Five Japantown Coffee Shops We Love
Japantown is a hub of culture and coffee in the heart of San Francisco. There’s everything from quiet cafes for studying to stylish spots for meeting friends, but how do you narrow down your choices? Here are five of our favorite coffee shops within walking distance of our Japantown House.
YakiniQ Cafe is our go-to spot for a quiet space to write, work or catch up with friends. This peaceful cafe has quick WiFi, a laid-back vibe, plenty of outlets and friendly staff who don’t mind if you buy one coffee and sit there all afternoon.
White walls lined with art and a mixture of comfy sofas and wooden chairs create an inspirational environment and the space is host to regular “Shut up and Write” events, which in itself is a seal of approval in our books.
Photo: Ashley K., Yelp
We love their selection of sandwiches and coffees, especially their specialty -- the amazing sweet potato latte, with real pieces of sweet potato inside. (It’s less strange than it sounds!) They also do a mean iced soy latte, lavender latte and hazelnut latte, making their own syrups in house, which go perfectly with their Yuzu pound cake, selection of cookies or Kona Coffee Macaron.
1640 Post St, 94115 (1-minute walk from our Japantown House)
Cafe Hana is the closest affordable caffeine fix to our Japantown House. Located just a 1-minute walk from your front door in the Japan Center's West Mall, this cosy coffee shop is your first stop for specialty drinks, sandwiches and pastries. Their food and snack menu is extensive, including sandwiches, ice cream, coffee and jelly drinks, making it one of the most popular coffee shops in the mall.
Coffee starts at just $2 a cup, ranging from plain old drip coffee to adventurous treats like the famous Geisha Float and "Frios." This Japanese cafe is famous for its affordable takoyaki, which make a great snack at $5 for six pieces. Just be aware that seating is limited, so it’s more of a grab and go place than somewhere to stand and stare.
1737 Post St, 94115 (1-minute walk)
Photo: Cris L., Yelp
Quetzal is a good option if you want a coffee shop with a large variety of food, including both indulgent and healthy options, as well as comfortable chairs. Enjoy a choice of bagels, lattes, smoothies and crepes, starting at just $4.95. With outlets and ethernet connections at most seats and quick, reliable WiFi, it’s a great place to work. And as day turns to night, we’re fans of their happy hour, which runs daily from 3 p.m.–9 p.m. with wine ($5.95), beer ($4.25) and mimosas ($5.95) at reduced prices.
1234 Polk St, 94109 (13-minute walk)
This bright, yellow-walled cafe is a cute spot to meet or study any time of the week, with a range of comfy couches to nestle into and even outdoor, cafe-style tables for the summer months. We love their wide selection of espresso drinks and affordable bagels (especially the salmon and lox), paninis and sandwiches. They also do a great breakfast, with pastries and oatmeal galore.
1777 Steiner St, 94115 (7-minute walk)
Tan Tan Coffee Shop is an oasis from the hustle and bustle of Japantown life. This tiny tea and coffee shop, located in the Japan Center, is deceptively under the radar. Step back into the Victorian era with hanging lights, dark wooden panels and real china crockery while you enjoy a variety of English and Japanese teas and coffees, including espresso drinks and even a whisked ceremonial matcha tea, as well as colorful cakes and other patisserie treats.
Photo: Elaine Y., Yelp
We love their iced mocha, matcha tea and, of course, the matcha cakes. It’s not a place to work, but to relax. In fact, part of the quirkiness is that no one is ever quite sure when Tan Tan will open; its friendly owner simply opens when she feels like it.
1825 Post St, 94115 (4-minute walk)