San Francisco has always been a popular place for Japanese Americans to settle. It's only a ten-hour flight from Japan, and the city is steeped in Japanese culture.
There are plenty of Japanese restaurants in San Francisco where you can go out and enjoy some bento boxes or high-quality fish and Japanese sushi.
We've created a list of the top Japanese restaurants in the Bay Area. Some have been open for decades, while others are newcomers to the scene. But they are all excellent choices for enjoying some Japanese cuisine.
Best Places to Eat Japanese Cuisine in San Francisco
You don't have to go far to find a great Japanese restaurant in San Francisco. You can find them on almost every street corner in places like San Mateo, Redwood City, and Japantown.
Whether it's takeout or indoor dining you're looking for, there's a place where you can get some excellent food.
1. Akiko's Restaurant
Down in Union Square, Akiko's is a family-owned restaurant with brick walls and rosewood floors. Chef Naoyuki Hashimoto has created a menu filled with high-quality fish. You can get sashimi, nigiri, and omakase here.
Their seasonal dishes are all sourced locally from Tsukiji Market, and the menus change daily based on what fish they've managed to source.
You might find unique dishes on the menu, like black sea bream, sea urchin, or shrimp. They also have over 30 sakes on their menu to complement the dishes.
2. Hina Yakitori
Yakitori is one of the most famous Japanese food forms, and many restaurants have opened recently specializing in yakitori-style food. Chef Tommy Cleary has created a genuinely delicious yakitori spread at Hina Yakitori.
His omakase style of yakitori involves grilling chicken over a Japanese grill, and diners can watch him create their dishes in front of them.
They also offer sashimi, bento boxes, and a tasting menu. If you're looking for high-quality Japanese food, this place is your next go-to spot.
3. Robin - A New Restaurant for Japanese Food
Robin is a newcomer to the Japanese food scene in San Francisco in Japantown. It's an elegant restaurant where the owner and Chef Adam Tortosa serves up contemporary omakase-style food.
He trained under some top sushi chefs and previously worked at Akiko's. The inspiration is clear; you can find some excellent dishes here, like bluefin shoulder, blood-orange kosho, and starry flounder.
There are also some hearty dishes for diners, like hand-pulled noodles covered in soy sauce.
4. Kusakabe - One of San Francisco's Upscale Japanese Restaurants
Kusakabe is a omakase sushi experience. Chef Mitsunori Kusakabe has worked in some of the best sushi restaurants in the world, like Nobu in Tokyo, and has created a delicious menu you'll enjoy every bite of.
It starts with light bites and shifts to heavier dishes. You'll be treated to Wagyu beef, tuna belly, and garnishes complimenting each fish's flavor. It's expensive ($98 for seven courses) but worth it.
5. Curry Hyuga
This Japanese curry house in Burlingame only opened after the first lockdown, but it quickly established itself as one of the top Japanese restaurants in the Bay Area.
Chef Masayuki Tadokoro has put together elegant curry dishes with caramelized onions and over 21 spices. Diners can also get rice bowls, karaage, and corn soups as appetizers.
You can enjoy indoor dining here or get takeout and delivery. It's a great choice for a Japanese meal in San Francisco.
As you can see, there are numerous Japanese restaurants in San Francisco, with some of the best chefs in the world preparing elegant and chic menus.
Any restaurant from this list is a great choice to enjoy Japanese food so good you'll think you're in Japan itself.