This family-owned and operated sushi spot has been delighting SF diners for over 30 years with exceptional sushi (the fish arrives daily from local purveyors and Japan’s Tsukiji Fish Market), warmth in every interaction, and “innovative culinary methods” mostly seen in the fried and grilled dishes, as well as the rolls (like the Negitoro roll with tuna belly, scallion, pickled daikon, and sesame). Not only is the food truly delicious, it’s also beautifully plated and presented. The space, which mixes textures like exposed brick walls, warm woods, and low lighting, is also inviting, which makes every meal at Akiko’s feel that much more special. (The sushi bar is, of course, the spot, but if you’re hoping for a romantic experience, opt for the tables in the cozy back room.)
How to book: Reservations for up to four are highly recommended and can be made online. Reservations for parties of more than four people cannot be accommodated.
This tiny Noe Valley sushi bar is a popular date spot, but now that it has outdoor seating, it attracts the stroller set as well. Kids, no kids, married, single—what all of the patrons have in common here is an appreciation for the friendly staff, high-quality sushi, affordable prices, and its tasting spoons (two smaller portions of the chef’s creative appetizers). The watermelon roll (named because it looks like a watermelon, not because it includes it as an ingredient) is also a fun order as it makes for a great pic and tastes delicious.
How to book: Walk in or order pickup online.
Wako’s much-deserved one Michelin star is a result of the incredibly thoughtful and almost immaculate experience diners have from start to finish. The wood-filled space has a sushi bar and tables (you want the sushi bar) where you can order from the a la carte menu or do a tasting ($86). We recommend the tasting, which is ten pieces of sushi and a small bite dish (and if the Wagyu isn’t one of the pieces, do not walk out of there without adding it on).
How to book: online.
The eponymous sushi restaurant by owner and chef Mitsunori Kusakabe offers an omakase menu ($185) based on the kaiseki cuisine principle, which emphasizes seasonality, being present, and the “Goshoku, Gomi, Gokan, Gohou” (“Five Colors, Five Tastes, Five Senses, Five Methods”) tenet. Chef Kusakabe is known for showcasing his culinary talents that go beyond what we typically think of when we envision sushi, including Kyoto-style sushi, which uses mostly cured or cooked fish. The menu changes, of course, but favorite dishes aside from the nigiri and sashimi include the dashi egg custard with umami soy sauce, cured quail egg, uni, and caviar, and braised Alaskan black cod.
How to book: Make reservations online and order takeout online.
Ju-Ni means “twelve” in Japanese and not-at-all coincidentally, that’s precisely how many seats you’ll find in this one Michelin-starred omakase restaurant when the indoor dining area is open, which it is not at this exact moment. However, you can still dine outdoors in the heated parklet, which is set up just like a sushi bar with three seating areas and plexiglass partitions. That setup allows for every four guests to have a dedicated chef creating and guiding them through each of the 12 courses on the $147 menu that changes based on seasonality and fish availability from the Toyosu Market in Tokyo. Just be sure to put your reservation on your calendar—and maybe tattoo it on the back of your hand—because you can’t cancel or exchange your reservation for another night once it’s been made and paid for. Oh, and keep an eye out for the team’s new casual spot, the Handroll Project (self-explanatory), coming to the Mission sometime soon.
How to book: via Tock.
This Michelin-starred 14-seat omakase restaurant is known for its elevated Edomae-style sushi made with fish handpicked by experts and imported directly from Tokyo’s world-renowned Tsukiji Fish Market three times a week and its “classically Japanese” (read: refined and serene) ambiance. There are a few small tables, but the counter is where you want to sit so that you can interact with and watch the skills of chef Jackson Yu, a warm, engaging, and very talented master of his craft. Like the name suggests, there’s no set menu at Omakase; rather, diners pay $195 for around ten courses picked by the chef (with an optional $120 sake pairing).
How to book: Make reservations via Tock or order takeout online.