Umami Mart Registry
[caption id="attachment_28135" align="alignnone" width="640"]Photo via Single Thread Photo via Single Thread[/caption]

Welcome to Bay Eats Japan, where we’ll alert you to newly and soon-to-be opened Japanese restaurants and bars in the Bay Area. As we’ll be listing new places, a mention is not necessarily a recommendation. Use this as a handy way to keep track of new spots you might want to try in the future. 

San Francisco

Recently opened:

Hinodeya Ramen Bar, 1737 Buchanan Street Chef Masao Kuribara heads the first American outpost of this Japanese ramen-ya. Located in Japantown, Hinodeya differentiates itself from other ramen restaurants in that it specializes in a dashi-based broth. Hinodeya opened its doors on November 23 with a limited menu. Eventually they'll expand their offerings, including an omakase menu.

Nabe II, 2151 Lombard Street The Inner Sunset hot pot spot Nabe open its second locale in the Marina in late November. As its name suggests, Nabe II serves nabemono (stews and soups cooked at the table in a nabe) and some small plates like gyoza and Kurobata pork sausage.

Onsen, 466 Eddy Street Last month, this Japanese bathhouse, located in a former auto repair shop in the Tenderloin, opened. Onsen features communal baths, with spa amenities and treatments, as well as a restaurant and tearoom. The restaurant, headed by Chef George Meza (Oro, Ame), specializes in seasonal and vegetarian Japanese food; serves teas from Japan, China, and the U.S.; and sake and Japanese craft beer. Read about our visit to Onsen, including a detailed menu of what we ate!

Sasaki, 2400 Harrison Street Chef Masa Sasaki’s eponymous restaurant, located in the former Grilled Cheese Kitchen space in the Mission, also opened last month. Formerly of Maruya, where he earned a Michelin-star, and a consultant at Delage and Omakase, Sasaki has teamed up with Chef Takanori Wada to open a 12-seat omakase sushi restaurant focusing on edomae sushi.

Opening soon:

Hinata Sushi, 810 Van Ness (soft opening Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016)  This omakase sushi restaurant was delayed about two months in its opening, but tomorrow, it'll finally have its soft opening. The $78 omakase, according to Eater, "includes a salad, three pieces of sashimi, 12 pieces of sushi, and tamago or soup, plus dessert." Hinata's chefs are Gavin Leung and Weida Chen, who’ve spent time at Sushi Ran, Ijji, and Zushi Puzzle.


Recently opened:

Sakenista, 2235 Milvia Street (inside Sushinista) Last month, the diminutive sushi restaurant known for its "sushi burritos" opened its own sake bar, appropriately called Sakenista. According to Berkeleyside, the bar serves local and imported sake, as well as local beer and wine. If you're hungry, you can snack on salmon rolls, tortilla chips with wasabi sauce, and edamame with curry salt. Sakenista is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30-10:30 p.m.

Opening soon:

Ippudo, 2011 Shattuck Avenue (Jan. 2) An update! Ippudo's Berkeley location is set for a soft opening on Monday, January 2. A post-New Year's Day of tonkotsu ramen and pork buns sounds like a great way to ring in 2017, doesn't it?


Recently opened:

Single Thread, 131 North Street Kyle and Katina Connaughton's much-anticipated restaurant/inn/farm opened last week on December 3. While Single Thread isn't a Japanese restaurant, the influence of Japanese cuisine on its offerings is undeniable. The married couple's relationship with Japan started in 2000, on a trip to Kyoto that altered their culinary lives. Kyle later worked a three-year gig with French chef Michel Bras in Hokkaido and Katina got into sustainable Japanese farming. Single Thread is California cuisine that uses ingredients and techniques' from the couple's culinary and agricultural training. Guests dining at Single Thread can choose from three 11-course menus: vegetarian, pescatarian, and omnivorous at $225 a head. Should you be too full to drive home after the meal, a stay in one of Single Thread's five rooms will cost you another $700-$1000 a night. P.S. Kyle Connaughton is the co-author of the Donabe book that we sell at Umami Mart!


Recently opened:

Kenzo, 1339 Pearl Street Kenzo opened in late November. Three-Michelin star chef Hiroyuki Kanda from Tokyo and Japanese mogul and owner of Kenzo Estate in Napa Kenzo Tsujimoto head this 27-seat kaiseki and sushi restaurant. The prix-fixe Kaiseki meals will set you back $225-$270 a person.

Palo Alto

Opening (not-so) soon:

Nobu, 180 Hamilton Avenue (June 2017) Drake's favorite Japanese restaurant chain, Nobu, is coming to Silicon Valley. Chef Nobu Matsuhisa is set to open his 33rd restaurant – his first in Northern California – inside Larry Ellison's Epiphany Hotel. Eater SF says Nobu will probably open in June 2017. Nobu calls itself "the world's most recognized Japanese restaurant, known for its innovative new style cuisine paired with a hip crowd and celebrity following." Not sure we'll see the likes of Drake here, but maybe you'll catch Zuckerberg feasting on Toro Tartare at this SV locale.

Mountain View

(Not so) recently opened:

GocHi, 1943 W. El Camino Real This beloved Cupertino Japanese izakaya re-opened its Mountain View branch this past June. The original Mountain View location opened in 2013, but closed in 2015 due to a redevelopment at the site. To the relief of GocHi fans, including Kayoko and her family, the new Mountain View restaurant is back serving its popular "fusion tapas." GocHi's menu is extensive, but when I asked Kayoko for some recs, she says anything you won't be sorry to order anything on the Deep Fried menu, as well as Mentaiko Potato Gratin, Unagi Yanagawa Pizza, Nikomi Hamburg Steak, and their Clay Pot Rice. Be sure to make a reservation, as wait times can be as long as two hours!

Need to catch up on previous openings? Go through the Bay Eats Japan archives to see what you missed. Got tips for new Japanese restaurant and bar openings? Send them to us at