Nomica

4.7
172 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Japanese
Top Tags:
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Creative Cuisine
  • Neighborhood Gem
Modern Japanese cuisine & drinking house Nomica is a fresh, contemporary take on Japanese cuisine, set in the vibrant Upper Market neighborhood of San Francisco. A sister to the highly awarded Sushi Ran in Sausalito, Nomica puts an urban twist on innovative Japanese food. Nomica’s name (Noe-Mission-Castro), a nod to our vibrant neighborhood, by happy coincidence, also means “drinking house” in Japanese. Our full bar features creative cocktails and a selection of hard to find awamori, a traditional Okinawan spirit.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Japanese, French / Japanese
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Hours of operation
Dinner: Monday - Thursday: 5:30pm - 10:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 11:00pm
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Phone number
(415) 655-3280
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Business Casual
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Executive chef
Hiroo Nagahara
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Private party facilities
Join us for a family style meal at our beautiful walnut slab table, seats up to 12 guests in a private room. Custom tasting menus or a la carte dining are also options.
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Sanchez
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Public transit
Between the Castro/Market and Church/Market MUNI stops.
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine

What Insiders Are Saying

The Infatuation
8.4

Japanese fusion that doesn’t suck at Nomica in the Castro. And some traditional stuff too.

Ratings 8.0-8.5:The best way to think about restaurants in the low to mid 8′s is that these are the places you would absolutely go back to, anytime. These restaurants are ones that you want to bring a friend to, just so they can also experience the duck carnitas, or burger, or whatever dish the place is known for.
What 172 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
4.6
food
4.6
service
4.4
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
86% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 15, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 2

With so many excellent Japanese food options in SF, the food was just OK. Menu more Japanese American than Japanese, but not particularly interesting or well prepared. Hamachi crudo, for example, was a bit rubbery, and the flavors did not hold together. The ambiance was strangely more LA than SF. Staff very friendly and attentive. For the Castro, Nomica is still a good option, since the neighborhood doesn’t have the best eats, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat here again.

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KN
1 review
Dined on September 15, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Best service for group party! Our amazing server was wonderful and recommended a perfect amount of food for us. The cocktails are great too!

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CD
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The Stable Genius cocktail was the bomb! The Duckfat rice 'cassoulet' was terrific. Wish we had two more people to share the chicken brioche because it looked and smelled amazing.

Definitely will be coming back with a group.

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G
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on September 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our party of 8 ordered the multi-course tasting menu. Each course was delicious and unique and was accompanied by a beautiful presentation. Our favorite dessert was the coconut tapioca foam pudding. This tasting menu, served family-style, was reasonably priced, considering both the quantity and quality of the dishes served.

Our server was friendly and was very helpful in answering our group's myriad of questions and in seeking the consultation of his co-workers, for the few questions for which he didn't have answers.

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j
New England
5 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 3

We did the tasting, I told the waitress, only cooked food. We got a salad and lettuce wrap. I told there server, no one came to the table for about 5 min to tell us what’s going on. Waitress never told us details of course number. They brought out a bunch of apps, many that were fried, the batter was thick on the tomatoes and chicken, making the food greasy and the taste wasn’t amazing for a place that said it was a Michelin. The fried rice was ok, the fish was over cooked. Between the quality of things were cooked and Inconsistent flavoring of the Foods, I wouldn’t recommend this restaurant. Waitress brought the menu for dessert and than said oh the tasting has a dessert. Service was spotty.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Incredible food! Fine dining for reasonable price

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SW
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on September 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The Whole Chicken in Brioche was a worthwhile experience. You have to preorder in advance and they only put it in the oven after your party is seated. It takes about an hour after be served. When it arrived it came on a carving cart, like Peking duck, in a very large clay pot. The server explained how it was prepared and carved up the shiny brioche lid, then proceeds to carve up the green chicken. He finished with the chimichuri sauce.

The chicken was incredibly tender and flavorful, pairing well with the sweet brioche to soak up the juices.

If you are interested in this dish it's definitely worth the visit. Offers an new alternative to Zuni's roast chicken and bread salad.

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WL
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

An outstanding Japanese fusion restaurant with a friendly, very informative staff. The house cocktails are creative and unusual, including a whiskey found nowhere but Okinawa. The tasting menu was generous and varied, definitely the way to go for first-timers. Their order-ahead baked chicken en croute looked spectacular (at the next table). Definitely worth a return visit.

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C
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on August 21, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

Ordinary food, grossly overpriced.
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JC
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on August 19, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

I wanted to love this place.

First the space itself is elegant and minimal which I loved.

As for the food some dishes were amazing like the stuffed chicken wings and the pork belly appetizers and the salmon entrée, but others left something to be desired. The chicken and waffles it turns out are really one of the other chicken appetizers with savory waffles added, it was some type of premade chicken pressed in a cube they deep fry. When I was waiting for the bathroom I saw them taking a tray of them out of the walk-in cooler.

The service was also a bit off. Maybe I was catching them on a bad night I'm not sure. I tried to order the special chicken dish more than 24 hours in advance as the website instructs but learned I would be put on the "chicken waiting list", only in SF!

We also ordered deserts one was just ok but one came with a green colored ice cream that literally tasted like dirt. The waiter saw that no one at the table wanted to eat this disgusting item but never offered to take it off the bill or exchange it for a different desert.

Then there was the noise level. It is so loud it was hard to talk to the people I was with. Compounding this in the middle of the meal suddenly the music became louder and hardcore rap. It really did not fit the elegant Zen design of the restaurant. We asked the waiter to turn the music down and he actually tried to argue with us that it was not loud and hadn't changed during the meal. I guess the customer is always right except at Nomica!

Finally the bill itself. This place is expensive. For three people it was almost $450 and we brought wine and paid a $25 corkage. I can't imagine how expensive it would have been had we ordered wine from their list.

This place is good not great and very expensive. If the prices were more forgiving I think I would be as well. They weren't so I'm not either.

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on August 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We love everything about Nomica, definitely will come back soon!

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EJ
San Francisco
44 reviews
Dined on August 17, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Once again, another great meal at Nomica. I take out-of-town friends here b/c Nomica serves food they cannot get anywhere else. Very unique. Excellent service.

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RA
San Francisco
38 reviews
Dined on August 17, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 2

One of the worst meals I've had in SF. I ordered arctic char, which was none too fresh, undercooked and was accompanied by a mass of over salted vegetables. The sashimi was thick slabs of stringy fish I couldn't eat. My niece ordered the chicken and waffles and was baffled. Too strong of flavors and parmesan waffles? What's the point. The staff was really nice and thank goodness for Champagne by the glass. One last point, it was really expensive for the quality. I would avoid at all costs.

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a
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 16, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We had a great experience dining at Nomica. The space is beautiful. The food we had was tasty, Japanese with an interesting twist. We ordered hamachi sashimi, beet zuke salmon belly, karaage chicken and kaisen donabe rice. We also had a coconut dessert that had really amazing textures and layers. Service was also very good. We will be back!

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M
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The chef's omakase was worth the try with a diverse menu of dishes from tuna poke crackers to sous-vide chicken karaage to ikura seafood rice to coconut sago pudding. Make sure you come hungry because the dishes are each quite filling! The dishes skewed on the heavier side (both in flavor & heft e.g., two fried dishes) so I recommend mentioning specific requests and/or grab a refreshing cocktail to accompany your dishes.

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FH
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on August 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Brioche Chicken is the best chicken I've ever put in my mouth.

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D
Chicago
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 2

The food was a let-down, especially the main with bitter-tasting fish, fatty rice and salty roe. The fried green tomatoes were the worst I have had - acid and tasteless. The service was good - so were the cocktails. I would recommend this place for a well-chosen snack and a cocktail.

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MR
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on August 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We'd booked this thinking as a pre-concert dinner, after a look at the menu online. I wasn't expecting it to be possibly the best dinner we've ever had in San Francisco. Inventive, Michelin-standard food, at a really reasonable price.

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MW
San Francisco
60 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 2

Food was decent, service was excellent; but extremely loud.

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DJ
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

this was the third time i've been to Nomica. it is a little fancier and a little more expensive side than what i usually prefer, but it is a very creative and delicious Japanese menu and a special treat. everything we ordered was delicious... including the whole chicken baked in brioche, which -- if it appeals -- must be ordered 24 hours in advance! i don't really think you can go wrong at Nomica... all dishes are excellent. however, the four of us at our table did not at all care for the matcha ice cream with fruit and caramel which we intended to share for dessert. the matcha was literally so strong and overpowering that none of us liked it at all. couple that with unripe fruit, and the dessert was very disappointing. however, our very good and graceful waiter accepted our criticism good naturedly and took the price of it off our bill. overall, a great and yummy dinner at a highly creative restaurant.

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OT
Houston
3 reviews
Dined on August 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing and unique Japanese inspired cuisine, cooked excellently, with options for any picky eater. The chicken Brioche was excellent! Great staff, very knowledgeable of the menu and drink selections. This is my new favorite restaurant in San Francisco!

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V
San Francisco
23 reviews
Dined on July 31, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Interesting dishes, fantastic cocktails, attentive service, all in a quiet and relaxing atmosphere. Plus, a bar for before or after!

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MM
New York Area
1 review
Dined on July 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We came for the brioche chicken, which was amazing, but the rest of the meal and the service were just as fine!

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JM
1 review
Dined on July 24, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

I would return to Nomica because the menu really appealed to me and our dinner was delicious. I thought it was expensive but that is true of many San Francisco restaurants because their overhead is so high.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

This was a surprise. Not sushi but fusion. Very interesting menu. Fun place. Recommended.

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JL
1 review
Dined on July 21, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Great staff and service, frequent water top offs and check -ins.
Food was tasty and well executed. Bold flavors. A couple of the dishes were slightly over priced for what was received but overall I would go back.

Btw. Great whiskey selection.

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OT
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on July 21, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 1ambience 4

Family style was fun, great wine list, bartenders and host very nice.

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S
1 review
Dined on July 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had chef Hiroo pick our menu and we were all blown away. Drinks, food, and sake we're all top notch. It was one of the best dining experiences I have ever had. We went with a group of 8 and most of the conversations around the table were about how great each course was. After dinner Chef came out and spent time with us for a short bit. Come with an appetite.

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CY
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

2nd time dining here. Decor is simple, comfortable & pretty. Came back to have the stuffed wings & Brussels sprouts. Tried the unique chicken & waffles which was delicious & had layers of flavors & textures. Ate 1/2 & had the leftovers for lunch the next day. Had honey brioche ice cream with black miso & it was yummy & the portion was large enough to share.

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DG
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food! Creative and Delicious! Exactly what San Francisco’s dining scene needs!!

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HT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Good vibe, good music. There were big groups around us who ordered the chicken baked in bread - a must for next time.

GM Paul was super welcoming and gracious. Will come back again when visiting SF. Thanks! Excellent experience.

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OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on June 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of my favorites- great service, tasty, creative food.

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g
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 23, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 3

The food is great, however, we were asking for putting a whole course food to different boxes, when we arrived at home, there was only one box in the bag, other three dishes were missing. I don't know the waitress didn't do it, or maybe she forgot to do it or some other reasons. Otherwise, it was a good dinner

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CB
Houston
84 reviews
Dined on June 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicate and tasty food. Large selection os sakes. Excellent service by knowledgeable servers.

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f
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on June 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love trying new dishes here, but will always come back for the dashi #1 potatoes and kaisen donabe rice!

Fun & delicious cocktails too!

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OT
San Francisco
58 reviews
Dined on June 10, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 4ambience 3

I wanted to like this restaurant since I first read the eclectic menu. Unfortunately, this was the worse meal I had in a while. Beet salad was fresh, but pretty standard for the Bay Area. The stuffed chicken wings seemed like a concept borrowed from Cambodian cuisine. The wings had skin on, battered, then fried and served with a General Tso sauce. Unlike the Cambodian version where skin is fried crispy, this version had gelatinous skin under batter so oily that had to spit it out.
Miso cod was sickly sweet, not crispy and did not go well with mushy cheese polenta. The duck leg was OK, but the “fried rice” was swimming in duck fat. On paper these dishes sounded amazing, but IRL they tasted muddled and heavy-handed.
The best dish of the night was the coconut parfait. It was light and fresh, a saving grace after three courses glazed with fat.

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M
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on June 9, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

Foods was too sweet
I couldn’t eat one of chef special food.

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BM
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on June 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of the best meals I have ever had. We did the chef's tasting and it was phenomenal. My girlfriend and I were blown away by everything from service to the food. Absolutely outstanding. Can't wait to come back!

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M
San Francisco
24 reviews
Dined on June 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

As usual, the food was outstanding and the service incredibly professional. The oysters were amazing..perhaps the best I have ever had. I will definitely be going back soon!

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DD
San Francisco
25 reviews
Dined on May 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We’ve eaten there 5 or 6 times and every time has been great. Every dish is special, delicious and unique.

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