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“It has a rustic appeal but the flavor of ramen & service leave this Mom/Pop restaurant ...”

Norikonoko Japanese Restaurant
Ranked #150 of 717 Restaurants in Berkeley
Cuisines: Japanese
Restaurant details
Reviewed 12 March 2013

I've eaten here several times. It has an appealing rustic atmosphere but it needs to be cleaned up a bit. It's a greasy spoon but is not longer because the prices are somewhat higher than warranted. Based on what I've seen, it is just typical of a college town environment -- little flavor and too expensive. Who pays $10-12 for ramen that really doesn't compete well with a true ramen master's preparations? They have $20-25 specials but I couldn't figure out what was so special about them. After each time I've been here, I was determined that I wouldn't go back, but this time, I really mean it!!! Other cleaner and tastier Japanese restaurants await, especially at these prices.

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Thank Oak L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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7 - 11 of 11 reviews

Reviewed 18 December 2011

Walking on Telegraph Av., downtown Berkeley, you'll pass in front of a small, cute japanese restaurant, which you shouldn't miss. If you're having your meal early enough, you might get lucky and have great fish food in this cozy, family run restaurant.
The ambience is very relaxed, Berkeley is still a college town. The restaurant is filled with everything, thousands of little objects from Japan or from round the world. The crew is charming and elegant, still friendly and easy going. The landlady is very welcoming and likes to chat with guests. He is more formal, rigorous, but sometimes throws a shiny smile around.
The core now: food. No sushi in this place, you can find a lot of grilled dfish dishes, noodles, many appetizers (inclunding one tuna sashimi if you cant really resist without raw fish), some meat dish, many side dishes. Really, a great deal of authentic japanese food. Mind the dish of the day, normally hand written on a board hanging on the wall. I had one of the most amazing dishes I've ever had my whole life: Tara Kasuzuke (black cod). Almost paradise. A juicy, sake marinated sweet, amazingly tasty fish cooked in a pan as to burn the external layer, so the fish is wrapped in its own blackened, crunchy, bitter film, making a rainbow of contrasts in your mouth. Really, a must.
All in all, a great place, with great food, and nice ambience.

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1  Thank lucasorriso
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 March 2010

I was recommended to this place by one of my friends and I was very pleased with it.
The chicken is very tender and tasty, the fries are crunchy and the side sauces are delicious. I will definitely come back to Fonzies very soon.


Thank cachorrro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2009

We parked on a side street to go to Buffalo Exchange. I got out of the car and I could smell this incredibly great combo of chicken, onion and spices cooking. I forgot about Buffalo Exchange and started following my nose. I had passed the building before but only thought it was the Japanese place. I did not know that the building housed several food joints. We finally found Fonzie's on the upper floor. We ordered the #3 combo which comes with a whole rotisserie chicken, french fries and a salad. It was a deal at $12.99 and we would have left-overs for the next day. The fries came out first. I don't know what their secret is but these were the best french fries I have ever eaten. They were super crisp on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. To all of the people who rave over Luca's fries in Oakland: You need to go to Fonzie's!

I wasn't expecting a large chicken since the whole meal price was $12.99. Well I was wrong. Now it's not a three pound'r like you get at Costco, but it is comparable to the rotisserie bird at Safeway..in size. In flavor it is not comparable. Fonzie's chicken has a nice crisp skin and a moist meat without being undercooked. The chicken comes with three little cups of sauces. I have no idea what they were but the complimented the rotisserie chicken perfectly. They all seem to be mayo based but vary on the heat vs. earthy blend. The salad was large and went well with the meal.

We also ordered the chicha morada which is a drink made from the juice of Peruvian purple corn. I had no idea what to expect. It looks like Welch's grape juice, but tastes a whole lot different. Sweet with a slight cinnamon note.

We finished our dinner and boxed up about half the chicken to take home, (Can you guess where this is leading?) congratulated ourselves for finding a new gem, and made our way back to the car. We were sitting at a light a few blocks down and the aroma in the car was hard to resist. None of the chicken made it home.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 23 June 2008

Portions are small, flavoring is sparce and prices are high. But it isn't by any means horrible.

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