There is no shortage of sensational sushi places in San Francisco, however, there is a list of five restaurants that we adore. Here is where we go when we want the freshest most flavorful rolls around.
Omakase means “chef’s choice” in Japanese and when dining at this Soma eatery, you’ll experience only the freshest and most thoughtful seafood preparations. With only 14 seats that surround the open kitchen like a stage, it feels as if you could be sitting in chef Jackson Yu’s house. He interacts with diners providing expert information on the different types of fish while grating wasabi root on to sashimi. Chef Yu and his partner Kash Feng have established relationships with the vendors at Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji Fish Market and scour the mountains of Japan for the best handmade traditional pottery and serving platters. An exceptional sake list makes a meal at Omakase one of the most impeccable and memorable nights of your life.
665 Townsend Street San Francisco, CA 94107
In 2008, Tataki opened its doors in Pacific Heights on California Street with a revolutionary new way to serve sushi. The team would only serve responsibly sourced, environmentally-friendly seafood. It was the first restaurant of its kind to make ocean sustainability a priority. If you think this means they offer a limited menu, think again. Tataki’s dinner offerings is quite extensive and includes 16 different nigiri and sashimi selections and 13 types of rolls. Plus, there are 14 rolls made specifically for vegetarians, classic starters like spicy edamame and miso soup, housemade ramen, and plates that featured cooked preparations of Spanish octopus, farmed Hokkaido scallops, and pole-caught skipjack tuna.
2829 California Street San Francisco, CA 94115
3 Sushi Ran
Sushi Ran has been meeting the sushi needs of Sausalito—and the Bay Area—for the past 30 years. It’s a classic Japanese restaurant that masterfully serves traditional (like fatty blue fin tuna with wasabi and scallions) and innovative (tuna, salmon, hamachi, ikura, hotate, shiso, cucumber) rolls. On the raw side of things there nigiri and sashimi selection is substantial: tuna, yellowtail, white fish, salmon, mackerel, beef, shellfish, mackerel, ell, caviar, toro, reef squid, octopus, and uni.
107 Caledonia Street Sausalito, CA 94965
4 Ichi Sushi
Ichi Sushi is a beloved sushi joint from the husband and wife team Tim and Erin Archuleta. It started as a catering company in 2006, shifted to a deli in 2010, and then finally a sushi bar later that year. It was so successful that the couple moved into a larger space, but after some unexpected health issues, they were forced to move into the original smaller Bernal Heights location at the start of this year. Luckily chef Tim is on the mend and Ichi still serves lunch and dinner on a daily basis. The menu is seasonal and changes often, but features fresh sushi, a scrumptious avocado, tuna salad with sesame dressing, marinated black cod, and salt-broiled fish collar.
3369 Mission Street San Francisco, CA 94110
Although Ryoko’s is a basement dive in the heart of the Tenderloin, it’s great sushi, lively atmosphere, and ability to cater to groups make it worth the trip to a seedier part of town. It’s also open late—serving fresh seafood until 1:15 a.m—and has a DJ giving it a club-like vibe. It’s so old-school that Ryoko’s doesn’t have a website, but rather a comprehensive Yelp page. Order seaweed salad, spicy chicken yakitori, and housemade pot gyoza. Sushi plates are served with miso soup and the long list of rolls includes crazy preparations like barbecued eel and avocado rolled and deep-fried; fried shrimp with jalapeño, peanut butter, cucumber, and fish roe; crab with avocado topped with seven kinds of fresh fish.