Japanese Restaurants in Inner Sunset

Select Local Merchants

Almost too beautiful to eat, the carefully-plated cuisine at Will Sushi is thoughtfully constructed by experienced sushi chefs working behind a long, dark bar. Here, they roll colorful cuts of fish into specialty maki rolls which then twist across a plate in the shape of a writhing dragon or surrounded by colorful flourishes of house-made sauces. The kitchen works collaboratively with sushi chefs to build bento boxes, which can be customized with components such as salmon and beef teriyaki.

1380 9th Avenue
San Francisco,
CA
US

In Focus: Sushi Kazu

  • Specialty: nearly fusion-free Japanese sushi and starters
  • Best way to take it all in: Take a seat at the sushi bar and order the omakase, a selection of rolls and sashimi handpicked by the chef.
  • Land-based options: hot appetizers such as pork belly and a wider-than-average selection of vegetarian rolls
  • Watch the specials board for these unique dishes: beef-tongue nigiri, land snails, or baby sea eel
  • Recommended maki double feature: the King Kong and Jurassic Park rolls

841 Irving St
San Francisco,
CA
US

Among Japan's Seven Dieties of Good Fortune, Ebisu was the right source of inspiration for a sushi restaurant. The god is considered a diety of rice and the kitchen, and is also believed to ensure a good catch while fishing. He certainly seems to have brought good fortune to Steve Fujii and his wife Koko, who have owned Ebisu for 30 years. Every night, lines wind out the door for Ebisu's selection of ultra-fresh sushi—according to SF Gate, the Fujis use up around 60 pounds of fish per day, which the publication says "pretty much guarantees the freshest fish and explains why the sushi is so exquisite." Diners can browse the sushi menu, which features Omakase, the chef’s own selections, and rolls of nigiri, temaki, and hosomaki, but critics suggest conferring with the sushi chef for the best recommendations. Meanwhile, a long list of hot and cold appetizers serves as a prequel to panko fried oysters and Kobe beef cooked in a Japanese-style iron pot. To complement the various entrees, a collection of sakes and wines are available by the glass, bottle, or carafe.

1283 9th Ave
San Francisco,
CA
US

In Focus: Kiki Japanese Restaurant

  • Neighborhood: Inner Sunset
  • Number of types of nigiri: more than 20
  • Number of specialty rolls: 20, including the 49ers Roll with spicy tuna, avocado, crab, and tobiko
  • Must-try cooked dish: spicy miso udon
  • The vibe: SF Weekly likened it to a funhouse.
  • Best allusion to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: the tilted entryway and front window

1269 9th Ave
San Francisco,
CA
US

Four Things to Know About Hotei Restaurant

Hotei Restaurant, which was named for one of the Seven Gods of Fortune in Japanese mythology, serves up sushi and an array of noodle dishes. Read on to learn more basics about this business.

  • It’s been around for more than 30 years. Owners Steve and Koko Fujii have been cooking up Japanese food for more than a generation, and now their sons have jumped onboard to continue the family legacy.
  • The sushi is the star. The menu casts a wide net, showcasing yellowtail, halibut, salmon, octopus, trout, and sea urchin, just to name a few.
  • It’s easily accessible. The restaurant is located directly off the MUNI line, just a block from Golden Gate Park.
  • There’s a popular sister restaurant. Twin sisters, really. Ebisu, which also specializes in sushi, boasts two locations—one at the airport location and one in the Sunset District.

1290 9th Ave
San Francisco,
CA
US

Lightly baked—two words that would make most sushi purists cringe. A quick pass through the oven is the final step in creating the Azteca, one of the specialty rolls at Koo, and exactly the type of detail that made Chef Kiyoshi Hayakawa admit that some of his techniques are “downright blasphemous.” Starting with the name Koo, a playful spelling of the Japanese word “to eat,” Kiyoshi has created a restaurant that puts a modern spin on old-school skills he gleaned both in Tokyo and during 15 years at Sausalito’s Sushi Ran. Though unconventional, his menu has been well received—one of his most popular creations is the Tokyo crunch, triangular pieces of yellowtail, eel, cucumber, and wasabi tobiko. Koo has become popular for more than just sushi; the fusion menu also includes intriguing starters, salads, and shared plates. San Francisco Chronicle critic Amanda Berne said she found herself daydreaming about the Spoonful of Happiness, a dish that made her “downright giddy.” The amuse-bouche is actually a shot of cold sake flanked by two spoons, one that cradles whitefish-wrapped ankimo in truffle-oil ponzu, and another with sea urchin, quail egg, and tobiko. One of the cold shared plates is tuna and salmon tartare with spicy guacamole, which diners scoop up with crispy shrimp chips.

408 Irving St
San Francisco,
CA
US