Out of all the foodie holidays out there, the International Sushi Day (June 18) is perhaps the least carb-centric and the most elegant. Sushi, consisting of creations both minimalist and mind-blowing, has proven itself over the years as a dining staple. Equal parts sophistication and traditionwhich also happens to be pretty resistant to new crazes and fads (doughnut, we’re looking at you!)—we can’t think of food more deserving of international commemoration.

Thankfully, San Francisco loves its sushi almost as much as it adores ramen, offering both fast eateries and pricey omakase for special occasions, any day of the year. To celebrate the day in style, we dug deep into the world of uni, bluefin, and unagi, and came up with seven local eateries where sushi gets all the respect it deserves.

 

robin

Robin

The latest addition to the local sushi scene, Hayes Valley’s Robin is one of our picks for the Best Restaurants of 2017 and an elegant, pricey night out in the company of the freshest, most out-there sushi you’ll find in the Bay. Chef Adam Tortosa enjoys expanding the boundaries of nigiri and sashimi, incorporating unexpected ingredients like strawberry, potato chips and so, so much premium uni.

620 Gough Street

delage

Delage

Making serious sushi waves in the East Bay, Delage is a prix-fix sushi experience on the edge of Old Oakland’s busy Swan’s Market. More affordable than some, but as decadent as any, the tasting menu is $65, for which you’ll get fresh and unique maki, spicy Japanese-style ceviche, any many tasty sushi bites. Also, keep your eyes out for Utzutzu, the tiny, 7-seats Alameda pop-up by the chef.

536 9th Street, Oakland

kinjo

Kinjo

The new-ish Russian Hill restaurant specializes in seasonal, delicate Japanese staples, sushi being the main attraction. There are two omakase (tasting menu) options, a ‘lighter’ $80 one and a bigger $150 option, with a variety of smoked, grilled and raw bites. Sit at the bar for a dynamic, educational experience, and allow yourself to splurge. After all, it’s the former head chef of iconic Sushi Ran of Sausalito behind the menu.

2206 Polk Street

Roka Akor

Not to be confused with the downstairs Roka Bar, Roka Akor is a classy, sunlit spot where FiDi power-players like to meet for lunch. The sushi menu, from the uni and chicharron pairing to the addictive seared salmon and honey miso roll, is beautifully executed and dotted with unexpected and delightful bursts of flavor. Sit at the bar to watch chefs in action, and order the sashimi platter, decorated with colorful, alien-looking ice sculptures, for the maximum ‘wow’ factor.

801 Montgomery Street

elephant

Elephant Sushi

Elephant Sushi has three different locations around town, but the tiny sushi bar on Hyde is as discreet and admired as San Francisco cult sushi spots get. The truffle hamachi and the flaming sea bass roll are crowd favorites, but all the rolls and appetizers on the tight menu exhibit bold flavors and imaginative approaches to sushi. Well worth climbing that steep hill. Their newest location is at 705 Geary Street and has a near-perfect 4.5 rating on Yelp.

1916 Hyde Street and 705 Geary Street

saru

Saru Sushi Bar

The Noe Valley establishment is everything you want a sushi restaurant to behumble, highly-traditional (Saru was even closed during Japan’s Golden Week celebrations in May) and insanely fresh. The sushi menu is abundant with sashimi and nigiri options, plus delicious rolls like the very memorable White Out (hamachi and avocado topped with seared escolar and garlic ponzu). The daily specials, including tender Wagyu nigiri, are always original and exciting.

3856 24th Street

ju ni

ju-ni

Only 12-seats, and an 18-course omakase menu (with an option for further indulgences) are the premises of this tiny spot. Ju-ni opened in 2016 and received a Michelin star in 2017. With its name on the rise and with so few tables available, you’ll want to get on their email list for highly-coveted reservations. But with the freshest toro in the city and beautiful, thought-through presentations, which are ju-ni’s key signature components, the wait is well worth it.

1335 Fulton St