Though it only consists of six square blocks, Japantown packs in a bevy of pan-Asian cuisine offerings. Its nuanced food scene reflects a deeply embedded culture that’s influenced by its ever-changing demographic. Even through countless makeovers over the years, Japantown’s cultural and culinary identity still remain intact.
Belly Good Cafe & Crepes
1737 Post St.
This little cafe definitely does the belly good. With a broad range of ice cream flavors and fruit fillings, you can pick and pair to your heart’s content. Nothing beats their green tea ice cream with apricot jelly wrapped together in one irresistible crepe.
1746 Post St.
This cafe specializes in serving light and portable snacks you can take on the go. Located inside New People, the neighborhood’s go-to spot for food, art, fashion and film, it’s difficult to pass up their gourmet Japanese rice balls. Flavors range from Hijiki (seaweed) to Ume (plum), but it’s their spicy shrimp rice ball that takes the cake.
1800 Sutter St.
Located inside Hotel Tomo, this contemporary Japanese restaurant sports an elegant design and specializes in an East meets West type of cuisine. Their most notable dish, the shabu shabu – thinly sliced meat and vegetables cooked at your table – is served with a selection of homemade dipping sauces.
1705 Buchanan St.
If karaoke is your thing, Playground is the spot for experiencing nightlife in Japantown. This full-service restaurant and bar also offers a menu of authentic Korean cuisine. If the food doesn’t pull you in, the laid-back ambiance and music will.