Best Seat in the House: Rintaro, San Francisco

Sally Kim, Beverage Director for the Delfina Restaurant Group reveals the sweet spot for getting into the perpetually packed San Francisco Japanese restaurant.

February 25, 2019 ‚óŹ 2 min read

By Richie Nakano | Photos courtesy of Sylvan Brackett (@mr_rintaro) and Sally Kim (@hangrykorean)

The average neighborhood restaurant can be a comforting place to get a great meal, but often has a utilitarian feel. The food is good and the ingredients fresh, but generally speaking, the overall vibe isn’t particularly inspiring for a leisurely, lingering lunch. Rintaro is not the average neighborhood restaurant. Nestled into the center of the Mission District–SOMA Venn diagram in San Francisco, tucked back from the street past an unassuming fence, Rintaro is a transformative place. It’s a place where you’ll often find Sally Kim, Beverage Director for the Delfina Restaurant Group, and Beverage and Hospitality Consultant at large. Here are her personal notes on how to best enjoy the restaurant.

Where to Sit:

In terms of getting the best experience, Kim says it all depends on the time of day. 

“They know I like the bar seats, which is fun because you can watch them cook. In the daytime, I like the shorter side of the chefs counter. There’s all this natural sunlight coming in and you don’t feel like you’re in San Francisco. If I go at night, I like being in the middle of the bar seats, right in front of the robata grill.”

When to Visit:

“I love going for lunch because it's easy to get in…when you work in restaurants you know when to go! A good bet is lunch on Friday between 11:30 am and 12 pm.”

What to Order:

“They have these amazing lunch box sets that are only served at lunch. They’re huge. And the food is always on point. I've never had a bad dish there.”

Rintaro’s transformative vibe and delicious food doesn’t tell the whole story though. There’s a personal quality to it that’s hard to describe that keeps Kim going back. “The food is familiar. They play the music my parents listened to growing up. It's nostalgic in a way. It’s what I crave."

Best Seat in the House is your crib sheet for getting max enjoyment out of a favorite restaurant, direct from one of its biggest fans in our expert community.