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Jun 21, 2007 08:53 AM

sushi in Japantown

who has the best sushi in Japantown? I will be there on Sunday.

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  1. There are not too many great sushi places, but maybe your best bet would be
    Ino Sushi- very small counter, fresh pieces of fish
    Maki Restaurant- very small too, might be best to make a reservation..

    I have not been to these places for quit some time, so maybe someone here can chime in.

    If you want to drop some cash then go to Kiss Seafood, near Japantown in Pacific Heights. You will need a reservation here.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Lori SF

      I would strongly second Ino Sushi in J-town. Very much focused on sushi - not so much of the rolls and other western variants.

    2. Ino Sushi is not open for lunch. I think they are closed on Sundays (or was it Mondays?) Maybe someone can correct me.

      If you do consider Ino Sushi, read my tips posted here:

      If you must go to SF J-town on Sunday and find yourself without much choices, Tora-ya is supposed to be pretty decent for nigiri (though a far cry from Ino). Takara at the bar is pretty decent too but it is not cheap (last time I had lunch there on Sunday almost 2 years ago it was $70 ish but I also ordered some heavy hitters)

      6 Replies
      1. re: K K

        K K you are correct, sorry kitchenguy Ino and Kiss are closed on Sunday. Maki is open it's good but not outstanding.

        1. re: K K

          Thanks KK. I never venture to J-town during lunch hours, hence it did not strike me to mention that Ino is indeed closed for lunch.

          1. re: K K

            I think Takara is quite good, and much the best place for sushi on Sunday afternoon.

            1. re: K K

              Has anyone been to Fuku right across from Maki lately?


              1. re: vincentlo

                I actually prefer Fuku over Ino (just for the overt wasabi aspect). Great fish and well-prepared. This is my go-to place in Japantown (after Toraya, which is up on Fillmore).

                1. re: Carrie 218

                  Hi Carrie, What are your consistent favourites at Fuku?

            2. osho forgot to mention Ino's non-traditional heavy hand applying powdered wasabi. Takara's fish may not as good, but at least you can taste it. I can't figure out if it's open sundays.

              23 Replies
              1. re: Neilo

                I have to admit, I've gotten used to heavy handedness with the wasabi at Ino. I don't think it is as bad as not being able to taste the fish, though.

                1. re: osho

                  I've eaten at Ino a half-a-dozen times over the past year and the wasabi amount has definitely decreased. Now, having eaten at EVERY restaurant in Japantown, my favorite is not in J-Town at all but around the corner and up Fillmore two blocks: Toraya (NOT the Tora-Ya in J-Town). Freshest fish and an insightful chef who reads the people immediately and seems to know what they (or at least ME) likes!

                  1. re: Carrie 218

                    Carrie, how does Toraya compare with Okina on Arguello ? I am asking specifically about the sushi here.

                    1. re: osho

                      osho I like Okina too, have you been to Murasaki? I find it very good, pristine and classic traditional sushi - Clement at 3rd ave.
                      I have not been to Toraya but perhaps I will try.

                        1. re: Lori SF

                          Great ! Now I am torn in between going to Okina and Murasaki for dinner tonight ! :-)

                          1. re: osho

                            fyi- Okina and Murasaki are in differnet price zones..

                        2. re: osho

                          Haven't been to Okino... now on my list. I admit to having only been to those sushi joints I can walk to which is all of Japantown, up Fillmore, and a regrettable visit to the one on 6th(?) and Clemente where it is served on boats.

                          1. re: Carrie 218

                            I'm looking to find somewhere for a group of 10 on Friday night. We're heading to Yoshi's after dinner and trying to find somewhere reasonable in price that could handle our group. Any of the sushi spots around there fit the bill?

                            1. re: mofo313

                              As much as I hate to suggest it, for a group of 10 with most places not taking reservations, I would call Toraya and see if you can make reservations there. It is a few blocks beyond Japantown (but not much) up Fillmore.

                              I can't think of anyplace in JTown specifically that could accommodate that large of a group other than Benihana.

                              1. re: Carrie 218

                                Thanks, I haven't found any sort of menu online for them--what kind of price range are we looking at?

                                The other place that came up was Happy Shabu Shabu, is that place any good? Seems like it might be fun for a group

                                1. re: mofo313

                                  I haven't been to Toraya for a couple of years, but it was not cheap -- probably $100-$140 for two of us with a good amount of sushi and sake. I remember that I stopped going there because I felt it was too expensive. If you can swing the $$, it might be a good place because I also like their cooked/grill dishes which might be good for a group.

                                  1. re: mofo313

                                    I like Happy Shabu Shabu and it IS a lot more geographically desirable so you won't have to walk as far with a large group. Are you married to Japanese? There are a handful of really great Korean in the same block and on the corner of Geary & Fillmore, a large one getting decent local crowds that could accommodate a large group. I really like their Bi Bim Bap.

                                    1. re: Carrie 218

                                      I think we're becoming more into the shabu shabu idea. None of us have tried it before and no time like the present. Of the restaurants in the area is Happy Shabu Shabu the one to check out for first timers?

                                      Thanks for all your help on this.

                                      1. re: mofo313

                                        I'm sorry I never remember the name of it, but I prefer the Shabu Shabu that in the Buchanan Mall of Japantown (that is the out door mall with the fountains). The Shabu-Shabu is on the right (if you are facing *away* from the Pagoda), immediately after Soko Hardware.

                                2. re: mofo313

                                  Ten people for sushi doesn't sound like a good meal to me. You'll just get production line stuff and wait a long time for it, potentially missing your curtain time. Any other type of Japanese cooking you'd like to try?

                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                    Actually I think we're going to try Cafe Mums, the shabu shabu sounds interesting and all you can eat & drink is definitely good for the group. Any thoughts on this idea?

                                    1. re: mofo313

                                      Cafe Mums is decent - you get 1 type of thin sliced fatty ribeye beef and an assortment of veggies, tofu, and noodles. It's noisy and gets packed but a lot of fun if you don't mind.

                                      Just across the street in the plaza is Shabusen which is a la carte ordering. They have shabu shabu and sukiyaki. The meat is of higher quality and there's a lot of variety to choose from. It's also a nicer and more quiet but you pay accordingly for the upscale difference.

                                      You should call ahead to reserve. Mums gets a lot of large parties and gets booked to capacity quickly on weekends.

                                      1. re: junesix

                                        I was recently part of one of those large parties at Cafe Mums and we got the AYCE&D shabu shabu deal. Certainly an enjoyable experience for a group, with the shared cooking on the table and such. Not sure I can say it was the very best shabu shabu I've ever had though.

                                        I also recently enjoyed the special omakase at KISS. Really great food experience, especially the sashimi course. Too bad for the OP they're closed on Sunday, although I'm just noticing the OP posted many months ago.

                                        For the group of 10 on Friday before heading to Yoshi's, I suggest calling ahead for Osaka on Fillmore, across the street from the previously suggested Toraya. The sushi is more affordable there and is more casual with friendly service. Not the greatest sushi, but certainly decent. I must admit it's been about a year since I've eaten there since I moved away from the neighborhood.

                                        Kiss Seafood
                                        1700 Laguna St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                                        Cafe Mums
                                        1800 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA

                                        Osaka Japanese Restaurant
                                        1923 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                                        1. re: Benny Choi

                                          We ended up getting reservations at Happy Shabu for tonight. I'll follow up with a report early next week. I'm excited to check out the new Yoshi's, from the sfgate review it sounds like a big hit.

                                          1. re: mofo313

                                            After all this, we headed to Happy Shabu for our Friday night reservation only to find they marked it down for Saturday. Since the place was empty--completely empty minus their staff--we didn't think it would be a problem but apparently they were all booked and we had to find somewhere else. We ended up at Sushi Boom, just a block or two north of Yoshi's. The food was okay, nothing great--I think they actually specialize in sake bombs since that was the only thing everyone seemed to get excited about.

                                            Yoshi's is a great room for music, we had a blast at the show except for the two extremely rude people who wouldn't switch sides of the table and insisted sitting between two of us and the rest of our group at the next table. I wouldn't have had as much of an issue with this if the woman had stayed awake through the show. Boo rude people sleeping through the late show.

                                            1. re: mofo313

                                              Condolences on Sushi Boom. I think it is quite possibly the WORST sushi in the neighborhood with fish that is not fresh or the fact that they don't even try and cover that fact by preparing it well with decent rice or accompaniments.