According to a recent Time Out survey, a Tokyo vacation is at the top of San Franciscans’ bucket lists. The city boasts amazing culture, cuisine and sightseeing. Best of all? They already love San Franciscans—or at least our restaurants. When you visit Japan’s biggest city, stop by these SF mainstays for a little taste of home.
The Marina’s Italian eatery may have been the first San Francisco restaurant to try its luck in Japan, opening A16 Tokyo in the Mitsubishi building back in 2009. But don’t expect the same menu as the one we have in the Bay Area: A16 works Japanese ingredients like shiso and myoga (ginger) into its popular spaghetti dishes. But we still love Chestnut Street’s version with bottarga.
Fans waited for more than three hours to get a cup of coffee at the opening of Blue Bottle’s first Tokyo store. Two years later, BBC has opened five more cafés in the city, with two at busy train stations, and perfected tasty pastries like the matcha pound cake with lemon peel and beignets with caramel sauce. Want a tasty pastry in SF? Try the addictive Liège waffle at any BBC location.
Inside a converted wooden warehouse in the trendy Kuramae district, Dandelion Chocolate serves cups of rich, creamy hot chocolate (choose from five types ) and coffee or mocha (or a potent mix of the two), along with scones, chocolate-chip cookies and flights of brownies. It’s a recipe for success: Dandelion added two new branches last winter in Kamakura: near the train station and outside the famous Ise Grand Shrine. We, of course, can fuel our addiction with factory tours and classes offered at the Mission location.
Located in Tokyo’s Marunouchi district, a business area, Wise Sons is bringing boiled bagels and deli meats to Japanese commuters—and the wait is a bit shorter than in the Bay Area. The local chefs are already adding distinctive spins to the menu items, like their babka, which is made with matcha instead of chocolate. Inside, SF artist Amos Goldbaum has painted a mural of San Francisco with Mount Fuji looming in the background.