In Japanese, “koo” is an informal way of expressing the verb “to eat.” Chef Kiyoshi Hayakawa certainly does away with formalities on his menu, which favors innovation above tradition. Hayakawa’s dishes are worth their higher price points—especially his A Spoonful of Happiness appetizer, which pairs bites of uni and ankimo with a shot of sake.
If you’re wandering around the Sunset looking for Ebisu, keep an eye out for the lengthy line that typically stretches out the door. Named for a Japanese deity of fortune, this beloved neighborhood spot has been earning rave reviews for more than 30 years.
Chef Ino-San has presided over this Japantown eatery for more than three decades, during which time he’s gained a reputation for his no-nonsense service and simple, exquisite preparations. His wife waits on the tiny dining room while he slices fresh tuna, mackerel, and monkfish behind the eight-seat bar.
Regulars know to queue up at least 30 minutes before Sushi Zone opens if they want a shot at claiming one of the bar’s 15 coveted seats. Inside, owner Kimiaki Aoyama slices fresh fish to craft reasonably priced rolls that include plenty of baked and vegetarian options.
In the hills of sunny Sausalito, some of the Bay Area’s top sushi chefs are hard at work crafting innovative fusion cuisine. Among their most sought-after creations is the katsuo tuna roll, lovingly made with cherrywood-smoked bonito.
Tucked away in a downtown basement, Ryoko Sushi can be easy to miss. Come nightfall, however, the tiny joint becomes more difficult to overlook. A lively crowd gathers around the steps outside, hoping to gain admittance so they can sample the sushi and dance away to DJ sets until 2 a.m.
Deal or no deal, our editors strongly recommend these businesses based on their reputation, popularity, and quality of service.