With a history that goes back well over 100 years, San Francisco’s Japantown neighborhood has been a regional hub for the Bay Area’s Japanese American community — a place to buy hard-to-find imported foodstuffs, eat a celebratory meal, or just soak in the atmosphere of the Peace Plaza, with its iconic towering pagoda. In recent years though, the neighborhood has seen a steady shift: The food has gotten a lot better and more interesting.
These days, Japantown is home to some of the city’s best ramen, a wide array of hard-to-find Japanese sweets and regional specialties, and, yes, some pretty great (and surprisingly affordable) sushi. Many of the restaurants and food stalls are concentrated in the sprawling Japan Center complex, which evokes some of the same bustle and sensory overload that you might find in Tokyo’s underground malls. You could spend an entire day within its confines without coming close to exhausting the delicious options at your disposal.
Here, then, are 18 of the best neighborhood’s best spots for Japanese food, with a few stellar non-Japanese options mixed in for good measure.
Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.Read More