Countdown to Restaurant Week: Ring In the New

Explore Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant and More!

Who doesn’t want to try the hottest new restaurant in town?

There’s no better time to get out there and find your new favorites than during San Diego Restaurant Week.  Because with reduced prices for three-course menus you can afford to explore a little.

Here’s some new restaurants to worth checking out:

  • Barrio Star, Isabel Cruz’s newest spot in Banker’s Hill, serves up a fresh, creative take on traditional Mexican flavors.  You’ll love the festive atmosphere and Day of the Dead-influenced decor almost as much as you’ll love the Restaurant Week menu items like chicken tamales made fresh, in-house daily and served with black beans, rice, and corn salsa; local whitefish with cumin and cardamom rub paired with cilantro-lime sauce, coconut rice and roasted tomatoes; and spicy chile relleno with jumbo shrimp.   Priced at $20, this menu is a steal!
  • Banker’s HIll Bar & Restaurant, also located in Banker’s Hill (surprise, surprise!), is the newest venture from the team behind Del Mar’s much-lauded Market Restaurant and Bar.  Here, chef Carl Schroeder’s menu is still bursting with local flavors but focuses on hand-crafted comfort food and the vibe is neighborly but cool.  From the $30 Restaurant Week menu you can sample items like proscuitto deviled eggs with parmesan-white cheddar crisps, bacon and  arugula; coriander marinated rock fish ceviche with avocado, pico de gallo and BBQ spiced corn chips; or cast iron roasted King Salmon with artichokes, vegetable ragout, cauliflower gratin and lemon butter.
  • Brand new in Ocean Beach, Bo Beau Kitchen + Bar is the latest addition to the mighty Cohn Restaurant Group.  You’ll feel like you stepped right out of San Diego and into the South of France at this casual neighborhood bistro.  Savor the experience with a $30 Restaurant week menu featuring options like boeuf bourguignon with baby carrots, pancetta, mushrooms, pearl onions and fingerling potatoes; leek ‘fondue’ macaroni and cheese in a silky cheddar gratinee; and Atlantic salmon with arugula-pesto gremolata and seasonal vegetables.

What new restaurant are you excited to visit?

San Diego Restaurant Week starts in just two days…make your reservations today!


Countdown to Restaurant Week: Bring On the Beef

Indulge with San Diego Restaurant Week at the Steakhouse at Azul La Jolla.

Ahh, the steakhouse.  The perfectly aged and impeccably seared steak.  The generous sides.  The big, welcoming leather booths.  Usually these are reserved for special occasions or those with expense accounts but, during San Diego Restaurant Week you can dine out at some of San Diego’s best steakhouses – including the big national names like Morton’s, Ruth’s Chris and The Palm – for a fraction of the normal cost. But, let’s think independently.  Following are a few steakhouses you’ll find only in San Diego with deals available only during Restaurant Week:

  • Located in downtown’s East Village, Cowboy Star mixes a modern-industrial vibe with a nod to Old Hollywood Westerns for a steakhouse experience like no other.  The $40 Restaurant Week menu include choices like Snake River Farms Wagyu tartare with fresh horseradish, pumpernickel toast, arugula and créme fraîche or pan seared Wild Steelhead Salmon with black trumpet mushrooms, shaved Brussels sprouts, shallots and herb fondue. Plus exotic options like rabbit ravioli with sauteed wild mushrooms, Swiss chard, ver jus-rabbit emulsion and crispy pancetta.
  • Perched overlooking La Jolla Cove, The Steakhouse at Azul La Jolla features a view of the ocean that will almost distract you from the open-kitchen action on the opposite side of the cozy dining room.  But focus!  Because that’s where the chefs turn out a $40 Restaurant Week menu with tempting options like rock shrimp pot pie with saffron vegetables; Berkshire pork loin with maple bacon, roasted kabocha squash and blackberry reduction; and New York Strip USDA prime steak with fried sweet shallots and red wine demi glace.
  • Or, try your luck at The Grove Steakhouse at Viejas Casino.  You can’t lose with a Restaurant Week menu that includes options like Green Lip mussels tossed in hot olive oil, Garlic and Lemon with a basil pesto broth; deep fried jumbo shrimp wrapped in applewood smoked center-cut bacon with a Monterrey pepper jack fondue; and tender 3oz filet medallions topped with a three mushroom ragu.  Since it’s priced at only $30, you’ll even have money left over to hit the tables.

Feeling like stepping out for a steak?  What’s your favorite steakhouse? San Diego Restaurant Week is only 3 days away, make your reservations today!


Countdown to Restaurant Week: Farm to Table

Ocean views and farm fresh food at Georges California Modern.

With our reputation for bountiful beaches, it might surprise some to know that San Diego is an agricultural powerhouse that’s home to more than 6,000 farmers and #1 in the nation for small farms.

Thankfully though, San Diego’s chefs are well aware of the region’s agricultural bounty and make it their priority to source ingredients locally and bring that homegrown San Diego goodness to you.

Following are a few places where you can enjoy discounted farm to table dining during Restaurant Week:

  • Located in the heart of La Jolla, Whisknladle earned recognition from Conde Nast Traveler for their artisanal approach to farm to table cuisine.  They make everything in house and source locally.  Sample the results during Restaurant Week when you can order any three courses off their entire menu for the $40 Restaurant Week Menu price.  Local items to look for include Crows Pass’ apples and persimmons served in a salad with balsamic vinegar-roasted onions, frisee and pistachio and Carlsbad Aqua Farms’ mussels paired with fries, shallots, garlic and bay laurel.
  • With a killer location overlooking La Jolla Cove, George’s at the Cove could have just as easily been in my amazing views post.  But, chef Trey Foshee’s passion for locally-grown produce makes his cuisine really stand out in the farm to table category.  Downstairs in Georges California Modern he’s offering a $40 Restaurant Week Menu with options like local halibut with spicy pomegranate dressing, fennel and ginger gel or local yellowtail with a carrot-miso puree, bok choy and tangerine butter. Upstairs, on the open air Ocean Terrace, the $30 Restaurant Week Menu includes more casual options like butternut squash bruschetta with goat cheese and hazelnuts or penne with lamb, roasted tomatoes, black olives, artichokes and mint ricotta.
  • JSix is helmed by Christian Graves who gardens for the restaurant on the rooftop of the downtown restaurant and adheres strictly to a ‘boat to pan’ philosophy that ensures the seafood he serves is delicious and ecologically sustainable.  LIke Whisknladle, he’s celebrating Restaurant Week by making his full menu available for an incredible $30 Restaurant Week menu price.  Go ahead and indulge in line-caught ahi tuna tartare with olive tapande and orange essence or the petite filet of beef with balsamic marinated portobello mushroom and feel good about it!

What’s your favorite farm to table restaurant in San Diego?

Make your reservations today…San Diego Restaurant Week is only 4 days away!


Countdown to Restaurant Week: Ladies’ Night

Try the Cotton Candy Cuban at Avenue 5.

Heads up ladies.  San Diego Restaurant Week is a fantastic excuse to gather up your best girlfriends, get all dressed up and have a girls’ night out.  After all, when a little “me time” is on the agenda, nothing is more fun than dishing it up with your girls over an incredible meal and, more importantly, a rocking dessert.

But, with so many Restaurant Week options, are you at a loss as to where to go?

Here are a few picks that will impress even your frenemies:

  • Avenue 5 Restaurant & Bar in Banker’s Hill serves up the most amazing cocktails.  These aren’t any old Cosmos.  Instead they incorporate molecular gastronomy techniques to make out of this world drinks that are sure to make your friends say ‘wow.’  Plus, their Restaurant Week menu is priced at $30 and includes options like wild mushroom risotto, anise-braised boneless beef short ribs and, for dessert, champagne sorbet, jasmine pot de crème or chocolate decadence with orange and berry compote.
  • Feel like dancing?  Put on your sexiest shoes and head to Stingaree where, after dinner, you and your girls are set to hit the club because this is also one downtown’s hottest nightlife venues.  But before you kick up your heels, sit down to the $40 Restaurant Week menu featuring items like pink lady apple and arugula salad or jidori chicken breast with cous cous and dates.  Then dig into desserts like red velvet cake with red hot ice cream or white chocolate crème caramel.  Don’t worry, you’ll burn off all the calories on the dance floor!
  • Located at the Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Ocean offers you and your girls the opportunity to channel Marilyn Monroe for a moment (she starred in Some Like It Hot shot on location at the Del) with a $40 Restaurant Week Menu that includes peppercorn tagliatelle with duck and pecorino or spice-crusted albacore with fennel-blood orange salad. For dessert, sample airy Tuscan donuts, the mysterious ‘Chocolate Indulgence’ or a sophisticated cheese plate with Rogue Blue Cheese, roasted grapes and honeycomb.

Where will you be stepping out?  And, more importantly, what are you wearing?

There’s only 5 days left until San Diego Restaurant Week, make your reservations today!


Countdown to Restaurant Week: Eye Candy

It's okay, go ahead and stare. Island Prime won't mind.

No two ways about it, San Diego is gorgeous.  With coastline for miles and natural beauty that just doesn’t quit, this town is good looking.  So, when San Diego Restaurant Week rolls around, you might as well opt for a restaurant where you can enjoy the view.

Here are a few that are pretty as a picture and have top-notch cuisine, too:

  • Nestled on Harbor Island, Island Prime looks across San Diego Bay toward the downtown skyline with a view is pretty all day long and particularly spectacular at night.  Feast your eyes on the view but don’t let it distract you from chef Deborah Scott’s amazing Restaurant Week menu items like butternut squash soup with toasted pepitas, cedar plank roasted salmon and filet mignon with sea salt mashed potatoes.  The menu is priced at $40 and the million dollar views are free.
  • Ride the elevator up to the 12th floor to Bertrand’s at Mister A’s for panoramic views of San Diego Bay, the downtown skyline and the lush green expanse of Balboa Park.  This is where the city’s movers and shakers have gathered for decades and now , during restaurant week, you can enjoy the same upscale fare only at a fraction of the cost.  The $40 Restaurant Week menu includes decadent options like Samanco Bay sea scallops, roasted leg of lamb Provencal and pan seared white seabass.
  • Getting to Mistral at Loews Coronado Bay Resort takes just minutes but you’ll feel a million miles away when you look across San Diego Bay at the Coronado Bridge and the glittering downtown skyline.  With floor to ceiling windows as the backdrop, enjoy a $40 Restaurant Week menu with options like yellow frisee and duck prosciutto salad, organic salmon with French green lentils, or Brant beef with creamy potatoes and haricot vert.

What’s your favorite restaurant with a view?

Only 6 days until San Diego Restaurant Week, make your reservations today!


Countdown to Restaurant Week: Date Night

Fall in love with Cafe Chloe.

Nothing is more important than a first impression and even long-term loves need a little romance.  No matter how long you’ve been with your special someone, San Diego Restaurant Week has the perfect place – at the perfect price – for date night.   It’s all about choosing the right spot.

Here’s a few picks for each stage of your relationship:

  • First Date.  You want to impress but not overwhelm and are trying to be charming and chic, right?  Café Chloe in downtown’s East Village is romantic but casual and has a worldly, Parisian ambiance that will ensure night to remember. Priced at $30 the Restaurant Week menu includes gourmet touches, like duck confit with sherry vinegar jus, heirloom apple reduction and roasted winter squash or steak and  frites with port-shallot butter, asparagus and button mushrooms, that will dazzle without demolishing your budget.
  • Getting Serious.  You two deserve a big night out.  Something special.  Something sexy!  JRDN is the spot for you.  The $40 Restaurant Week menu includes indulgent items like crispy Berkshire pork belly, local cod with sherry brown butter and pan roasted wild mushrooms with ‘forbidden’ rice.  But the best part?  You’ll have money left over and this sleek modern restaurant is perched overlooking the sands of Pacific Beach so, if things get carried away, you can always get a room upstairs at Tower23 and spend the night!
  • True Love. Throughout its storied history, the Marine Room in La Jolla has been the site of a proposal or two.  I’m not saying you have to take the plunge but, with the waves lapping at the windows, you might be tempted.  Either way, the $40 Restaurant Week menu will do its best to set the mood with dishes like blue crab with Spanish trout caviar and truffles; pomegranate and macadamia-crusted barramundi; and center cut filet mignon with Tilston Point blue cheese and mountain berry chutney. 

What’s your favorite date night restaurant?

There’s just 9 days left until San Diego Restaurant Week.  Make your reservations today!


Countdown to Restaurant Week: Tokyo Style


Watch masters at work at Nobu.

Did you know San Diego is located on almost the same latitude at Japan’s capital?

Yep, head practically due East across the Pacific from San Diego and you’ll end up in Tokyo.  Or, save on airfare and dine out for San Diego Restaurant Week.

Enjoy incredible sushi, sashimi and more at:

  • Nobu is the biggest name in the world when it comes to Japanese restaurants.  Helmed by famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa with outposts in Tokyo, New York, London, Dubai and, yes, downtown San Diego, it offers a luxury experience and world-class fare that draws movers and shakers, celebrities and well-traveled gourmands.  The $40 Restaurant Week menu, with options like barbecue freshwater eel with monkfish pate and miso-mustard sauce or thin-sliced beef rib eye tataki with cilantro salad and toszau dressing, means you too can live it up at Nobu.
  • It’s located in the heart of La Jolla but Roppongi Restaurant & Sushi Bar is named after the famed Tokyo dining and nightlife district and channels that distinctive Japanese cool.  Chef Stephen Window incorporates flavors from around the Pacific Rim in a $30 Restaurant Week menu that includes dishes like tuna tataki with Japanese pepper and white miso.  For the less adventurous, he also offers pan-seared salmon and boneless beef short ribs.  So, there’s something for everyone!
  • Izakayas are basically Japanese tapas bars and offer a more casual vibe.  The newest kind of Japanese restaurant to hit our shores, they are all the rage.  You can check it out for yourself with the $30 Restaurant Week menu at Shimbashi Izakaya in Del Mar where they’ll be serving up light, crispy fried tempura, specialty hand-rolls and old favorites like edamame and miso soup. 

Which restaurants make you feel like you’re transported to another place? 

Only 10 days until San Diego Restaurant Week, make your reservations today!


Countdown to Restaurant Week: Man Food

Man Food Heaven...girls and grills at Gaslamp Strip Club.

A guy’s got to eat, right?  But where can you go, eat all you like and still have money left over to buy that cute girl a drink?

No worries, the following manly restaurants are serving up their most lip-smacking, meat-laden menu items at San Diego Restaurant Week prices so you can hit the town with both your belly and wallet full:

  • Eat like a baseball legend at Randy Jones All American Sports Grill.  This former Padre’s restaurant in Mission Valley is serving up a Restaurant Week menu priced at $20 for BBQ salmon, Slo-pitch baby back BBQ pork ribs or grilled-marinated tri-tip beef.  But, it’s Randy’s own BBQ sauces that really knock it out of the park.
  • Sample the Restaurant Week menu at Firehouse American Eatery + Lounge and, for $30, you’ll get classic American dishes served up right by the beach in Pacific Beach.  As a bonus, you’re sure to find cute California girls hanging out on the open air rooftop lounge overlooking the sand.  Because guys’ night out is really all about meeting girls, right?
  • Speaking of girls, I mean grills, the grill-your-own concept at downtown’s Gaslamp Strip Club is a sure-fire hit.  Order your choice of the signature New York strip, marinated chicken breast or baseball cut top sirloin from the $30 Restaurant Week menu and grill it yourself.  What guy doesn’t love show off his grill skills?

Where are you going on guys’ night out?

San Diego Restaurant Week is only 11 days away, make your reservations today!


Countdown to Restaurant Week: Go Fish!

Roast crab at the Fish Market? Come to mama!

San Diego’s seaside location, with more than 70-miles of sparkling coastline, makes the town a natural for spectacular seafood and it’s definitely something that most visitors splurge on at least once during their visit to the region. 

But, seafood is expensive, especially for items like crab, lobster or oysters.  Right? 

Well, lucky for us, there is a boat-load of amazing seafood restaurants participating in San Diego Restaurant Week  so we can indulge without breaking the bank.

Here are a few that are calling to me like a siren song:

  • Blue Point Coastal Cuisine, located in the heart of downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter, kicks off their Restaurant Week menuwith starters like lobster bisque, oysters on the half shell and jumbo lump Chesapeake Bay crab cakes.  No skimping here!  And, priced at $30, it’s a smoking deal that’s smoke-themed with entrees like maple-soy barbecue salmon, smoked pappardelle with crab and house-smoked free-range pork chop with smoked-blue cheese-wild mushroom bread pudding.  Blue Point’s new James Beard Award-nominated chef, Daniel Barron, must be on fire for San Diego Restaurant Week.
  • Perched on San Diego Bay overlooking a marina filled with luxury yachts, Sally’s Seafood on the Water definitely makes an impression.  But don’t let the views distract you from the killer Restaurant Week menu priced at just $30.  Start off with a creamy white bean soup, seared mackerel or Chef Kaz’s sushi special. Then, try seared arctic char with a warm lentil salad, crab-stuffed calamari with braised pork cheek or citrus and parsley-crusted Kobe top round steak.  Okay, I know pork cheeks and Kobe steak aren’t seafood but you have to have something for the meat and potatoes types, right?  Plus, Kobe steak and sushi for $30…it’s a ridiculous deal!
  • This last one is a two-fer.  The Fish Market has two locations, one downtown right on San Diego Bay and one up in lovely Del Mar, each with unique menus priced at $30.  The downtown Restaurant Week menu features items like panko-breaded calamari; salmon dill tartare; ginger-lime prawns; cashew-crusted Idaho trout; whole-roasted crab; and a clam bake with lobster tail, shrimp and mussels.  The Del Mar Restaurant Week menu also has ginger-lime prawns but mixes it up with smoked fish; Dungeness crab cakes; Massachusetts sea scallops with prosciutto; mesquite grilled swordfish; and Sea of Cortez prawns sauteed in garlic.  And, you know you’ll be getting the best seafood possible because the Fish Market boasts their own private fishing fleet.

Is the bounty of the sea tempting you to check out San Diego Restaurant Week

Which restaurant is calling your name?

San Diego Restaurant Week is only twelve days away.  Make your reservations today!


Countdown to Restaurant Week: Mangia, Mangia!

Belly up to the cheese bar at BICE.

Italian cuisine, from pasta to prosciutto, ranks high on pretty much everyone’s list of favorite foods.  So, it’s no surprise there are a lot of Italian restaurants participating in San Diego Restaurant Week

You really can’t go wrong with any of the options but here’s a few of my favorites:

  • Cucina Urbana.  If you haven’t been yet, here’s your excuse to check out owner Tracy Borkman’s reinvention of the former uber-luxe Laurel in Banker’s Hill as a cozy, rustic yet modern Italian eatery.  Their Restaurant Week menu is priced at $30 and includes some delectable dishes like the ricotta gnudi in sage brown butter with Parmesan and amaretti; the short-rib pappardelle with cremini mushrooms; and, for dessert, a seasonal cheese plate, bittersweet chocolate cake or roasted pear crisp.  Plus, at Cucina Urbana the savings keep on rolling in.  You can buy any wine in their on-site shop at retail prices and drink it with your meal for just a $7 corkage fee. 
  • Downtown’s BICE is another relative newcomer to the scene and they put a chic, upscale spin on modern Italian dining.  The glamorous dining room makes the perfect backdrop for indulging in impeccably prepared versions of classic dishes and updated interpretations of classic antipasti, pasta and more.  Their Restaurant Week menu is priced at $40 with options like polenta and wild mushrooms; homemade Gorgonzola and pear stuffed ravioli; and braised pork tenderloin with pink peppercorn sauce.  Don’t forget to check out the mouthwatering spread of imported cheeses and cured meats carefully arrayed on the marble-topped cheese bar!
  • Take a seat at Acqua al 2 in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter and you might think you’ve been transported to Florence.  That’s because the restaurant is a tribute to the original Acqua al 2 located just steps from Florence’s bustling Piazza della Signoria.  Luckily, you don’t need a plane ticket to enjoy the creative Tuscan cuisine and warm, gracious hospitality.  During Restaurant Week, you don’t even need a fat wallet since their Restaurant Week menu is priced at $40.  Just keep your eye out for off-duty Padres players who have made Acqua al 2 their regular hangout.

Which Italian restaurant is tempting your tastebuds? 

San Diego Restaurant Week is only 13 days away, make your reservations today!