Nombe: Japanese izakaya opens in the Mission District (SF)

Here’s a wonderful restaurant in the Mission District of San Francisco you should check out: Nombe, a Japanese izakaya, has just opened on Mission Street at 21st. An izakaya is a Japanese drinking place where food (small plates to be shared among friends) is served alongside drinks (at least more substantial food than in a bar). The irony about my visit to Nombe with friends two weeks ago is that they had not yet received their liquor license so the food was the central point of the visit, not the drinks. But we did not care. The food was very delicious. We were instructed to buy alcohol at a liquor store a few doors down.

Nombe’s menu has innovative and unusual dishes such as:

  • Pork belly with shichimi togarashi
  • Black cod with spinach, fennel, leek, and miso
  • Potatoes with wild nori, ponzu and scallion
  • Yuzu pickled daikon

The menu is divided among House Plates, Agemono (fried dishes), Yakimono (grilled dishes), Salads, Rice/Miso/Pickles, and Desserts. The most impressive plates were the desserts: the warm kabocha mochi cake with toasted almonds (soft but not too mushy; luscious and slightly sweet) and the azuki bean ice cream with banana caramel (the caramel was divine). They have specials every evening listed on a board and these are usually the raw fish dishes, also very good, and noodle soups. The prices are kind to the budget. For four hungry persons (2 of whom were guys) we spent $77 (no alcohol).

Nombe is not a fancy restaurant but it is modern and airy with high ceilings (which on cold days is a challenge to heat), with a bit of the industrial look. The service is attentive but not obtrusive. I am sure it will be livelier when they get their liquor license and can match the drinks with the food.

2491 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
+1 415 681 7150
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Reserve now using Open Table
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Nombe on Urbanspoon

About Esme Vos

Esme Vos is the founder of Mapplr, a travel site featuring boutique hotels, luxury resorts, travel guides and restaurant reviews. You can find her on and Twitter.


  1. hey, the name of the place is Nombe, not Nombu. You mis-identify it a few times. Might want to fix that.