If you're looking to blow through a ton of money in a short period of time, well, first let us tell you about a great multi-level investment opportunity. Next, let us tell you about San Francisco's omakase-only spots serving everything from seaweed-wrapped ikura covered with shaved frozen monkfish liver to nigiri finished with bamboo charcoal sea salt and pickled cherry blossoms. Expect to spend anywhere from $95-$300 per person at each of these spots, plus whatever drink pairing or bottle of sake you decide to go with. It can add up quickly. But that's why we have this guide. These are all the best omakase-only spots in the city.
The Best Sushi Restaurants In San Francisco
photo credit: Carly Hackbarth
Dinner at Ken on Divisadero feels like an exclusive dinner party—and one filled with flawless nigiri, silky chawanmushi, and dashi-soaked tomatoes that burst like water balloons in your mouth. The omakase counter is only six seats, so you'll easily have a conversation with the person on the opposite side of the bar, or crack jokes and exchange stories with the eponymous chef. As you move through the seamless 14-course meal, you'll fall into a comfortable silence as Ken precisely scores pieces of butterfish, torches a set of neatly lined up nigiri, and explains the process of poaching the house-cured ikura to its sticky, delicate consistency. A meal here is an unforgettable experience, and one you should get to for your next special occasion.
Cost: $175 per person.
There aren’t many spots that are trendier than a NYFW runway, serve great omakase, and let you pay on a sliding scale. That’s how it works at Robin: Tell the waiter exactly how much in the $99-$199 range you’re willing to spend. From there, you’ll receive a proportional amount of things like roasted kabocha squash miso soup, truffle sesame noodles, lots of nigiri, and A5 wagyu dusted in melty shaved foie gras. Whatever you end up throwing down, Robin makes going out for omakase easy, which is why we come here for special date nights or small group dinners.
Cost: $99-$199 per person, with optional add-ons.
You probably aren’t picturing an open hallway inside of a mall when you imagine an omakase-style dinner. But that’s exactly where you’ll find Oma San Francisco Station, a small omakase counter in the Japan Center where keeping it casual is the appeal. That, and the fantastic nigiri sliced with precision. Here, you’ll also make small talk with the chefs while listening to ambient mall chatter and eating slow-cooked duck breast and plain udon with uni sauce. When Oma San Francisco Station debuted in 2018, they hooked us with an affordable $30, five-course omakase. The cheapest option is now bumped up to $95—but, thankfully, the high-quality fish and approachable energy haven’t gone anywhere.
Cost: $95-$165 per person, depending on the set.
photo credit: Molly DeCourdreaux
Omakase is another of the city’s high-end omakase experiences ($225 for 18 courses)—but this one also happens to feel like the world's most casual fish Happy Hour. The chef will joke and drink sake along with you, and covertly sneak you an extra cut of toro. And throughout the loose night, you’ll make friends with the strangers sitting next you and share crypto tips over custardy lobster tamago, red miso soup with clams, and buttery, gold flake-topped wagyu. From start to finish, dinner at Omakase just feels like a party.
Cost: $225 per person, with optional add-ons. Sake tasting available.
photo credit: Sarah Park
Chances are high that you, your best friend, or your best friend’s hairdresser’s cousin has been to Ju-ni at least once—and can describe the seaweed-wrapped ikura covered in a mountain of shaved frozen monkfish liver like it was yesterday. This spot in NoPa is bucket list omakase ($195), and for good reason. During the 14-course set dinner of mostly nigiri, you’ll get up close to high-end, Japan-sourced fish and tightly-wrapped, chef’s choice temaki. The rice is warm and lightly seasoned allowing the buttery tuna, wild horse mackerel, and king salmon to shine. The fact that there are only 12 seats at the counter, and one chef for every four guests certainly adds to the intimate feel. And somehow, the bare white and wood interior always makes us more relaxed than when we walked in.
Cost: $195 per person, with optional add-ons.
photo credit: Krescent Carasso
Midway through a meal at The Shota in FiDi, the chef will pull out a detachable plastic model of a fish. Off will come the head, then the belly, and suddenly you'll find yourself in the midst of a delightful tuna anatomy course you won't want to end—just like the rest of dinner. From a cushy white bar seat, you’ll be treated to a luxurious 15 courses: an uni “sandwich” with caviar, handrolls, and blowtorched golden-eye snapper flown in by jet from Japan. And despite being a splurge ($295), you should still confidently book a table for dinner—this is one you'll be thinking about long after it’s over.
Cost: $295 per person, with optional add-ons. Wine and sake pairings available.
Akiko’s has successfully balanced casual-trendy with upscale, and that’s exactly why the lavish $250 omakase experience is always high on our list. The industrial-style space near Union Square has exposed brick and pipes, sleek track lighting, Aesop products and gorgeous flower arrangements. And when you settle into the sushi bar (the best seat in the house), groove to jazz while picking out top-shelf sake, and enjoying a parade of caviar-topped shokupan, savory egg custard, and nigiri finished with things like bamboo charcoal sea salt and pickled cherry blossoms. For a power move, head here at lunch for the 11-course set ($120). And do it soon. Akiko’s is reportedly moving to the newly-branded East Cut neighborhood this year.
Cost: $120 per person (lunch) and $250 per person (dinner).
Sushi Sato’s sibling restaurant, Sato Omakase (located in the same Lower Nob Hill building), has a flair for the dramatic. The lighting is dim, the sushi bar is all-black, and tiny spotlights overhead will shine on your nigiri like they’re collectible displays at the Louvre. The drama is matched by their 18 courses ($195) of small plates and nigiri that are so beautifully presented you might forget you’re actually supposed to eat them. Butter-poached lobster is decked out with caviar, and black truffle is shaved over melt-in-your-mouth seared yellowtail. The brush of soy that glazes each piece of nigiri, from the torched barracuda to the buttery otoro, will sparkle under the light. And the flavors live up to the luxurious presentation. Come here when you want to impress a sushi enthusiast (even if that sushi enthusiast is you), or the next time you feel like going big on an extravagant meal.
Cost: $195 per person. Wine and sake pairing available.
The upscale omakase spot in the Financial District has been holding it down since 2014—so expect an orderly and tightly-run operation. Throughout the 18-course meal ($185), staff will drop off pristine nigiri, shabu shabu with slices of toro, and braised black cod in front of you like clockwork. By the time the final course comes around (a flaky unagi nigiri), you’ll be so full you might need to be rolled out. But a meal at this old-school omakase institution is always an excellent option for a solo date or a once-every-few-years type of meal. Request a seat at the bar.
Cost: $185 per person. Sake pairing available.
photo credit: Julia Chen
Dinner at Sushi Aoba on the edge of Japantown is calm and unhurried, and that’s why we love it. There won't be too much conversation between you and the chef, so all you have to do is sit back and watch. Sushi Aoba goes the extra mile in terms of presentation, too. The chef will smoke pieces of red sea perch in a domed glass case, and even light a conch shell on fire before calmly handing it to you across the bar. For $180, you get 21 courses, a mix of small plates like chawanmushi and shrimp cake with cherry blossom, plus a variety of nigiri that are as beautifully prepared as they are delicious.
Cost: $180 per person.