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Yakitori across from Tian Sing/Cyril Magnin

I'm looking for interesting places to eat in the Union Square area I've had dim sum at Tian Sing (okay) and might like to find some Yakitori, Southeast Asian or Indian. I saw a Japanese place across from Tian Sing and wondered if that was any good. I also can see a place called Naan n Curry from my hotel.

Any tips?

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  1. Skip Naan n Curry and go next door to Sultan. It's my favorite Indian in the City.

    1. The japanese place is Hana-Zen they are known for their Yakitori. Though not necessarily loved. Here is the yelp page on them: http://www.yelp.com/biz/hana-zen-san-...
      My mother really liked this place so i ate there a few times. and it does have a proper Yakitori grill... which aren't that common in SF.

      I second skipping Naan n Curry. i really think that place was only good when it first opened and it was a tiny extremely loud hole in the wall. more novelty for a group of college students. Now it's a larger chain, more subdued, bigger... and i know better.

      Also if you extend that list to some Ramen, you are close (2 blocks) from Katana-Ya on Geary at Mason.
      I am assuming you want to stay within walking distance.

      16 Replies
      1. re: kairo

        I went to Hana zen once a couple of years ago and thought it was really bad. What was particularly shocking is that they used to be Nanbantei, which is a decent yakitori restaurant that you can find in many parts of Asia including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo (http://www.nanbantei.com/).

        Unfortunately there really isn't any good yakitori in the bay area, but based on what is available I think the consensus for the best place is Sumiya Yakitori in San Jose.

            1. re: hong_kong_foodie

              Have not been as it is out of my eating range, but most of my J-food friends enjoy it.

              1. re: K K

                Interesting - I had never heard of this place. Thanks for the heads up.

                But I also just did some research on google and it looks like they don't have most of the really good chicken parts like soft knee bone, soft bone, etc. Sigh.

                1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                  You mean cartilege or nankotsu? My friend asked the owners a while back about it (as well as skin / kawa). If there is enough demand from gourmands, they may consider stocking it. Then again it's all about whether they purchase parts or a whole chicken and prep it themselves (which I don't know).

                  1. re: K K

                    Yep! In that case I will have to pay the restaurant a visit and talk to the owner. :) Thanks again for the tip.

            2. re: K K

              Halu is fantastic for Yakitori, my fave are the chicken hearts, salted chicken wing, chicken liver and bacon wrapped asparagus. Last time I was there they have okonomiyaki on their special, which was very good. It's the thinner style, not thick as the ones in Japan Town. I think their yakitori is much better seasoned than the ones at Sumiya in Santa Clara

              1. re: Noodlebabe

                Best yakitori in the Bay Area is at Sumika in Los Altos, hands down. We were just there the other night and had, as usual, a fantastic meal. In addition to yakitori, we had a nabe and a curry poke/potato salad and a chicken and cabbage salad.

                1. re: Wendy_san

                  I haven't been to Halu (I really should), but have been to a number of Izakaya and other places that do kushiyaki. I have to agree that Sumika is the best that I've experienced in the area; they do chicken right. ;-)

                  However, they don't do the more unusual chicken parts that hong_kong_foodie asks for. That said, they do have enough to keep me satisfied.

                  My recommendation is to stick to the kushiyaki and similar items on the first inside menu page, order a bottle of sake and enjoy. Unexpectedly, they have really good desserts! Try one.

                  For lunch, the menu is quite different. I always order one of the chicken based donburi items. Really good.

                  BTW, I agree that Hana Zen used to be good when it was part of Nanbantei and in the time just afterwards, but faltered in the early part of this decade. I haven't been back in 5+ years.

                  -----
                  Sumika
                  236 Central Plz, Los Altos, CA 94022

                  Halu
                  312 8th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

                  Hana Zen
                  115 Cyril Magnin, San Francisco, CA 94102

                  Izakaya Restaurant
                  1335 N 1st St, San Jose, CA 95112

                  1. re: jman1

                    Give Ippuku a try - based on my one time there, it was not bad, and I liked it more than Sumika or Sumiya in the south bay. Ippuku also has a pretty good selection, and the flavors were acceptable.

                    -----
                    Sumika
                    236 Central Plz, Los Altos, CA 94022

                    Sumiya
                    2634 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara, CA 95051

                    Ippuku
                    2130 Center St, Berkeley, CA 94704

                    1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                      Ippuku is spectacular in many ways. The decor is downright sexy, and the shochu and sake selection is unbeatable. The tab can be shocking if you go all out on their amazing food and beverages though.

                      -----
                      Ippuku
                      2130 Center St, Berkeley, CA 94704

                        1. re: ankimo

                          Thanks for the rec. Had it in the back of the mind since your earlier post and tried it on Thursday. Yes, it is better than its sibling, Sumiya, and remarkably good for a month-old restaurant. Too long since I was at Sumika to compare and I've not been to Ippuku yet. I liked it a lot.

                          -----
                          Sumika
                          236 Central Plz, Los Altos, CA 94022

                          Sumiya
                          2634 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara, CA 95051

                          Ippuku
                          2130 Center St, Berkeley, CA 94704

                          Gaku
                          5152 Moorpark Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

                          1. re: ankimo

                            I've been to Sumiya a few times and can't stand it. I don't understand how there can be so much meat on the soft bone skewer -- that is ridiculous. I asked them once about it and they didn't really have an answer. I bet some of the staff don't even know good, authentic yakitori. And now a sibling restaurant? I probably won't even bother.

                            -----
                            Sumiya
                            2634 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara, CA 95051

                          2. re: hong_kong_foodie

                            Thanks, I will try Ippuku. I did look in once and noticed the smokey ambiance. I didn't mind, but my friend wasn't comfortable with the smokiness (wonder if they have a ventilation problem). Otherwise, it looked cool and is getting a lot of buzz.

                            In fact, I haven't tried any of the new bread of retro-rustic-hip-sexy-Americanized izakaya. It's definitely interesting to see so many opening and at another time in my life, I probably would have been into the scene. Lately, I'm happy to find a more relaxed neighborhood place. As Sumika is still my favorite, I do need to try Ippuku if it has the possibility of being better!

                            Recently, I've been visiting Ju-Ku. Very much a neighborhood place. Good menu. No fuss. Friendly owner (ex of Oyaji, I hear). Food is fine, but not great. All cooking is in back kitchen, but they may not have the proper grill for kushiyaki. Their kushiage is better. Limited sake and shochu menu. Price is moderate. Decor is simple.

                            -----
                            Oyaji Restaurant
                            3123 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                            Sumika
                            236 Central Plz, Los Altos, CA 94022

                            Ippuku
                            2130 Center St, Berkeley, CA 94704