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Regular Hours

Extra Phones

Phone: (650) 344-0639

Fax: (650) 344-0639

Payment method
amex, discover
Price Range
Downtown San Mateo
Sushi Bars, Japanese Restaurants, Asian Restaurants, Take Out Restaurants, Restaurants
Other Information

Parking: Street

Wi-Fi: No

Bike Parking: Yes

Attire: Casual

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Cuisines: Japanese, Asian, Take Out, Sushi

Alcohol: Beer, Wine

Takes Reservations: Yes

Outdoor Seating: No

Price Range : Average


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sabrina toman


Provided by Citysearch - 
great food

They are really great and the food is good here too. I really like the agedashi tofu here as well. Sometimes they get busy though and the service takes a little extra time, but they try hard to keep up with the busy schedule they have on Friday and Saturday nights.



Provided by Citysearch - 
best sushi south of SF

They have the freshest sushi, great rice, and a huge selection of sushi that run of the mill sushi places will not provide.
Reservations are very important. It is casual but you will wait without a rsvp



Provided by Citysearch - 
Not for single diners, this restaurant discriminates

I went to Sushi Sam's Edomata in San Mateo for dinner on Friday, Oct. 17th, 2008.
The restaurant was busy, and I could see there were no tables available. When I requested seating for 1, the host asked me 4 times ""Single?"" because he seemed to have trouble understanding I was dining alone.

I thought it'd be great to sit at the sushi bar and watch the preparations. There were 2 seats available at the sushi bar, side-by-side by the wall. At that moment the host told me in a hostile tone that because I was alone, he couldn't possibly consider a table for me, but he said I could sit at the sushi bar.
I was surprised at his tone, but thought this was a nice idea and started to make my way to 1 of the 2 seats. The host stopped me and said, ""No, not there. I'm keeping that open for 2 people. You cannot sit there, you are only 1."" He then pointed to a seat at the sushi bar that was wedged between 2 parties who had the entire counter occupied by their food and drinks.
The host told me this was the only seat where I could sit. I pointed out there was no space, and there was another seat - 1 of those 2 by the wall, where I would prefer to sit and be comfortable. The host refused, saying he would fill those seats with 2 people instead.
Never have I been discriminated against as a single diner.

The restaurant made it's values clear: they would rather have the $$ from two diners than from 1 and they would configure the seating accordingly. I thanked the host and promptly left.

The host was rude, the restaurant failed to meet my expectations of professionalism and courtesy.

My company is having it's largest annual meeting here this weekend, and I am telling everyone to avoid eating here. I won't ever be returning, even with a larger party, and I strongly do not recommend them.

We plan to go to Joy Sushi, a local sushi restaurant which comes highly recommended by my colleagues and offers a greater variety of food options: on the web, joysushi (dot) net



Provided by Citysearch - 
Simply the best

I travel all over the country for work and I try and find the best sushi restaurants wherever I go. A colleague recommended Sushi Sam's and I have to say that it is by far one of the best (if not THE best) sushi I have ever had. Most places just serve the nigiri by itself and you have the choice of dipping it into your soy sauce and wasabi mix or eating it plain. At Sam's, each piece has it's own sauce already on it and they actually told me to leave the soy sauce in the bottle. Also, their selection of fresh fish is incredible. I had fatty tuna, butterfish, bonito, white sea bass, black sea bass, baby lobster, smoked shrimp, copper river salmon, yellow tail, eel & trout. I sat at the sushi bar and talked to Sam and his chef's and they were extremely helpful. Order the sushi tasting menu and then let them know if there's anything specific you want to try. The service was very good and the waiters seemed to be on top of everything.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Long time local favorite

I have been going to sushi sam's for over 12 yrs......too long to remember exactly how long ago. Anyways, it has always been a local favorite. I am not sure why other people think it has gone down hill. I have to admit you can spend a lot of money to get full if your mostly eating sushi but it is well worth it. The sushi is always fresh and delicious.

Knowing what to order is key to loving Sushi Sam's. First and foremost you have to order the soft shell crab appetizer ( just the crab not the roll ). It is delicious, but you have to know to add all the little ingredients on the side of the plate to the sauce or else it won't be half as good. The sauce is what makes it special. I have yet to come across another japanese restaurant that serves soft shell crab with that sauce.

Next you have to order the sashimi. All of their sashimi is fresh and delicious. I recommend the hamachi. It tastes yummy if you eat it with the shredded radish they serve it with.

As for rolls the hot dog is delicious. It is cooked yellowtail with some yummy pink stuff on top of it. Super sam's special is also a old time favorite. It is a handroll with shrimp tempura, crab salad, rice and sam's special sauce.

They also offer bento boxes which are great if your looking for a great deal during lunch time. I rarely get those because I go here for the fresh sashimi and sushi.

All in all I still love this place from day one. You should like anything you order.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Don't eat here

This is my sushi restaurant, and I'd rather you went somewhere else.
There are plenty of other sushi places in San Mateo you can try.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Sushi 101 - Don't Bother with Sushi Sam's

This place has really gone downhill. Not only is the prices not worth the portions but the sushi looked like it was rolled by a blind child. The nigiri sushi was extremely small and sloppy, while the rolls, which I hoped would be better, were falling apart without even touching them. I still can't get over how much they think they can charge for their portions... A shame, maybe Sam should close temporarily, go back to work for Isobune (which isn't what they were 10 years ago) with his other chef's, re-learn the basics, and then open back up. If you're in that area go somewhere else. There's plenty of other Japanese spots in downtown SM that will exceed your expectations. Try Joy sushi on B street.



Provided by Citysearch - 
It used to be my favorite, not anymore!

I fell in love with this restaurant 10 years ago when I first went there, and I had been a very loyal customer for a good few years. They had generous portion of sushi and sashimi, seafood was fresh, and atmosphere was above average. The staff behind the sushi bar was nice, and I really enjoyed the food they served. A great variety of seafood was available and they were ""fresh"" (see I used this word twice in this paragraph?) I was a frequent customer of Sam's for some 6 years. Even the wait was long for seating, it was definitely worth-while.

I don't really know what happened to them. Since they added an extension to the original structure, their food quality, serving portion, and service had gone downhill.

Sushi and sashimi cuts/sizes are now smaller, and the rice they serve with sushi is luke warm. This is a big No-No for sushi. Authentic sushi restaurants serve with their sushi below room temperature, including the rice that goes with it. This is to preserve the freshness of the seafood sitting on it (think about raw seafood sitting on warm rice... ummm). However, when I was served warm sushi I was pretty much turned off. The staff is now more busy, since they now have to handle more people without increasing their staff size. Another thing I don't like very much about eating there is that they are now hurrying their customers to leave when there is a long line of people waiting. I was expecting much better service for the money I spent there. And most importantly, the seafood they serve is not always fresh anymore.

There are plenty of Japanese restaurants in San Mateo, with staff that are all Japanese. With better service and more authentic food that can be found elsewhere, I don't know why I should visit that place again... just like all the Japanese friends I know in San Mateo.



Provided by Citysearch - 

They have expanded so more seatings but still have to wait on busy nights - worth it. Their California Special is one of my favorites. The spicy tuna handroll is tasty too. If you don't like sushi, their sukiyaki is one of the best in the Bay Area. Last but not least, their lunch box special with the udon noodle is a must have.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Best sushi and my favorite restaurant in the world

I have been hesitant to tell anyone about this restaurant because it is so good. The sushi is absolutely the best I've had anywhere in the world, including in Japan. The best thing to do is to order the ""Omakase"", which is the chef's tasting menu. You can specify how many pieces you want, and then you get one piece each of some very exotic fish you otherwise might never eat - flathead, butterfish, beltfish, alfonsino, shad gizzard, amberjack, etc. Each piece is individually sauced, and you are advised not to dip them in sushi - they already have what they need.

Contrary to what some reviewers say, this place is great for kids. I've taken my 12 year-old several times for lunch and dinner, and he sits at the sushi bar with me. Sam and Koichi are wonderful to him. Of course, if your kid doesn't like sushi, why would you take him to a sushi bar? But if he does like sushi, why shouldn't he sit at the counter if he loves the stuff?



Provided by Citysearch - 
Excellent, imaginative sushi

This friendly place may seem a bit chaotic, but it's worth the effort to get a seat at the sushi bar. The special items, such as seared toro and white salmon skin sushi are memorable. They have the usual rolls and other items, but why bother. Visit a few times, and the staff will remember your name and home community. Lately, at the sushi bar they have changed the procedure of ordering sushi from the waiters rather than the chefs. Good idea. They keep track of your order and return frequently. The only annoyance is that they will seat young children at the sushi bar. Many other sushi bars do not do this as young kids don't eat sushi, they get restless and bored--and they take up space for other clientele. Just one curmudgeon's opinion.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Best selection & quality sushi

Sushi Sam's provides a sushi lover with a huge array of sushi that is of very high quality and a large selection. The selection is more than typical sushi places. Some of examples are: Battera (pressed rectangular kelp/mackrel), the best Monk fish liver I have found anyware, white salmon, kobe beef, grilled black cod, baby lobster, Hamachi cheeks, deep fried baby flounder that you eat even the bones, and seasonal special fresh sushi. It is for the food as the draw back is the crowds (if you sit in the old part of the restaurant, a bit noisey but well worth it.



Provided by Citysearch - 
A place for local quick eats

The food is good, the service is ordinary, and there are often waits. Sushi Sam's is what you'd expect from a popular local joint. However, I've been noticing recently that stuffy foodies have been making their way to Sushi Sam's. That's a good thing that Sushi Sam's is expanding is customer base, but it's a eat and leave place. I've seen people with 4 bottles of wine on their table. People who've finished eating and sat around to chat and chat. Dinner parties of 8. Come on guys, the ambience and the line out the door should give enough of a hint that this is not a fine dining establishment where you sit for a 2 hour meal. Turnover is key. And what's they take reservations?



Provided by Citysearch - 
Great food but service needs BIG improvement

I've always love Sushi Sam but one thing I really wants to share is the service. Majority of the staff is friendly and efficient but this one guy who's been working there for over eight years is one of the reason I seek another sushi place. Waiters always scream at each other in their own language, he never smiles when he come take our orders, and of couse never smiles when he brings us our check. I'm sure they'll have no problem getting business because this place is alway packed, but I really wish they have staffs who appreciates their customers a bit more.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Chef's Choice All the Way

Forget the rolls. The only way to eat here is up at the bar ordering the specials off the board. While the regular nigiri may be ordinary (but cheaper), the innovative preparations from the Chef's Choice is sublime: silky cuts, sometimes drizzled with lemon juice or other unique sauce, and creatively dressed with toasted garlic, almonds, or shaved scallions. The contrast of textures and flavors of the specials are what sets Sushi Sam's apart from most others.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Needs new plates and teacups

Sushi is good and price is right. Still a popular place. But their teapot, teacups, and plates are in a sorry state.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Fresh Fresh Fish!

I love going to this sushi restaurant. The fish is so fresh & the staff is very friendly. Wave at Sam behind the sushi bar. He knows how to say hello & goodbye in many different languages.



Provided by Citysearch - 
great lunch box specials!

sushi is great - must try California Special, Sam's Special and Hot Dog. Everything else is delicious - sukiyaki is very tasty. The daily lunchbox specials is a steal.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Inconsistency a trend?

My first visit was not breathtaking, but has been better since then. Based on other reviews, there seems to be a trend of inconsistency, whcih I've experienced myself.

I've only tried two other places, but so far this is the best sushi I've had in the San Mateo/Foster City area. I've had better in SF, but at much higher prices.

Note: I've only eaten take-out here.



Provided by Citysearch - 
One of the best sushi places in CA

I guess I'm just lucky but every time I've patronized this establishment I've had nothing but superior quality sushi. Very fresh. Very tasty. The only problem is that this place can be a madhouse during the dinner rush. It gets very crowded and loud. Would recommend going during off-peak times.

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