I called the night before to make our reservation but I noticed two other parties just walked-in, so it depends if they are busy your waiting time will be longer unless you have a reservation!
The fun time is starting right away as the chef walks into place and starts interacting with everyone around him, it is seats for 8 persons in total, we were four including our five years old daughter, and the other party were 3 girls!
Our chef presented himself and said he was new, and he was funny and very helpful, and even very patience with the three girls who were asking for many specific things like, cut their steaks into small pieces, leave the shrimp and meat cook longer until they indicated it, specially Teriyaki sauce and not mustard, extra garlic butter for their food, only eggs, and not veggies on their fried rice, and ….. he tolerated all of the requests very well! The waitress took my order wrong, I asked for the Vegetarian Tofu and she wrote Steak for me, can you imagine my face when he asked me how I wanted my Steak? LOL My husband, mother-in-law, and daughter laughed so loud at me! But, he apologized and requested the ingredients for my vegetarian, and it is so huge, and delicious I had to take the leftover with me!
At the end, after our waitresses clean the table and packed our leftovers, she brought the traditional two candles in a volcano stand to sign the Happy Birthday to my mother in law, and besides to have a free dinner as long as you show your ID to prove it is your day, you will enjoy a boat made of fresh and delicious Pineapple!

1  Thank KEZC29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 5, 2015

I have lived in Japan for extended periods on several occasions, and adore Japanese food. I have been to Japan perhaps fifty times. I have a large network of friends, colleagues and collaborators in Japan, and have been to everything from neighborhood ramen places to $350/person restaurants. I have had teppanyaki style food more often in the US than in Japan. There are many Japanese restaurants in the Berkeley-Oakland area that I enjoy. Hana is not one of them.

My wife and I went for dinner at Hana on a Wednesday night. We were seated at a typical teppanyaki grill with a U-shaped table that accommodated eight. We ordered drinks, and dinner, and then waited for “the show” to begin. I do understand that teppanyaki, particularly in the US, is in large part about the show, the flipping of things, the making unnecessary noise with salt and pepper shakers and spatulas, the various attempts at cooking gymnastics. I wouldn’t mind any or all of these if the food that you ultimately eat arrives in a well-timed manner, is tasty, and the supporting service is good. None of these describe the experience at Hana.

We ordered our dinners and these include a soup and salad. What the soup was supposed to be was a mystery. If it was miso, it was unlike any miso soup I have ever had. Perhaps they whispered miso while ladling the soup. It was pretty much a clear broth, perhaps chicken-based, with a few raw crimini mushroom slices thrown in. Not very impressive. You get a lettuce-based salad. There are some great salads and vegetable dishes in Japanese cuisine. I have had better salads at a Lawson or Circle K (examples of their 7-Eleven type chains) in Japan. We then moved on to “the show”. The “chef” arrived and displayed his talents and dexterity with a knife and spatula. Unfortunately, this is not a diving competition, and in my book you get no points for doing a backwards one and half somersault from the pike position with your spatula. I care about the food. So let’s talk about the food. After the mystery soup and the mediocre salad, you start with a combination of zucchini, carrots, cabbage and onions that is fried on a griddle. The heating surface has a central burner that creates a hot area, and then the rest is at lower temperature. How much cooking occurs depends on placement. While my wife’s carrots were still on the raw side, mine were overcooked. You would think that more time would be spent figuring out how to size the cuts of the vegetables and the placement on the grill so that they all reach their desired level of doneness at the same time. Instead time is wasted on assembling a stack of onion rings and pouring something combustible inside that gives you a volcano effect. I could do without the Hollywood special effects. You are served the vegetables, and then you get a few shrimp as part of the appetizer. To their credit the shrimp were deveined and not overcooked, but while we were waiting for them, the vegetables that were part of the dinner were getting progressively colder. My wife ordered shrimp and I ordered steak. The shrimp were cooked and served, but by the time the steak was prepared and served, the shrimp were no longer warm. What couple goes to a restaurant as a couple with the goal of having their food arrive at different times? Of course after you get the main item, then a mound of bean sprouts is cooked. No flavor whatsoever. And when you look in more detail at the food preparation, nothing is seasoned in advance. So if you are lucky you get salt and pepper with lots of clanging that I guess is supposed to be impressive, some butter (which is not very Japanese) and then what I assume is a flavored butter that is used for the seafood. Oh, and then some ceremonial squirting of oil and perhaps some other fluid onto the food. Sorry, but I am not impressed. As I said, the shrimp were not overcooked, and the steak was in fact on the rare side as ordered. But the whole "show", the poor timing, and the lack of attention to standard tasks such refilling water glasses and other aspects of the service made this a mediocre experience at best. I simply don’t understand why, with so much wonderful Asian food and Japanese food in the area, people would head to this restaurant, and why some people think this is good food. But it is a democracy in which people vote with their dollars and I have to say that the place was surprisingly busy with parties taking advantage of the birthday special.

Perhaps you go for the happy hour (4:30-6:30 M-F) or if your children enjoy the circus or if you think their birthday "special" is indeed special. No thanks. If you are in Berkeley and are craving Japanese food let me suggest that Kirala, Musashi, Yoshu-Ya, Mitama, Iyasare, Norikonoko, and a few dozen other places would provide you with significantly better and more interesting Japanese food minus “the show”. You will miss out on the onion volcano, but go home with a much happier stomach. This was one of the worst restaurant experiences I have had in a while.

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3  Thank Andreas G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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