Oyaji Restaurant Circa 2005
This was the official website for the Oyaji Japanese restaurant in San Francisco, created by Hideki Makiyama, former owner of Saji Japanese restaurant in the Marina, Ca.
The site was never fully finished. Content is from the site's archived pages as well as from other outside sources.
The restaurant, now under new management, is still open at the same location with the name, New Oyaji Restaurant.
The recent Yelp reviews from 2015 -2018 are mostly positive, although some of the long time customers are not as pleased with the new owners. There are no Yelp reviews available from 2007, although a 2007 review of the restaurant when it was run by the original owner, Hideki Makiyama, is shown below along with the original 2007 menus.
3123 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94121
tue-thu: 5:30pm - 10:30pm
fri-sat: 5:30pm - 12:00am
sun: 5:30pm - 10:00pm
Oct 9, 2007 | tablehopper.com
With the rampant izakaya or izakaya-inspired openings in SF (Nihon, Umami, Hime, Sozai, and the soon-to-open O), it's time to pay homage to one of the originals, ~OYAJI~, tucked away on a foggy stretch of Clement out in the Richmond. The style of dining is Japanese tavern-style, a place where you get together with friends, eat small plates of home-style food while drinking (often too much) from shared bottles of sake, soju, and Sapporo. This place is one of my favorites to get a good-sized group together, like eight friends or so, who like to do damage with you. A cab is a wise idea, and since Oyaji is almost out in BFE, you might want to share the fare, because tonight, my friend, the odds are good that you are getting tipsy.
But no matter how wasted you get, it's hard to top the BAC of the owner, Hideki, AKA the (usually) rather drunk owner who will make comments about your breasts, your date's balls, or any number of inappropriate topics, all the while drinking your sake (hey, you offered it to him! Wait, or did you? Anyway.) It's not like you weren't warned: the name of the place is oyaji, which I was told means "dirty old man."
Personally, I found the whole thing hilarious the first few times, but the bottom line is the guy has a serious drinking problem, and the "Oyaji Show" (whose rating can veer from PG-13 to NC-17 later in the evening) can be a little much, if not a bit saddening when you step back and think about it. Anyway, don't bring mom or any prudish friends who get offended easily.
Last time I was here we had a group of eight or so sassy ladies (and our token homo). One of the ladies was designated to keep a close eye on Hideki, alerting us when he was "out of the box" and roaming around. He must have vibed our iron curtain, because Hideki actually let us be. Nary a boobie joke. He even sported us with a bottle of soju--he can be quite generous that way.
When I come here, I actually don't even consider the sushi--I'm too fired up to try all the other dishes calling me on the menu, from the tame (kani cream korokke: deep-fried crab croquettes with béchamel, onion and egg/$7) to the exotic (kurage su: jellyfish in a tangy vinegar dressing/$4) to the super funky/totally wrong (ika natto: raw squid with sticky, fermented soy beans/$6--I have no plans to repeat this one). It's the kind of place you can afford to experiment with the outré, because odds are it will only put you back $4-$7 if you don't like something.
Many tables opt for the Oyaji beef ($10), a saucy version of Japanese fajitas, served with onions and bubbling away on a sizzling platter. There are also at least ten different grilled skewers ("kushiyaki") you can order, from chicken thighs to pork tongue to duck to veggies ($3.50-$7.50)--extra delish with a hit of the spicy chili miso paste.
One trick when ordering here is to just order a little bit at a time, otherwise everything happens really fast, even if you ask them to take it slow--kind of like a 20-year-old boy. Just know when it's time to order some more dishes, you practically need to fire off a flare to get the somewhat overwhelmed servers' attention. This is why you should always have at least one bottle of something to drink in front of you--consider it self-entertainment.
Some pals who lived in Japan invited me along for dinner here one night; they taught me about ordering a bottle of soju, and then you ask for ice, water, and lemon wedges--you fill up each glass with ice and soju, with a splash of water to your taste, and a spritz of lemon. Fab.
Hmmm, I need more to eat. Hello, buta no kakuni (steamed pork belly/$7.50) with spicy mustard, and let's try some yaki onigiri (rice balls with salmon and bonito/$3.50), which we didn't love so much. Much better was the gindara kasuzuke (grilled codfish in sake lees/$10), or the ankake dofu (deep-fried tofu with thick ankake sauce/$5.50). Actually, vegetarians can have some fun here, from burdock a couple ways to mushrooms to at least five different deep-fried numbers.
Here's the shocking thing: if you have a large enough group, you totally feast, and still walk out of there spending $40 or less. I don't know how it happened last time, but it did. Magic. I think it's the sushi that can jack things up quick. Speaking of the bill, you'll want to give it a once-over, no matter bow bleary you are: every time I've been here something is wrong, either being overcharged or even undercharged (yes, we told them they forgot to charge us for our second bottle of soju--mama raised us right).
So, let's recap: go in a group (make reservations in advance or you'll never get a table), take a cab, be adventurous, and keep a watchful eye on the drunk guy, or he might slip a live freshwater crab down your friend's shirt (true story).
* Follow-up from a star tablehopper reader: "Oyaji does not exactly mean "dirty old man". It means "father" in a more informal sense, but in some cases they are one in the same, so your sources were partially right.
Speaking of Oyaji, the next time you go, ask if they have grilled hamachi cheeks available. It's not on the menu, but sometimes it pops up as a special. It's fabulously rich and you get so determined to pick off every bit off the bones.
|Tobiko||Flying Fish Row|
|6 pieces cut roll or 1 hand roll|
|California||Crab, Avocado, Fish Egg|
|New York||Shrimp, Avocado, Fish Egg|
|Alaska||Salmon, Avocado, Fish Egg|
|Florida||Tuna, Avodaco, Fish Egg|
|Rock'N||Eel, Avocado, Fish Egg, Eel Sauce|
|Sophia||Eel, Shrimp, Avocado, Sesame, Eel Sauce|
|Oyaji||Eel, Crab, Avocado, Fish Egg, Eel Sauce|
|Rainbow||Eel, Tuna, Yellow Tail, Salmon, Halibut, Avodaco|
|Hawaii||Spicy Tuna, Sesame|
|Rusty||Spicy Tuna, Yellow Tail, Cucumber, Fish Egg|
|Monika||Spicy Tuna, Green Onion, Cucumber, Fish Egg|
|Negihama||Yellow Tail, Green Onion, Sesame|
|Spicy Hamachi||Spicy Yellow Tail, Sesame|
|Crunchy Wedding||Spicy Yellow Tail, Avocado, Tempura Batter, Sesame (5 pieces)|
|Tempura||Shrimp Tempura, Shiso Leaf, Sesame|
|Gina & Tina||Shrimp Tempura, Eel, Avocado, Fish Egg|
|Salmon Skin||Grilled Salmon Skin, Green Onion, Sesame|
|Mark Special||Salmon, Avocado, Green Onion, Fish Egg|
|Spider||Soft Shell Crab, Shiso Leaf (4 pieces)|
|12 Under||Soft Shell Crab, Avocado, Green Onion, Fish Egg (4 pieces)|
|Tofu||Fried Tofu, Shiso Leaf|
|Stamina||Mountain Potato, Plum Paste, Shiso Leaf|
|Oshinko||Pickled Radish, Shiso Leaf|
|Ume Shiso||Plum Paste, Shiso Leaf|
|Eggplant||Grilled Eggplant, Tempura Batter, Eel Sauce|
|Vegetable Tempura||4 Kinds of Vegetable Tempura, Eel Sauce|
|A: 5 Pieces||Tuna, Yellow Tail, Shrimp, Salmon, Eel|
|B: 7 Pieces||A + Halibut, Octopus|
|C: 13 Pieces||B + Tekka Roll|
|D: 19 Pieces||C + California Roll|
|Hirame Usu-Zukuri||Thin sliced halibut w/ ponzu sauce|
|Philadelphia||Salmon, Avocado, Cream Cheese, Fish Egg|
|Spicy Salmon||Spice Salmon, Green Onion, Sesame|
|Mongo||Yellow Tuna, Salmon, Cuttlefish, Fish Egg|
|Dave||Deep Fried: Salmon, Shiso Leaf, Shrimp, Halibut, Fish Egg|
|Shane Come Back||Albacore Roll Tempura, Dip with Wasabi mayonnaise|
|Julie-cyan||Crab, Tuna, Eel, Avocado, Green Onion, Garlic, Sesame (5 pieces)|
|B.K.||Eel, Salmon Skin, Cucumber, Fish Egg|
|Jenna||Shrimp Tempura, Crab, Avocado, Fish Egg|
|Stirling||Shrimp Tempura, Crab, Avocado, Spicy Mayo, Fish Egg, Sesame|
|Arif||Shrimp Tempura, Albacore, Avocado, Fish Egg|
|Spicy Scallop Hand Roll||Scallop, Spicy Mayonnaise, Fish Egg|
|Sparky||Yellow Tail, Crab, Shrimp, Cucumber, Fish Egg|
|Mon Dai Nai||Halibut, Green Onion, Sesame|
|Christy||Grilled Albacore, Sesame|
|PG & E||Halibut Tempura, Avocado, Sesame, Eel Sauce|
|Pain In The ...||Eel, Avocado, Cucumber, Wrapped w/ Albacore, Topped w/ Green Onion, Garlic w/ PonzuSauce|
|Japanese style noodles in homemade Tonkotsu soup (pork bone stock)
Oyaji Toppings: Sliced cha-shu (roast port slice), egg, bamboo shoots, corn, wakame seaweed and green onions
|Ramen||Japanese style noodle soup topped with Oyaji toppings|
|Cha Shu-men||Japanese style noodle soup topped with Oyaji toppings plus additional cha-shu|
|Served with Oyaji salad dressing|
|Chicken Salad||Mixed green topped with grilled chicken|
|Seafood Salad||Mixed green topped with chef's choice of sashimi|
|Something for Vegetarians|
|Agedashi Dofu||Deep-fried tofu served with tempura sauce|
|Agedashi Nasu||Deep-fried egg plant with tempura sauce|
|Ankake Dofu||Deep-fried tofu topped with vegetable Ankake sauce|
|Hiryu-Zu||Deep-fried tofu & vegetable dumplings served in tempura sauce|
|Yasai no nimono||Root vegetables simmered in soup stock|
|Tasty appetizers with your favorite drinks|
|Edamame||Boiled soybeans in pods|
|Goma-Ae||Boiled spinach with sesame sauce|
|Hijiki no itamemono||Sauteed seaweed|
|Hiyashi Tomato||Chilled sliced tomato with mayonnaise dressing|
|Kinokono agebitashi||Deep-fried mushrooms marinated in special sauce|
|Kinpira Gobo||Braised burdock|
|Moro-Kyu||Japanese cucumber served with miso paste|
|Sunomono||Japanese cucumber in vinegar dressing|
|Tataki Gobo||Boiled burdock with sesame sauce|
|Wakame Salad||Seaweed in vinegar dressing|
|Green Tea Ice Cream|
|Vanilla Ice Cream|
San Francisco, CA
4.0 star rating 5/7/2017
You know, considering how little has changed about this place, it's a shame that the owners couldn't keep all of the reviews that the original Oyaji had accumulated over the years. I get that with new ownership generally comes a new name, which then comes with a new Yelp page, but dang...everything is the same! Which is actually a great thing, because it would've been pretty dumb to take over something great and mess it up!
Now, when I say that not much has changed about the restaurant, I really mean it. The look, the layout, the friendly service...all of it felt oh so familiar. If anything, it seems like the menu might be a little longer (there seems to be more sushi than I remember), but otherwise, it's largely the same, filled with the same izakaya favorites/staples - skewers, takoyaki, onigiri, ankimo, and ramen (no bento boxes). So glad my friend was down to share!
-- ANKIMO - Steamed Monkfish Liver in Ponzu Sauce...$8.50
It was definitely a bummer to see just four chunks on the plate, but this was delicious! Though they were particularly large, I liked how the chunks of ankimo were sliced rather thick.
What's more, the ponzu sauce was great for cutting through the richness of the liver. Yum!
-- GESO KUSHI YAKI - Skewered Grilled Squid Legs...$5
The one major flaw of our meal. It looked decent on the plate, but every piece I had was rather chewy. What's more, they didn't have a lot of flavor to them; I liked the bit of char they had, but other than that, the squid were super light on seasoning.
-- GYU TAN KUSHI YAKI - Skewered Grilled Beef Tongue...$8.50
Pretty good, though I'm not huge on beef tongue (because it's pricier than regular cuts of beef yet it doesn't taste all that different, not because it's tongue). Much like the squid, the skewers were charred nicely (and fairly tender). Unlike the squid though, these were flavorful and well seasoned.
-- TEBA SHIO - Grilled Chicken Wings with Salt...$7
The portion isn't great for the money, but these sure were tasty! I loved how juicy the wings were and how the meat had a slight sweetness to it. The one knock on this was that one of the wings was pretty salty, but the rest were fine.
-- TAKOYAKI - Fried Wheat Cakes with Octopus...$7.50
More good than bad, but not all that impressive. There was a decent amount of octopus in each ball, and I liked how there wasn't a ton of sauce, but the batter didn't do it for me. The consistency of it was fine, but it tasted a little off (almost like it was burnt, possibly from old oil in the fryer?).
-- HOTATE NIGIRI - Fresh Scallops...$10
Although it wasn't the best hotate nigiri I've ever had, the cut was certainly one of the largest. Quite literally, the slices of scallop were spilling over the sides of the rice. Can't argue with how meaty they were, as well as how fresh and sweet they tasted.
-- RAINBOW ROLL - California Roll topped with Chef's Choice of Fish and Fish Eggs...$14
While the cuts of fish were both awkward and inconsistent (some fish were cut thicker than others), the roll as a whole wasn't bad. The fish was pretty fresh and the rice wasn't gummy nor heavy on the vinegar. Plus, the roll was stuffed with a lot of avocado, which never hurts!
While I didn't get a chance to try all of the things I've had before, I imagine they're probably just as good, given how nearly everything we had was rock solid (my friends seemed to enjoy their food). All in all, I'm so glad that (New) Oyaji still remains the neighborhood gem that it's been. Plus, there's not much else in the area and they stay open late!
San Francisco, CA
5.0 star rating 2/10/2018
I live a block away from this place and I LOVE IT. An absolute neighborhood gem. Amazing food (sushi is the best I've had in SF--seriously, and I've been to all the "best" places that are $25/roll--and you can watch the chef make it), super quiet on the weekdays, can easily get in during the weekends without a reservation, great, cold beer on tap, very reasonable prices (under $30/person for two rolls, a beer, and tip), and very friendly staff.
When I was there last, there were a number of tables of Japanese families and many of the staff were Japanese, including the sushi chef (to the person "complaining" that "this place now appears to be owned and run by Koreans or Chinese"...the owner is Japanese tablehopper.com/chatterb…).
What more could you want in a sushi restaurant?
Acura Nsx T.
San Francisco, CA
2.0 star rating 1/19/2018
Guess I should have search Yelp sooner before heading over. This place now appears to be owned and run by Koreans or Chinese.
This is an Izakaya food and bar serving Horderves plates of small portions to supplement Sake or other alcoholic drinks. Portions were extremely small but that's what Izakaya restaurant is. The four of us were the only people there but service was extremely slow. One of our orders, Tempura udon was served 30 minutes after we ordered. Also, our scallops on one of our orders was extremely chewy.
This not your traditional Japanese restaurant that serve full dinners.
This is definitely not what it used to be when it was owned by japanese sushi master. We spent $149 on just the food and we were all hungry again within the hour.
San Francisco, CA
2.0 star rating 11/3/2017
This was one of our favorite Izakayas for years. You could reliably walk in and find the place full of Japanese nationals, who know their Izakaya food. I took a group of friends to the new Oyaji after Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and I will sadly never return. It's now run by non-Japanese (Chinese?) cooks. The waitress didn't even know the names of the food. The food was uniformly bad and not at all authentic.
The former sushi chef at Oyaji was known for never allowing his underling to make nigiri himself (shades of Jiro.) I doubt that the new Itamae has ever even been to a training with a real sushi chef. If you know real Japanese food, don't go to the new Oyaji. You will be sorely disappointed.
San Francisco, California
Reviewed February 16, 2018
Ice quiet Japanese. But watch the bill v
We have been here often and have always enjoyed the excellent Japanese food and friendly service at reasonable prices. Last night I noticed something that I think may be new. They added about 4% for using a credit card. Technically, it was presented as there...More
Reviewed July 13, 2017
Great bento boxes
Walked here from the Legion of Honor museum. Delicious miso and excellent tempura and katsu. My companion had sashimi and said it was super fresh. Even the salad in the bento seemed like it was freshly picked.
Reviewed June 2, 2017
We discovered Oyaji a year ago and it immediately became our favorite Japanese spot. I crave the flavors of the grilled onigiri. Grilled, not fried! Crispy edges, moist rice inside, with soy and salmon. Something so simple, yet beautifully done. The menu is small plates...More
San Francisco, California
Reviewed April 30, 2017
Wonderful, casual, happy eating ...
I have loved Japanese food for 40 years and try it almost wherever I go. I San Francisco, Ebisu has been a favorite since it opened. Ojaji is a different experience. It is more quiet, more relaxed (not as busy) but very, very good. I...More
Reviewed July 27, 2015 via mobile
We where on our way to Lands End by bike when we stopped at Oyaji for lunch with the kids. We did not expect too much but the food and friendliness of the staff was great. We had the Bento box which was very good...More
Reviewed July 26, 2015
Boy Was I Surprised
I was meeting friends for drinks next door at the Tee Off Bar. I got there half an hour early so I figured I'd give this place a try. I was very surprised and I know sushi. The Ama Ebi was to perfection. The shari...More
Reviewed January 13, 2015 via mobile
I went there for a good dinner and was not disappointed. The food was very good, the service was lightning fast, and all with a nice atmosphere with a little J-pop in the background.
Reviewed June 4, 2013 via mobile
I'm not a big fan of sushi. I like it but I am tired of all of the "Japanese" restaurants that only serve sushi. Most Japanese don't eat it that frequently. That's why I love Oyaji! It has a wide variety of authentic Japanese food...More
Reviewed December 17, 2009
Went here with my girlfriend, we had some great tasty Japanese food. A reminder: the place is kinda small and I...
Went here with my girlfriend, we had some great tasty Japanese food. A reminder: the place is kinda small and I recommend you make a booking!
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Reviewed July 4, 2009
Best Japanese experience we ever had
My husband and I had dinner at Oyaji last night with 4 other friends. It was amazing! You know you are in to a good experience when you have been recomended by people from the Japanese Consulate! The owner was there and was super firendly. We did not experience any delay in the service. We made reservations and were seated right away. Not just an amazing fish but a well rounded Japanese experience! Although I have to agree with one of the reviewrs above the there are certain things just not meant to ocidental palates! Stay away semething called NATO. All the rest was spetactular. We will definetely be back and will recomend to our friends!