San Diego’s culinary star is on the rise, in more ways than one! The 2019 MICHELIN Guide California Bib Gourmand category has revealed the 8 San Diego restaurants that serve high-quality meals which include two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less.
Where: 2725 State St, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Carlsbad has always been a quaint, lovely seaside town in San Diego. But no one claimed it a modern, groundbreaking place to eat or drink – until Campfire. A chef, bartender, and GM spun off one of the artsiest restaurant groups in town to build this winner. It’s an ode to fire and smoke – it even has a teepee out back. Try the brisket plate with furikake (Japanese spice mix), or any of the mind-bending craft cocktails from the bar.
Where: 505 Laurel St, Bankers Hill, San Diego, CA 92101
Classic Italian blends seamlessly with laidback California modern at this beloved Bankers Hill eatery. The ingredients are top-notch, the preparation masterful, and the environment warm and welcoming. The extensive wine list is available at retail level, so when you find one you like, you can take a bottle to go.
Where: 4055 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
The little sister to the popular Cucina Urbana restaurant, Cucina Sorella is a funky Italian restaurant featuring a bohemian-chic design with pops of color and floral prints. The menu specializes in deep-dish pizzas, hand-crafted pastas, antipasti, and polenta boards, offering small and large plates. The beverage program includes an extensive list of Italian and regional wines, seasonal cocktails and craft beer on tap.
Where: 2885 Perry Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
Chef Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins—who placed sixth on Top Chef: Mexico and appeared on season 15 of Top Chef: Colorado—taps into her Mexican roots at El Jardin. She sources many of her ingredients from Mexico, including scallops, hand-crafted mole, and dried shrimp, and is not afraid to use ant resin and other uncommon elements on her menu—which she is known to change at a moment’s notice depending on her whims.
Where: 2228 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
The stunning Juniper & Ivy sits in a 90-year-old converted warehouse, a true standout with its mod artwork, oversized curvaceous booths, an exhibition kitchen, upscale counter dining and a lively bar scene for craft cocktails. Chef Richard Blais progressive American cuisine is both artful and inventive with a dash of molecular gastronomy tossed in. Exciting edibles may include pot pie bites with red eye gravy, foie gras cookies, carne asada toast with quail egg, or prawn and pork Bolognese comfort food.
Where: 2001 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
Kettner Exchange features progressive American cuisine from Executive Chef Brian Redzikowski. The menu changes seasonally and is complemented by a cocktail menu and a selection of 32 beers on tap. The open-air rooftop lounge overlooking Little Italy offers a unique variety of libations including boutique wines, craft and classic cocktail decanters and self-serve beer taps located right inside private cabanas.
Where: 1290 F St, San Diego, CA 92101
LOLA 55 offers a taco focused menu made from the locally-sourced ingredients at affordable prices. To complement the chef’s selection of tacos, there is a full bar stocked with mezcals, tequilas, and aqua frescas.
Where: 2820 Roosevelt Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
Fresh, simple, and handmade is the name of the game at this Italian treasure that pays very close attention to seasonal produce (which is easier when you grow many of your own vegetables, as they do). In addition to it’s current Bib Gourmand status, Solare is one of just 13 restaurants worldwide that have earned the prestigious Tre Gamberi award—similar to the Michelin Star system—by Gambero Rosso.