Sometimes the Best Sushi in San Francisco Isn’t “Sushi” At All
- Christina Mueller
- 5 Min Read
An influx of new sushi restaurants, some boasting chefs from Japan who oversee the sushi counter, has transformed San Francisco into a major contender for the best sushi city on the West Coast. (Sorry, Los Angeles!) Whether you’re hunting for sushi catering near Japantown or the Marina, the best sushi in San Francisco comes in a variety of flavors and forms. So forget California rolls. Opt for a sushi burrito (a very California mash-up), vegan sushi, or something more traditional, like nigiri, instead. No matter where you find it, or what form you find it in, the sushi in San Francisco is top notch.
Amitis Cafe (Masonic Ave, San Francisco)
The trend-setting Amitis Cafe offers sushi burritos, as well as poke bowls. Its popular “pink girl” sushi burrito features salmon, ahi tuna, and avocado, topped with masago (fish eggs), and a mix of eel sauce and wasabi mayo. The poke bowl can be topped with salmon, hamachi, snow crab, or tuna (ahi or spicy), among other tasty options. Looking for the best vegan sushi catering in San Francisco? The vegan poke bowl is topped with tofu, avocado, and delicious seaweed salad.
Bamboo Restaurant (Polk Street, San Francisco)
Known as much for its dishes from China’s Hunan province as its sushi catering, Bamboo Restaurant serves up one of the meanest spicy string beans with fried tofu in San Francisco. Pair a light dish on the menu with a popular roll tray, in order to try as many rolls as your heart desires: the California roll, sake roll with salmon, spicy tuna roll, unagi roll, and hamachi roll with yellowtail all make an appearance. The vegetarian tray—complete with kappa, avocado, shiitake mushrooms, oshinko (pickled vegetable) rolls, and vegetable futomaki—is a great option for veggie co-workers. And if you can’t eat raw fish, a fully cooked sushi tray is also available.
Tao Yin (20th Street, San Francisco)
If you’re hunting for the best sushi caterer in San Francisco, it can be tempting to stick to quick, familiar dishes like gyoza or vegetable tempura. But Tao Yin’s menu invites adventure. Try the takoyaki—crispy octopus balls served with a special sauce—or the Korean chicken wings to get a sense of the full range of the offerings. Or have a transcontinental taste test, pitting a California roll against the New York roll, with shrimp tempura and avocado. Winner earns bragging rights for the best sushi in San Francisco.
Basa Seafood Express (24th Street, San Francisco)
Spring rolls aren’t usually an option in sushi catering, but at Basa Seafood Express in downtown San Francisco, these appetizers earn their own tray: the Harumaki platter. Most frequently ordered, however, is the fancy roll platter, and it’s easy to see why. Stuffed with eight pieces of double yellowtail roll, double salmon roll, cherry blossom roll, and rainbow roll, 16 pieces of caterpillar roll and tiger roll, and 14 pieces of shrimp sushi, this platter is fit for a king.
Yuubi (Balboa Street, San Francisco)
Yuubi may have familiar sushi rolls, like the California roll tray, but the restaurant caters to healthy eaters and offers plenty of gluten-free options, too. If you’re looking for “g-free” sushi catering in San Francisco, try Yuubi’s gluten-free specialty roll tray, with ten delicious choices straight from the chef. The gluten-free chicken teriyaki tray pairs nicely with the cucumber salad tray, and, if you’re looking for something off the beaten path, try the wakame salad tray or satay veggie tray for plenty of flavor and texture. Read up on San Francisco’s extensive gluten-free catering options here.
Gee Yin (Mission Street, Daly City)
Looking for a sushi catering option that serves breakfast in San Francisco? Gee Yin’s menu is the place to start. If lox on a bagel is your go-to order, then step out with one of the Alaska roll platters. It’s stuffed with smoked salmon and avocado—a heart-healthy option compared to cream cheese. The futomaki roll platter serves up vegetables, cooked fish, and Japanese omelette for a fresh and flavorful way to start the day, too.
Izanami (Grand Avenue, South San Francisco)
Sushi catering (San Francisco-style) doesn’t have to be complicated. When simpler is better, Izanami has you covered. Its vegetarian sushi tray kicks it up a notch with inari (rice wrapped in a sweet tofu wrapper), horenso (spinach), and oshinko (pickled gourd) sushi, nestled alongside avocado, cucumber, and tamago (egg) rolls. The bento boxes earn raves from regulars, too. You can order up to three entrées, with choices like pork katsu, braised tofu, or salmon avocado rolls. The sushi rolls are paired with rice and salad for a truly filling lunch option. Bonus points for those adventurous enough to order the chicken karaage entrée—this Japanese fried chicken is a hot trend on the San Francisco food scene.
Yama Sushi (Holloway Avenue, San Francisco)
Sample as many styles of sushi as you wish with Yama Sushi’s combo of sushi, sashimi, and rolls. With enough California roll, spicy tuna roll, kappa roll (cucumber), rock ‘n’ roll, and futomaki (sweet egg) to feed a crowd, this platter can be upgraded to suit the needs of your largest office party. Or, for smaller events, try an individually portioned lunch box. You’ll choose from three entrées, like chicken karaage, tofu teriyaki, or gyoza, all served with rice, salad, and miso soup.
Sushi Shoh (Dewey Boulevard, San Francisco)
While the “every green” roll platter may not include every vegetable off the farm, Sushi Shoh delivers enough asparagus tempura, avocado, eggplant, and zucchini for any veggie fiend to adore. Or give the earthier forest roll platter a try (shiitake mushrooms, avocado, and spinach). Should your group require more umami with their meal, add an order of salmon skin roll. It’s fun to eat, and this sushi catering novelty will shoot everyone’s omega-3s straight to the top of the charts in San Francisco.
Oolong Noodles Restaurant (Washington Street, San Francisco)
Chicken is trending in San Francisco catering circles. But, prepared with a Japanese twist on flavors and textures, the trend still feels fresh. Break out of the sushi mold with a chicken karaage platter, and say hello to Japanese fried chicken. Marinated with ginger, sake, and soy sauce, this dish is breaded in potato starch before hitting the deep-fryer at just the right temperature. It’s perfectly crispy outside, tender and juicy inside, and by the time it hits the plate, your mouth will be watering. JFC is sushi catering, San Francisco style.
San Francisco is setting more than sushi trends.