Part 2 of The Best Japanese restaurants in San Diego! :) If you haven’t already, please make sure to read part 1!
Now I won’t go to into depth into Tanuki because I’ve written an entire article on them, but in a nutshell, Tanuki serves Japanese style tapas! They’re an adorable family run business that is a café during the day and a sake bar at night! I’d highly recommend stopping by during the daytime for some of their amazing eclairs and then another time in the evening for some amazingly fresh Japanese food with a flight of sake. They have over 150 types, and will customize a flight just for you! If you’ve never had sake before, this is your spot. You’ll find Japanese dishes here that you won’t find anywhere else in San Diego.
Dishes like buta shouga yaki, shiokara, or sake wasa! It’s a great spot for a date or for when you’re feeling a little more adventurous dish wise.
5. EE NAMI Tonkatsu Izakaya
Some days, you just crave something deep fried. And that’s exactly what EE Nami serves- specifically, Japanese deep fried goodies! EE Nami brings flavors from Osaka Japan, izakaya style. You’ll find deep fried pork fillets, meatballs, shrimp, scallops, oysters, and even potato croquettes. They even have the elusive, Instagram famous katsu sando (essentially a deep fried and breaded pork sandwich). The katsus are typically served with a side salad and you can also get a katsu curry if you’d like. Make no bones about it, EE Nami is expensive- their loin katsu is $17. I griped a lot about the price when I picked it up, but when I took the first bite I finally understood why. Their katsu is DELICIOUS. It is moist, juicy, umami, perfectly breaded, slightly crunchy, perfect 10/10 all around. I haven’t had a katsu as amazing as theirs! You can tell they take a lot of pride in the quality of their meat and preparation. So when you’re craving some juicy Japanese meat (no pun intended) and are willing to shill out a few dollars, EE Nami is your spot!
6. Zen Curry
So what if you’re craving some homemade Japanese curry? Enter Zen Curry, another cute and local hidden gem! They start their curry base with caramelized onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, then adding a blend of 16 spices, including cardamom, clove, cumin, allspice, ginger, and laurel leaves. Now you can get curry by itself, but why wouldn’t you add the myriad of toppings/meats they have to go along with it? Like EE Nami, they have katsu (though not as good) as well as spam katsu, tofu katsu, spinach, oyster katsu, pork belly, gyoza, and even kurobuta sausage! They serve other versions of their curry as well, such as curry noodles and a curry rice bowl. Don’t forget to get starters: they have naan, shumai, takoyaki, gyoza, karaage, fried oysters and more! I got the Zen Special, which comes with chicken katsu, mozzarella cheese and sausage. I loved the addition of the cheese, as it became ooey gooey with the perfect mouth feel of melted cheese. I surprisingly preferred the sausage over the katsu- the katsu was a bit dry while the sausage was juicy and flavorful without being too salty. This is the perfect place to fill up on some comfort food on a budget! Their pork katsu curry is $13.
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