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Yak It Up: Where to Score Killer SF & East Bay Yakitori

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No meat on a stick power hour is complete without yakitori, the chargrilled Japanese skewers that are the perfect accompaniment to an evening of beer and sake. The Bay Area has exploded with izakaya-style restaurants in the past few years, many of which proudly feature every part of the chicken (from chicken oyster to tsukune meatballs), bacon-wrapped seafood, pork belly, and much, much more, all eaten with ease off a handy skewer. Here are our 15 top picks for yakitori in San Francisco and the East Bay. We dare you not to drool.


What did we miss? Let us know in the comments.

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Michael Mina's newly opened Pabu offers a robata grill with the full complement of skewers, from chicken tails and hearts to beef tongue and California quail.

Izakaya Yuzuki

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The subject of a recent Bauer rave, Izakaya Yuzuki boasts a notable selection of koji-accented skewers like tsukune (chicken meatballs) and negima (chicken with scallions).

ICHI Sushi + NI Bar

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A new incarnation of a perennial favorite, ICHI now offers an izakaya menu at the back bar, including yakitori chicken thighs with tare and sichi.

Nojo is a meat on a stick mecca, with nearly every bit of of the chicken (including neck, liver and gizzard) on a skewer, plus half squad, pork jowel, bacon-wrapped mochi and more.

Izakaya Roku

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Izakaya Roku is another grilled meat haven, with specialties like gyu tan shioyaki (grilled beef tongue), pork belly skewers and another iteration of bacon mochi.

Roka Akor | San Francisco

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This well-designed stunner features a full robata grill with dishes like scallops with yuzu shiso and wasabi.

This Berkeley spot is meat on a stick heaven, with everything from bacon-wrapped enoki mushrooms to nankotsu (chicken breast cartilage) to an omakase selection of chicken liver, momo (thigh), mune (breast), kawa (skin) and teba (wing).

Izakaya Sozai

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Get your fill of yakitori at this neighborhood spot, which features plenty of skewers like bacon-wrapped enoki mushroom, arabiki sausage, chicken skin and more.

Nihon Whisky Lounge

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Get the pork belly 'butabara' skewers at this intimate lounge, and make sure to wash it down with some Japanese whiskey.

Izakaya Kou

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Yakotori at this spot includes classics like mom (chicken thigh), tsukune (chicken meatball) and shishito peppers, plus black pork sausage and bacon-wrapped asparagus.

Ebisu's kushiyaki selection spans everything from Kobe beef to bacon-wrapped scallops to eggplants and zucchini.

Though it's moving locations soon, B-Dama will continue to offer selections like ika (squid), butabara (black pork belly with sauce), and negima (Rocky chicken and scallion skewer).

Ozumo Japanese Restaurant

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This sleek spot features a robata grill that turns out seafood and meat specialties tht get creative with rice, veggies and more.

Chotto is another izakaya featuring yakitori grilled over Japanese charcoal, with dishes like beef ribeye with green onion. pork jowl and sea salt, pork belly and much more.

Ryoko's Japanese Restaurant & Bar

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This popular spot boasts a wide variety of sushi, but there's chicken yakitori on the menu, too, along with starters like grilled mackerel and fried oysters.

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PABU

Michael Mina's newly opened Pabu offers a robata grill with the full complement of skewers, from chicken tails and hearts to beef tongue and California quail.

Izakaya Yuzuki

The subject of a recent Bauer rave, Izakaya Yuzuki boasts a notable selection of koji-accented skewers like tsukune (chicken meatballs) and negima (chicken with scallions).

ICHI Sushi + NI Bar

A new incarnation of a perennial favorite, ICHI now offers an izakaya menu at the back bar, including yakitori chicken thighs with tare and sichi.

Nojo

Nojo is a meat on a stick mecca, with nearly every bit of of the chicken (including neck, liver and gizzard) on a skewer, plus half squad, pork jowel, bacon-wrapped mochi and more.

Izakaya Roku

Izakaya Roku is another grilled meat haven, with specialties like gyu tan shioyaki (grilled beef tongue), pork belly skewers and another iteration of bacon mochi.

Roka Akor | San Francisco

This well-designed stunner features a full robata grill with dishes like scallops with yuzu shiso and wasabi.

Ippuku

This Berkeley spot is meat on a stick heaven, with everything from bacon-wrapped enoki mushrooms to nankotsu (chicken breast cartilage) to an omakase selection of chicken liver, momo (thigh), mune (breast), kawa (skin) and teba (wing).

Izakaya Sozai

Get your fill of yakitori at this neighborhood spot, which features plenty of skewers like bacon-wrapped enoki mushroom, arabiki sausage, chicken skin and more.

Nihon Whisky Lounge

Get the pork belly 'butabara' skewers at this intimate lounge, and make sure to wash it down with some Japanese whiskey.

Izakaya Kou

Yakotori at this spot includes classics like mom (chicken thigh), tsukune (chicken meatball) and shishito peppers, plus black pork sausage and bacon-wrapped asparagus.

Ebisu

Ebisu's kushiyaki selection spans everything from Kobe beef to bacon-wrapped scallops to eggplants and zucchini.

B-Dama

Though it's moving locations soon, B-Dama will continue to offer selections like ika (squid), butabara (black pork belly with sauce), and negima (Rocky chicken and scallion skewer).

Ozumo Japanese Restaurant

This sleek spot features a robata grill that turns out seafood and meat specialties tht get creative with rice, veggies and more.

Chotto

Chotto is another izakaya featuring yakitori grilled over Japanese charcoal, with dishes like beef ribeye with green onion. pork jowl and sea salt, pork belly and much more.

Ryoko's Japanese Restaurant & Bar

This popular spot boasts a wide variety of sushi, but there's chicken yakitori on the menu, too, along with starters like grilled mackerel and fried oysters.

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