There are not a lot of establishments serving Chinese breakfasts in southern California, let alone Japanese breakfasts, so I was super excited to hear that there is a restaurant serving Japanese breakfast in San Diego.
Living in Hawaii, I was accustomed to having Japanese breakfasts on the weekends, but I haven’t found one outside of the islands or Japan.
Hinotez opens at 8am and offers items for a traditional Japanese breakfast, but also has other dishes you can add on to make it a more substantial meal. Ramen is also offered at breakfast time.
The Basic Breakfast ($3) includes rice, miso soup, cold tofu and pickles.
Then, you add on items priced at either $1 or $2 per small plate. I love Tororo ($1) or grated mountain yam, but it will definitely not appeal to everyone. The texture is slimy and there is virtually no taste. Strangely, I love the texture and how it feels in my mouth. I add a dash of soy sauce and then add a little rice to the tororo and then slurp into my mouth. It kinda grossed my friend out.
Natto ($2) is pungent fermented soy beans and I wasn’t able to eat this growing up because the taste was too strong. Over the years, I’ve learned that I can’t eat it as is, but, with the addition of scallions and soy sauce, it is not only very good, but also, very healthful.
Chopped Okra ($2) also possessed the slimy texture of the other two, which might not be agreeable to some, but I loved it. The bonito flakes on top adds texture AND flavor!
For those less adventurous, there is Gyoza ($2), which should’ve been fried or pan fried instead of just steamed. These were very lackluster.
The Shumai ($2) were also rather dismal. Don’t order these. They tasted frozen.
Three pieces of Shrimp Tempura ($2) were a little small, but not bad.
Our favorite was the Chicken karaage ($2), tender pieces of fried chicken cooked perfectly moist on the inside with a nice crispy exterior.
There is also grilled salmon — grilled fish is part of a traditional Japanese breakfast — but we didn’t get to order it this time. I know I’ll be back again when I’m craving this again early in the morning while in San Diego!
7947 Balboa Avenue
San Diego, CA 92111