I highly recommend two sushi restaurants in San Francisco’s Union Square area. No big fancy, upscale restaurants where they overcharge for mediocre sushi. In fact these two places are relatively close to each other in Nob Hill (a few blocks from Union Square). I am a frequent visitor of these places when I want quality and fresh nigiri or sashimi.
1) Ryoko’s Japanese Restaurant - This place is hard to see, with two doors which immediately leads down stairs to the restaurant. Ryoko’s is located on Taylor near Post. Portions isn’t very large, but the sushi quality is great. First good sign upon entering is Japanese people run this Ryoko’s. They know what they are talking about when they make suggestions about sushi. They always have sushi and sashimi specials which they import in from Japan.
The fish at Ryoko’s is great. I don’t know if its just the freshness or quality, or the way the chefs cut the fish. It just melts in your mouth. Albacore and Himachi are my favorite which I always get, but if they have toro available, I’m going to get it. And if you bring your non raw fish eating friends, don’t worry the rolls here are excellent as well. Ryoko’s have a a lot of different rolls, and my personal favorite is the spider roll. The crab is fried to perfection and not mushy like other places.
Ryoko’s menu is quite extensive, from appetizers and salads to entres, sashimi and rolls, modern and traditional. We always get the salmon rice balls, delicious!
On weekend nights, Ryoko’s have a DJ who plays music, so the place will loud. Don’t expect fine dining, but more of a hip and trendy sushi restaurant. The downside is this place only opens for dinner, but the upside it opens until 2am. Late night eaters, and party goers, come eat at Ryoko’s before you go out.
2. Sakana - Sakana is a small casual restaurant. I come here to eat with my roommates, or friends when we want to relax. The fish quality here is amazing, and the selection of sushi is outstanding. Alongside Sakana’s menu, they have a specials of all sorts of weird things I never see in normal sushi restaurants.
When I come to Sakana, I come for the sushi, no rolls, no noodles, no teriyaki. This place is for some high quality and variety of sushi. When I have a sushi craving, I come here, and my stomach is completely satisified.