By Amy Sherman

It’s time for school. Or rather Skool, a seafood restaurant tucked away in the Design District near the Caltrain Station. While you might expect a cold and industrial atmosphere, this place is a fish of a different color. The warm and inviting space has plenty of reclaimed and refurbished woodwork, a light-filled, open design and a sunny patio, and the menu takes a fresh approach to all things from the sea (sometimes with Japanese touches like miso aioli or yuzu mustard). The education here is in eating seasonally and sustainably, which means the choices change from time to time. What won’t change is the pleasantly attentive service, full bar and abundance of street parking, even when the place is packed to the gills. Delicate Scottish salmon Benedict, cured sardines and a cucumber-bright ceviche will make you glad you aren’t skipping class. Who wouldn’t want to be part of this Skool of fish?

menu musts*

Vegetable soup of the day
Ceviche with coriander, chile, popped brown rice, cucumber citrus
Dungeness crab cake with yuzu citrus hollandaise and herb oil
Espresso panna cotta with biscotti, ginger and Japanese molasses sauce
*menu changes seasonally
view full menu here

sweet seats

The enclosed patio is often in the sun, and when it’s not there are heat lamps. For singles there’s a great long communal table as well as more seating at the bar.

chew on this

The chef, Toshihiro Nagano, was previously the executive chef at Bush Tei in Japan Town, and before that at Blowfish Sushi; his menu at Skool features Mediterranean flavors and dishes as well as Japanese ones. Look for unusual Japanese ingredients used even in non-Japanese dishes, such as the molasses drizzled on the excellent panna cotta.


lunch: Mon.–Fri. 11:30 AM–2:30 PM
dinner: Mon.–Sat. 5 PM–10 PM; Sun. 5 PM–9 PM
brunch: Sat.–Sun. 11:30 AM–3 PM
happy hour: Mon.–Fri. 5 PM–7:30 PM

price range for menu items

$9.75 (uni flan) to $28 (New York steak)