Post-covid Japan Center eating, San Francisco

I used to like going to lunch at Takara at the Japan Center pre-covid. I know they’ve closed, so I’m wondering what restaurants in the Japan Center or close by people would recommend. Have things changed a lot? Thanks.

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I think that the noodles at Udon Mugizo are pretty darn good, though the soup is just okay and the tempura is highly variable.


Some places I go to in Japantown:

For ramen, Marafuku has very good tonkotsu ramen, there is usually a waiting list. There is a branch of Hinodeya near the Japan Center as well, they specialize in a lighter dashi broth and have outdoor seating.

Nari [2] is near the Japan center in the Hotel Kabuki. Innovative Thai from Pim Techamuanvivit. Good cocktails too. Their lounge/bar area serves the full menu and is for walk-ins.

For quick conveyor belt sushi in the Japan Center I like Tenroku in the Kinokuniya building. Not high end at all but scratches the sushi itch. Like most conveyor belt places it’s probably better to go when it is busy. On the other side of the mall is Izumi which I believe is run by the same ownership. Where Isobune used to be. I believe Izumi has outdoor seating.

For higher end sushi there is An which I liked a lot, but I haven’t been since before the pandemic.

And a little farther away if you walk down Fillmore are the State Bird affiliated restaurants - State Bird Provisions, The Progress, and The Anchovy Bar.

Also for sweets, there is a branch of Mochill Mochi Donut in the mall which is worth a try.

Other restaurants near the Japan Center that I want to try but haven’t yet:
Daeho Kalbijjim & Beef Soup - I’ve gotten good delivery from their location in the SF H-Mart, their seolleongtang was really good.
Yuji - opened recently, Kappo style restaurant.


FWIW, I used to be a huge fan of hinodeya but feel that the quality has really nosedived. I think their creamy veggie broth is pretty interesting, but if you’re an omnivore I’d recommend marafuku over hinodeya, all else equal.


I see, haven’t been there for awhile. I would probably go for Marafuku too as I do like the rich tonkotsu broth a little more anyway. That line though!

We walk over there regularly and things are pretty much the same as before, except for the places that have closed. Marufuku is still the best ramen, An the best sushi. Oma seems to be not very good anymore (from reading reviews, but I think that might have been pre-covid when Wilson left).

Oh ya, and went to Nari for my bday in April and it was excellent as always (even while Pim was gone).

We went on a ‘takoyaki crawl’ last year:
Yama-chan (the best):

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Kissako Tea (last place — but they do good onigiri):

For soft serve, Uji Time is still the best. Love their black sesame:


great tentacle shot! for me I like a little of that and a little super hot molten batter in the middle. Nice to have so many choices in one area!