San Diego Michelin-Starred Soichi Sushi Opens Japanese Cafe Offshoot Concept In University Heights

June 29, 2023

A new tea house and cafe concept named Hatsuzakura from the daughter of the couple behind San Diego's Michelin star award-winning Soichi Sushi has opened in University Heights. 

In 2019, husband and wife duo Soichi & Raechel Kadoya took over the University Heights space previously occupied by Circa California Soul Food. At the time, Chef Soichi had over two decades of experience in Japanese cuisine, previously a fixture behind the sushi counter at Old Town's Sushi Tadokoro. After converting the former Circa space into an intimate and exclusive Japanese fine dining restaurant centered around omakase service, Soichi opened to great fanfare and after two years in business was awarded its first Michelin star in September 2021, which was reaffirmed in 2022

With some help from mom and dad, the Kadoya's 23 year-old daughter Sakura Kadoya and her parter Rey Palisoc have taken over the adjacent space that last housed De Nada Kitchen, formerly Cueva Bar, for 13 years. Styled like a Japanese Kissaten (essentially a dessert and tea cafe), expect the new eatery to give off cherry blossom vibes with flowers and pink accents decorating the quaint space. Hatsuzakura is currently in its soft opening stage with a grand opening scheduled for Wednesday, July 5. 

From the menu, expect a selection of entrees and traditional Japanese desserts, fruit and tonkatsu sandwiches, matcha tea and coffee beverages, and other sweet and savory snacks, all meant to compliment rather than compete with neighboring Soichi Sushi. Highlights from the savory items include the Naporitan tomato based Japanese style spaghetti noodles with onions, green bell pepper, button mushrooms and bacon; the Omurice Japanese egg omelet filled with tomato-based chicken fried rice; and Chef Soichi's chicken karaage Japanese fried chicken. There are also an array of desserts like Kakigori Japanese shaved ice with premium kuramoto ice made in Kanazawa, Japan; Japenese purin homemade creamy custard pudding with caramelized top; and Dango traditional Japanese rice flour dumplings with various toppings.

Hatsuzakura is located at 2121 Adams Avenue in San Diego's University Heights. For more information, visit and check out the menu below.