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Cute San Diego Japanese Restaurant for Hello Kitty theme Baby Shower?

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I'm throwing my niece a baby shower in San Diego (in a few weeks-oops!). I don't live there to scout restaurants. Any suggestions for a cute Japanese that perhaps has a private room or is small enough to takeover? We'll have around 30+ people. Budget-to-middle priced. Anime/Hello Kitty theme. We'd like to stay on San Diego proper- Mission Hills/Valley, Downtown, South Park, North Park, Hillcrest, but I'd be thrilled with any suggestions!

Food can be either tea and Japanese desserts or lunch fare.

Thank you all!!

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  1. Did you think about the Japanese garden in Balboa Park. I went to a light luncheon there a couple of weeks ago. It was a very pretty space. This was an event for the members and I dont know if they rent out that space to the public, but if they do it was very nice

    1 Reply
    1. re: littlestevie

      That's a great idea - the spot is gorgeous. The honoree is into the alternative look rather than pretty, if that makes sense. So I was thinking a kitschy or traditional Japanese indoor room would be easier to deck out with anime/hello kittty? I'll call the Japanese Garden regardless and see about their private party options! Thank you!

    2. Okan is certainly small enough to take over. Not sure if they would let you decorate. The food is excellent, though.

      Hinotez has private rooms, not sure how many they can fit, but worth a call.

      1. Does Mitsuwa still have the Hello Kitty inside their store in Kearny Mesa?

        11 Replies
        1. re: Beach Chick

          Can't believe I'm commenting on Hello Kitty, but Sanrio has opened up their branded store within the Marukai/Daiso store...

          Also to the suggestion above, keep in mind that the concession, and that's all it is, at the Japanese Friendship Garden is far, far from being a proper restaurant with no full kitchen.

          I take it, though, that being able to carry out the theme trumps food quality? (Personally can't imagine any self-respecting Japanese restaurant allowing their premises to be taken over by "Kitty-chan", but my imagination's a bit limited on these matters...)

          One possibility might be to broaden the scope to one of the Manga reading-room/cafes. I don't know if San Diego has any, but it occurs to me that one of the Taiwanese Tea/Boba shops on Clairemont Mesa might be setup that way. They'd likely be more in tune with allowing for an event such as this, though that's just a guess.

          One other thought would be the Japanese Garden at Karl Strauss, Sorrento Valley as an alternative to the Japanese Friendship Garden. Not much for food, but they'd likely be more open to a themed party... Though it has picked up way too many awkward/faux accents to ring true since its creation, their extensive grounds started off as a very authentic Japanese garden and still provides for a very nice, faux Japanese garden setting.

          1. re: cgfan

            The boba shop next to Ranch 99 has some shelves with manga. Yakyudori, too, though the ones I browsed through were in English. *shrug*

            1. re: hye

              Hmmmmm, though I've only stepped in there once, I thought that that Boba shop had a separate cordoned-off area for their Manga lounge, though I might be confusing it with another shop.

              The main point of my post, however, was not for any restaurant that happens to have Manga, as many of our Japanese-run Japanese restaurants will, but more specifically on the rare place that actually runs as a Manga reading room/cafe. The emphasis at these venues is more on the Manga element rather than the food, with a huge browsing library of titles. (Imagine more like the Manga section of Book-Off (in the Mitsuwa plaza), then add plenty of upholstered furniture with light food service and drink...)

              We're clearly talking about something of interest to a geeked-out segment of a particular sub-culture here, (and definitely not mine), but the OP did mention Anime, which essentially grew out of Japan's Manga sub-culture.

            2. re: cgfan

              CG..
              I can see you with your Hello Kitty handbag and converse Hello Kitty Shoes...
              ; )

              1. re: Beach Chick

                meow...

                ...^ ^
                0 >< 0
                ....u

                1. re: cgfan

                  Love that cg!

                  1. re: Beach Chick

                    Thanks BC, though my lack of Hello Kitty expertise is showing - HK never has a mouth... http://tinyurl.com/7ktemxa

                    1. re: cgfan

                      Great pics cg...
                      Burma Superstar..hear that is fantastic.
                      Have you been to Lotus of Siam in Vegas?

                      1. re: Beach Chick

                        Their fermented tea salad (Burma Superstar) has always been fantastic, and is in the end what draws me back. Their other items, though, has gradually lost their original lustre for me. But oh, their salad!

                        Haven't been to Lotus of Siam, but have heard many raves. (...if only it were anyplace else but Vegas...)

                        1. re: cgfan

                          You could also go to Raku in LV which you might enjoy.

                          1. re: cgfan

                            oooooohhhhh, you went to Burma Superstar???? One of my FAVE places in the Mission District! I LOOOVEEE their tea salad!

                            Is Spices 2 still there? I haven't been for a very long time, but their chicken w/ chili peppers are to die for!

                            LOS is very good. Finally made the trek out there in Dec and ordered off the menu. Got to enjoy the egg noodles in the Northern Thai curry (blanking on the name) and beef jerky. Flavorful and spicy!

                            a big +1 on Raku!

            3. Utage Japanese restaurant in Chula Vista has a private room with one table that can seat maybe ten to twelve people. The table is fixed over a well, so you sit on the cushioned floor and put your feet in the lower space.. As I remember from a quick glance, the walls are plain white, so lots of scope to put up decorations.

              Utage Japanese Restaurant
              1200 3rd Ave
              Chula Vista, CA 91911
              (619) 425-8980