When it comes to the Bay Area, it’s impossible to quantify the food scene. Is it best known for its crusty sourdough bread? Its Dungeness crab? Its cioppino? All of these foods are tried-and-true San Francisco, of course, but don’t forget the sushi. In the city’s 23-acre Japantown, also known as Nihonmachi, some of the most important, vibrant, and delicious food has long been savored. Sushi has traveled outside of Japantown, too. Here are the 20 best sushi restaurants in San Francisco serving up rolls, nigiri, and omakase on Caviar.
1. Kaiju Eats Ramen & Izakaya
Don’t let the name fool you. This unassuming ramen spot, right outside of Japantown and within a stone’s throw of the University of San Francisco, is about far more than superlative ramen. There are plenty of excellent sushi selections to choose from, including the spicy butterfish roll, with butterfish, avocado, and spicy aioli, and the Triple Monsters roll, with salmon, hamachi, tuna, and avocado.
2. Wasabi Bistro
The Castro’s Wasabi Bistro offers a compelling array of sushi rolls, nigiri, and hand rolls, making it one of the best places for a Japanese-inspired dinner at home. The spice-inflected Castro Roll is definitely the way to go if you’re feeling the heat: seared whitefish, crabmeat, and avocado, tied together with jalapeño and the house special sauce.
3. We Be Sushi
The Mission may be known as San Francisco’s go-to district for authentic Mexican food, but don’t disregard this extremely delicious take on Japanese fare, which can be delivered straight to your door. Rolls are excellent, but so is the fresh-as-can-be nigiri. Try the saba (mackerel) or the amaebi (raw shrimp), a sweet and enticing delicacy.
4. Sushi Uma
Is Sushi Uma the best place to grab a roll in Golden Gate Heights? You may have to see for yourself. But rolls like the Romeo & Juliet — salmon, avocado, and cucumber on the inside, with torched scallop, wasabi, and tobiko on the outside — make a pretty good argument. This inventive restaurant serves beautiful sushi that you won’t want to ignore.
5. Wago Sushi
Sushi in the Marina doesn’t get much better than Wago, with its wide array of rolls and nigiri. The Island Roll — shrimp tempura, crab, and avocado topped with salmon, lemon, green onion, and house sauce — is a don’t-miss order at this stellar spot.
6. Coco’s Sushi
You can enjoy both sushi and ramen at this Mission District restaurant, where the soup is hot and the rolls are cold. Sushi is available from 4 to 9 p.m., and you’ll want to take advantage of the afternoon and evening window to scoop up what’s good — the Chaotic Roll, for instance: A tempura shrimp and avocado roll that’s topped with a salmon-garlic sauce.
7. Kuma Sushi + Sake
In the Tenderloin, Kuma Sushi + Sake is the way to go for those looking for fresh and delicious sushi for delivery. Don’t sleep on the Kuma’s house salad, which comes with massaged kale, salt-pickled cucumber, and local seaweed. The rich, decadent two-piece sake toro (salmon belly) nigiri is an equally stellar pick.
8. Fishmandu Sushi
Inventive rolls come to life at the Tenderloin’s Fishmandu. It’s hard not to fall — and fall hard — for items like the Sunshine Roll, featuring salmon, thinly sliced lemon, tobiko, hamachi, cucumber, scallion, and shiso. Or opt for the Buddhilicious, which is practically overflowing with hamachi, jalapeño, spicy albacore, avocado, cucumber, scallion, and radish sprouts.
Find Kippu, a casual Japanese restaurant known for its sushi and bento boxes, in the heart of San Francisco’s Japantown. Although the bento boxes are a great option for either lunch or dinner, don’t ignore the chef’s selection of sashimi here. The curated 14-piece plate, offering whatever is freshest, is a solid option for the tried-and-true fish lover.
10. Izakaya Yoki
Located between Nob Hill and Belden Place, this comprehensive Japanese restaurant does many things well. The corn tempura, a sweet corn and walnut fritter served with spicy mayo, is outrageously tasty, and sushi devotees will also appreciate rolls like the Shrimp Rush, full of shrimp tempura, crab salad, ebi, avocado, wasabi mayo, tobiko, and sweet sauce.
11. SF Izakaya Sushi Bar
In Japantown, find this sushi bar that’s full of enticing rolls and fresh nigiri options. The popular salmon roll, filled with fresh-caught salmon and cucumber, is popular for a reason. And the spicy Firecracker Roll, with crispy yellowtail, salmon, spicy mayo, and tobiko, is a must for those looking for a little added heat.
Steps from the Lower Haight lies this intimate sushi restaurant where the namesake dish, a baked California roll with salmon, scallops, spicy mayo, tobiko, scallions, and an unagi glaze, may just be one of the best things on the menu. For those who prefer their sushi rolls ice cold and not baked, check out the vibrant Red Dragon: A shrimp tempura and cucumber roll topped with spicy tuna, tobiko, and unagi sauce.
13. Hikari Sushi
The robust menu at Japantown’s Hikari Sushi won’t leave anyone wanting for more. Whether you’re partial to rolls, nigiri, or donburi, Hikari probably has what you’re looking for — and maybe even something you weren’t. The jewel-toned nigiri is a highlight here. Order the seared aji (horse mackerel) with ginger and green onion for an unbeatable culinary combination.
14. RA Sushi
Not only does this Japantown restaurant provide stellar sushi, but it also offers large-format options for those hosting family and friends. The Samurai Platter includes a California roll, spicy tuna roll, spicy shrimp roll, tuna nigiri, and shrimp nigiri, and there are more platters like it if you’re looking to feed a crowd. The menu also offers plenty of fun takes on traditional sushi dishes, like the Tunacado appetizer: Seared ahi tuna and fresh sliced avocado, served alongside a creamy tataki dipping sauce.
15. Hakashi Japanese Sushi Bar & Grill
In SoMa, this seasonally focused sushi and sashimi restaurant marries luxury with approachability. Omakase is an option, but food can also be ordered a la carte. Traditional rolls are made with expertise. Order the Double Hamachi Roll — yellowtail, chopped green onion, negi (onion), sesame seeds — for a taste of a roll made incredibly well.
This Michelin-starred, 14-seat restaurant may be a difficult spot at which to snag a reservation, but it’s not hard to get its above-par food delivered to your house. The seasonal Premium Nigiri Box — a 10-piece selection of fish which comes with tamago and toro maki — is captivating. Hokkaido uni nigiri (sea urchin) and otoro (fatty tuna belly) are also available, making this one of the most luxury-oriented sushi delivery outposts in San Francisco.
17. Sushi Shio
Open for lunch and dinner, this Mission restaurant offers affordable sushi tasting flights for those in the know. The chef’s choice sushi tasting is the way to go here; it consists of eight pieces of seasonal fish, nigiri-style, for under $50. Add on a wasabi-rich fatty tuna roll for your pleasure, and dinner is set.
18. Fenikkusu Tapas & Omakase
With a wide variety of options, from omakase to izakaya, this Japanese restaurant is truly appealing to all. You can order the eight-piece omakase at home, as well as other dishes that the restaurant refers to as “tapas”: the oxtail pot, oxtail with tofu and daikon in Korean pepper soup; quail yaki, soy-marinated grilled quail with a quail egg; and American Wagyu beef carpaccio.