Japanese food has long been my very favorite type of cuisine. I love that it can range from strictly traditional to inventive fusion and everything in between. Plus, since I do not eat meat and cannot eat gluten, the fish and vegetable-heavy cuisine is a fantastic way to ensure I can eat more than most restaurants. Cloak & Petal, a restaurant in the Michelin Guide for San Diego, perfectly fits my criteria and exceeded my expectations.
Cloak & Petal
Location: San Diego, CA
Designation: Michelin Guide
Address: 1953 India St. Little Italy
San Diego, CA 92101
Food Type: Japanese
Dining Experience: Indoor
Price: $50+ per Person
Dress Code: Smart Casual +
Special Diets: Pescatarian, Gluten-Free (not GF dedicated)
Ambience of Cloak & Petal
This inventive Japanese restaurant was an unexpected respite from downtown San Diego’s Little Italy. Decked out in retro Japanese murals and decor harkening to a bygone era in Harajuku and Shibuya in Tokyo, Japan, Cloak & Petal was unlike any other restaurant I’d ever been to. Ultra-reflective benches, lifesize sakura trees bursting forth from the restaurant’s center, flush screens playing vintage anime on the walls, neon signs, and floor-to-ceiling works of art made the space feel like a fever dream in the best way possible.
Cheeky decor aside, the food here was SPECTACULAR. I always seek out Japanese food when I travel, and this visit to San Diego was no exception. I ordered the gluten-free Kamikaze Roll: yellowtail, grilled serene, shrimp, avocado, smoked serrano, ponzu, yuzu, honey aioli, jalapeño dust & micro shiso. This ten-piece roll was more than enough food for me and was incredibly tasty and filling. The waitress warned me it was spicy, but I didn’t think it was, although, to be fair, my spiciness tolerance is relatively high, haha.
Robin ordered the Shibuya Nights roll; salmon, lemon thins, tempura shrimp, krab, avocado, yuzu kosho tosazu, yuzu honey aioli, katsuboshi & aonori. I couldn’t have this one because it wasn’t gluten-free, but it was not only huge and also ten pieces, but it smelled fantastic.
We eat a lot of sushi, and Robin agreed this was some of the best we’d ever had. I’m so sad this restaurant is on the other side of the country because I’d go here at least once a week if I lived nearby. It checked all the boxes: great staff, great vibes, generous portions, and plenty of tasty options for my dietary restrictions. If you’re in San Diego, CA, and like sushi, stop in. They have great happy hour specials on food and drinks too!
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