Good Japanese food can be hard to come by. The flavor and authenticity of the food often get lost in the grease and processed taste that often accompany delivery-style Japanese places. Luckily, there are some establishments in Berkeley, like Nanayiro, that serve quality Japanese meals.
Located amid the array of restaurants that decorate Shattuck Avenue, Nanayiro opened in 2007 and since then has been a big hit with UC Berkeley students and the Berkeley community. Nanayiro is dedicated to serving the best of ingredients, which the establishment is proud of, considering that its fish and other ingredients come fresh from private suppliers every day.
These fresh ingredients make up a menu that is sure to please. Nanayiro’s vegetable udon soup is an assortment of broccoli, tofu, carrots and thick noodles. The soup was just the right temperature (perfect for someone who’s coming down with the April flu) and comes in a gigantic bowl, and you deserve an award if you’re able to finish it in one sitting. The combination of noodles and vegetables make it not only a healthy dish but also transform the appetizer status of the traditional soup into that of a main course.
Nanayiro’s menu also boasts a variety of rolls such as the sake (salmon) Roll, the spicy tuna roll and the spider roll (soft-shell crab, cucumber and eel sauce). For vegetarians, the roll assortment includes the shiitake roll (cooked black shiitake mushrooms), the kappa roll (cucumber) and the avocado roll.
The menu also includes a range of special rolls, which are available depending on the season. Some of Nanayiro’s most renowned special rolls are the Fuji Mountain Roll (made from fried spicy tuna, cucumber, crab meat, flying-fish roe, green onions, spicy mayonnaise and eel sauce) and the Over the Rainbow Roll (made from crab meat, avocado and seven different types of fish).
You also have the option of getting a lunch or dinner bento box, which includes either two or three of the menu items accompanied by some soup, salad and rice.
At Nanayiro, you get what you pay for. Even if it seems a little more “expensive,” the prices are actually a little lower than Joshu-Ya Brasserie, another popular restaurant that serves Japanese food on Southside. Nanayiro’s vegetable udon soup costs about $11. Regular rolls cost about $4.50 for the simple vegetarian ones, and the more elaborate seafood rolls cost anywhere from $8 to $12. The special rolls, on the other hand, start at about $12 and go to about $16 for a plate of approximately six pieces. The price of the bento box varies on the time of the day and can range anywhere from $11 to almost $19.
The prices are reasonable for what you get, though. If you want good Japanese food made from select and fresh ingredients in a contemporary and comfortable setting, then Nanayiro should definitely be at the top of your list. But because the place is so popular, try and make a reservation before heading there. It can get pretty crowded during main meal times.