Located just outside the Capitola Mall, Takara is a Japanese restaurant serving a diverse range of sushi along with a large happy hour menu. Rather large and offering two bars, one with drinks, and another up close to the sushi chefs, the restaurant offers a variety of sitting areas. I typically order the California Roll, along with a few appetizers—usually a Miso Soup and some Edamame.
Good service is a rare commodity in most Santa Cruz restaurants, but at Takara, the servers are attentive. Food usually arrives within 45 minutes. The decor is pleasant, and at the entrance to the bathrooms, there are curtains adorned with Japanese characters. Near the seating areas, there also are some lanterns hanging over the tables and some banners that decorate the outside. I’ve never had a bad California Roll, but the Miso Soup is pretty salty and sometimes I get a few bad Edamame.
What helps boost Takara’s score in my mind are the complimentary mints offered at the end of each meal. I personally would give Takara a four out of five stars, and I’d recommend it to most people who enjoy basic Japanese food.
On sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp, Takara garners scores around 3.5 and 3 respectively. Many reviews hold against the restaurant their salty miso soup, bland, and uninteresting sushi, as well as relatively high prices. However, the positives that can be taken away from these reviews usually are the beautiful dining area, which I can attest to, the large portion sizes, and the food which matches authentic Japanese cuisin