Finding the best sushi in San Francisco is no easy task. The options in this hilly, chilly city by the bay are as varied and diverse as the people who call San Francisco home. From elegant and intimate omakase experiences to fun and casual fusion finds, this city has it all.
Sushi restaurants in San Francisco often feature sustainable and local fish that you’ve never thought to taste right alongside exceptional picks from world-class markets, like the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. That means you can experience everything from luscious local sea urchin or uni to exquisite Bluefin Tuna straight from Japan. In other words, San Francisco sushi is some of the best there is in the U.S, making the city a go-to destination for seafood connoisseurs. That means, of course, that the sushi dining options are near endless and hard to narrow down. So, just in case you need some help, which, let’s face it, you probably will, I created this list of the best sushi in San Francisco!
665 Townsend St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Tucked behind the busy SOMA neighborhood in San Francisco sits an understated gem. Omakase, an Edomae-style sushi restaurant, provides a unique and authentic experience that’s hard to find outside of Tokyo. With only 18 seats, this intimate but minimalist restaurant focuses entirely on the food. Their attention to impeccable freshness and quality has earned them a Michelin star, and in my opinion, it’s well deserved. Omakase means “chef’s choice,” so there’s no telling what will be on the menu when you arrive. The chef chooses what’s best that day and prepares it in a way that I can only describe as divine. Whether it’s sea urchin, salmon roe, or wagyu beef, there’s no doubt that you’ll leave Omakase happy.
Akiko’s Sushi Restaurant
431 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 9410
Located in the heart of downtown San Francisco, within walking distance of Union Square, the financial district, and SOMA, Aikiko’s is a true hole-in-the-wall treasure. With only three tables, you’ll need to make a reservation to experience this cozy eatery. Family-owned and operated for over thirty years, Aikkio’s focuses on both classic and creative Japanese cuisine. With a deep passion for sustainability, Aikkio’s tries to serve fish that’s local, organic, and not overfished. I’ve always found their Sashimi Moriawase to be fantastic, but if you prefer rolls, their Negitoro, or tuna belly, is phenomenal.
1335 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Just off of the eclectic Divisadero corridor, near Alamo Square Park, sits Ju-Ni, a sushi restaurant in San Francisco that’s worth visiting. With only twelve seats, Ju-Ni creates a unique and immersive experience for its guests. Every four diners get their own personal sushi chef who guides them through a top-notch omakase menu. Owned by 2017 Michelin Star Chef Geoffrey Lee and his business partner Tom Truong, Jun-Ji serves incredible nigiri sourced from Japan, all of which pairs beautifully with their extensive sake selections. If you’re a uni fan, be sure to ask for it here. It’s creamy, luscious, and, perhaps, the best I’ve ever experienced.
Saru Sushi Bar
3856 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Amongst the hills of Noe Valley sits Saru Sushi Bar, a Michelin guide restaurant that features a vibrant atmosphere and sushi that’s absolutely top-notch. Though the menu is primarily Japanese, several Californian influences are apparent, like their frequent use of avocado and their popular Daikon Shishito Salad. Saru serves all of your favorite rolls, but I’d personally suggest giving their nigiri menu a try. Or, for salmon lovers, they offer a salmon-only omakase menu that never disappoints. Of course, the local favorite is their spicy cracker appetizer, a tempura-battered seaweed cracker topped with spicy tuna and avocado.
584 Washington St, San Francisco, CA 94111
Just outside of Chinatown and across from the iconic Transamerica Pyramid sits Kusakabe, a chic and zen-inspired sushi restaurant that I highly recommend. Chef Mitsunori Kusakabe trained in Osaka and Tokyo. He specializes in Edomae style sushi but takes it to new levels, giving guests an experience that’s unforgettable. This former Michelin star restaurant is stunning inside and out, but the food is what keeps me coming back. Their seasonally driven menu is subject to change but always follows kaiseki cuisine preparation. That means it will always feature five colors, five tastes, five senses, and five methods, ensuring your meal is a creative, harmonic experience.
211 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118
Clement St., in the heart of San Francisco’s Richmond District, is admittedly awash with Asian restaurants, and it’s all too easy to walk past Wako if you don’t know what’s hidden inside. Behind the ordinary exterior sits a pristine but cozy atmosphere, where both the service and the sushi excel. So much so that Wako has a Michelin Star to boast about. Wako’s focus on traditional Japanese cuisine is anything but boring. Each dish is a masterpiece in color, flavor, and form. Their omakase menu with a paired sake flight is by far the best choice for new guests. Be sure to sit at the bar if you can; you’ll get to interact with the chefs, making the experience much more exciting.
115 Sansome St, San Francisco, CA 94104
Near Belden Place in San Francisco’s bustling financial district sits The Shota, an elegant and traditional sushi restaurant. With its pearly white counters and opulent gold accents, walking into The Shota is an experience in itself. This newer sushi haven serves an incredible Edomae-style omakase menu as well as several Kaiseki-inspired dishes. Their omakase comes from the world-renowned Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, which makes their sushi exceptional, but I also have to recommend their Wagyu beef add-on. It’s the perfect finish to every meal The Shota serves.
620 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94102
A few short blocks from Jefferson Park sits a bright and trendy take on the traditional sushi restaurant. Robin doesn’t have a menu of any type; everything is omakase, but that’s more than okay. With Chef Adam Tortosa at the helm, there’s no doubt that you’ll leave happy. Against a colorful backdrop, sushi chefs use traditional skills combined with modern techniques to spotlight local ingredients personalized for each guest. When you arrive, a well-trained service staff politely asks your budget, allergies, and preferences, then they guide you through a foodie journey you’re unlikely to ever forget.
Tekka Japanese Restaurant
With their main location in the quiet and often fog-laden Richmond neighborhood, Tekka Japanese Restaurant offers a homey and intimate experience. Run by a husband and wife team from Japan, this izakaya-style restaurant has no menu or set selections. Instead, the duo prepares late-night-style dishes inspired by Japan’s many diverse regions. You won’t find any typical American-Japanese dishes here. There’s no overly sweet teriyaki chicken, and you can’t order a Coke to go with your meal. However, I can promise that whatever they choose to serve you will be exceptional and unique. That’s why this cozy, pub-like restaurant is always amongst my favorites.
317 Sanchez St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Right next to Sanchez Elementary School, near the Castro district, sits a local favorite for authentic sushi in a cozy atmosphere. With only six tables, and no online reservations available, Eiji almost always has a wait, but, as many locals will tell you, it’s more than worth it. Eiji specializes in house-made tofu, which I can’t say enough good things about. They also serve gyoza that rivals some of the best I’ve ever had. Their sushi is top-notch as well, especially their tuna. Really, everything they serve is thoughtfully prepared; you can’t go wrong with whatever you order.
2450 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121
Clement Street is sometimes called “the other Chinatown” because of the vast amounts of Asian restaurants, markets, and shops located here. Tucked among them is this unassuming neighborhood joint, complete with beer ads on the windows and plain tabletops. Daigo Sushi may not be fancy but looks often deceive. Where this restaurant excels is in its top-notch sushi. At exceptionally reasonable prices, you can enjoy some of the best rolls in the city. That’s because Daigo Sushi focuses on quality over decor. With house-made soy sauce, perfectly seasoned Nigiri, and California rolls that feature real crab, it’s hard not to fall in love with this local gem.
PABU Izakaya San Francisco
101 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111
Bustling with busy professionals, the Financial District is the perfect place for PABU Izakaya. This sushi restaurant and bar features imaginative food that perfectly pairs with their wide selection of sake, cocktails, and beers. Their happy hour is excellent, as are their lunchtime specials, but PABU really excels at traditionally-inspired hot dishes, like their miso-marinated black cod. They also offer a selection of char-grilled steak for meat lovers. But if you want sushi, you should consider Ken’s Roll. The spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, pine nut, and avocado combination is fusion sushi at its finest.
762 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Nestled in the hip and eclectic Mission District, Cha-Ya features completely vegetarian sushi in a pleasant atmosphere. This family-owned and operated restaurant focuses on Shojin Ryori cooking styles, which translates to Japanese Buddhist cuisine. You may think vegetarian sushi would be boring at best, but with Cha-Ya, that’s far from the case. Despite the lack of raw fish, Cha-Ya’s menu is varied and filling. I’m in love with their Kinoko Miso Soup, which is brimming with meaty mushrooms. Also good is their Cha-Ya roll, featuring yam, asparagus, carrot, and avocado, all deep-fried in a light tempura batter.
22 Peace Plaza suite 530, San Francisco, CA 94115
You might not expect to find great sushi inside a mall, but SaSa Japanese will prove you wrong. Located on the third floor of the Japantown Mall, SaSa offers traditional kaiseki-inspired dishes with a touch of American influence. The atmosphere inside SaSa is hip but intimate, with warm lighting and plenty of unfinished wood. The owner, Chef Weida, believes that every piece of sushi contains power and soul, a belief that carries over into everything he serves. The omakase is worth ordering for melt-in-your-mouth fish, but also fantastic is the chawanmushi, a traditional egg custard you have to taste to fully appreciate.
206 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103
In the popular and vibrant Mission district, you’ll find Sushi Shiro, a high-end omakase restaurant that features a touch of Korean cuisine alongside its traditional Japanese offerings. Chef Alex Kim sources his fish straight from Japan to give guests top-quality sushi and sashimi. The omakase offerings at Sushi Shio are always divine, but you can also order a la carte if you know what you’d like. Their bluefin tuna is constantly selling out for a reason; it’s melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Should you go with the omakase, though, be sure to order it with supplement A. It has wagyu beef with white truffle that you’ll be dreaming of for days.
1283 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122
Next to the infamous Golden Gate Park sits another San Francisco landmark, Ebisu Restaurant. This sushi spot has been in business for over thirty years. Owned and operated by the same families that started it, the quality has always been top-notch. And though the space may seem casual, the sushi is far from it. Ebisu offers a variety of hot dishes and bento boxes at reasonable prices, but where they shine is in their creative sushi offerings. If you like fusion sushi with fun and unique inclusions, try the 49er roll, which features salmon, fish roe, and lemon. Or, try my personal favorite, the double hamachi roll. Hamachi is Japanese amberjack, and Ebisu’s does theirs supremely well.
1815 Market St #5, San Francisco, CA 94103
In the center of San Francisco, in the Duboce Triangle neighborhood, you’ll find a local favorite called Sushi Zone. This restaurant fills up almost every night for good reasons; they offer delicious sushi and excellent service. There’s no doubt that Chef Yoshinobu loves his job, and his incredible passion carries over to his food. In a relaxed and casual atmosphere, he serves authentic Japanese sushi alongside familiar favorites like edamame and miso soup. I suggest the unagi and papaya roll for something unique and different, but you also can’t go wrong with their spicy scallops.