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Sake only store in SF? Other sake recommendations?

  • j

A while back I recall a listing for a store in SF that only sold sake. Apparently they had one of the best selections in the states. I tried the search function but couldn't find it. Does anyone recall the name?

Also, does anyone have a recommendation for other good sake outlets? I'm familiar with Mitsuwa, Nijiya (several locations) and Naks (a small Japanese/Indonesian-Dutch market in Menlo Park but has carefully chosen selection).


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  1. true sake is the name you are looking for..


    3 Replies
    1. re: r32soul

      this place is great. since we had no idea about any of the brands/bottles, we talked with the staffperson about what we were planning to eat that evening, what our price range was, and the kinds of characteristics we like in sake. she was patient and probed us for information, recommending a bottle that we enjoyed immensely.

      1. re: r32soul

        I also strongly recommend True Sake. I have been a regular customer for over a year, and the female staffer in particular has been most helpful. If you make it over to Berkeley, my understanding is that Tokyo Fish Market on San Pablo has a decent selection, and Berkeley Bowl has a decent selection as well, but at least for the latter, I doubt you could find anything there you couldn't get a True Sake.

        What's great about TS is that they have such a broad and comprehensive stock, including the super-fresh releases, unpasteurized, barrel-aged, and sparkling. If you haven't had it before, there's a sake made with red rice that has a particularly interesting, plum-y nose.

        1. re: r32soul

          One of the early clips in the Obsessives series on this very site involved the proprietor of True Sake, Beau Timken.


          Edit: hadn't noticed how old the original post was - I suspect he/she figured things out by now.... :


          True Sake
          560 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

        2. A couple of years ago I was at a sake manufacturer/importer in Berkley. don't know the name

          2 Replies
          1. re: paprkutr

            That is the Cho Shiku Bai factory - they make a number of items at the plant (sold for full retail - often cheaper at BevMo, Tokyo Fish, etc.) They also have some quite fine imports from Japan, also available at some local stores. If you are in Berkeley or surrounds, Tokyo Fish Market has a very decent variety in a range of price points.

            1. re: paprkutr

              I was walking by so on impulse did the tasting at Takara (Sho Chiku Bai) yesterday. Fun and educational. The guy said they'll probably start charging so get it while it's free. Open daily 12-6.

              Takara Sake USA
              708 Addison St, Berkeley, CA 94710

            2. I believe that Berkeley Bowl also has quite a variety to choose from with varying price range.

              1. True Sake's selection is the largest in the country--over 150 sakes. They import a lot of things you won't find anywhere else. Amazing store.


                The one thing you won't find there is California-made sake. They stock only Japanese imports.

                True Sake
                560 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                1 Reply
                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Nor will you find kasu, a sake by-product used to marinate fish and to flavor soup. It comes in sheets or a paste and can be found at the market in Japantown.

                2. Love, love, love True Sake. I'm relatively new to sake (enjoy it more than wine, even though that ruins my "born and raised in the WineCountry cred" to some I guess. *gryn*) and they are extremely helpful and friendly to sake newbs (and experts and all inbetween alike). I highly recommend signing up for their email mailing list. Beau sends out a highly informative email newsletter pretty regularly. It's how I found out about a sake tasting that is happening on the 13th in San Francisco...apparently the "largest sake tasting event outside of Japan". Check it out, http://www.joyofsake.com

                  1. TrueSake is the best place to buy Sake if you need help or want something exclusive. If you are interested in more widely available Japanese sakes and know what you want, Nijiya Market, and Uoki Sakai Market, both in Japantown are good sources.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Paul H


                      Nijiya Market
                      1737 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                      Sakai K Uoki Co
                      1656 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                    2. www.nijiya.com

                      Only one of 2 or 3 Japan towns remaining in the USA is in San Jose. Nijiya Supermarket located at 240 Jackson St has its own rice source from organic farms in southern California. This store is most notiable for its extensive premium sakes.


                      Or if you want to go to a Sake Bar check out Koji Sake Lounge located at 48 S. First St. Really cool house music and cooler-than-thou staff

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: lauercrnsw


                        Nijiya Market
                        240 Jackson St, San Jose, CA

                        Koji Sake Lounge
                        48 S 1st St, San Jose, CA 95113

                      2. I had a bad experience at True Sake. I found the staff snotty, and unhelpful. I kept waiting for service and was trying to flag someone down in an otherwise not that busy store. I'll stick to Japantown or BevMo.

                        1. K&L in Redwood City and online is getting some amazing sakes in.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Melissa Smith

                            Chinese grocery chains like Marina Foods and Ranch 99 also carry a decent collection of sakes, but keep in mind that some of them have been sitting on the shelf for a while. Always check the expiration date (if printed) for imported sakes.