Katana-ya: tiny Japanese restaurant near Union Square (San Francisco) serves up excellent ramen

It’s not easy to find good lunch places in San Francisco. If you find yourself in Union Square, the downtown shopping district of San Francisco, you will realize that the lunch alternatives are rather dire. You have fast food, which caters to the hurried office crowd whose preference for super-sized sandwiches and watery coffee has spawned a thousand Quiznos and Starbucks. And you have tourist fast food, which needs no further comment.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was to find Katana-ya, a tiny, hole-in-the-wall place on Geary Street a couple of blocks from Union Square.

  • Vibe: very basic, tiny restaurant in downtown San Francisco in front of the American Conservatory Theater that caters to a mostly young Japanese crowd.
  • Pros: delicious ramen, good sushi and other Japanese dishes; inexpensive.
  • Cons: cheerless dark spot is not the world’s most uplifting place to dine when the sun is shining in San Francisco.

Nevertheless, Katana-Ya joins my list of favorite lunch places and ethnic dives (see my review of Lahore Karahi, the best Pakistani restaurant in the city).

Katana-Ya
430 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA
Japanese ramen, sushi
open for lunch and dinner

Katana-Ya on Urbanspoon

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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.