33 E 3rd Ave, San Mateo, CA | Directions 9440137.563531 -122.325493
Sat: 4am-10pm, 11:30am-4pm, Sun: 4am-9:45pm, 11:30am-4pm, Mon-Thu: 5:30am-9:45pm, 11:30am-2pm, Fri: 5:30am-9:45pm, 5:30am-10pm, 11:30am-2pm
Neighborhoods: Central San Mateo, Downtown
Traumatic Restaurant Experience – 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.
Poor sashimi quality – 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.
Good sushi – great sushi! service is good and the sushi is very fresh. We come here all the time and never have had a complaint.
Bad sushi roll – 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.
Wow I am not sure where other reviewers ate! – 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.
excellent – 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.
Comfort Foods – 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.
Value! – 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!
Reasonable prices and good quality – 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.
Home style good – 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.
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