As you drive down San Pablo Avenue toward El Cerrito and approach the Home Depot, take a moment to look across the street to your left and you will see the Yokohama Restaurant, nestled in a quiet corner, its’ brown and yellow sign welcoming you to come in. Many folks have driven past Yokohama over the years including myself, and I certainly have missed a wonderful dining opportunity!
When you first walk through the door, you are greeted by courteous staff members who seat you at a comfortable table. Around you are clean, wood tables with comfortable chairs that are roomy yet intimate. There are several hanging paper lanterns that provide dim, yet adequate lighting blended with natural light that spills softly through the windows on one side of the restaurant. The pleasant and soothing sound of a small indoor waterfall trickling over a classic waterwheel, complemented with a large greenery arrangement off to one side of the room adds to the character and charm of the environment. Each table is spaced adequately to allow clients to enjoy their food and share quality time with each other, yet not feel isolated. Soft music plays in the background to create a stress-free, calming environment in which to enjoy one of most delicious Japanese cuisines offered here in Contra Costa County.
Yokohama Restaurant opened its doors 28 years ago in 1977 and is one of the few businesses on this strip of San Pablo Avenue that has maintained such longevity. Not many businesses, especially restaurants, have experienced such success and remained in the same location for decades. If Yokohama has been in the same location for such a long time, how could I have overlooked it, you might ask. Well, we are all busy now more than ever, hurrying to our jobs, racing to get to the BART station or other forms of transportation, drop the kids at school, pick them up, stop at the store, then race home to inhale our food without taking time to enjoy it. Due to this sometimes hectic pace, we also miss the opportunity to enjoy our families while gathering at the dinner table. With our lives in such a rush to accomplish all that we need to do, sometimes we forget to slow down and enjoy life and time together with our families and friends.
Yokohama offers a calming environment that clients can come for lunch to escape stresses at the office and opens again in the evening for dinner. Families and friends can enjoy great food and spend quality time at the dining table sharing accomplishments and rich conversation or simply quiet time taking in the soft music and soothing atmosphere. This is definitely something we can all use more of since much quality time can be experienced over something we all love and need – great food!
In addition to a calming and stress-free environment, Yokohama offers traditional Japanese cuisine, hand prepared especially for you. Traditional Miso Soup, Tempura, Teriyaki dishes, traditional Japanese rice, and selected sushi are just a few of the offerings available on the menu. Periodically, new entrees are introduced, but for the most part, you can always depend on your favorite items to be available. Each order is created with care and expertise especially for you. The food is presented in a traditional Japanese manner. Traditional Japanese tea is served along with your entrée. The delicious Miso soup is so delicious, soothing, and perfectly made. You can choose to eat your entrée with chopsticks, or if you are not familiar with them, eating utensils are available – everything is cooked to perfection and the experience can’t be beat. The staff are all welcoming, courteous, and pleasant, paying special attention to details to enhance your dining experience, make you feel welcome, and reinforce the soothing environment of the restaurant. The service is top-notch and you are taken care of quickly and efficiently. When you leave, you have a full tummy and your mind and soul are at ease from the troubles of the day so you can focus more attention on those things that are of most importance to you.
Yokohama is family owned and operated and values the rich diversity of the Japanese culture and the special ties between first and second generation family members. It is first and second generation family members that operate the restaurant, taking turns to ensure the business runs smoothly. Many regular clients of Yokohama bring their families so they can share a good meal together and enjoy the welcoming environment at Yokohama. Yokohama also offers a Lunch Club where you purchase 10 lunch entrees and your 11th lunch entrée is free.
Yokohama Japanese Restaurant is located at 11880 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito, directly across the street from the Home Depot. They are open for lunch from 11:30am – 2:00pm and re-open for dinner from 5-9pm. They are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
The next time you are in El Cerrito and approach the Home Depot, glance across the street at Yokohama and its’ brown and yellow sign welcoming you to come in. Then, take the time to stop in for lunch or dinner and experience the positive, yet calming and stress-free environment and the wonderful food.