Good for: Everyone
Price Range: Inexpensive to Reasonable
Features: Live Koi pond, Happy Hour Sushi
San Mateo is overflowing with Japanese restaurants. The more popular ones such as Sushi Sam’s and Hotaru are usually busy with waiting lines traveling down the sidewalk. I wouldn’t call my self a seafood ‘buff’ but those places were not worth the wait or the cost to me. This could mostly be due to the fact that I tend to like the non-raw items such as tempura, teriyaki, California rolls, etc. It seems most Japanese places excel in one dish or another but it is hard to find a place that has an even standard across the board.
That’s where Tenka comes in. Every time we have eaten here we have had a good experience with the food. The fish is fresh, the salad and miso are yummy, and I love their tamago (smelt egg). My daughter always get the California hand rolls while my husband will order teriyaki and a few pieces of salmon and tuna. Their prices are reasonable but get even better for individual pieces during their Happy Hour which runs everyday from 11:00-2:30 and 5:00pm-7:00pm. The tempura is just okay but they make up for it with tasty gyoza.
Usually there is only one waitress but on the off occasion that they are busy, you may find two. Your tea cup will always be full but don’t feel uncomfortable to flag the waitress down if you need extra napkins or anything else.
Some have spoken negatively about the sake but my family doesn’t drink sake so I have no comment on that. The chef is friendly always happy to see his ‘regulars’ come in. He even gives my daughter some pellets to feed the koi fish sometimes. Oh, I haven’t spoken about the cute koi pond in the front window. It used to have huge fish but about a month ago they all died and had to be replaced. Speaking of which, my daughter loves to check in on the pond each time to see if the fish have grown.
If you want to pay top dollar for the best sushi you have ever eaten, there are probably other restaurants. If you want a place to go to often that you will feel full and content on each visit, head over to Tenka. Don’t forget to take advantage of their happy hour and it will add to your nice experience here.