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Best Sushi in SF is where?

NAspy Dec 5, 2008 02:01 PM

I imagine I'm opening a wonderful can of worms by asking this question. A good friend and I will be in SF for three days next week and we want the hands-down best sushi in the city. Price is no object. I went to Ame and had the tasting menu with wine pairings, last time I was in the city and it was fantastic, but it was more of an overall great dining experience and this time we'd like straight sushi and sashimi.

In LA my favorite spot is Sushi Zo, and hers is the Hump. We also love sake. Neither of us have been to Urasawa, and we're not huge fans of Nozawa, if that helps with some guidance.

I've searched the board with various key words and haven't come up with anything yet, though I recall reading about a few places that have gotten raves.

We wait excitedly for your responses!!

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  1. d
    drinkmoretang RE: NAspy Dec 5, 2008 02:37 PM

    the first return for the query "best sushi" returns this thread:


    you might also find this thread helpful:

    I have little to add to these threads, but I'm a fan of Ino. For one visit, I'd venture that it's less unlikely for you to have a bad experience at Sebo (for reasons you'll find in the threads above).

    1. j
      jacob_mochel RE: NAspy Dec 5, 2008 03:48 PM

      347 Fillmore St
      (between Chestnut St & Lombard St)
      San Francisco, CA 94123
      (415) 775-1873
      Really creative.. and good, also -Japanese beer you cant find anywhere(I've looked.)

      2 Replies
      1. re: jacob_mochel
        bigwheel042 RE: jacob_mochel Dec 6, 2008 08:56 PM

        Uhh...you might not be able to find the following Japanese beers in many other Japanese restaurants (Hitachino's distribution in particular is notoriously finicky, making it ill-suited for most restaurants to have on the menu) but I've definitely seen all of these at bars and liquor stores in SF and they are almost always in stock. Or are you referring to beers that aren't on Yuzu's website?

        White Ale - Hitachino Nest
        Red Rice Ale - Hitachino Nest
        Japanese Classic Ale - Hitachino Nest

        These are regularly in stock at Healthy Spirits and New Star-Ell Liquors. Additionally, I've seen the Hitachino XH, Ginger Brew and Espresso Stout available.

        Echigo Koshihikari
        Echigo Stout
        Orion, Okinawa

        I think that all of these can be found at Nijiya Market in Japantown (not 100% sure about the stout).

        1. re: bigwheel042
          Candice RE: bigwheel042 Dec 7, 2008 06:49 AM

          I've seen Hitachino Nest beers in the bottle at Beretta while at the bar.

      2. Sushi Monster RE: NAspy Dec 5, 2008 04:18 PM

        If Zo is your benchmark (and it is mine, as well) brace yourself. You're not going to find anything in that league in the Bay Area. If you're out of the city near SFO, consider Sakae. In the city proper, look very carefully at the operating hours of the high end places. Most are dinner only. And there can be some odd days off (ie: not just Sunday/Monday). Murasaki, Koo, Ino, Ebisu, Zushi Puzzle and Hama Ko are all consensus picks that you'd be well to research online (see the forum that sounds like "kelp"...) I hope you get to try several and report back.

        Sushi Monster

        2 Replies
        1. re: Sushi Monster
          Pandora RE: Sushi Monster Dec 6, 2008 09:05 PM

          I would stay away from Ebisu, plus I thought I heard they were closed for remodeling? I do like Koo, but have not been to the LA benchmark restaurants you mentioned for comparison.

          1. re: Sushi Monster
            Dan Wodarcyk RE: Sushi Monster Dec 9, 2008 07:25 PM

            After reading Sushi Monster's extensive reviews (insanely amazing list) I found myself at Sakae today after a meeting on the Peninsula. Hiro took very good care of me and I took my time making my way down a good deal of the white board. In short, and I apologize for my lack of Japanese names here; shima aji, hotate, o toro (best I've ever had in the Bay Area), aji, hamachi, tai, an amazing uni from Japan (apparently a type of uni without spikes on its exterior), ocean trout and at least 1 more. He noticed my interest and even gave me a small bowl of baby octopus, as well as a small piece of hirame wrapped around monk fish liver. Casual, unpretentious, but amazing freshness and Hiro (the owner) is extremely friendly. As a huge fan of Sushi Ran, I think this matches it minus the ambience but a plus on the personality of the chef. I still really enjoyed my trip to Sushi Sho (Albany) recently as well. I'll be back, thanks Sushi Monster.

          2. Senor Popusa RE: NAspy Dec 5, 2008 05:36 PM

            I haven't found any as good as Zo here but Sebo is my favorite in SF. Mellow, not a factory like Nozawa. Only the freshest ingredients. Small pieces (as they should be) like at Zo.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Senor Popusa
              K K RE: Senor Popusa Dec 5, 2008 10:56 PM

              +1 for Sebo. I think they come the closest to Zo out of all the other SF places.

              1. re: K K
                ShannonClark RE: K K Dec 10, 2008 12:46 PM

                another +1 for Sebo. One of my highlights of 2008 was a solo dinner I treated myself to at Sebo. Not cheap, but nothing I ordered had I ever seen at another sushi restaurant - flavorful, fresh and fairly creative fish that particular evening. Not cheap, but very friendly and everyone in the place seemed to be really enjoying themselves.

            2. d
              Dan Wodarcyk RE: NAspy Dec 5, 2008 09:40 PM

              Sushi Ran in Sausalito and Sushi Sho in Albany, though I cannot compare to Sushi Zo. Don't be intimidated by what you read of the proprietors of Sushi Sho. It's small, intimate, the chef is friendly and conversational, and the menu extremely focused and fresh (I felt as if I was at a family dinner of sushi amongst strangers). Sushi Ran is larger and more adventurous but also of high quality.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Dan Wodarcyk
                bbulkow RE: Dan Wodarcyk Dec 5, 2008 10:05 PM

                Sorry, I disagree. If the seats at the bar are taken, he nearly screams you out.

                His prerequisite, I suppose, but he reserves his kindness to those sitting at the bar, not those who rather rudely might *want* to sit at the bar.

                1. re: bbulkow
                  Dan Wodarcyk RE: bbulkow Dec 5, 2008 11:06 PM

                  Sorry, but the bar as I saw it is 8 seats only plus a few spares, and I saw no screaming. In fact, anyone who wondered in was offered a spare seat at the bar for a drink only until other parties left (plus some congeniality) or left to wait at a table until new seats opened. As other postings have suggested, their customer service leaves a lot to be desired, but if you're willing to "buck up", it's well worth it.

                  1. re: Dan Wodarcyk
                    bbulkow RE: Dan Wodarcyk Dec 8, 2008 08:39 AM

                    Yes, the bar seats 8, and I'm glad he wasn't rude to you.

              2. c
                Cary RE: NAspy Dec 6, 2008 05:59 PM

                Like another poster said, if you want one of the top sushi spots in the Bay Area, you'll have to trek a few miles south to Sakae in Burlingame (also somewhat accessible by Caltrain). It's around the corner from the Apple store. It looks like a hole in a wall (and it is) but the quality of seafood offered and the prices can be staggering. If call days ahead of time, ask very nicely, and Nozawa-san agrees to it, he can even prepare some kaiseki-type appetizers for your omakase.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Cary
                  makotot RE: Cary Dec 7, 2008 10:16 PM

                  For the freshness of ingridience (fish), Kyoya at Mission and 3rd (in Palace Hotel) is the best. They are one of a few in San Francisco which import fish from Tokyo by airplane. In my opinion, San Francisco can not complete against New York or Los Angeles for the quality of Japanese food.

                2. osho RE: NAspy Dec 8, 2008 09:15 AM

                  Here are my 5 sushi haunts in SF :

                  Sebo (True Sake is located right opposite - possibly the best sake store in the US)
                  Sushi Koo
                  Okina (only open Thursday through Saturday) - No rolls - straight sushi and sashimi

                  1. z
                    zin1953 RE: NAspy Dec 9, 2008 07:44 PM

                    For me, surprisingly enough it's Yoshi's

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: zin1953
                      klyeoh RE: zin1953 Feb 10, 2009 09:26 AM

                      I go to Yoshi's, too, when I want to try Cal-Jap food. It's a fun place, tho Yoshi's sushi rolls are to Japanese food what mushu pork/chowmein are to real Chinese food. Just don't go there expecting authenticity.

                    2. Neilo RE: NAspy Dec 10, 2008 03:09 PM

                      Currently I favor Yuzu on Fillmore. They could have a better selection, but it is a good value.

                      1. pseudokiwi RE: NAspy Dec 11, 2008 04:15 PM

                        Can't compare to LA, but I'm a transplanted NY'er and have been looking for good sushi ever since I got here. Haven't found a comp to Yasuda / Soto / Sasabune (my three faves).

                        So far, the best that I've had is Koo for straight up sushi. Sushi Ran was also good, but I have not been back in a while.

                        Agree that Ame is wonderful... One of my favorite restaurants in the city.

                        1. h
                          Hkent RE: NAspy Feb 10, 2009 08:21 AM

                          We used to drive an hour from presenton to get a good sushi at Sushi puzzle. But now i live in the city, so it is a lot easier to have it so often. The place is small and busy, so we have to come early, else have to wait so long to get seated, :( but what we did is to grab couple beers from Jake's steaks around the corner, so we didn't feel like we waited for that long.

                          1. m
                            murdoch RE: NAspy Feb 11, 2009 02:54 PM

                            I am a big fan of Sushi Zone. People seem really divided on the place (love it or hate it). It's not super expensive and the fish is great, but the wait is horrendus. The place seats about 12 and you need to get there early to put your name on the list.

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