Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 26th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Taking in Takara

takara1Capitola’s Takara Japanese Restaurant adds more zest to its overall creative flavor

Take some sushi, sashimi, tempura, add some hot wasabi and ginger, sip on a little sake, and you will feel like you’re dining in Tokyo. And this is what Takara Japanese Restaurant likes to convey—an authentic experience in a beautiful restaurant decorated in typical Japanese style. Everything hits the spot in Takara. It’s right on target with quality food, exquisite flavors, courteous service and elegant ambiance.

Takara opened with a huge fanfare in 2000. Owners Angel Yeo and Yuki Chan pulled out all the stops by throwing a grand party to celebrate, complete with the San Francisco Taiko Drummers, a splendid mochi rice-pounding ceremony and a mountain of impressive food for invited guests. When Angel went shopping to decorate the restaurant, she went the distance—to Japan, in fact. She bought stunning antiques, lanterns, rice paper paintings and a special two-sided fabric called noren, which is used as little curtain drops. Even the roof tiles are the real thing and were shipped out from Tokyo. From my own experience of eating in restaurants in Japan, it’s as close as you can get to the real thing.

Takara continues to impress by keeping standards high and quality of their produce top notch. Always wanting to enhance the dining experience for their customers, they recently put in new carpet and added new colored menus with pictures. 

General Manager Emily Yeo says that the restaurant has made quite a few changes recently, including taking down the bar partition so that the bar looks a whole lot bigger now and more open. A daily Happy Hour from 3-6 p.m. has also made Takara into a popular destination stop for regulars, visitors, newcomers, and shoppers at the nearby Capitola Mall complex. Food can also be ordered at the bar, where diners can enjoy a bountiful selection of cocktails, beer and wine. And, thanks to the sake revolution, you can find a wonderful range of this Japanese fermented rice drink.

Head Chef Ruben Del Carmen has 13 years under his belt making culinary wonders at Takara—and all chefs are highly trained by co-owner, Yuki Chan. Del Carmen prepares only the freshest and best quality of fish, never wanting to compromise with a lower grade, even when fish prices went up. It is important to Del Carmen and Takara that every meal prepared meets their high standard.

takara2Chef Ruben at the helm of Takara. Photos by Keana ParkerTakara offers an extensive menu, including meat and vegetarian dishes, and brown rice if preferred. Their featured rolls and popular Chef’s Specials include an assortment of favorites at reasonable prices. Try the Hearty Unagi ($13) with tempura shrimp, avocado and cucumber topped with unagi and sesame seeds, or the Exotic Tuna ($10) with unagi, green onion, tobiko, nuts and tuna wrap. 

“We have our featured rolls, our chef’s specials, which are awesome,” adds Emily. “And also from 3-6 p.m. we have hot and delicious specials coming from the kitchen and also five or six selections from the chef—some hot and some cold, as well as some sushi chef specials.”  And a Takara Feast for $29.99 for two people is a new menu addition.

 “My bartenders didn’t want to be left behind with all the food specials we offer,” says Emily, “so they decided to come up with some specials at the bar.”

As a result, Takara now has an Awesome Double—two for the price of one—a large hot sake, draft beer, house red or house white.  This is available during Happy Hour Sunday through Friday.

“And they went one up from the kitchen,” laughs Emily, “and made the Awesome Double available all day Saturday.” 

Takara Japanese Restaurant, 3775 Capitola Road, Capitola, 464-1818 (in the Capitola Mall complex in front of Sears), Open daily from 11:30 a.m.

Comments (1)Add Comment
written by Shari, December 28, 2013
This place is Awesome. The food is really good and it's always fresh! They just changed up the menu and they have some really great combinations. The people that work there are really nice and they try to make your visit a good one. You should go and check it out!

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Santa Cruz Gives

A look at the organizations we’re asking you to support in our new holiday giving campaign


Gratitude—For Each New Morning With its Light

The full moon of Wednesday brings light to Thanksgiving (Thursday) under the Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. Mercury in Sag offers humanity the message (Mercury) of thankfulness and joy (Jupiter). No other sign represents food, music and joy better than Sagittarius (only Pisces, when not in despair). Beginning on Thanksgiving, we can list what we’re grateful for. Then we can continue the list, creating a daily Gratitude Journal. What we are grateful for always increases in our lives. On Thanksgiving Saturn/Neptune square (challenging) is in full effect. This can manifest as traditions not being honored, disappearing, falling away. It can also create a sense of sadness, confusion, of things not working out as planned. It’s best to be as simple as possible. And to focus on gratitude instead. Gratitude is a service to others. It is scientifically and occultly a releasing agent. Releasing us from the past, allowing our future—the new culture and civilization, the new Aquarian laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarius, the Age of Friendship and Equality—to come forth. Gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution for humanity and the world’s problems.” The hierarchy lays great emphasis upon expressing gratitude. Gratitude illuminates all that is in darkness. Let us be grateful during this season together. Being, for others, the light that illuminates the darkness. A Poem by R.W. Emerson: We are grateful … “For each new morning with its light/For rest and shelter of the night/For health and food/For love and friends/For everything thy goodness sends.” (poem by R.W. Emerson). I am grateful for my family of readers.


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Pluck of the Irish

Mid-century immigrant tale engagingly told in ‘Brooklyn’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Second Street Café

Pies and tarts for all tastes—from traditional to adventurous


How are you preparing for El Niño?

Getting ready to buy some rain gear. Cory Pickering, Santa Cruz, Teaching Assistant


Fortino Winery

Cabernet and superb fruit wine from Fortino Winery


Tap Dance

West End Tap & Kitchen’s impressive menu to expand to Eastside location