Eat your way around the world—and San Diego—one meal at a time. From Abyssinian to Vietnamese, there is no shortage of international cuisine in the region. Here are just 13 to get you started. Follow your taste buds to get an idea of the incredible variety and deliciousness of San Diego’s diverse food landscape, no airfare required. Continue reading
Think that craft beer is the only thing San Diego brews up in delicious quantities? Don’t overlook the area’s estimable coffee roasters. Or its very own makers of kombucha, that tangy bubbly beverage that is so good you’ll forget it’s made from fermented tea. Here are some of the finest hot and cold (non-beer) craft brews to check out. Continue reading
San Diego’s Convoy Street runs through the central neighborhood of Kearny Mesa. Strip malls packed with restaurants whose signs—in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and other Asian languages—bear the names of some of the best eateries in town. Popular favorites among locals include Shabu Shabu, Tofu House, and dim sum at Emerald restaurant. But excellent ramen, poke, bulgogi, dumplings, pastries, and desserts aren’t the only reasons to come to Convoy—there’s also karaoke, arcade games, and bliss-out sessions at Korean spas. Continue reading
Pop-up dinners are—you guessed it—popping up just about everywhere. These foodie events range from educational to esoteric. Whatever their focus, they put out some seriously delicious eats. Continue reading
Whether rolling along the beach on the Coaster or around the city on the trolley system, riding San Diego’s rails is a great way to get to know the city. And no matter where you stop off, you’ve got immediate access to the region’s world famous culinary and craft beer scene. Pick a stop, any stop. Continue reading
Tiki culture is all about escapism—the food, the drinks, and the decor are all attempts to re-create some fantastical tropical island that never actually existed. This is also why tiki cocktails are so potent, designed to help ease you to into a festive state of mind. San Diego is embracing the tiki culture with a new generation of bartenders celebrating that rich tradition. Here’s a roundup of San Diego’s hot tiki bars and other spots where you can find a perfectly tropical cocktail. Continue reading
San Diego has world-class mainstay restaurants, like Mister A’s, George’s, and Addison. But new blood is good for the restaurant scene’s circulatory system. Here are eight restaurants that have made a significant impact since opening in recent months. Continue reading
In the classic French style of service, top chefs with the most expertise were trotted out from the kitchen in Europe’s finest restaurants to dazzle guests with fancy techniques of whipping, chopping, carving, and flambéing. It was food as theater. Today, even in the face of the growing fast casual and counter service trends, tableside preparations are making their way back into dining rooms both casual and upscale.
Here’s a roundup of San Diego’s most tasty tableside creations, from the waterfront to the foothills.
Born & Raised
Little Italy’s gorgeous new steakhouse Born & Raised straddles the line between elegant and modern. San Diego Magazine food critic Troy Johnson calls the $7 million space “a grand, elaborate investment in America’s past,” where servers clad in tuxedo jackets and Chuck Taylors offer classics like steak Diane and rib of beef with Yorkshire pudding as well as de rigueur dry-aged cuts of beef and duck. Wheeled out on ornate carts with brass and wood detailing, the tableside preparations of steak tartare, classic French omelets, and shrimp Louie take the drama up a notch.
Where: 1909 India St, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Born & Raised
Just down the block in Little Italy’s culinary center, Monello (the “naughty little brother” to longtime local favorite Bencotto next door) finishes orders of classic Italian risotto tableside in a unique vessel: a wheel of imported Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. The cheese is the final ingredient in the creamy rice dish and, instead of grating or tossing it in, chef Fabrizio stirs and scrapes the entire order inside the cheese wheel, which is lit afire at the edges to keep the dish warm. Rumor has it, they will also finish other pasta dishes in the wheel at a guest’s request.
Where: 750 W Fir St, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Monello
Manhattan of La Jolla
Head up to La Jolla for another classic tableside dish: Caesar salad. Originally invented just south of San Diego at Hotel Caesars in Tijuana, the legendary salad’s egg, anchovy, lemon, garlic, and Parmesan dressing makes for an impressive show when mixed fresh at the table. Manhattan of La Jolla has made it a signature experience for years in its swanky Empress Hotel restaurant that’s hosted celebrities like Ann Bancroft, Mel Brooks, Johnny Depp, and Jay Leno over the years. For locals, it’s been a beloved spot for special occasions for more than 20 years.
When: 7766 Fay Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037
> Find out more about Manhattan of La Jolla
Any list of tableside dishes served in San Diego wouldn’t be complete without guacamole. It’s the local version of bread and butter in a region that produces 40 percent of the nation’s avocados – and it’s most impressive when prepared fresh at the table with simple ingredients: Avocados, smashed with garlic, onions, lime, salt, and salsa fresca garnish. Try it alongside an unparalleled view of the city skyline at Coasterra on Harbor Island, an upscale Mexican restaurant right on the bay.
Where: 880 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Coasterra
Travel deep into Hillcrest, one of the city’s original foodie neighborhoods, and find Ortega’s tucked away in the corner of small strip mall. Almost as famous as their tableside guacamole is their simple, seasonal offering of Puerto-Nuevo style lobster dishes served in the rustic space with thick wood tables and colorful, imported glassware.
Where: 141 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
> Find out more about Ortega’s
Riviera Supper Club
For a twist on tableside, try La Mesa’s Riviera Supper Club. Its nod to midcentury steak houses is evident in the both menu (steaks, chops, and sides like macaroni and cheese and bourbon baked beans) and the décor of cozy booths, dim lighting, and live music – all housed in a classic 1962 building that was once home to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Here’s the twist: It’s a DIY grill. You pick your protein and cook it yourself on a large communal grill, equipped with tongs and seasonings. The kitchen handles the sides (and we hear they’ll help you with your meat if requested) and desserts like bacon chocolate cake and s’mores casserole. A warning to those who opt to sip a Sidecar while manning the grill: The cocktails are served famously stiff.
Where: 7777 University Ave, La Mesa, CA 91941
> Find out more about Riviera Supper Club
With more than 150 breweries, San Diego is the best place to find your perfect beer. Looking for a few beers brewed with the flavors of San Diego and Mexico? Head to Barrio Logan for an amazing selection of cross-border brews and plenty of local favorites.
Here are the 4 breweries and tasting rooms in Barrio Logan, from south to north, that need to be on your next San Diego beercation itinerary.
Border X Brewing
Border X brews the flavors of Mexico into each one of its beers like the popular Blood Saison, inspired by the traditional Mexican drink Jamaica. Don’t forget to sample the Horchata Golden Stout and Abuelita’s Chocolate Stout. In fact, mix the two for an amazing Mexican-style black-and-tan. Once you have your beer in hand: take some time look around and enjoy the amazing artwork the covers the interior, order a few tacos from Tury Tacos and finally head out to the patio to enjoy the sunshine and Barrio Logan.
Where: 2818 Logan Avenue, San Diego, CA 92113
> Find out more about Border X Brewing
Iron Fist Brewing Co.
While the actual brewery is located in Vista, this central location boasts 30+ taps, an indoor bar and outdoor beer garden where guests can enjoy beer, music, food, and art from surrounding Mercado del Barrio artists and vendors. Make sure to order a Velvet Glove (Imperial IPA) or Counter Strike (IPA) before heading out to the beer garden.
Where: 1985 National Ave., #1132, San Diego, CA 92113
> Find out more about Iron Fist Brewing Co.
Alta Brewing Company
Brewmaster Brett Stampf’s (veteran brewer from Stone and Green Flash) goal is to go over and above with his brews. The core beers are a nitro-driven blonde ale, pale ale, IPA, dry-hopped brown ale and dry Irish stout. If it’s still on tap, order up a pint of the Alta ShakaAzacca IPA brewed exclusively with Azacca hops.
Where: 1983 Julian Ave, San Diego, CA 92113
> Find out more about Alta Brewing Company
Thorn Brewing Co.
Thorn Brewing just upped its capacity from a small North Park brewery to a massive 10,500 square foot brewery located in a former factory. To celebrate the expansion, Thorn is brewing up the Barrio Lager, a Baja-style lager made from both domestic 2 row barley and flaked maize.
Where: 1745 National Ave, San Diego, CA 92113
> Find out more about Thorn Brewing Co.
San Diego’s cuisine reflects its history and culture – rich, diverse & colorful. Eat your way through the county with these 10 San Diego Restaurant Week picks.
Let your tastebuds have a field day with a fusion of American, Mexican and Italian flavors, blended together for a unique culinary experience in the heart of Pacific Beach. Sip on an array of handcrafted mimosas, savor mouthwatering tapas and chill at this cool hangout.
Where: 967 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109
> Find out more about Crushed
La Gran Terraza
Located on the University of San Diego’s picturesque campus, this farm-to-table bistro is a hit with locals and visitors alike. From the cozy fireplace to sweeping views of Tecolote Canyon and Mission Bay, La Gran Terraza is more than just a good place to eat, it’s a dining experience.
Where: 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA 92110
> FInd out more about La Gran Terraza
Cali-Baja cuisine is to San Diego what palm trees are to the beach and you can experience it at Galaxy Taco. It may sound like a typical taco shop but it tastes like a gourmet experience that will transport your taste buds to a colorful, savory galaxy far, far away. The fish tacos are a not-to-be-missed fan-favorite and when it comes to their specialty tequila menu, trust us, it’s out of this world.
Where: 2259 Avenida De La Playa, San Diego, CA 92037
> Find out more about Galaxy Taco
A former military base transformed into a trendy town square celebrating the city’s history, make your way to Point Loma’s Liberty Station to discover the Mess Hall. This epic food hall will continuously surprise and delight your taste buds as the menu changes daily.
Where: 2820 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
> Find out more about Mess Hall
Market Restaurant + Bar
This Del Mar hot spot has made a name for itself boasting impeccable service and some of the freshest and finest fish, meats and produce. Start with the Blue Cheese Soufflé & Cinnamon Poached Pears, you won’t be disappointed.
Where: 3702 Via De La Valle, Del Mar, CA 92014
> Find out more about Market Restaurant + Bar
Vintana Wine + Dine
Located in an unsuspecting location of Lexus Escondido, this hot rod of a restaurant offers a tasty menu curated by local favorite Chef Deborah Scott and gorgeous patio views of North County’s rolling hills.
Where: 1205 Auto Park Way, Escondido, CA 92029
> Find out more about Vintana
Plant yourself in the middle of the Gaslamp to discover a hip new hangout and the only rooftop dining space in the area. Surrounded by chic decorations including saucer pans, indulge in a creative menu from scrambled skillets to the RR Burger, featuring a bacon jam.
Where: 535 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Rustic Root
The Smoking Goat
A french feast awaits at The Smoking Goat in Uptown featuring sustainable and organic ingredients, boutique beverage offerings and a friendly neighborhood vibe. An optional three-course meal allows you to sample the menu and of course, there is no shortage of curated cheeses.
Where: 3408 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104
> Find out more about The Smoking Goat
It’s a San Diego truth, dinner and drinks taste better with an ocean view. One of the best places to find one is Peohe’s. Located right on the water’s edge on Coronado Island, this tropical treasure boasts a Pacific Rim inspired menu and a rockin’ sushi bar. Enjoy your meal al fresco, perfect for both a romantic rendezvous or a fun night out with family.
Where: 1201 1st St, Coronado, CA 92118
> Find out more about Peohe’s
BO-Beau Kitchen + Garden
Combining bohemian chic with an industrial vibe does not seem like an easy task, but Bo-Beau Kitchen + Garden has pulled it off beautifully. Located in the heart of La Mesa, be sure to grab a craft cocktail at the oversized handcrafted bar, and then treat yourself to the best Brussels sprouts this side of Belgium.
Where: 8384 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942
> Find out more about Bo-Beau Kitchen + Garden
San Diego Restaurant Week Details
When: September 25 – October 2, 2016
> Find out more about San Diego Restaurant Week