There are the restaurants you hear about due to fabulous décor or a strange yet intriguing dish and there are restaurants that you know about because it’s what your city happens to be famous for. And then there are the places you walk into late one night because everything else is closed or takes a reservation and you’re so hungry that the idea of hot pockets from the liquor store’s ancient freezer section is starting to sound somewhat reasonable.
While I may have come across Sakana on Post Street in an instance of the latter, the reason I plan to keep coming back is for the insanely fresh, authentic Japanese cuisine – you know, the kind where you feel like maybe you should eat this in private because your facial expressions and stifled moans of delight are a tad embarrassing. Luckily, the low key, no fuss ambiance is comfortable enough for the inevitable reactionary dance to go somewhat unnoticed. After all, you’re surrounded by other people who seem to feel the same way.
Just a block or two from Union Square, Sakana is a far cry from the overpriced and over-polished sushi restaurants whose menus are so ornate and complicated that it can hardly even be called Japanese food. It’s not the kind of place for the overcompensating guy with car payments higher than his rent to take a first date. Nor is it the place to do sake bombs on your 21st birthday. Sakana is more like the kind of place you would prefer to keep to yourself, if possible, or at least within your most trusted circle of friends who are mature enough to know good food when they eat it. The small restaurant is filled with locals who come here regularly for the mouth-meltingly fresh sashimi as well as, well, everything else. It’s also one of the first destinations for Japanese tourists in search of real Japanese food – which I’d say is a pretty good marker for authentic cooking.
The neighborhood feeling is surprising considering the location, and the prices are beyond reasonable – too reasonable, in fact, as it can be quite easy to overeat here. Luckily, everything is so fresh and healthy that you can indulge without feeling too much remorse – both in your wallet and under your belt. Highly recommended is the Agedashi Tofu, which is done to perfection, as well as the Sake (salmon) sashimi and the Toro (fatty tuna). Ask the head chef for recommendations if you feel like trying something new. Trust me, this is the place to do it, as it is guaranteed to be delicious.
605 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
HOURS OF OPERATION:
LUNCH (Monday – Friday)
11:30AM – 2:30PM
5:00PM-12:00AM (Sunday – Thursday)
5:00PM-1:00AM (Friday – Saturday)