I'm an Alberta local and really grateful to have Zilla Sake House to wonder over to. I've been stopping by since they've opened and watched how they've keep it innovative and fresh. The first time I stopped in I was mostly impressed by the decor created by local Oregon artists--even a recycled pool table slate as the bar top! I love that the place doesn't look like every other Portland ""branding"" of what a cool spot is supposed to look like. Secondly, of course, was the sake selection. I never realized what a wide range of fragrances and flavors sake had to offer. I've made it a game now to try a different one each time I go in. And now I have a hard time drinking anything else, with the absence of sulfites and gluctose, it's so much cleaner and my body doesn't pay for it. They recently changed their free Japanese film night to Mondays and are now closed on Sundays, making it the best place to go on Alberta on a Monday night! The talent and scene on Tuesday's open mic is amazing. The food menu changes when local veggies are in season and they use many local and organic products. I was there one time when they even had veggies from the owner's dad's organic farm! Their dishes have become more creative, yet still simple and true to Japanese cuisine with traditional snacks like pickled veggies, ika, japanese style curry and the best organic miso soup! Oh, and I wish people knew about their happy hour. It's perfect for after work and they now have food and sake parings.\r
I've been to other japanese food/sake places in town and Zilla's prices are by far the best in terms of both quality as well as quantity. In fact, I don't drink sake anywhere else (except at home-they have a retail license too) because I can learn about it, costs less, and I can walk home. Plus I like the people. It's so mom and pop, albiet a super cute young mom and pop, but you know what I mean. They are passionate and know their stuff.
Pros: ambience, sake selection, tasty tapas
Cons: a little hard to find if you don't know where to look