Hana Japan: mega fun for kids!

I love an early dinner at Hana Japan in the Berkeley Marina. I discovered this restaurant seven years ago when my intense pregnancy beef craving had me googling “neiman ranch berkeley” (and found only these guys and Cactus Taqueria). For a few years, it was my family’s birthday tradition for parents and grandparents, so over the years, we’ve tested it out with infants, barely-eating babies, crazy toddlers, and curious preschoolers. All good.


[Ha ha! We packed our own bowls and forks]

If you haven’t seen the billboards, I’ll tell you that Hana Japan is one of those Teppanyaki places with tabletop grilling and knife-twirling guaranteed to thrill the kids (and impress the adults). Seriously, the chefs do a train thing with puffing “smoke” emerging from chugging onions. My three-year old declared it was “Super fun.” 

The food is dramatically prepared but the tastes are straightforward fresh meats, vegetables, and rice with Japanese dipping sauces. One chef made “just a scrambled egg” for my one-year old (for free!), but my little guy wolfed down the real food too.

What’s not to like?

Before you pack up your family, I would caution you about two things:

  1. It ain’t cheap. There’s a good reason to go on your birthday where one entree is free with the purchase of three (if your family is not that big, one meal can be to go)
  2. Picky eaters might be disappointed. If you don’t like fresh fish, steak, chicken, or rice AT ALL then stay away. There is no mac n cheese option, at least I don’t think so.

I love it, but I would hesitate to drag Whitney’s family there because I think her meat-refusing kids would eat only raw vegetables and then she might get stuck paying entree prices for a few strips of bell pepper. Perfect place to go with visiting from out-of-town family. Tables seat eight so if your party is smaller, you will have to share.

Located across the street from Adventure Playground.

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