Ann Wycoff

Poke
 – The Hawaiian staple is trending in San Diego

Photo courtesy of The Lanai.

Poke photo courtesy of The Lanai.

Poke, which means to slice or cut, is a simple Hawaiian dish, traditionally made with chunks of raw tuna, seaweed and salt. But the everyday Hawaiian staple has evolved, with new incarnations popping up all over San Diego. The popularity of poke (pronounced poh-keh) can also be seen with the success of the I Love Poke San Diego event launched seven years ago by Nino “Neens” Camilo. “This event was created as our way of doing a backyard barbecue Hawaiian-style at the Bali Hai right on the water.  We’ve become one big family; chefs participate in this festival because it’s fun and there’s a good vibe,” explains Nino.

Always fresh, poke can be sold-by-the scoop at deli counters or found as an upscale appetizer at highbrow restaurants. According to Neens, different cultures have influenced on the dish. “Californians added the avocados; Asians the wonton chips, wasabi, soy sauce and more. In Hawaii, poke always comes with rice – serving it without rice is the equivalent of serving an American hot dog without the bun,” adds Nino.

Poke’s “new skool” is a diverse landscape with poke-inspired raw fish dishes with added ingredients that go beyond the traditional. Discover these top places around San Diego to get your aloha on and enjoy poke.

The Lanai

Head to this little Garden of Eden in Leucadia for authentic Hawaiian eats on a sunny patio with picnic tables. Chef Doug Moric delivers beautiful poke – we recommend the house with raw ahi with soy, sesame oil, sweet onion, scallions, togarashi, and Hawaiian salt or go Californian and add chunks of avo.

Where: 1114 N. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92204
> Find out more about The Lanai

Zarlitos

This National City family restaurant is known for its Filipino and Mexican specialties and Hawaiian-style poke.  Zariltos takes pride in their daily poke platters, offering good variety – think spicy garlic, ahi limu (seaweed), shoyu, ahi fuikake, ahi kimchi, salmon, tako and seared albacore. Not to mention Zarlitos took first place at the I Love Poke Festival in 2015.

Where: 505 E. 8th St, National City, CA 91950
> Find out more about Zarlitos

Fish 101

This local’s favorite in Encinitas, known for its sustainably caught fresh fish, dishes up sashimi grade albacore tuna poke appetizer with sesame, shoyu, sweet onion, wakame, and wonton chips, or try their poke bowl with rice, seaweed salads, fresh greens and cucumbers, perfect with a Ballast Point Pale Ale.

Where: 1468 N. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024
> Find out more about Fish 101

Pokirrito

This fast-casual, build-your-own poke bowl concept comes from visionary Japanese chef Junya Watanabe. Diners move through series of stations selecting their own base (white or brown rice, or kale salad), vegetables, fresh fish, housemade toppings and sauces. You may also want to try their innovative sushi burritos.

Where: 4646 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111
> Find out more about Pokirrito

Fishbone Kitchen

Grab a seat at the raw bar of this cool fish shop in Liberty Public Market food hall where you can enjoy lovely ahi poke presented in a martini glass.

Where: 2820 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
> Find out more about Fishbone Kitchen

Chris’ Ono Grinds

This Hawaiian plate lunch eatery has poke made from sashimi-grade ahi tossed in Chris’ ono kine sauce. There’s also a delicious bowl with ahi, macadamia nuts, diced veggies all over rice, and drizzled with wasabi aioli.

Where: 4506 30th St, San Diego, CA 92116
> Find out more about Chris’ Ono Grinds

Bali Hai

Shelter Island’s Polynesian palace and iconic tiki temple since 1954 is another tropical outpost for poke. Dig into the house special, the Island Poke Bowl with ahi over rice and mac salad or savor their top-selling pupu – poke with avocado cream cheese, seaweed, masago (roe) and wontons.

Where: 2230 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106
> Find out more about Bali Hai

The Patio on Goldfinch

The striking Mission Hills eatery with its living green plant walls, fireplaces, gorgeous bar, and open-air patio serves up poke-style ahi tacos with soy-sambal marinated sashimi-grade ahi, Napa cabbage, crispy wontons, and cucumber salad. Delish.

Where: 4020 Goldfinch St, San Diego, CA 92103
> Find out more about The Patio on Goldfinch

Duke’s La Jolla

Named for the Olympic swimmer, movie star and man who brought surfing to the U.S. Duke’s just opened in La Jolla where you can sit on the swanky deck overlooking the Pacific and enjoy a little aloha. Order up the fresh poke tucked into crispy tacos with shoyu, maui onions, avocado, and wasabi crème fraiche with a Mai Tai, of course.

Where: 1216 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
> Find out more about Duke’s La Jolla

Chandler’s

The friendly restaurant at Cape Rey Resort in Carlsbad has a new chef, Teri McIllwain, and one of her menu hits is her take on poke. Head out to the fire pits and savor the Capeside Poke, a mélange of high-grade ahi, rainbow quinoa, Thai chili aioli, marinated seaweed, cucumber, lime and ponzu with wonton chips, perfect for a sunset snack by the sea.

Where: 1 Ponto Rd, Carlsbad, CA 92011
> Find out more about Chandler’s

Local Farmers Markets

From Hillcrest and Little Italy to Scripps Ranch, Encinitas and Oceanside, several companies are selling delicious poke to take home or eat while strolling the farmers market. Look for the San Diego Poke Company, It’s Raw Poke, and Iln Lyf Food.

Make Your Own Poke

If you want to make poke for yourself, Catalina Offshore Products reigns as the place for fresh fish. Talk to San Diego’s finest fish monger Tommy Gomes and he’ll lead you in the right direction.

Where: 5202 Lovelock St, San Diego, CA 92110
> Find out more about Catalina Offshore Products

Coming Soon

Good Time Poke

Keep an eye out for this new, casual daytime eatery in Pacific Beach that will front a tiki-themed speakeasy, The Grass Skirt, a hub for rum-inspired cocktails and nighttime fun. Opening Fall 2016.

Where: 910 Grand Ave, San Diego, CA 92109
> Find out more about Good Time Poke

Pokewan

This build-your-own poke concept, created by the owners of Love Boat Sushi, comes to Carlsbad in Summer 2016. The grab-and-go eatery will offer seven different types of fish with one special catch of the day and a variety of bases, sides, sauces and toppings.

Where: 2958 Madison St, Carlsbad, CA 92008
> Find out more about Pokeway

I LOVE POKE SAN DIEGO

This island-spirited celebration of Hawaiian culture and cuisine takes place in at Bali Hai on Shelter Island. It features Pokeland where 20 creative chefs compete for the “Best Poke” crown, and Foodland, a sampling zone with Hawaiian and Asian-inspired foods. Poke-making demos and live music add to the fun. Don’t miss this mecca for poke! And this year’s festival benefits the Ronald McDonald House.

> Find out more about I LOVE POKE SAN DIEGO

Ann Wycoff

Tiki Takes Off in San Diego

Cat Eye Club Tiki Drinks
Cat Eye Club Tiki Drinks

Tiki Drinks! Photo courtesy of Cat Eye Club

Exotic rum punches and smoking volcano bowls. Flower leis and fruit garnishes. Kitschy décor and flaming torches. Palm trees and palapa huts. Handcarved idols and Hula girls. Kool kats and kittens. The rummy Mai Tai stands as the anchor cocktail of tiki’s “hep retro” culture, but there’s also Zombies, Grogs, PainKillers and Scorpion Bowls, just to name a few.

San Diego’s tiki roots go way back to the 1950s with tiki evidence found in the architecture, art, bar scene, menus and more. And a new influx of tiki-style watering holes and eateries have recently opened their doors in San Diego celebrating this exotic lifestyle with its boozy beverages and Polynesian-inspired eats.

Old Favorites

Bali Hai Restaurant

A naval town and gateway to the Pacific, San Diego has long embraced all things tiki. Bali Hai, on Shelter Island, set the tiki tone in 1954 as a Polynesian paradise, replete with hardcarved sculptures, Polynesian artifacts, tapa cloths, and Mr. Bali Hai ceramic mugs cradling potent, rum-infused Mai Tais. Their Pacific Rim-style menu spotlights beautiful fresh fish, poke, Hamachi, papaya and shrimp salad, and more.

Where: 2230 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106
> Find out more about Bali Hai Restaurant

Crowne Plaza San Diego

Crowne Plaza San Diego (formerly the Hanalei Hotel) in Mission Valley is another mid-50s Mecca for tiki as it hosts the annual Tiki Oasis Convention each summer (August 18-21), drawing the country’s largest gathering of tikiphiles for pool parties and tropical fun.

Where: 2270 Hotel Circle N, San Diego, CA 92108
> Find out more about Crown Plaza San Diego

The Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa

This Mission Bay resort boasts island-inspired architecture, tropical gardens, koi ponds and a tiki torch-lit outdoor bar called Moray’s, a winsome spot for a Mai Tai and some sushi. The resort also hosts summertime luaus – Polynesian feasts with music, hula and torch dancers.

Where: 3999 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109
> Find out more about the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa

Kona Kai Resort & Spa

Kona Kai Resort & Spa inspires more tiki-style fun with its thatched-roof tiki bar and poolside cabanas for mojitos and Mai Tais. Belly up the bar for a Perfect Storm – Black Magic rum, ginger beer and lime – which pairs nicely with chef’s seafood poke, plump with tuna, salmon, and shrimp in sesame ginger ponzu with taro chips.

Where: 1551 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106
> Find out more about Kona Kai Resort & Spa

San Diego’s New Wave of Tiki

Cat Eye Club

While myriad bars and lounges are slinging tiki-style cocktails all over town, the Cat Eye Club offers up one of the best local tiki experiences in San Diego. Set in the East Village, a neon green tiki sign welcomes guests into the low-lit swanky lounge-think retro 50s-style, mod, pop culture tiki with its Mondrian glass wall, tiki carvings, fern wallpaper, lava lamps, and swimming fish on a flat screen.

A gorgeous hand-drawn menu helps imbibers navigate the map of fun libations with everything from Mai Tais on tap to artful group drinks like Goonies Gone Wild that arrive in treasure chests with billowing dry ice smoke and kitschy garnishes like golden coins and candy. Their cat-with-giant-eyes ceramic mugs are stylish, fruits garnishes outrageous and drinks super potent with various rums. 

As owner and dedicated tikiphile Frank Miller likes to say, “Tiki is an aloha state of mind. It’s vacation or an exotic escape from reality.” Cat Eye Club’s tropical tiki vibe is furthered enhanced by live music, karaoke weekly and island-inspired nibbles like tasty salmon poke with toasted quinoa and sesame seeds. Their must-try machetes–elongated quesadillas (housemade corn tortillas stuffed with kalua pork, manchego, and pineapple habanero salsa) – are delish.

Where: 370 7th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about the Cat Eye Club

Kindred

South Park’s revved-up vegan restaurant Kindred hosts “Permanent Vacation” Thursdays, a pop-up, tiki takeover with tropical elixirs and eats. Expect a rotating menu of nuclear rum drinks with fresh juices from bar whiz David Kinsey and Polynesian bites like orange miso-glazed seitin with grilled pineapple and a mango sweet potato aioli dipping sauce. Orchids and mid-century Exotica music add to the ambiance.

Where: 1503 30th St, San Diego, CA 92102
> Find out more about Kindred

The Nolen

The new high-design rooftop spot, The Nolen, has a tiki menu with five colorful refreshers like their Painkiller on draft with pineapple, orange, rum, coconut and freshly grated nutmeg. Or order up an off-menu Junglebird from their spirit savant, bar lead Andrew Larson. He will create a little fire element to the rum and Campari drink by igniting cinnamon. Bar grub like carnitas-jalepeno-salva-verde flatbreads or chili-glazed meatballs over Idaho potato frites soak up the rum.

Where: 453 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about The Nolen

The Grass Skirt

The owners of Little Italy’s social hub, Kettner Exchange, also have tiki on the brain. The Grass Skirt, their Polynesian-styled speakeasy, will descended upon Pacific Beach with a daytime poke eatery out front.

Where: 910 Grand Ave #101, San Diego, CA 92109

False Idol

Undergoing a redesign, Craft & Commerce in Little Italy will be home to False Idol, a high-design tiki bar featuring classic drinks nodding to old school tiki haunts like Trader Vics and others, curated by rum-meister Martin Cate. Their Coronado Luau Special features aged pot still rum with VSOP Armagnac, Grand Marnier, orgeat, fresh orange and lemon juice, a recipe originally created at the Luau Room at Hotel del Coronado, circa 1940s. Chef JoJo Ruiz will dish out a protein-hearty menu centered around Craft & Commerce’s new custom wood-fired grill.

Where: 675 W Beech St, San Diego, CA 92101

It’s no wonder tiki is alive and well in sunny seaside San Diego – who doesn’t love good food, potent rum drinks in funny mugs, and uplifting music in a tropical ambiance. Exploring San Diego’s tiki culture and scene reveals that it’s not just a trend or lifestyle, it’s a state of mind.

Ann Wycoff

Local Favorites in San Diego’s East Village

Quartyard-1200x630

Downtown San Diego keeps evolving and expanding as different parts of city find their identities and offer exceptional experiences. In recent years, the East Village has truly transformed into a dynamic part of town with a mélange of new restaurants, coffee houses, cafes and bars fueling the scene. From fast casual

to fancy, here’s a guide to local favorites in the East Village.

A Day of Dining in East Village

Copa Vida

Start the day with a single origin espresso or exotic tea, along with an order of chorizo egg hash with jalapeno cilantro sauce. Lunch means turkey melts, Mediterranean couscous salads, and Croquet Monsieurs. The airy bright modern space also offers barista classes in coffee brewing, latte art and tea education.

Where: 905 J St, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Copa Vida

Lucky Lunch Counter

For breakfast all-day or a low-fi lunch, retro diner Lucky Lunch Counter is home to a seriously good pastrami sandwich, ballpark hot dogs (nodding to the baseball-themed interior) and build-your-own salads.

Where: 338 7th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Lucky Lunch Counter

Rare Form & Fairweather

The Petco Park-adjacent deli and bar, Rare Form, serves up grilled cheese on rustic sourdough, seasonal sausages, and Cuban sandwiches, along with innovative craft cocktails like their herbaceous Basil G&T. After dining, trot upstairs to their gorgeous tropical bar overlooking Petco Park, Fairweather, for a rum grog or planter’s punch.

Where: 793 J St, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Rare Form & Fairweather

Padres Game Day Eats

Bub’s at the Ballpark

A bustling hub for Padres’ fans that serves food late! Bub’s boasts the best chicken wings in the city – recommended with their Carolina Gold (barbecue with honey) or mango habanero sauces. There’s also corn dogs, sliders, tater tots, indoor basketball hoops, beer galore, game day specials and flat screens at every turn.

Where: 715 J St, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Bub’s at the Ballpark

Quartyard

Before heading over to Petco, stop by Quartyard,an Urban Park constructed from repurposed shipping containers, for pre-game eats from food trucks and Sausage & Meat, craft beer, cocktails, and backyard games.

Where: 1102 Market St, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Quartyard

The Blind Burro

The Blind Burro, another high energy, bar-centric spot, spins out Baja-style coastal cuisine, cervezas and fine tequila. Try the salsa flights, rib-eye carne asada tacos, Mexican white shrimp and scallop ceviche, and their sweet potato-chorizo taquitos, paired with a Burro margarita with muddled jalapeno.

Where: 639 J St, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about The Blind Burro

Salazar’s

For traditional Mexican, Salazar’s has been a family owned institution in the East Village since 1972. Think cheap beers, pollo asada burritos and shredded beef tacos.

Where: 1502 Market St, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Salazar’s

Hive Sushi Lounge

College kids flock to the Hive Sushi Lounge (1409 C St.), a cheap and cheerful haunt open nightly.

Where: 1409 C St, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Hive Sushi Lounge

Basic

Another East Village anchor, Basic, is a lively lounge-y warehouse packed with locals enjoying thin-crusted pizzas, craft brews, cocktails, billiards and good music into the wee hours of night.

Where: 410 10th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Basic

On the Edge of East Village

Monkey Paw Brewing Company

On the outer edge of the East Village, Monkey Paw is a casual brew pub with gold medal beers spilling from the taps and is known for their Philly cheesesteaks, waffle fries and old-school jukebox.

Where: 805 16th St, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Monkey Paw Brewing Company

Stella Public House & Halcyon

An artisanal farm-to-pizza concept coupled with 20+ craft beers and an open-air chill vibe makes Stella Public House another East

Village favorite. Not to mention it shares the space with Halcyon, a hipster coffee spot and bar that serves up breakfast, paninis, and coffee-based cocktails. Stella sports communal tables, wood-fired pizzas, and small plates like lamb meatballs, beet towers and speck-wrapped asparagus. Both spots overlook the greenery and public art of Fault Line Park.

Where: 1429 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Stella Public House
> Find out more about Halcyon

A Bit More Upscale Dining

Water Grill

A mecca for seafood with a rockin’ raw bar, succulent shellfish platters, fresh line-caught fish and sophisticated wines.

Where: 615 J St, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Water Grill

Bottega Americano

Bottega Americano also charms as a vibrant urban food hall with a whirlwind of visuals-chefs throw pizza dough and pull pies from the wood-fired ovens, ribbons of rainbow colored pasta hang on display, oysters beckon from the raw bar, salumi hangs from above, picture perfect pastries tantalize from the bakery, gourmets goods fill the market place, diners share plates at communal tables and mixologists sling scintillating sippers behind the bar. Floor-to-ceiling, black-and-white images fill the walls with 1950s glam shots from Italy. It’s a scene with gorgeous décor and truly reflects the best of the best in the East Village.

Where: 1195 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Bottega Americano

Ann Wycoff

The Healing Power of Meditation in San Diego

Meditation

With life’s hectic pace and the amount of stress most humans face, quieting the mind and finding a little peace can be a challenge these days. While meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, there’s been a recent surge of interest from a wider audience. Luminaries like Oprah haven been spreading the good word about its benefits; health conscious actors like Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow practice it, and spiritual advisors such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Deepak Chopra have long held the belief that that meditation is good for the spirit and humanity as a whole. But now, present-day scientific studies and evidence-based research are pointing to specific long-term health benefits of meditation.

A Harvard-affiliated study in 2011 showed that measurable changes in the brain associated with stress, empathy, memory and sense of self were seen in participants of a mindfulness meditation program. In North County San Diego, The Chopra Center has been working with local Scripps scientists to study the positive effects of meditation by measuring heart rates and brain waves of participants in meditation workshops. Dr. Chopra has also partnered with Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn to further explore the effects of meditation on telomeres, as studies show that meditation can increase telomeres, which can slow the biological clock and enhance longevity. Meditation can also counteract the negative results of stress. It can slow the heart rate, lower blood pressure and improve the immune system.

So what are you waiting for?

The Chopra Center

Throughout San Diego there are several places to learn how to meditate or continue your practice. The Chopra Center offers a free introductory meditation class every Friday from 2:00 to 3:00 PM, along with several weekly free group meditations. For those that want to dig a little deeper there are private one-on-one sessions and three-day meditation workshops where you receive a personal mantra for your practice.

Where: 2013 Costa Del Mar, Carlsbad, CA 92009
> Find out more about The Chopra Center

Pacific Pearl La Jolla

Dr. Guarneri, a cardiologist and owner of an integrative health and wellness center, believes that “Meditation decreases the risk of a cardiovascular event by 48 percent.” This would explain why group meditation classes are offered at her center.

Where: 6919 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037
> Find out more about the Pacific Pearl La Jolla

Sonima Wellness Center Closed

At the Sonima Wellness Center in Encinitas, daily guided meditation classes are a great way to develop one’s practice in the welcoming company of fellow meditators. After, organic fresh pressed juices, super food smoothies and gourmet vegan cuisine await in the center’s café.

Where: 575 S Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, CA 92024
> Find out more about the Sonima Wellness Center

Self Realization Fellowship Temple

The lovely cliff-side gardens at the Self Realization Fellowship Temple in Encinitas have many quiet nooks with benches tucked throughout the grounds, ideal for some quiet reflection in an ocean breeze. The temple is part of the organization founded by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1920 to teach the scientific techniques of meditation. At both the temple and nearby chapel, anyone is welcome to join their group meditation gatherings each week.

Where: 939 2nd St, Encinitas, CA 92024
> Find out more about the Self Realization Fellowship Temple

Escondido Center of Self-Realization Fellowship

The public is also invited to join the group meditation services at the Self Realization Temple in Escondido. Basic instruction in technique is provided for beginners and the 45-minute sessions occur every day except for Tuesday.

Where: 1299 Scenic Drive, Escondido CA 92029
> Find out more about the Escondido Center of Self-Realization Fellowship

Deer Park Monastery

Another tranquil spot in Escondido, the Deer Park Monastery is a 400-acre sanctuary in the mountains, established by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, as a place to share the practice of mindful living. A community of monastic and lay practitioners live onsite, but anyone, with or without a meditation background, can enjoy this natural haven on specified calendar dates. Their Day of Mindfulness experience includes outdoor walking meditations, Dharma talks, meals in silence and a chance to explore the gardens and nature trails. Deer Park Monastery also welcomes children on certain dates for inspiring games and activities including art, meditation, nature walks, and singing.

Where: 2499 Melru Ln, Escondido, CA 92026
> Find out more about Deer Park Monastery

Dr. Tim Brieske from The Chopra Center says, “People should meditate regularly if they want to experience a life that is more conscious, authentic, and fully aware – and less stressful. When we move into restful awareness through the practice of meditation, our body responds to the best of its ability with normalized heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and blood sugar. We release fewer anxiety-producing stress hormones, and immune function tends to normalize. These actions tend to optimize mental and physical health.”

> Discover more ways to relax at one of San Diego’s rejuvenating spas

Ann Wycoff

Bliss on a Budget – 5 Affordable Spas in San Diego

Karma - Affordable Spas in San Diego
Karma - Affordable Spas in San Diego

Rejuvenate and relax while not breaking the bank at one of these affordable spas in San Diego. Photo courtesy of Karma Spa and Ed Alfaro

A spa experience is no longer considered just an indulgent day of pampering, as taking the time to de-stress and calm the body and mind has myriad health and wellness benefits. While not everyone can afford the high prices at many luxurious destination spas and hotels, San Diego has some reasonably priced gems tucked throughout town, where a little relaxation and rejuvenation doesn’t have to break the bank.

Happy Buddha

Off Convoy Street in Kearney Mesa, Happy Buddha specializes in Chinese reflexology. Eight comfy maroon recliners welcome guests to sit back and relax. After soaking your feet in hot water infused with Chinese herbs and enjoying a head, neck and back massage for 20 minutes, each foot receives 20 heavenly minutes of reflexology, believed stimulate elimination, improve circulation and support the immune system. All for $29.99. Afterward, drift next door to the famous Dumpling Inn for authentic northern Chinese fare.

Where: 4619 Convoy St., Suite E, San Diego, CA 92111
> Find out more about Happy Buddha

Massage Thai Way

At Massage Thai Way in Linda Vista and Mission Valley, an authentic 60-minute Thai massage only costs $45. White curtains separate long firm mattresses where expert Thai therapists perform deep massage and stretching techniques to elongate the body, improve posture, open up energy blockage and improve circulation.

Where:
Linda Vista – 2354 Ulric St Ste A, San Diego, CA 92111
Mission Valley – 6690 Mission Gorge Rd, Suite P, San Diego CA, 92120
> Find out more about Massage Thai Way

Karma Spa

Karma Spa has two locations, one in Hillcrest, the other in Carlsbad.  These pretty spas, which incorporate colorful lighting and soothing water features, offer an excellent menu of deluxe treatments such as hot stone and couples massage, French facials, infrared sauna therapy and ionic detoxing footbaths. Brow waxing runs only $10 and their Foot and Body Fusion Massage is a mere $36. The friendly therapists are well-trained and the prices are more than fair, making it possible for many people to reap the benefits of a spa day.

Where:
Hillcrest – 3969 1st Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
Carlsbad – 
2614 El Camino Real, Carlsbad, CA. 92008
> Find out more about Karma Spa

The Hidden Spa

In Ocean Beach, The Hidden Spa is another affordable sanctuary with some of the best deals on skin care in the city. Their European Facial, performed by skillful estheticians, involves a deep cleanse, exfoliation, gentle extractions, massage, aromatherapy, and mask, which costs only $60. Their mini-facial, a 30-minute skin refresher and hydration treatment is $40.

Where: 4969 Santa Monica Ave, San Diego CA 92107
> Find out more about the Hidden Spa

Massage Envy

While Massage Envy are membership spas, they can be found all over the country, so it’s worth joining if you can commit to a monthly massage. These no-frills franchises are clean, home to good therapists and make it possible to get a solid one-hour massage for $59 and under.

> Find out more about Massage Envy

> Rejuvenate the Body and Soul at San Diego Spas

Please note: Spa prices are as of May 2015.