PABU - San Francisco

4.7
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1091 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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Japanese
Chef Ken Tominaga brings forth a modern take on traditional Izakaya-style dining with PABU - San Francisco. In partnership with Michael Mina this modern izakaya and sushi bar in downtown San Francisco is a dream brought to life for Tominaga and Mina. Located at the landmark 101 California space in San Francisco’s Financial District, PABU - San Francisco combines rustic, old-world Japanese charm with modern, urban sophistication to create a dynamic, social dining experience. Requests for the sushi bar cannot be guaranteed.
What 1091 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.6
service
4.5
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
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PM
1 review
Dined on March 6, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We were a party of three. We ordered two appetizers, the edamame and fried rice—both were very flavorful and delicious. For the main course, we had sea bass, chicken tonkatsu and soba and vegetable tempura. Everything was fresh, the sea bass was so well seasoned and buttery, the chicken was spicy and crunchy and the vegetable tempura was light and crispy. The desserts were amazing, especially the matcha shaved ice. Our server was so friendly and warm, making the experience totally enjoyable.

j
San Francisco
50 reviews
Dined on March 5, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

One of my go-to spots for a nice dinner because it is SO consistent. Service was great, as always. My friend had the omakase with sake pairings and loved it -- and he is a picky, hardcore foodie! Our server gave me a couple of sakes to try, which I really appreciated. I ordered a la carte due to dietary restrictions and ordered tsukune, tempura veg, sashimi (chef's selection) and the sashimi was of course the star. We also had sake and coffee and tea at the end of the night. We stayed pretty late and the server was very kind and did not rush us out.

OT
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on March 5, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Good food, ambience and service. Still not Michelin level.

KG
San Francisco
19 reviews
Dined on March 3, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Bryan and the sake somm really made our dinner special. The sake was the perfect recommendation and the pork jowl and chicken meatballs were awesome. Be back soon.

MP
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on February 29, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Quality of food and service are great, but even though this felt way too pricy. The Omakase with sake pairing ended with a check of $600 for 2 people... The sake sommelier was very friendly and this was a nice touch, but since the sushis come and go quick, the sake pairing felt pretty rushing and we caught ourselves many times having to almost chug the glasses so we could keep it up. Because of that, it was hard to remember which sake paired with what and, in the end, we were just drinking the first glass that was in front of us. The Itamae who was serving us also promised a revisit on one of the sushis we most liked, but never server it and started cleaning his counter... I'm totally fine to pay more for good food, but other starred restaurants in SF, including Michelin stars, can offer a way more complex meal + exquisite wine pairings for much less than that.

SB
Charlotte
4 reviews
Dined on February 28, 2020
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Service was slow, food was expensive relative to portion size and quality. Needed to work hard to get server attention. Great for happy hour, lunch I'd skip.

S
San Francisco
300 reviews
Dined on February 27, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Best Japanese in the city. Start out with the raw Kushi oysters. Then the ahi poke and happy spoonfuls of uni and ikura. The ten piece sashimi and nigiri were perfect for three of us but had to get the Ken’s Roll and Michael’s Negitoro, my favorites. Desserts are very Japanese and the shave ice hits the spot. Our server Gabriel and manager Kevin really took care of us and made it a fantastic birthday celebration!

L
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on February 17, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great dining experience at the counter

KP
Houston
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall5food5service3ambience5

We had a great time! Definitely will be back.

DH
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Nice ambiance and service. Very expensive for what you get, wouldn’t go back.

K
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience5

My BF & I both enjoyed the foods -especially Sashimi & sushi were very good.
Service,decoration , music are all fine.
I could only try the special fixed menu for VD this time and want to sit at the bar ( which seems very popular) next time and try different dishes.

SA
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall3food5service3ambience2

We went for a special valentines late lunch. Without prior warning when we arrived we were told the kitchen would close in 20 minutes do we needed to order ASAP. We did and they brought it all out with 10 minutes. It felt very rushed and not special at all. But the cost was still as if we’d had a long leisurely lunch. So disappointing. Would be nice if they would let us know that was going to be the case and I would have rearranged our plans.

e
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2020
Overall2food4service2ambience4

The food and drinks here are always great - both lunch and dinner. I work two blocks away so am usually here on work related occasions. Last week, my parents were in town and staying at the Hyatt down the street so figured we'd have dinner here one night - which was actually the night of dad's 80th birthday. We ordered the usual fare - various sashimi rolls, grilled fare, tempura (their mushroom tempura is true delight). Overall, the food was solid but I'd have to say my overall experience was seriously dampened by the fact that after having reminded the hostess and server separately that it was my dad's 80th birthday dinner celebration, they didn't once acknowledge or even bring out a candle to blow out. Unfortunate..

VT
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Great food and an interesting cocktail menu. Ideal for large groups but also good for a booth style seating for small groups. Service was ok but fairly impersonal like a large restaurant.

OT
New Orleans
1 review
Dined on February 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The tasting menu is amazing!

KM
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on February 5, 2020
Overall3food5service1ambience3

Service was so poor. Food was great.

OT
London
5 reviews
Dined on February 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Simply wonderful!

OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on January 30, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience5

Way too expensive for a lunch with three people. Sushi was wonderful.

KL
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 22, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My dad’s favorite birthday dinner ever!

OT
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on January 21, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We were running late for a show and our server expedited our order perfectly. Octopus was best ever. Will return to better savor the experience

FG
Chicago
7 reviews
Dined on January 18, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Good experience

OT
New England
5 reviews
Dined on January 16, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful. Third trip to Pabu in the same week. Stuart is always a pleasure to talk to, and his sake recommendations are right on. I’ll be back!

OT
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on January 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent as always

S
San Francisco
300 reviews
Dined on January 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Celebrated my daughter’s B’day on a Monday night and PABU was amazing. All aspects of our dinner simply outstanding. Service by Yuli was top notch. Very fresh Kushi oysters started the night followed by mouth-watering assorted sashimi and nigiri. We also enjoyed the chicken Karaage and yakitori plus the mini-Japanese pancake Okonomiyaki. Compliments to their desert chef because the matcha/coconut shave ice really hit the spot!! What a night, PABU is the best Japanese joint in the city......

NB
New York Area
17 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Wonderful food! It is very expensive, but we enjoyed our special occasion.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall4food3service5ambience4

Sashimi was very good but several of the rolls were a disappointment for the price.

JA
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on January 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We came to PABU with a group of 12 for a business dinner. A large portion of the group needed to catch a red eye flight so we had a limited amount of time for dinner. I explained the situation to our server Cecilia and everything that followed was fantastic. She helped me craft a semi-fixed menu incorporating house favorites and a variety of choices to ensure everyone could find something familiar and new to try. The food delivery was placed well to keep tings moving while giving us time to adjust as needed based on the group enjoyment. Individual drink orders nicely rounded out the options and the service was attentive and professional. The entire staff that interacted with our table were fantastic. We had a wonderful experience and the out of town business partners left town with a wonderful memory of their trip. I cannot compliment and thank Cecilia enough for making our evening such an enjoyable success!

KA
New York Area
12 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Pabu was chosen by my work team because it has everything you need! Great atmosphere, easy to get to, and everything on the menu is delicious! The service was also exceptional, as we had a large group (and even had to add a couple chairs). The employees at Pabu were very professional and accommodating.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall1food2service1ambience2

Food was good. I was really disappointed by the service. We had a large party (12) and the entire time we were there I felt like we were an afterthought. For such an expensive place I expected better.

CH
Las Vegas
6 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience5

Awesome Omakase! Good Quality Fish and Dessert. Warm Sake is good too. The two people table is too small and cramp. We requested to move to the booth seat after knock over water.

OT
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on December 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Pabu never disappoints in both food and service. We brought our brother here for his first time and he loved it!

TC
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2019
Overall4food3service5ambience5

This location is great for financial district. Service was excellent. I realize this is a Michael Mina restaurant in SF, so prices are probably expected to be high; however, if I'm being completely upfront I'm always a bit disappointed at the cost for a couple rolls and a bowl of edamame. Frankly the rolls are small, nothing spectacular. I go here more for business lunch convenience. There are some other really great things on the menu, but it is sushi and when spending the extra money on a great restaurant, I want to walk out feeling wow'd.

AZ
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on December 20, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Great food! Waiting was a bit long between our final sushi rolls but other than that, it’s great place to have my sushi fix downtown. Price was reasonable too.

HB
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Always love coming here. The food is excellent - fresh, delicious, perfectly presented. The staff are friendly and always nearby without being overbearing. The service is wonderful.

AR
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on December 13, 2019
Overall3food5service4ambience2

Wonderful food, but busy, loud, with tables packed closely. Food was expensive relative to San Francisco Sushi houses.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on December 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We enjoyed our date night. The service and food were great

JG
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on December 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

First time eating at this restaurant and the food did not disappoint! Highly recommend the Grilled Brandt Sirloin Steak and the Pan-Roasted Salmon.

OT
Tokyo
1 review
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

とても素晴らしい和食を頂きました!サービスも素晴らしく再訪したいです。

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 5, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Wore sushi in SF. Misleading online menu. Dirty walls. Disgusting. A real shame and an insult to Michael Mina’s name.

G
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on November 27, 2019
Overall3food5service3ambience4

While the food was excellent, we were left with a feeling of being ripped off. The menu included a three course fixed price lunch for $50. Yet unless you chose the most expensive items, it was cheaper to order a la carte. When we pointed out to the waiter that the items we wanted to order would be $7 less if ordered separately, he seemed completely befuddled. We instead ordered the Nigiri which was advertised as $30 including a dragon roll. When we inquired as to whether we could order any of the rolls with that, we were told “yes.” But when the bill came we were charged $40 per person and then told by the waiter that the $30 price was only for one of the dragon rolls. I understand this, but it would’ve been nice if this had been explained when we were ordering. Moreover, the difference between the price of the dragon roll and the roll I ordered, was only six dollars-– yet the up charge was $10. Lastly, a cup of green tea was six dollars and no refills were offered. Bottom line is that, while the food was excellent, we left feeling ripped off and feeling that whoever did the menu pricing was mathematically challenged.

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