Really bummed how this restaurant has recently changed. They totally overhauled the menu by removing the Yakitori (grilled skewers) and raising most of the food and drink prices by 20-40%. Its now more of an overpriced sushi place than an Izakaya. Also was sad to see that they reduced their Shochu selection (and raised the prices by 40%).
Maybe the owner and chef had legitimate reasons to go in this new direction, but I unfortunately won't be going back anymore. Fish is good quality, but you can find good (and less expensive) sushi grade fish all over SF.
We asked for a private booth, and they said that it required a minimum of $250 spending, and we had no problem with that. Staff was very attentive and responsive.
Good selection, attentive service
Date night - so much fun, such good food and music! Great sake! Coming back again soon with a group to try those side rooms!! Such a great spot! So glad we found this place!
Food wasn’t great. Looked better than it tasted. Ambiance was nice. But they need proper for storage for shoes. Other patron’s shoes surrounded my chair.
Mediocre food and service with small portions at a premium. The restaurant was pretty empty when we arrived at 7pm but they were already out of the fried short ribs. There are better izakaya experiences in the Bay Area.
I went with a friend for dinner before catching a movie at Kabuki. The staff were rushed off their feet although the restaurant wasn't busy. The edamame was tepid and unseasoned and the tempura vegetables were basically shoestring potatoes and onion rings deep fried and oily. We had an eggplant with miso glaze that was again very oily. The room decor is great and it has a following on Yelp. They have an extensive saki list and greasy fried food makes for good bar snacks - for some. Maybe this was a bad night but I would not go back.
Sashimi dishes were fresh and flavorful. Awesome sake. My clients were in Holiday Festive Celebration, and staff was very accommodating. Thank you.
I’d give it 3.5 stars. With a try, it not so good I want to go back.
The restaurant design is refreshing and unique, same with tatami room. There is a $250 minimum for tatami room which seemed high, however, we met the minimum without a problem considering the prices of the dishes and BIG sushi eaters....
I felt the portions were small in comparison to the price tags, but that’s ok since the food was delicious....and beautifully presented.
Yes, I would go back.....
Wonderful surprise after having long given up on getting good Japanese food in Japan town. Had a number of small plates as well as sushi. Reasonably priced, high quality fresh fish and everything was creatively and artfully prepared. Highly recommended.
My server was friendly and helpful. My food was great. I got the sashimi kou and the tobiko Sushi. I’ll put this on my list of places to revisit when I’m in SF.
Our group was going to an evening show at The Fillmore and we were looking for a place that was close to the club. we made reservations at Izakaya Kou because it was right across the street. what a great decision we made. This restaurant has a very nice atmosphere and the food was outstanding. And they served some of the freshest tasting sushi that I have ever had. The others in my group were also very impressed. I look forward to going back here again in the near future.
The quality of the food was terrible.
The agedashi tofu was limp & had little flavor.
The “veggie” tempura was ONLY shoestring fries- NO VEGETABLES; they served a balled-up mass of sweet potato & regular potato, perhaps shoestring onions; the “tempura sauce” didn’t taste like tempura sauce at all- it was foul; luckily, they only provide approx 3 tablespoons of it.
There was no option for salmon belly on the menu.
All the salmon on their menu was farmed; they had no wild caught fish available.
The only reason I went there is that it is next to the Fillmore venue; will not make that mistake again.
I don’t recommend this place for anyone who wants to eat good quality Japanese food.
A very disappointing experience.
Some background: over the last 6 months, I’ve dined here 10-15 times. Before moving to SF a few years ago, I lived in NYC for about 5 years.
Of all the Japanese restaurants in both cities (including Nobu!), this is the best. I’ve found myself comparing Izakaya Kou to restaurants that are 2x as expensive. With some dishes - like the Hamachi (yellowtail) Carpaccio - are of equal quality to Nobu, but at half the price.
But some dishes, notably, the Beef Tataki, are unmatched. No Japanese restaurant on either coast executes this dish so well!
If you need another reason to come, the service is excellent!
Great food, love the interior, but not very good service.
Izakaya Kou is always good for a tasty meal in an energetic environment. I would highly recommend the Kou Bomb as well as their rolls. We have not yet ordered a dish we did not like and we've been here several times!
Solid Japanese restaurant in San Francisco. Most Japanese restaurants in SF do not live up to the hype, are not authentic, and are extremely overpriced, but Izakaya Kou was great. I will be coming back!
I have been to Izakaya Kou multiple times and it is always a great experience. It is fast, has great food and great service. It the perfect date spot before or after a movie. I always suggest this place to my friends.
Food was very hit or miss (calamari was rubbery and flat out bad) and the restaurant was extremely quiet. Otherwise fine.
Great venue. Relaxed. Great for conversation - intimate or party
Excellent except for poor service. Nigiri sushi was high quality.
This is a fun place to visit. If you would like to try something new, go here. I recommend making reservation. This place gets full very quickly.
It was just bad.
Service, ambiance, attitude of waiters - everything was aweful. It was my third visit and i think the restaurant is changing for the worst. I would not recommend.
This most recent visit, the food quality slipped a bit. The menu has a seafood noodle soup, but the waitress said they don't serve the ramen with seafood. so ordered an assortment of vege, meat and other tapas. They tend to use a bit too much salt and some of the dishes have a little bit too much butter or oil.
Food was very good although they are all on the salty side. We particularly liked the grilled pork and the uni rice in hotpot. The waitor was really rushing us. We were taking second seating (and there shouldn't be any more seating), so why the rush?
Can't miss. Consistently excellent food and a fun vibe.
It was our first time here, we are from out of town. The place is hot and muggy, the water was warm with no ice...seriously? Sorry locals!
Went here for dinner and absolutely loved the place. They took very good care of us.
Great sushi! Every dish was wonderful, creative, fresh and amazing!
Horrible. We waited for 20 minutes after being seated and no one even came to offer water or menus so we left.
I had a reservation for 8:30 that I got at 7:00 same day. When I arrived with my party to Izakaya Kou it was like madness inside. So many people waiting around. We waited at least 10 minutes to check in with the non-existent hostess to have her tell us that we didn't actually have a reservation and that they were fully booked. I showed her my OpenTable confirmation and she told us to wait a few minutes after saying again that she's fully booked. She then disappeared again and tons of other people were also frantically trying to get a table or checkin. We waited another 15-20 minutes before talking to another person at the host counter. Same response, told us to "wait a minute". We overheard her ask a group who had been sitting in the waiting area if they wanted to sit at the bar. They asked how long it would be for a table, explaining they'd already waited 1.5 hours! We left disappointed and hungry. Worst OpenTable experience I've ever had- and embarrassing to be with a group of friends and not actually have a reservation according to them!? That's the whole point of OpenTable- to have a reservation and things go smoothly. They also never apologized or seemed to care at all. They were so in over their heads they forgot to say something as simple as "sorry for the inconvenience and we hope to have you return a different day"... They offered none of that. Just "wait a minute" with deer in headlights looks.
Stopped in here as part of a day in the Western Addition exploring the different pockets of businesses, and was seated quickly. Once there, and after extremely attentive service to get us tea and take our order, the problems began.
Everything. Is. Sweet.
Kou sauce, the house specialty, gives everything a sugary before-, middle-, and after-taste. Seafood salad was sweet, tuna tartare was sitting in sweet sauce which the poached egg couldn't save us from, and almost all skewers had an encounter with a brush of the by-now-blasé sauce. There was quite a variety of food of all types, and almost all of it was cooked well, but the sweetness just killed it for us since it shows up in every marinade, sauce, and dish.
Great value sushi, very reasonably priced and delicious. Also had pretty cheap sake- fun evening vibe for a group, definitely on the louder/more partying side which was exactly what we were looking for. Would recommend before a fun night out!
Yay! Softer music would help keep the noise down. Food and service were amazing though.
Medicore food but cool ambiance, wouldn't go there again
The service for tatami room is really sick!
I would like to give them points for customer service. We were not seated until 15 mins after the reservation time, understanding that the restaurant was busy, they took the sake on the house as a token.
Food was great, services was great too.
Food is just OK, not as good as expected. Won't come back
Great food! Loved the scallop on the fire pit and also the jelly sparkling wine!