Food & Drink

The 6 Best Sushi Spots in San Francisco

Published On 06/17/2014 Published On 06/17/2014
Alanna Hale
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
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1. Koo 408 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122 (Inner Sunset)

One of the best restos for Omakase, Chef Kiyoshi Hiyakawa always features a wide variety of specials, and with a combination of a few hot plates, and a perfect Nigiri, it’s a perfect meal.

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2. Sushi Ran 107 Caledonia St, Sausalito, CA 94965

SF might have a great number of decent sushi restos, but this one is definitely worth heading up to Sausalito for, with its fresh Omakase that features a lot of Japanese fish that they pair with sake recommendations.

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3. Kiss Seafood 1700 Laguna St, San Francisco, CA 94115 (Pacific Heights)

This small (and we mean small) mom-and-pop sushi restaurant in the heart of Japantown has the ability to get easily lost in the array of ramen, sushi, and izakaya spots in the neighborhood -- but it's truly not to be missed. Feel like you’re a guest in a local Japanese home as you’re served by a wife and husband duo in a cozy setting. As for food, order a la carte or get the always-preferred omakase, so you can enjoy some specialty items and chef favorites.

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4. Eiji in the Castro 317 Sanchez St, San Francisco, CA 94131 (The Castro)

This intimate Castro sushi spot is great for a date and to chow down on fresh fish, but what Eiji is really known for is its house-made tofu. Get it cold and sprinkled with bonito flakes, hot and topped with a rich sauce, or -- the crowd-pleaser -- the oboro tofu, which is cooked to order and made from homemade soy milk, served in a bubbling pot. Chef Eiji will bring it to the table accompanied by an array of condiments to be added as desired. You’ll get sesame seeds, chili-laced grated daikon, chopped green onions, bonito flakes, ginger, and tamari.

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5. Ryoko's Japanese Restaurant & Bar 619 Taylor St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Ryoko's, on the border of Nob Hill and Tenderloin, is a lively basement sushi spot helmed by high-skilled Japanese chefs. The sake and Sapporo flow like water, and on weekend nights, a live DJ turns up the party factor considerably. Last call for food and drink isn't until 1:30am, making it an awesome spot to hit when you're out late with a group of friends, or if your drinks date unexpectedly turns into dinner.

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6. Saru Sushi 3856 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94114 (Noe Valley)

Just opened in the land of babies and their au pairs, this new sushi spot's run by a Hong Kong-repping chef, who's deep-frying any and all traditional raw fish fare in a surprisingly modern shell: there's a mix of blond wood coffered paneling and stained concrete walls, a black leather chair'd chef's counter, and Edison bulbs springing out of a matrix of metal pipes and directly into World 8.

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7. Kusakabe 584 Washington St, San Francisco, CA 94111 (Financial District)

For a Jiro Dreams of Sushi-esque experience, Chef-Owner Mitsunori Kusakabe designed a $95 prix fixe menu of 11 courses – mostly sushi with a soup course and an additional hot dish to balance the digestive system after raw food – for the total 29 patrons able to fit inside Kusakabe’s minimalist Jackson Square space. Although the menu is seasonal, it reflects the “kaiseki cuisine principle” that balances five colors, five tastes, five senses and five cooking methods. There are only two seatings per night, so reserve early.

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8. PABU 101 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111 (Financial District)

When you think of Japanese whisky bars, you think of Nihon Whisky Lounge. But Pabu is a solid surprising contender: they have a secret Japanese cocktail menu, plus traditional Japanese whisky service. Each of the 14 Japanese whiskies offered are served with a complimentary food item that's blowtorched in front of you, meant to bring out the complex flavors of the drink.

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9. Maruya 2931 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (The Mission)

Ordering at Maruya is simple -- the menu is broken down into two omakase options and two moriawase (combination sushi platter) options. Grab some friends to help with the bigger platters and enjoy the traditional, Tokyo-style sushi.

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10. Akiko’s Restaurant & Sushi Bar 431 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94108 (Chinatown)

Whether you want to go full omakase or just experience some impossibly fresh, expertly prepared seafood at your own speed, Akiko's is among the best handful of places to experience sushi in SF. The robust wine list and deep-cut sake selections are almost as impressive as the fish, which is really saying something.