At least once a week, we feel an intense burning desire for a plate of Japanese curry. The flavorful gravy-like stuff does inexplicable wonders to warm us up on chilly nights—but we wouldn’t say no to a plate of it on hot summer days either. Here are six great San Francisco spots to go when curry and rice call to you.
The Japanese comfort dishes at this minimalist cafe in the Mission are what keep this spot in heavy lunch rotation. There are pork katsu sandwiches, teishoku set meals with potato croquettes and miso soup—and a standout chicken katsu curry. The curry is flavorful and not too thick, while the meat is juicy and tender despite also being fried to a deep golden brown. Get it with a matcha cheesecake for dessert, and don't be surprised when you break afternoon plans and stay a bit (they close at 4pm).
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Like a cleansing crystal, eating a meal at Volcano Curry is one way to set you on a positive path. The casual Japanese restaurant in the Richmond has everything from udon to mini fried Spam sandwiches—but you’re here for the curries. The best part is everything is under $14 yet big enough to leave you with leftovers—or, most likely, cradling yourself after you devour everything up. A plate includes white rice, a protein like pork katsu, chicken karaage, or fried fish, and enough curry (containing big chunks of potatoes and carrots) to fill an Olympic pool—a.k.a. it's exactly the kind of soul-saving food you want while mulling over deep questions like, "Did I really need to order that hotel-quality bathrobe?"
A really great curry roux that’s velvety and has the perfect spice levels are the key components of the curry at this casual Marina spot. And like all the places on this guide, you have lots of topping options: pork or chicken katsu, chicken karaage, vegetables, and seafood like battered oysters or prawns. Customary tangy pickles add a nice crunch to this quick lunch or dinner. And even better—this laidback place serves beer and sake, too.
photo credit: Sarah Felker
This small Japanese cafe in SoMa is one of our absolute favorite places to cozy up with a katsu sandwich—they make some of the best in town. But do not pass on the Japanese curry (something we'd also cozy up with). It's rich and fragrant, and more comforting than listening to Cardi B ASMR. We like to get it with crispy potato croquettes or chicken katsu, but whatever you land on will soak up the curry nicely.
Muracci’s specializes in straightforward, thick and creamy, Japanese curry. It won’t change your life, but you won’t need it to. This place is a quick, convenient option in FiDi when a simple plate of crispy pork or chicken katsu is all you want for lunch or dinner. Other options include curry with beef, fried prawns, omelet, or grilled salmon. And like most casual curry spots, you have a choice of heat levels, plus white or brown rice.
Amitis Cafe is a corgi-themed Japanese poke and sushi spot in NoPa that’s open just two and a half hours a day (11:30am-2pm). So you might need to block out a "midday appointment" on your Google Calendar to get your hands on their silky-smooth curry. And just like getting to stare at corgi figurines and "got corgi?" posters on the walls—taking a lunch break at this counter-service spot for the pork katsu curry is worth it, especially on chilly days.