Where: 4141 State St., E-1, El Mercado Center; (805) 692-0717; kobachiizakaya.com

What: Japanese izakaya dining focuses on small plates meant for sharing in a social and sake-filled atmosphere owned by the people behind Ahi Sushi.

How much? Lunch combos $8.75-$12.25; Izakaya small dinner plates $3.50-$10.00

The dish: Pub, wine bar, and tapas are all words that come to mind to describe Kobachi’s izakaya dining, a highly social sake house and eatery on upper State Street that opened in August 2008. Kobachi, which means small cup or bowl, has a portion of its dinner menu dedicated to small plates meant for sharing along with an extensive selection of premium sake.

A myriad of Japanese flavors decorate the lengthy dinner menu that features boiled soybean pods, pounded carpaccio, delicate Ahi spring rolls, sea urchin shooters, panko fried oysters, chicken yakitori skewers, teriyaki entrees, udon noodle dishes, and freshly sliced sashimi and special rolls.

The lunch menu features mainly combination sushi plates and rolls, so to get the izakaya-style dining and small plate offerings, visitors must make this an evening destination.

A happy hour menu offers deals on sake and Sapporo Tuesday through Friday and small plates on Saturday (9-11:15 p.m.). Enjoy a tasting flight of premium sake while popping salted edamame beans out of their shells and taking down an uni and quail egg shot.


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