Sebo – Sebo has a very mixed reaction among diners. Many who don’t like it complain about the prices or the smaller portioned nigiri. But I am on the opposite side of the fence. I view sushi as partly about the fish but mainly on the quality of the sushi rice and there is no place better than Sebo. Chef/owner Michael Black gets almost his entire stock of fish from markets in Japan. The omakase menu is truly an experience. Sebo is located at 517 Hayes Street.
ICHI Sushi – The small space in Bernal Heights is doling out some of the best sushi and sake in San Francisco. Chef/owner Tim Archuleta has a strong aversion to traditional, nigiri sushi. Although there are rolls as well on the menu, order off the nigiri portion of the menu or the daily specials. Or better yet, let Chef Tim choose. ICHI Sushi is located at 3369 Mission Street.
Ino Sushi – Traditional, great quality sushi, Ino-San is probably best known for being strict with customers who don’t follow his rules: dipping nigiri rice first, asking for more wasabi, drenching your sushi in shoyu. And while he is a bit heavy-handed with the wasabi, Ino still has the best ankimo (monkfish liver) I think I have had in San Francisco. Ino Sushi is located at 22 Peace Plaza, #510.
Ozumo – Sushi is just a part of the overall experience at Ozumo. There is the sake, the regular menu and the robata grill as well. But the sushi is great. For a traditionalist, there is plenty of wonderful nigiri to choose from. For those looking for something different, there is also an abundant list of rolls on the menu. Ozumo is located at 161 Steuart Street
Kiss Seafood – I’m not sure Kiss can be classified as a sushi restaurant. It is really just a terrific Japanese restaurant. But the omakase menu, which is usually the popular thing to order, does feature plenty of nigiri. There is not much more authentic in San Francisco in my opinion. Kiss Seafood is located at 1700 Laguna Street.
Umi – Umi offers a wonderful array of fish, mostly coming from the fish markets in Japan. The nigiri and sashimi is all wonderfully fresh and there are also plenty of rolls available as well. Umi is located at 1328 18th Street.
Most of my top sushi spots all serve very traditional, mainly authentic nigiri. I always believe that the sushi rice and pieces of fish should be the true stars of each piece and these are some spots where that is exactly the case. Enjoy!!