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Izakayas, the Japanese restaurants serving snacky items to munch on while you down beer and sake, have been in full bloom for awhile in San Francisco. But in the East Bay, Kiraku’s owners Daiki and Sanae Saito feel like pioneers of the form. That’s not to say they’re izakaya purists – they add European, Chinese, and Korean flair to their stable of bar nibbles. This tiny spot has become a late-night favorite for off-work local chefs, hungry for diverse and compelling items like New Zealand deer sashimi, foie gras daikon, and sweet tea blancmanger. But take caution: Like tapas, Kiraku’s small plates can quickly add up to a big bill.

— Jesse Hirsch

Hours: Wed.-Mon. 5:30 p.m. till late

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Price: $$-$$$

Payment Type: Cash, all major credit cards

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