Inner Sunset's Sozai is one of San Francisco's original izakayas. It specializes in yakitori chicken skewers; fried tofu, oysters, and chicken wings; and grilled fish dishes. Its extensive sake collection includes Junmai, Ginjo, Daiginjo, and Nijori varieties. Sozai serves tonkotsu ramen too, but according to house rules, you can't have it until you're at least one round of sake in.
Every other restaurant opening in town these days calls itself an izakaya, but Sozai was an original years ago. There are just a few ramens on the menu—the most popular is the tonkotsu, but the chicken tsukemen (egg noodle with chicken meatballs, kaiware, egg, and veggies) is also an excellent option. Before the Mensho’s and Ippudo’s of San Francisco, the latter was the city’s most talked-about ramen. It still is one of the best, being a tad less fatty-rich than its tonkotsu peers, which invites adding braised pork belly and an egg as a garnish to fully round it out. Ask for uncooked noodles if you plan to enjoy your ramen a little later.
How to enjoy: Walk in or call or text 415-371-9721 to make a reservation for indoor or outdoor dining or to place your takeout order.