Izakaya Mai Restaurant Review, San Mateo

Reviewer: Foodnut.com

Izakaya Mai

212 2nd Ave (Between S Ellsworth and S B Street)

San Mateo, CA 94401

650-347-2511

Izakaya Mai Website

Izakaya Mai Restaurant Review, San Mateo

Izakaya Mai is a Japanese Izakaya or Japanese drinking establishment that also serves food. They are more small plate oriented restaurants. This restaurant has an extensive drink menu. They’ve been here for years. Several similar restaurants have opened over the years, but this still packs them in.. (Izakaya Ginji, Kokko)

This restaurant is located in the downtown San Mateo area that has Japanese restaurants on almost every block. Japanese people run it so it must be authentic. The menu is full of translation errors. Our last visit was in 2020 during the Pandemic. Seating was outside and the place was still very busy.

Izakaya Mai San Mateo_0021

Decor, Vibe – Pretty small cramped restaurant with sushi bar, traditional seating, and regular seating. Pictures all over the walls. Mostly Asians in their 20’s to 40’s were eating. Some families. There were people waiting most of the time for tables.

Izakaya Mai Menu

The Izakaya Mai menu is extensive with everything from ramen to sushi to teriyaki dinners to all sorts of small plates. You gotta try the small plates here. Leave the ramen and teriyaki to other spots.

Izakaya Mai Food Picks:

Gomaa – Spinach Salad is a perfect vegetarian dish. Nice flavor.

Gyu-Tan – Beef Tongue hit the spot. A bit chewy but very flavorful.

Yaki Onigiri 2pcs grilled rice balls were huge and a bit salty. We got the plain rice version.

California Roll – With real crab was done just right. Fresh crab.

Vegetarian Roll – Vegetarians do not have a lot of options here. They kick it up a notch with the daikon purplish wrapper.

Izakaya Mai San Mateo_0044

Hamachi Kama ($10.50) – Classic yellow tail collar was tender and delicious. Came with dipping sauce.

Izakaya Mai San Mateo_0032

Pork Sausage ($5.50) had 6 small hot dog like sausages that looked terrible but tasted good. Includes a Japanese mustard that looks like peanut butter.

Izakaya Mai San Mateo_0046

Oden ($6.50) had several kinds of fish cakes and an egg. Home style delicious dish.

OK:

Izakaya Mai San Mateo_0033

Kushi Yakitori ($4.50) was 2 skewers of chicken with teriyaki sauce. Average, nothing special here.

Izakaya Mai San Mateo_0043

Chicken wing ($4.50) was 3 small pieces of grilled chicken. It was flavorful and tender but pretty burned

Izakaya Mai San Mateo_0049

Homemade Stewed Pork ($5.75) had 3 pieces of pork that were stewed and then grilled. Fairly average dish.

Izakaya Mai San Mateo_0039

Baked Squid Tail ($5.75) had lots of quantity but was a little salty and very chewy.

Izakaya Mai San Mateo_0030

Tekka ($3.95) had pretty fresh tuna in the middle.

Pans:
None

Izakaya Mai had fair service, slightly above average but the server did not come by that often. The food was fair, not great, but the diversity allowed us to try a lot of different dishes.

This is better and more authentic than O Izakaya Lounge in San Francisco’s Japantown area. It is a welcome change to the usual Japanese fare that is served elsewhere. Frankly nothing wowed us, this place might be best for a quick bowl of Champon noodles and an adult beverage. It is also open late. We have to try Saizo in Sunnyvale and Gochi sometime.

As with most other small plate places, prices can add up quickly, but the fun is in trying different items. Especially ones you have never tasted before.

 

Izakaya Mai Overall Rating: (Good 2)

Come Back?

Food Rating: (Very Good)
Service Rating: (Good)
Atmosphere Rating: (Good)
Value Rating: (Very Good)

Guide: 0 = poor, 1 = Below/Average, 2 = Good, 2.5 = Very Good, 3 = Excellent , 4 = Extraordinary

Alcohol:Beer, Wine, Sake
Attire:Casual
Hours:Tu-Fri 1130am-2pm, Tu-Sun 6pm-Midnight
Parking:Street
Reservations:Yes
Prices:$9.95 - $100

You Might Also Like

No Comments

    Leave a Reply

    By using our site you agree to our:Β Privacy Policy,Β Terms of Use.

    Subscribe to the Free Foodnut Newsletter