Japanese izakaya and sushi bar Mamanoko has replaced the Marina’s Mamacita after the Mexican restaurant closed suddenly this spring, ending its 12-year run. Architects II remodeled the space at 2317 Chestnut Street (at Divisadero) which is now marked by traditional Japanese charred wood and Akari lanterns from the Noguchi Museum. It’s been open quietly to neighbors for the past few weeks.
The new mama comes from old partners Stryker Scales and Sam Josi of Mamacita, Tipsy Pig, Blue Barn, and Padrecito. Their usual third, Nate Valentine, isn’t involved this time: He’s busy taking over the Union Square nightclub space that was formerly Ruby Skye.
“It was time to do something new,” Scales tells Eater of the switch from Mamacita to Mamanoko, which was actually prompted by several changes in their small restaurant empire. “Since we lost our lease at [Umami], we saw an opportunity — with a great space and a great location — to bring something back to the neighborhood that we knew was missing.”
Mamanoko has a total of 90 seats, 8 of them at a sushi bar, where chef Taka Iwamoto is preparing more (and less) traditional nigiri, sashimi, and suhi rolls. Josi’s take on Japanese izakaya-style items, meanwhile, is “simple and clean,” with yakitori skewers, gyoza, and karaage Mary’s chicken (served with miso buffalo sauce).
Bar manager Tim Cosgrove scored some single malt and aged Japanese whisky, including some single malt and aged whiskys like Suntory Yamazaki and Nikka Yoichi 15-year. The bar serves cocktails and highballs, ever-popular in Japan, along with a full sake list and a selection of Japanese beer.
As Mamonoko opens, the team has some consolation for the Mamacita faithful. Josi has brought some menu favorites from the former restaurant down to the Tipsy Pig, like Mamacita’s guacamole, crispy chicken tacos, and chicken enchiladas.