At least once a week, we feel an intense burning desire to have a plate of Japanese curry in front of us. The silky, gravy-like curry works inexplicable wonders to warm us up on a chilly night - but we wouldn’t say no to it on a hot summer day either (or any day for that matter). Here are six great spots to get some in SF.
A really great curry roux that’s not too thick and has the perfect spice levels are the key components to the Japanese curry at this casual Marina spot. And like most places on this guide, you have plenty of options of proteins to get with it: pork or chicken katsu, chicken karaage, vegetables, and seafood like battered oysters or prawns. Each plate comes with some really tangy pickled Japanese onions that add a nice crunch to this quick lunch or dinner. And even better - this place serves beer and sake.
On top of being our absolute favorite place in the city for a katsu sandwich, this small SoMa cafe also makes fantastic Japanese curry, served with rice and bright red pickled radishes. You can get it with any variety of proteins, from crispy potato croquettes to chicken katsu (our favorite) - whatever you land on, it’ll soak up the smooth, spiced curry really nicely.
The chicken katsu from Stonemill Matcha in the Mission is made with thigh, so it’s extra juicy and tender - and we love it with their curry. The katsu is fried to a crispy deep golden-brown, sprinkled with flaky salt, and presented alongside pickles and a bed of perfect white rice. It’s the ideal base for the flavorful curry, which comes on the side for dipping or pouring over everything else.
This casual Japanese restaurant in the Richmond has everything from udon to potato croquette sandwiches - but you’re here for the curries. For $11, you’ll get a massive plate of white rice paired with a protein of your choice, like chicken katsu, onion-ginger pork, or fried oysters. You’ll also get an Olympic pool-sized container of their gravy-like curry sauce. We love the chicken katsu curry plate, which is, hands down, one of the best in the city.
This small Japanese cafe in North Beach has everything from great katsu sandwiches and karaage bento boxes to bright purple lemonade steeped with pea flowers. And if you’re in the mood for a hot, comforting plate of curry, they’ve got you covered, too. We like the thick, 16-spice chicken curry, made extra hearty with corn, mushrooms, and soft chunks of braised chicken thigh. You also get a salad on the side, which does great work at balancing out the richness of the curry.
Amitis Cafe is a corgi-themed lunch spot in NoPa that’s only open from 11:30am-2pm - so if you want to get your hands on their curry, block out a midday “appointment” on your Google Calendar and get there, quick. Planning a day around taking a lunch break here is always worth it for their silky-smooth golden curry, which you can get with chicken katsu, pork katsu, veggies, or just plain over rice.