Eclectic diner decor sets the stage for this Mission District Izakaya. Impressive sake selection curated by Gil Payne goes well with the fun, approachable Japanese menu.
Citysearch Editorial Review. Run by an izakaya dream team--the founders of the now-closed Sozai (Best of Citysearch 2008) and the three-star former chef of O Izakaya Lounge--Nombe may be the best thing to hit the Mission since the burrito. The space is divided into two rooms, one filled with intimate and candlelit two-tops, the other like a '50s soda fountain, with a formica counter and a huge booth for big dinner parties. Chef Nick Balla is a drastically underrated chef, and his pork belly with seven-flavor chili pepper or his black cod with spinach, fennel, leek and miso are as good as izakaya gets in this city; and the honey-and-serrano chicken wings rival those at SF's wing king, San Tung. There are 75 sakes and eight Japanese beers chosen by Nombe's certified sommelier (izakaya is as much about drinking as eating). Best of all, Nombe is, if not burrito-cheap, shockingly inexpensive.