5 new places to savor Japanese fare in San Francisco

Spicy garlic tonkotsu at Ichiraku Ramen. | Photo: Jade C./Yelp

Interested in trying some new Japanese spots in San Francisco?

You're in luck: we've found the freshest businesses to fit the bill. Here are the newest places to check out the next time you're in the mood for Japanese food.

Ichiraku Ramen


5336 Geary Blvd., Inner Richmond
Photo: Jade C./Yelp

Ichiraku Ramen is a spot to score ramen.

The new addition to the neighborhood offers three kinds of ramen, including the tonkotsu, which features ramen in pork broth topped with bean sprouts, black fungus, bamboo shoots, soft boiled egg, pork chashu and green onions; black garlic tonkotsu, which comes in black garlic oil pork broth with all of the same toppings; and the red garlic tonkotsu, which comes with spicy pork broth.

Additionally, the Japanese restaurant offers four kinds of appetizers, from gyoza and edamame to takoyaki and a salad.

Ichiraku Ramen's current Yelp rating of four stars out of 27 reviews indicates the newcomer is finding its way.

Yelper Kayla-Jean H., who reviewed Ichiraku Ramen on June 22, wrote, "Great service and awesome ramen. Simple menu - straight to the point, with a few side options. Not a bad thing. All three types of broth are great."

Yelper Tyler W. wrote, "Ichiraku does something no other ramen shop I've been to before: in addition to the standard-sized Warrior bowl, they also offer a much smaller, appetizer sized Challenger bowl."

Ichiraku Ramen is open from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5 p.m.-10 p.m. daily.

Grill Spot


2311 Clement St., Outer Richmond
Photo: Grill Spot/Yelp

Grill Spot is an Asian fusion and Japanese spot offering barbecue and more.

The restaurant offers izakaya-style grilled entrees in a variety of sauces. Carnivores will get to choose from a wide range of meat options, including wagyu beef, lamb, pork belly, chicken cartilage, bacon-wrapped quail egg and others.

Vegetable options include corn, mushroom, cherry tomato, asparagus, eggplant and shishitou peppers, and sauces range from teriyaki and curry to Cajun, wasabi and more.

Wash it all down with beer, sake, a soft drink or a soju cocktail in lychee, grapefruit, pineapple or yogurt.

With a four-star rating out of 77 reviews on Yelp, Grill Spot has been getting positive attention.

Yelper Max J., who reviewed Grill Spot on June 26, wrote, "This is one of the best Japanese style grill restaurants. The skewers are fresh, hot, and perfectly seasoned. I highly recommend the wagyu beef skewer. The ramen broth is also super tasty."

Edward N. noted, "I love Grill Spot. It's a fun place to snack and drink. The soju came out lit up which was really cool, and tasted like a slushee (partially frozen, very refreshing, although a tad sweet). They have a good variety of yakitori, and everything was pretty good."

Yelper Robert B. wrote, "Another special place that we will return to in the future. The place a little small, but we got seated right away, because we had reservations. Service was fine, they were busy, but still try to be attentive."

Grill Spot is open from 5 p.m.-10 p.m. on Monday-Wednesday, 5 p.m.-midnight on Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.-midnight on Friday and Saturday, and 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.-10 p.m. on Sunday.

Hikari


1734 Post St., Western Addition
Photo: Faye L./Yelp

Hikari is a sushi bar and Japanese spot that's "a sweet combination of technology and the art of sushi." The restaurant's bullet train system was imported from Japan to "deliver the food that is hand-crafted with love by our sushi artists directly from our kitchen to your table."

Customers place their orders through an iPad; when meals are prepared, the bullet train will come and drop off dishes. Menu offerings include nigiri, sushi rolls, appetizers, yakitori, noodles and daily specials.

Hikari currently holds 3.5 stars out of 74 reviews on Yelp, indicating fair reviews.

Yelper Benny S., one of the first users to visit Hikari on June 23, wrote, "Hikari was decently good. I would compare it to the rest of the sushi boat places, but a bit more clean and everything is made to order."

Mikayla M. noted, "I was so excited to try this place because I was really craving sushi. We got seated right away but our food took forever. Our second order came before our first order."

Yelper Hu L. wrote, "Came here yesterday around 5 p.m. - they were pretty full but no line. We ordered the spicy tuna roll, tuna roll, salmon avocado roll, tuna nigiri, marinated tuna nigiri."

Hikari is open from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m. daily.

Sakesan Sushi & Robata


1400 Ocean Ave., Westwood Park
Unagi don for $15. | Photo: Elaine Y./Yelp
Sakesan Sushi & Robata is a sushi bar and Japanese and karaoke spot.

The expansive menu features a wide range of dishes, from seaweed salad and chicken karaage to chirashi don, beef curry and others. For sushi, there are individual nigiri pieces, hand rolls, veggie rolls and more than 40 sushi rolls to choose from, including Cherry Blossom, Kirin, Phoenix and more.

Along with sushi, it offers $1 oysters every day and a happy hour menu from 4-6:30 p.m. Monday to Sunday and 10-11:30 p.m. Sunday to Thursday.

Sakesan Sushi & Robata's current rating of four stars out of 67 reviews on Yelp indicates the newcomer is finding its way, but it's still early days.

Yelper Donna L., who reviewed Sakesan Sushi & Robata on June 19, wrote, "Came here for Father's Day. Made a reservation so we could enjoy the happy hour goodies. Sake, beer and wine was only about $3 to $5. We ordered a bunch of HH eats - a dozen oysters - good but very small or shall I say tiny."

Yelper Madel R. wrote, "I cannot express how glad I am to have this so close to home! This place is incredible, it has such a welcoming vibe. Modern yet touch of authentic."

Sakesan Sushi & Robata is open from 4 p.m.-midnight daily.

Ippudo SF


18 Yerba Buena Lane, Financial District
Karaka special ($20). | Photo: Giovanna R./Yelp

Ippudo SF is a spot to score ramen.

It's the second location for the ramen eatery, which already has an outpost in Berkeley. On the menu, you'll find ramen dishes like shiromaru classic for $14, karaka spicy for $16, akamaru tomago for $17 and the shiro veggie for $15.

For each ramen dish, you'll get to customize the firmness of your noodle and add on any toppings, like menma (flavored bamboo shoots), tofu chashu, tomago and others.

Yelp users are still warming up to Ippudo SF, which currently holds 3.5 stars out of 386 reviews .

Yelper Brad B., who reviewed Ippudo SF on June 6, wrote, "I'll start off by saying this, the bartender in the front deserves a damn award. The entry is small, there is no seating, the hostess lets you know that you'll be waiting for at least thirty minutes, and he's the guy who has to face the hungry crowd while the names are checked off of the waiting list."

Veronica C. noted, "I was expecting this ramen to taste like ramen in Japan since it's a chain from it. I was highly disappointed as one of the few authentic things about it was the staff greeting in Japanese."

Yelper Charo F. wrote, "This Ippudo will legit transport you to a ramen house in Tokyo! "

Ippudo SF is open from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5 p.m.-11 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on weekends.
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