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SF’s Best Casual Neighborhood Sushi Spots

PHOTO: Sandy Noto

When it comes to eating raw fish, we love the Akikos and Kuskasabes of the world. But we also love not having empty bank accounts. Sometimes you just want to eat quality, easy sushi that doesn’t cost $300, all in the comfort of your own neighborhood.

Here’s our complete list of places with good fish, good prices, and settings you actually want to be in on a Tuesday night.

The Spots

7.2
MAP

If you can get past the fact that this Marina sushi place sounds like it was named by a Guy Fieri acolyte, you will become a convert and come here all the damn time. Our favorite things here are the sake role with crispy kale (just go with it) and the kamikaze with spicy tuna and asparagus. They do excellent sashimi and nigiri, too, and the fish tastes absurdly fresh for a place that does 50% off wine some nights. The staff and owner are super friendly, and it’s a fun enough spot for a kind-of-rowdy Saturday night. Also, they have bingo.

Photo: Krescent Carasso

Hot Zushi

531 Haight Street

One of life’s small joys is killing two birds with one stone. If you can get your laundry done while eating dinner, you’re basically in the top 10% of productive humans. Hot Zushi is right across the street from a laundromat, and besides being convenient for your errands, it’s a pretty great sushi place that is very well-priced. Their nigiri is solid, and we’re partial to the Smashing Pumpkin roll with spicy tuna and tempura pumpkin. Their butterfish “nachos” served on wonton chips are a little gimmicky, but actually taste good, too.

7.4
MAP

Domo Sushi is one of our go-to neighborhood sushi spots, and a place we go back to for its feel-good atmosphere. This little spot in Hayes has outdoor tables that are perfect on a nice night, as well as lots of good sushi and small plates. We always get the Saba Hit and Wiki Wiki rolls.

Tanuki Restaurant 狸壽司

4419 California St

Definitely not a place that’s going to catch your eye from the street, unless you’re on the lookout for the blandest exterior possible. But Tanuki is worth knowing about. They serve both delicious uni nigiri and vegetarian sushi that won’t make you sad, and they also run a strong delivery operation. Another good thing to keep in mind: they have some very affordable lunch specials.

Otoro is a bit on the nicer end of the casual sushi spectrum - by which we mean you can make reservations. This Hayes spot has very high-quality fish and is a great option for a laid-back lunch or dinner. Or hit it solo and eat at the bar, so you won’t need to share your spicy scallops with a date you only moderately care about seeing again.

Zushi Puzzle

1910 Lombard St

Ignore the fact that this place is on Lombard Street, and has too many Zs in its name. It’s definitely the best sushi on the street, and maybe even in all of the Marina. The chef has been at it for a while, and he makes strong rolls, sashimi, and nigiri across the board - definitely don’t skip the hand rolls. They have an omakase option, too, for around $100 with tax and tip.

Okina Sushi

776 Arguello Blvd

If you’re a sushi purist, you’ll like Okina. This tiny spot in the Inner Richmond has zero oversauced, over-stuffed rolls - the menu is extremely simple and focused only on the fish. At $30, the very good omakase is ludicrously reasonable, but if you go a la carte, definitely get the uni with the quail egg. Take note, though: It’s cash only.

Elephant Sushi

1916 Hyde St
MAP

You generally need to show up here a few minutes before it opens if you don’t feel like waiting for a table, but it’s perfect for grabbing dinner with a small group. Get the white out roll.

Eiji

Castro / Mission
317 Sanchez St.
8.0
MAP

The sushi and nigiri here are worth your time, but the real standouts are the housemade tofu and mochi-covered strawberries. It’s a small space, but we’ve never had to wait. One of our all-time favorite sushi spots in the city.

Ten-Ichi

2235 Fillmore St
MAP

Ten-Ichi has an especially local vibe - maybe because it’s been holding down the fort on Fillmore for almost 40 years. The sushi is pretty standard, but we often go for the “don” dishes over rice. The salmon donburi is really great.

Tataki

2815 California St
MAP

One of the fancier neighborhood spots on this list - the presentation here is definitely nicer than it is at most other casual spots. An ideal order here includes the Extinguisher Roll and any of the specialty tatakis (seared fish dishes). If it helps you sleep at night, all their fish is sourced sustainably.

Ebisu

1283 9th Ave
MAP

Fun fact: this is the same place that does the sushi at the SF airport, which we actually get sometimes, and we haven’t died from it yet. The Ebisu in the Sunset is far, far nicer and better, though. We usually go with the fresh fish of the day off the board, but the 49er roll and poke roll are also good.

Photo: Krescent Carasso

Koo

408 Irving St
MAP

Three words: Spoonful of Happiness. The spoonful of uni, quail egg, and delicious sauce at Koo comes with a shot of sake, and you would be highly remiss not to order one for everyone at the table. Besides that little delight, the fish here is all pretty great. We usually get the “Best Roll” and Godzilla tofu.

Nara Sushi

1515 Polk St
MAP

Order the uni nigiri. Besides that, the dragon ball (avocado wrapped around crab and tuna) and the spicy lambada rolls are excellent. And no one has ever complained about $1 nigiri pieces at happy hour (until 6). This spot is 100% worth your time.

Kazan

Mission
2809 24th St

Kazan is deep, deep in the Mission, but it’s the best sushi in the area. The sashimi and the kazan roll are what you want here. On weekends, the place feels like a party, and they’re pretty generous in sending out free green tea ice cream or cheesecake desserts.

Kama Sushi

Soma
294 9th St

SOMA isn’t exactly a sushi (or food) paradise, but Kama is an oasis in this desert. The kama sushi and grilled toro roll are great, and if you’re feeling fancy, the lobster avocado roll is where it’s at. If you’re around for Happy Hour, their deals are great.

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