Hotaru Japanese Restaurant

★★★★☆
  • 33 E 3rd Ave

    San Mateo, CA 94401

    Map & Directions
  • 650-343-1152

About Hotaru Japanese Restaurant

Hours
Lunch, Mon - Sun, 11:30am - 2:30pm; dinner, Mon - Thu, Sun, 5:30pm - 9:30pm; Fri, Sat, 5:30pm - 10pm

Food

Food
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The menu selection is huge for this little Japanese restaurant in San Mateo downtown. We went there a few times for lunch and liked their food. There usually is a wait though.

3
★★★☆☆

The menu selection is huge for this little Japanese restaurant in San Mateo downtown. We went there a few times for lunch and liked their food. There usually is a wait though.

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Hotaru used to be my favorite Japanese restaurant, but one very traumatic experience really set the record. I took my family all the way from SJ to San Mateo on Mother's Day to enjoy this restaurant, but they gave us such poor service that the no matter how the food tasted it left a horrible taste in my mouth. Our party of 6 ordered our food and waited quite a while. One by one, we started to get our order except my dad, who didn't get his food until everyone was finished. We waited for his food, but it was taking so long that we started without him. We tried eating slowly, asked the waitress multiple times where his food was, but it came only after they realized that they had totally forgotten. Mind you, this wasn't something that took a long time to make. It was sashimi!!! Don't you just simply cut the fish into a pretty plate and serve?! They kept telling us that it was on it's way, but it was only after the fact that I complained that they told me his food was mistakenly given to a different table. There was no apology by the waitress at any time and no comps whatsoever! They offered some ice cream, but this was AFTER everyone had left upset and I was left to pay the check. I've had better service at other restaurants and they make a little mistake and they act very sorry and give you the food on the house or something at the least when everyone is still present. I just can't believe the kind of service that this restaurant has. I wonder if the owner(s) even care. I am not one for much drama, but this one really traumatized me forever. Good luck eating here.

1
★★☆☆☆

Hotaru used to be my favorite Japanese restaurant, but one very traumatic experience really set the record. I took my family all the way from SJ to San Mateo on Mother's Day to enjoy this restaurant, but they gave us such poor service that the no matter how the food tasted it left a horrible taste in my mouth. Our party of 6 ordered our food and waited quite a while. One by one, we started to get our order except my dad, who didn't get his food until everyone was finished. We waited for his food, but it was taking so long that we started without him. We tried eating slowly, asked the waitress multiple times where his food was, but it came only after they realized that they had totally forgotten. Mind you, this wasn't something that took a long time to make. It was sashimi!!! Don't you just simply cut the fish into a pretty plate and serve?! They kept telling us that it was on it's way, but it was only after the fact that I complained that they told me his food was mistakenly given to a different table. There was no apology by the waitress at any time and no comps whatsoever! They offered some ice cream, but this was AFTER everyone had left upset and I was left to pay the check. I've had better service at other restaurants and they make a little mistake and they act very sorry and give you the food on the house or something at the least when everyone is still present. I just can't believe the kind of service that this restaurant has. I wonder if the owner(s) even care. I am not one for much drama, but this one really traumatized me forever. Good luck eating here.

Pros: Cheap food

Cons: Inconsiderate Staff, Poor Management, Bad Service

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Hotaru is very cozy and the food is great. The portions are generous, service is pleasant and fast during lunch, and the food is delicious. My udon soup was just delightful. I will definitely go back.

5
★★★★★

Hotaru is very cozy and the food is great. The portions are generous, service is pleasant and fast during lunch, and the food is delicious. My udon soup was just delightful. I will definitely go back.

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Food is average. Saw the review here and decided to try it out. The sashimi was not favorful at all. Crowded. Food is served very slowly.

1
★★☆☆☆

Food is average. Saw the review here and decided to try it out. The sashimi was not favorful at all. Crowded. Food is served very slowly.

Pros: Value

Cons: Crowded, slow service

.

great sushi! service is good and the sushi is very fresh. We come here all the time and never have had a complaint.

2
★★★★★

great sushi! service is good and the sushi is very fresh. We come here all the time and never have had a complaint.

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My husband brought a salmon sushi roll home for me after he ate there for dinner with some friends. The roll was not good at all. First, the salmon on the sushi roll was cooked and it was supposed to be raw. The restaurant used hot rice to roll the sushi and it cooked the salmon! THere are definitely much better sushi places around.

1
★★★☆☆

My husband brought a salmon sushi roll home for me after he ate there for dinner with some friends. The roll was not good at all. First, the salmon on the sushi roll was cooked and it was supposed to be raw. The restaurant used hot rice to roll the sushi and it cooked the salmon! THere are definitely much better sushi places around.

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During lunch or dinner time, you have to wait around 30 min to 1 hr. Not only the sushi but also Kazudon are great. The price is average for Japanese food in this area and the service is good as well.
Overall, this is a great reataurant that my friends and I enjoy eating at.

5
★★★★★

During lunch or dinner time, you have to wait around 30 min to 1 hr. Not only the sushi but also Kazudon are great. The price is average for Japanese food in this area and the service is good as well.
Overall, this is a great reataurant that my friends and I enjoy eating at.

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Firstly there was no line, in fact there were only a few people in the place at all. I ordered CA rolls, and the Teriyaki Chicken and Fried Calamari dinner. The CA Rolls were on par with something that you would get ready made in Safeway. The Chicken was fatty looked like the bit's that no one else wanted. The Calamari was a giant 1.5 inch by 5 inch processed stick. It had no flavor. In fact I am really not sure what it was. One good thing though, my Coke was excellent. I say go elsewhere.

0
★☆☆☆☆

Firstly there was no line, in fact there were only a few people in the place at all. I ordered CA rolls, and the Teriyaki Chicken and Fried Calamari dinner. The CA Rolls were on par with something that you would get ready made in Safeway. The Chicken was fatty looked like the bit's that no one else wanted. The Calamari was a giant 1.5 inch by 5 inch processed stick. It had no flavor. In fact I am really not sure what it was. One good thing though, my Coke was excellent. I say go elsewhere.

Pros: Friendly Service

Cons: Poor Food Quality, tables are too small

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This small restaurant always has a line out the door. Good sushi, fair prices and consistent service keep customers coming in. Quite authentic Japanese food - it is a simple restaurant with much to offer.

2
★★★★★

This small restaurant always has a line out the door. Good sushi, fair prices and consistent service keep customers coming in. Quite authentic Japanese food - it is a simple restaurant with much to offer.

Pros: fresh sushi

Cons: wait in line

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I love this restaurant in San Mateo, in fact, this tends to be my restaurant of choice when in the area. They offer tasty japanese dishes and good quality sushi at reasonable prices. I love japanese food and found that this is a good place to fill my cravings.

4
★★★★☆

I love this restaurant in San Mateo, in fact, this tends to be my restaurant of choice when in the area. They offer tasty japanese dishes and good quality sushi at reasonable prices. I love japanese food and found that this is a good place to fill my cravings.

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.

Among the best Japanese restaurant that I've ever been to. This can easily become anyone favoriate. Not only do they have a great meal deals, dinner deals that include a variety of sushi along with some good side and a noddle dish. I personally love the udon special. If you don't come early, there is normally a line, or a wait of 10 min! Getting take out is not bad either. They have super service here, that are quick (not too attentative, but quick). The sushi is very good and the service is just as good. Come and see for yourself, this is a wonderful Local secret, super japanese food for a super deal.

PROS: Great Service, Good Price
CONS: Waiting

5
★★★★★

Among the best Japanese restaurant that I've ever been to. This can easily become anyone favoriate. Not only do they have a great meal deals, dinner deals that include a variety of sushi along with some good side and a noddle dish. I personally love the udon special. If you don't come early, there is normally a line, or a wait of 10 min! Getting take out is not bad either. They have super service here, that are quick (not too attentative, but quick). The sushi is very good and the service is just as good. Come and see for yourself, this is a wonderful Local secret, super japanese food for a super deal.

PROS: Great Service, Good Price
CONS: Waiting

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.

Hotaru's is arguably the best Japanese joint in town. Even though there is usually a wait, it's worth it. The food is fresh (and so good!), the waitstaff is friendly, you're welcomed when you walk in the room (and thanked when you leave), and did I mention that the food's great? The waitstaff have always been kind and they patiently explain what the items on the menu are. Hotaru just has that warm cozy comfortable feeling of home which isn't found in many other restaurants.

2
★★★★★

Hotaru's is arguably the best Japanese joint in town. Even though there is usually a wait, it's worth it. The food is fresh (and so good!), the waitstaff is friendly, you're welcomed when you walk in the room (and thanked when you leave), and did I mention that the food's great? The waitstaff have always been kind and they patiently explain what the items on the menu are. Hotaru just has that warm cozy comfortable feeling of home which isn't found in many other restaurants.

Pros: friendly staff, menu size is great, comfortable

Cons: wait time

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This restaurant has actual Japanese running the show. As you walk through the door you hear a welcoming "irashaimase!" (welcome!). For anyone that has ever been to Japan, this is a perfect example of the quality you would find at the local family restaurant where sushi is not a novelty but a staple. You won't go home from Hotaru amazed at how fantastic the quality was, but you'll definitely be happy with your meal and your pocket won't feel much lighter from the bill. Gochisoosamadeshita!

2
★★★★☆

This restaurant has actual Japanese running the show. As you walk through the door you hear a welcoming "irashaimase!" (welcome!). For anyone that has ever been to Japan, this is a perfect example of the quality you would find at the local family restaurant where sushi is not a novelty but a staple. You won't go home from Hotaru amazed at how fantastic the quality was, but you'll definitely be happy with your meal and your pocket won't feel much lighter from the bill. Gochisoosamadeshita!

Pros: PRICE, sushi, Tempura

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One of the better Japanese restaurants in San Mateo. Fish is fresh, although Sushi Sam's is still a bit fresher. For the price, the quality can not be beat. Gets crowded during lunch and dinner, but the wait is generally short.

2
★★★★☆

One of the better Japanese restaurants in San Mateo. Fish is fresh, although Sushi Sam's is still a bit fresher. For the price, the quality can not be beat. Gets crowded during lunch and dinner, but the wait is generally short.

Pros: Quality, Value

.

Look for the combination board on the back wall. Lot's of good food at a good prices. I like their noodle combos, though their noodles (udon & soba) are average. Sushi is underrated here. I believe Hotaru and Kaimuki have the best sushi in downtown San Mateo. Can be busy at prime hours.

2
★★★★☆

Look for the combination board on the back wall. Lot's of good food at a good prices. I like their noodle combos, though their noodles (udon & soba) are average. Sushi is underrated here. I believe Hotaru and Kaimuki have the best sushi in downtown San Mateo. Can be busy at prime hours.

Pros: value, combo, service

Cons: busy

.

The quality of food was pretty good, but its the value that is most attractive. They're portions are huge and well worth it.

2
★★★★☆

The quality of food was pretty good, but its the value that is most attractive. They're portions are huge and well worth it.

.

Just as small and crowded as sushi sams down the street but this place is FAR better. Best sushi in town or in the bay area for that matter. Slow service but all of it is worth the wait since its good food. Why wait for bad service and bad food when you go here for GOOD food and slow service? I think its due to the understaffing and packed tables tho...but as always...you wait but they smile.
Good "value" i guess because you pay the same price for GOOD food..but lets face it...sushi is not cheap...and if it is...you're a fisherman or not really eating sushi.

2
★★★★☆

Just as small and crowded as sushi sams down the street but this place is FAR better. Best sushi in town or in the bay area for that matter. Slow service but all of it is worth the wait since its good food. Why wait for bad service and bad food when you go here for GOOD food and slow service? I think its due to the understaffing and packed tables tho...but as always...you wait but they smile.
Good "value" i guess because you pay the same price for GOOD food..but lets face it...sushi is not cheap...and if it is...you're a fisherman or not really eating sushi.

Pros: food

Cons: crowded, small, slow

 

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