Great Casual Omakase??
Our best Omakase experience was at Sushi Kaito in Encinitas. Looking for a great restaurant to match our experience. Someplace casual where we can wear shorts or jeans, maybe sit at the bar and talk to the chef, but most importantly is great sushi. Help us. We are staying close to Fisherman's Wharf but have a car and will travel anywhere in the SF area. Thanks for advice in advance.
Sakae, on California Drive in Burlingame (on your way to/from SFO), would be my top choice for a great at-the-bar learning experience. Really reliable quality. I haven't heard from anyone over a span of many years who's reported back that it's overrated. Leave 2-3 hours of time. Look very carefully at the white-board of special fish and ask some questions.
It will not be cheap (particularly if you do a sake tasting flight). But it will be an omakase taste adventure almost up to par with the Los Angeles standard (which in my mind is Sushi Zo, at about $150+ per person.)
At Fisherman's Wharf you are not far from Zushi Puzzle.
I went there once (make sure you sit at the sushi bar. I think you can reserve but I forget) and had a great time. The chef is a real character, very talkative, and it's very informal.
I should say that my favorite 2 sushi omakase places are Ino in Japantown (but the place is very dour and the chef not very talkative) and Yume in Alameda (which you can get to by car. They don't take reservations and I've only gone at like 6PM so I wouldn't have to wait. If you go there make sure to get his giant scallop sushi)
Two recommendations for you:
Sushi Aka Tombo in Japantown - casual atmosphere, $30 omakase (the best sushi deal in SF in my opinion) and chef Ryoji is a skilled itamae who is friendly, chatty, and will take great care of you.
Okina Sushi in the inner Richmond - only open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Reservations are highly recommended. Chef Akio-san is very friendly but can be quiet at times. The restaurant's atmosphere is more on the "quiet and serene" tip compared to Aka Tombo. He doesn't have a set price for omakase, just tell him how much you want to spend. You can get quite full on good sushi for $40 per person there. Note that his selection of fish is much more limited than Aka Tombo's.
1737 Buchanan St
(between Post St & Sutter St)
776 Arguello Blvd
(between Cabrillo St & Golden Gate Ave)