Let’s talk about my favorite thing in the world.
Sushi. I’m obsessed.
And if you think about it, it’s also a perfect date-night spot. 1. Because when you sit at the sushi bar, it isn’t as intimidating as facing each other. 2. It’s still intimate, but it’s not as intrusive. 3. Your date isn’t staring at you stuffing your face (lol obviously that’s happened to me).
So anyways, there are many bomb sushi spots in SF, but there’s also a ton of TERRIBLE ones.
You want to go to a spot that impresses all around: bomb ass sushi (not stringy or smelly), friendly service, never empty cups of sake, and great ambiance. Here are my faves for date night.
(Keep in mind that all these places are pricey… but hey, you get what you pay for AND these aren’t places that serve gross mayo-cream cheese rolls.)
You can close your eyes and pick any one of these places- you’ll be in good hands:
WAKO (1 Michelin)
Overview: I freaking LOVE this place. Wako is one of San Francisco’s best all around sushi restaurants, and it’s also the most affordable spot!! Yes, crazy right? They have 1 Michelin star AND they are affordable? = Heaven. So if you’re looking for something less expensive, but just as impressive… Go to Wako.
Tip: You have to, have to make a reservation at least 1-2 weeks in advance.
Overview: Pabu kills it in every way. The quality of their sushi is phenomenal and they also serve cooked food. This is the kind of place that has aged wagu beef, uni flown in straight from Japan, some of the best toro I’ve ever had, along with the best service and a never empty cup of water (or wine/sake).
Tip: You can either get a true omakase experience, or just order off the menu. Either way, you’ll be blown away by the quality in every dish. They have a bar area for drinks and the perfect date night ambiance. If you come here with a large group of friends, they have private rooms that can fit ~10 people.
Overview: This is my new go-to sushi joint in San Francisco. They JUST opened up a few months ago and reservations are already getting hard to come by (I almost didn’t want to write about it, hah). This place reminds me of a spot I’d find straight out of Japan- minimal, efficient and delicious.
Tip: Sit at the sushi bar and make friends with the sushi chefs.
Overview: They’ve got one of the best date-night ambiances in the city. The decor is chic, upscale, and you can definitely dress to impress here. Plus the presentation of ALL their dishes is absolutely gorgeous AKA instagram worthy.
Tip: If you come early before your reservation, go downstairs to the bar/lounge. You can break the ice by getting a few drinks in before dinner.
PS: They’ve also got great happy hour specials!
Overview: Go here for a more Americanized- Japanese take on sushi. They do an excellent job of introducing new flavors and combinations to their dishes, such as adding truffle oil to their sashimi. It’s a good spot in Russian Hill for a fun date environment. The flaming seabass is impressive, and definitely a spectacle- it’s on fire and cooking in front of you.
Tip: They only take reservations at 6pm right when they open, and will only seat you if your whole party is there. The lines are RIDIC. Don’t bring a date here unless you plan on going right when they open. He/she will probably get hangry. On the bright side, it’s located in a really cute neighborhood and you can walk around/explore before dinner.
KUSAKABE (1 Michelin)
Overview: This is an up-scale sushi restaurant that just kills it in every possible way: from service to quality to experience. Their omakase menu is one of the best I’ve ever had in SF. Your sushi chef basically puts on a show- using techniques such as torching, smoking, and meticulous seasoning into every element of the omakase menu.
Tip: This isn’t a “first date” type of spot. It’s more of a “special occasion” type of place. They only serve omakase, which lasts 2.5 hours… so if your date is going terribly… then… yeahhh. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
OMAKASE (1 Michelin)
Overview: Now THIS is a place that seeks perfection. If you’re a true sushi lover and can appreciate the art of Japanese cuisine + all the tiny details that go into every cut of fish, then this place is for you. There are only 14 seats a night, every single piece of pottery is imported from Japan, sake is served in hand-made crystal glasses, and even the sushi rice is cooked depending on the time of your arrival. I mean… how cool is that??
Do you guys have any FAVE date-night sushi spots that I’ve missed? Tell us below!!
Cynthia || ESFJ || Founder/Director of Violet Fog || Extrovert, loves making to-do lists, and always down to eat.