Kirbie's Cravings

Restaurant Kazu/ Kaz

I’m not quite sure what to call this place since it currently has no sign. I found out about it after reading a post from mmm-yoso!!!, where Kirk referred to it as Restaurant Kazu. If you look on yelp, it’s also listed as Restaurant Kazu. However, on our bill, it said “Ristorante Kaz.” Perhaps they are still trying to make up their mind on the name.

Well whatever you call it, it’s a fairly new Japanese Italian restaurant opened up by the same owner as Sakura. It’s located in the same plaza as Sakura, and like Sakura, it currently has no sign. We actually had a bit of trouble finding it at first before finally spotting it situated between Imperial Mandarin and Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ.

Having enjoyed my lunches at Sakura, I was excited to check this place out and was happy to learn from mmm-yoso’s post that this new place also offered lunch specials.

There is a menu written in chalk as well as the lunch special menu. For the lunch special, you start with a base price of $12 which includes salad, soup and a pasta dish. For additional surcharges, you can upgrade your salad, soup and/or pasta dish.

Lunch also includes coffee or orange juice. I didn’t see that on the menu but the person helping us helpfully brought it to our attention.

House Salad

The house salad looked very simple and a little sad. I wished they had some variety other than a few pieces of lettuce tossed in some vinaigrette.


For $2, you can upgrade to this, which looks so much more impressive and was worth the extra money for us. This reminded me of our time in Italy. They did pour a little too much salt and pepper over it though so some components were too salty. I loved the fresh basil.


The soup of the day was a minestrone. I was a little disappointed with this one. It tasted very much like the ones out of the cans.

Potato Soup

I was actually hoping to try the corn soup, but they were out of it. This was like a creamy potato puree. Simple but tasty and I enjoyed it better than the minestrone.

Squid Ink Pasta

This was also an additional $2. I’ve had squid ink pasta before, but the version here actually uses squid ink as the sauce rather than having pasta made out of squid ink. It was an interesting flavor and a little heavy on the garlic. I enjoyed it.

However, as a warning, you might not want to order this unless you’re dining out with people you’re very comfortable with because if you’ve ever had squid ink by itself, you know that it makes a mess in your mouth. A bite of this and your lips and teeth will be stained black. You can get most of it off but you really do need to brush your teeth to completely rid your mouth of the ink.

Italian Doburi with fried chicken

DH opted for this instead of the pasta. It is one of the choices included with the $12 meal. I know it doesn’t look that big from the picture, but this was quite a generous portion of rice and chicken. There were three fried pieces of chicken tenders, sitting on a bed of rice with some melted mozzarella cheese and a little bit of salad. DH seemed to enjoy it, especially the melted cheese.

We left somewhat disappointed with our meal as things were a bit hit and miss and there was nothing that really stood out. We really liked the service though. The two women were super friendly and nice so we didn’t have a bad time. Hopefully things will improve as the place settles in, but based on this meal, I’d rather walk over to Sakura for lunch.

Restaurant Kazu/Kaz
3904 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111

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19 comments on “Restaurant Kazu/ Kaz”

  1. The service was very poor. The waitress was just chattering with other customer and sharing the food with him. That was very nasty. The time that food come was so so so slow!! I would not go anymore.

  2. I like the idea of set lunches (all over the place in Japan) but looks like they could use some tweaking. Sort of funny they just crossed out “Sakuramen” on the bill haha.

  3. I find it odd that the owners opened a second restaurant in the same plaza, but it sounds like Sakura is the best bet if deciding.

  4. Have you ever been to a good Japanese Italian place? I’ve heard mixed reviews of Sora so far and this seems to be the same. I’m hoping that someone can do it justice, but maybe not in SD…

    • So far, not yet in SD. I went to Sora, and it was so-so for me and a bit overpriced. Hopefully someone will open a good one…

  5. Good for DH for getting you to take outside photo with the other restaurants for reference if Kazu/Kaz has no sign. I think this was a Thai restaurant for many years. Both you and Kirk have lukewarm reactions, but I’ll give it a try one of these days.

    • Haha, yeah I hope people find the photo helpful! I didn’t love it here, but it wasn’t horrible either. It’s worth a try and if you do go, I’d recommend going for lunch since it’s cheaper.

  6. I think calling it Kazu would be safer, because in Italian Kaz sounds like… uhm, a word you definitely wouldn’t use as a name for a restaurant…

  7. Nothing wrong with fancy if they can can pull it off. But anyway looking forward to reading your thoughts on tsujita!

  8. Hmm interesting how on their bill, they crossed out “Sakuramen” and wrote in Ristorante Kazu XD
    S and I actually tried to look for this place, walked around the plaza and didn’t find it, and ended up at Original Pancake House instead 😛

    • Oh no! Yeah, we were looking for it. I thought it might be literally next to Sakura but didn’t see it. Then I was studying the door picture in Kirk’s post and walking around and then found it. Haha! DH made me take a photo in context of the two nearby places so that others don’t have the same problem.

  9. Hi Kirbie! Hope you’re doing well. I think they’re trying too hard to be “fancy.” Dinner here is a couple bucks more and didn’t really wow me. I was at Spoon House in Gardena couple weeks ago and had a plate of cod roe pasta for $8. I was hoping for something like it in SD. Casual, inexpensive, just good.

    • Hi Dennis! Haven’t seen you in too long! I agree. I would have loved something casual and inexpensive and good. I like Japanese Italian cuisine but the food we had here was just so-so. Btw, I finally got to visit Tsujita! Post coming soon.

  10. Hi Kirbie – Glad you got to try Kazu/Kaz….whatever the name is. I once went to a party where they served squid ink pasta…..not exactly the smartest decision. But since everyone was eating, I guess things were pretty much fairly parsed!

    • I usually try to avoid squid that is served with the ink still inside. But obviously I had to make an exception here. I made sure to go straight home and brush my teeth though. Haha.

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