Pabu puts all other izakaya Japanese restaurants to shame

  Posted by - March 16, 2015 - $$$ (50-100), $$$$ (100+), NightTime, San Francisco

Pabu puts all other izakaya Japanese restaurants to shame.

I know, I know… that’s a pretty bold statement to make.

But seriously… where else can you go to get the best sashimi, uni flown in from Japan, shabu shabu, and aged wagyu beef under one roof? (besides Japan, of course.)

This isn’t your typical authentic Japanese restaurant tho, it’s a modern take on a traditional izakaya-style dining brought to you by Michael Mina and Chef Tominaga (both are super high profile chefs). Even the decor has a little bit of old-world Japanese charm mixed in with an urban and chic vibe.

And to be completely honest… I was super impressed with everything here. Especially because I read/heard mixed reviews about the place. People on Yelp complain about the prices and inconsistent quality (they just opened in 2014). But after my meal here, it seems that they were able to work out some kinks since the service was on-point and the food was OUTSTANDING!

And let’s just be real for a sec. Yes, it is somewhat expensive, but you absolutely get what you pay for. I mean, that’s what really matters when you’re ordering omakase or A5 wagyu beef right? Basically what I’m saying is… don’t come here expecting a bargain lol. (ohhh fellow Yelpers, you crack me up).

But anyways….

Guys! I ate sooooo freaking much, my stomach hurts.

I came here with 10 people, and we literally/ actually ordered half the menu.

So for this post, I’m going to do things a little differently. Instead of boring you with every ingredient used in every dish… I’m going to show you through pictures (partially because I got a new camera and I’m really excited to show you guys lol)

Here we go:

Pabu SF

Pabu SF


Pabu SF

Dip the chicken meatballs into the egg sauce = heaven.


Honestly, these were just alright.

Pabu SF

Pretty sure I died after taking a bite of that A5 beef.  It’s life changing. Sadly, I don’t think any other beef I eat will ever compare. Eat at your own risk.

Pabu SF

Pabu SF

Pabu SFPabu SF

If you like your meat more cooked, leave it in the pot for longer.

I like it medium rare with a little bit of pink.

Pabu SF

You can also get a seafood version instead of the beef.

So for all our rolls, we decided to use soy paper instead of seaweed.

Side: one of the girls we ate with… is… let’s just say super picky & is watching her figure.

She said that it takes a longer time to digest seaweed, and soy paper is a healthier option (is this true?? Anyone?)

Pabu SF

If there’s ONE roll you get here, it’s gotta be this Negitoro roll. Only Michael Mina is brave enough to put all these key ingredients into a sushi roll!

Pabu SF

Now moving onto dessert (and yes, I still had room for dessert)

pabu sfPabu SF

It’s pretty much a white sponge cake rolled around a whipped creamy filling with sliced blueberries and strawberries. If you still have room for dessert, this is MUST GET.

To sum it all up:

If you’re looking for a place to impress, Pabu will not disappoint. You can either get a true omakase experience, or just order off the menu (like we did). Either way, you’ll be blown away by the quality in every dish. They’ve got everything from the best sushi to the best aged wagyu I’ve ever tasted. They even have a bar area for drinks and the perfect date night ambiance. If you come here with a large group of friends, they have private rooms that can fit ~10 people.

I came here with my girl Katey of and some of her wardrobe styling clients. Katey doesn’t eat fish/sushi, hence why we had so many meat options! Obviously, not complaining because more toro and uni for me :)


101 California St. (at Front Street) San Francisco.

(415) 668-7228.

Pabu on Urbanspoon

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  • […] For the first course, we ordered the Sashimi Tasting- Spanish blue fin tuna with fresh wasabi and aged soy salt, Medai with uni, and geoduck with melon and umeboshi. Am I at Pabu? […]

  • […] Pabu $110, Omakase $150,  Kusakabe (1 Michelin Star) $95 […]

  • […] For the first course, we ordered the Sashimi Tasting- Spanish blue fin tuna with fresh wasabi and aged soy salt, Medai with uni, and geoduck with melon and umeboshi. Am I at Pabu? […]

  • […] Pabu $110, Omakase $150,  Kusakabe (1 Michelin Star) $95 […]

  • […] here, I’d say 7/10 times everything was legit. Great quality (sometimes their toro is on par with Pabu– they charge an arm & a […]

  • Nadia G. March 25, 2015 - 5:30 pm Reply

    Simply delicious – all around! Definitely worth trying amidst the myriad of restaurant choices that San Francisco has to offer.

  • David March 18, 2015 - 2:24 pm Reply

    Considering the amount of food we tried, I thought the price of the tasting menu ($105, without alcohol) was pretty reasonable. Everything we had was fantastic, the service was great, and overall a great time.

    • CynEats March 19, 2015 - 8:57 pm Reply

      Glad you had a great time! I can’t wait to try their tasting menu next time :)

  • Emily T. March 18, 2015 - 12:59 pm Reply

    I’m really impressed at how much you girls eat! And the color of the meat for the shabu shabu looks simply amazing.

    • CynEats March 19, 2015 - 8:56 pm Reply

      haha, we love a good meal! and yes… that shabu was amaz!

  • Kalvin Nguyen March 17, 2015 - 8:32 pm Reply

    Your pictures are fantastic! If you don’t mind me asking, what kind of camera did you get?

    • CynEats March 18, 2015 - 3:51 pm Reply

      Thank you! I’m using the fuji s100x

  • Michelle March 17, 2015 - 2:41 pm Reply

    Food is a little pricey, but like you said, you pay for what you get. My husband and I got the omakase and it was a wonderful experience.

    • CynEats March 18, 2015 - 3:52 pm Reply

      Agree! Maybe i’ll try the omakase next time :)

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