This list was on a Japanese information exchange forum and thought I'd see what you guys here thought of it. This is pretty much the same list I get when I talk to the Japanese business men who eat out all the time, except IZAKAYA is usually lower than Rokko and Saizo.
Here's the list and a translation of the OP's thoughts:
１．Tanto (San Jose): Best even after all the newcomers
２．Gochi: Went 5 times since it opened a month ago, but they still didn't remember me
３．IZAKAYA: Low-key, non-fancy in a good way
４．Rokko: Used to have better food; sat at the counter but the chef ignored me the entire time
５．Saizo: Friendly to regulars; the grill cook needs more training
６．Tanto (Sunnyvale): The food is not as good after the move
７．Yumeya: Counter seats are recommended; the chef served various small plates on the house
８．Ando: Serves regular food disguised as izakaya food ９．Rakuni (San Mateo): Showa[~40 yrs ago]-Ambiance; decent food.
１０．Akachouchin: Very average
I think Gochi is generally better than either Tanto, but their menu is so big that some of the items just aren't as good as others. I had a very disappointing meal at Tanto (Saratoga) recently, and the service there is not as good as Tanto Sunnyvale.
I didn't think much of IZAKAYA and neither did my Japanese friends. I would rate Saizo much higher than IZAKAYA, and I think the grill cook at Saizo is very good at what he does.
I agree that Tanto (Sunnyvale) after the move is not as good as it was, but maybe that's because the chef went to Gochi.
Yumeya is great, especially if you have a Japanese-speaker (who can also read) with you.
I haven't been to the rest of the places, but now I'm itching to try Rokko. I've heard quite a few people say it's a very decent Izakaya.
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