Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends
Best Restaurants in San Diego, CA
A steal deal
Your tummy and your wallet will smile
Yikes! But if it's on my list, it's worth it
1500 Ocean Avenue
(619) 522-8490 or 800.HOTELDEL
The terrace entrance overlooking the Pacific Ocean begins your journey at 1500 OCEAN restaurant and bar. Whether you dine outside on their one-of-a-kind, intimate terrace or inside in one of the two private dining rooms, you will enjoy the menu. Southland Coastal Cuisine is the name of the game here with featured wines from many of the vineyards grown in these areas. Steamed Pacific Halibut, Pan Roasted White Sea Bass, Muscovy Duck Confit, and California Lamb Porterhouse are a few of the entree selections. 1500 OCEAN is open nightly from 5:30-10:00 p.m. for dinner and the bar remains open until 12:00 a.m.
5200 Grand Del Mar Way (in The Grand Del Mar)
You will enjoy one of the very best dining experiences in San Diego when you put yourself in the hands of the able chef and staff at Addison. It is easy to see why Chef William Bradley and Addison have won the Forbes Five Star award and the AAA Five Diamond award. From the amuse bouche to dessert, you will be pampered by exceptional seasonal contemporary French cuisine. The prix fixe menu offers 4 courses with 3 choices in each category. First a cart is wheeled to your table that has three iced down champagne bottles. You are asked to chose your favorite. This glass of champagne begins your multi-hour dining experience. Items include Brittany Turbot with Sidre Doux and Golden Chanterelles, Lamb Persille with Savory Cherry Tart and Lemon Sorrel, Parmigiano Reggiano Risotto with Pistachios, Crispy Shallots and Garlic. Addison offers a world-class wine tasting environment, replete with ideal glassware, perfect storage of wines and knowledgeable service. Wines offered are from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and South America to the most distinctive fine wines from France, Italy and Spain. And did I mention luscious desserts? Think Mille-Feuille "Classique," Chocolate Amer and Praline Tart with Rum-Raisin Gelato or the Artisan Cheese Course. Addison is open Tuesday through Saturday, dinner only. Bar hours are 5:30 pm – 11:00 pm and Dinner is served 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm.
The Grand Del Mar
5300 Grand Del Mar Court
Just like everything else at The Grand Del Mar hotel, Amaya offers quality food as it whisks you to off to the coasts of Spain, Italy and France. Enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner on the shaded terrace or within the relaxed dining room. The view from the terrace is of the golf course and the food is just as memorable. Think Grilled Garlic Prawns with a pistachio and sweet pepper romesco and Rotisserie Veal Chop with gratin of asparagus and prosciutto.
7447 Batiquitos Drive (near the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort golf course)
Located on the grounds of the Park Hyatt in Carlsbad, the Argyle Steakhouse is a hidden gem. The restaurant overlooks the 18th hole and is secluded from the hustle and bustle of hotel life. The white tablecloth setting and excellent service make this a must-do restaurant choice. Chef Kurtis Habecker offers not only steaks but also an array of sauces and crusts to go with them. Start your meal with Carlsbad oysters or a choice of salads. Both California Natural Prime Beef and Wagyu beef is on the menu with a total of 10 selections. My 18 oz. Bone-in Rib Eye was excellent and I chose a blue cheese crust and cognac & green peppercorn sauce. Sides are to be shared with seasonally changeable vegetables. Signature Potato Tots and a Twice Baked Potato surely please. But if you are looking for a really decadent side consider the Lobster Mac & Cheese. It is rich and top notch. The Argyle also has lamb, pork, chicken, fish, shellfish and a gluten-free menu. The dessert menu, another winner, changes with the seasons, but both Lemon Verbena Creme Brulee and the Strawberry Sundae were delicious. The Argyle is open for lunch, dinner and a weekend a la carte brunch.
Athens Market Taverna
109 West F Street
Mary Pappas is smart -- and lucky. She parlayed a winning raffle ticket (at a Greek festival, no less) into her Athens Market Taverna. Formerly a Greek food market belonging to her aunt, Pappas expanded the small restaurant in back over the years, as one would expect from the daughter of a restauranteur. Today she feeds the city's movers and shakers, who crowd into the two simple, functional dining rooms (especially at lunchtime) to trade stories and plates of hearty Greek fare. There may be a judge at the next table, but it's Mary who rules. Begin your meal with several appetizers -- the tiropita (a filo pocket stuffed with three cheeses), spanakopita (add some spinach to the tiropita) and dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves garnished with a heavenly egg-lemon sauce) are all good choices. The fakee (lentil) soup is made from Dad's secret recipe. Hint: it's a touch of red wine vinegar which provides the tanginess. Keep on eating, because you won't want to miss the kotopoulo, a perfectly-baked chicken rubbed with lemon, olive oil and oregano and drizzled with a light tomato sauce, or the moussaka, baked layers of eggplant, zucchini and ground sirloin topped with bechamel sauce and cheese. The moussaka is absolutely addictive. The lamb shish kabob, not to be outdone, is sweet succulence. Your only choice is to get a job down the street so you can have lunch here every day. Dinner served as well.
756 5th Avenue
Bailiwick is a downtown Gaslamp spot with a New York City decor, east coast chic and an ice bath full of beer and champagne as you enter. Think chandeliers, fun music, hand-crafted cocktails (bottomless mimosa specials) and service. Food is offered at both weekend (Saturday and Sunday) brunch and dinner. I enjoyed the Vegetarian Benedict at brunch, which includes burrata, swiss chard, asparagus, grilled tomato, eggs and lemon hollandaise. Also try the baliwiches, beef and pork sliders framed with mini waffles, and for a sweet treat, the Jamison cinnamon yeast sweet roll is a keeper. Dinner includes 5 varieties of raw or grilled oysters, a beef tartare, a meat and cheese plate and a confit of vegetables.
Paradise Point Resort and Spa
1404 Vacation Road
Serious Food. Whimsical Mood is the caption of BALEEN'S, right under the picture of a monkey dressed in red. But don't let that monkey fool you as food is taken VERY seriously here. Executive Chef Megan Reichman has focused on creating a completely fresh and locally influenced menu. Seafood is king here with choices such as Steamed Carlsbad Mussels and Manilla Clams; Pan Seared Crab Cakes; Wood Roasted Shrimp; Seared Diver Scallops with a Kumquat-Chardonnay Glaze (my favorite); Grilled Long Line Swordfish; California-Style Cioppino; Seared Ahi Tuna; Piquant Tomato & Molasses Glazed Organic Scottish Salmon; and Simply Wood Roasted Australian Lobster Tail, Northern Halibut and more. Of course, pork chops, chicken and steaks are also on the menu. My favorite dessert is the Black Bottomed Crème Brulée with Fresh Berries and a Cookie, with its perfect thick crust of carmelized sugar but others at my table swooned over the Freshly Churned Gelatos and Sorbets, which change frequently, and the Passion Fruit Cheese Cake, Frozen Chocolate and Coconut Covered Banana, Mango Pate, Guava Coulis. Linger over dessert and enjoy the view. BALEENsandiego is uniquely positioned overlooking San Diego’s Mission Bay and offers indoor and outdoor seating. There is also a private dining area for groups and large parties that includes an outdoor terrace. Check BALEEN'S website for Specials & Promotions.
Bali Hai Restaurant
2230 Shelter Island Drive
San Diego, CA
We started with a Mai Tai and a Pina Colada and headed straight into the Coconut Shrimp and Ling Hi Mui Dusted Calamari appetizers. Fish seemed the most appropriate here and the Kiawe Grilled Organic Salmon and Miso Sake Black Cod Lau Lau did not disappoint. Snag a table by the window or dine on the bayside patio and you will see spectacular views of San Diego Bay and the city skyline. Open for lunch, dinner and Sunday buffet brunch, The Bali Hai has been a favorite in San Diego for over fifty years and the Baumann family and Chef Ben Lieberman will surely take good care of you. One of the many great amenities the Bali Hai Restaurant has to offer is the boat dock out on the back side of the restaurant. Every Sunday, many boat owners in the community come to the Bali Hai and dock to have Sunday Brunch. For some, it's a Sunday ritual. Whether you're looking for nice place to have a meal or planning an important event, the Bali Hai Restaurant has a menu for every occasion. And their 3.8 million dollar remodel continues to make Bali Hai special!
Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant
2202 4th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101-2112
From 4:30 p.m.--10:00 p.m. daily you can enjoy Chef Carl Schroeder's food at a more reasonable price point than at his Market Restaurant + Bar in Del Mar. This is the ultimate comfort food. Think "special" Coriander Spiced Tomato Soup; Truffled French Fries; and Deviled Farmers’ Market Eggs for Small Plates. The menu is small, with just a few choices in each category but you'll be pleased with the Local Ling Cod Fish & Chips; Crispy BBQ Braised Pork Tacos; and The BH Burger served on a Brioche Bun with French Fries and Aged White Cheddar Cheese. Schroeder's popular Cabernet Braised Beef Shortribs make an appearance here also. Desserts run the gamut from pies to puddings to sundaes and cookies. You can't go wrong here. The bar scene and closeness of the tables makes for a noisy restaurant, so be prepared to speak up. Bottled beers, both domestic and imports, are popular with this style of food. A Child's Menu has 5 choices.
Bertrand at Mister A's
2550 Fifth Avenue, 12th Floor
San Diego, CA 92103
Dine on the outdoor, wrap around balcony or enjoy a drink and watch the sunset. You can see much of San Diego from this vantage point, such as San Diego Bay, Balboa Park, Coronado, Point Loma and the San Diego Zoo. And watch the planes take off and land right before your eyes. Now on to the food and service. Both are top notch. American Cuisine is served lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Think Grade A Ahi Tuna Tartare, Seared Blackened Maine Scallops, 48hr Braised Brandt Farm Short Ribs, and Oven Roasted Baby Rack Of Lamb.
425 Island Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
If you're in the mood for fantastic Italian food on the fringe of the Gaslamp District, then give BICE (pronounced "bee-chay") a try. The scene is energetic, modern, and a bit loud (don't come here for a quiet meal). Starting off your meal is the main attraction -- the large cheese and charcuterie bar. This contains a massive selection of mostly Italian cheeses along with a smaller selection of cured meats. (Try the dueling prosciutto -- it is to die for!) Feel free to handpick the cheeses that you want, or have the chef put together a recommended selection. Moving on, the selection of appetizers is extensive, ranging from a variety of salads to a delicious carrot and ginger soup that had a large, bacon-wrapped prawn in it. For your main course, there are a variety of both meat and pasta dishes. The pastas are incredible and are far from the everyday dishes you may be used to eating in your average Italian establishment. The pasta is all hand made and contains a variety of fresh, original ingredients that are sure to please. The quality of the ingredients, sauces, and original recipes are something you won't find at many places in San Diego. Last but not least, oenophiles will find a very extensive wine list containing a large selection of Italian wines from all regions of Italy. While this may be unfamiliar to many diners who are used to drinking mostly California wines, it is not to be missed. Open for dinner daily; valet parking available.
4996 West Point Loma Blvd.
San Diego, CA
If you are in Ocean Beach and would like something a little more upscale than the usual fish tacos and bar food, then try BO-beau on West Point Loma Boulevard. BO-beau is the Cohn Group's take on a causal French style bistro, mixed with a laid-back O.B. vibe. The decor has a relaxed, rustic feel to it, and there are both indoor and outdoor seating areas, with the patio area containing both a brick pizza oven and an outdoor fireplace to keep you warm. The menu is very extensive. Lots of the dishes are smaller and perfect for sharing. Highlights include the crispy Brussels sprouts cooked with pancetta, parmesan, and balsamic as well as any of the flat breads (aka pizzas). There is also a host of classic French bistro dishes, made with a unique spin, including escargot, croque madame (with pork belly), five different types of mussels, steak frites, and beef bourguignon. The wine list is reasonably priced and offers a variety of whites and reds to suit your palate. BO-beau does not take reservations, so plan to arrive early if you are headed there on a weekend. BO-beau is open for dinner nightly at 4:30 p.m.
Brooklyn Girl Eatery
4033 Goldfinch Street
San Diego, CA 92103
Brooklyn Girl's culinary values are: seasonal, house-made, local, and affordable authentic real food. Obviously that is what San Diegans want as the restaurant is the new darling of the local restaurant scene, as in hard to get a reservation. Food offerings from husband-and-Brooklyn-born-wife team Michael and Victoria McGeath include cured meats, aged cheeses, pizzas, burgers, soups and brick chicken, just to name a few. But don't worry about the croweds as they also have bar seating and two long communal tables for walk-ins! The restaurant offers food at both weekend brunch, weekday lunch and dinner. There is also a raw oyster bar.
Bubba's Smokehouse BBQ
888 Prospect St
Bubba's Smokehouse BBQ is a Memphis style barbeque restaurant specializing in authentic southern recipes.You'll find Baby Back Ribs, Lazy Smoked B.B.Q. Chicken, Texas Smoked Brisket, Pulled Pork, House Made Hot Links, Salads, and 1/2 lb. Burgers. Many sides are offered including Sweet Potato Fries, Oven Roasted Corn On A Cob, Corn Bread, Baked Yam with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Butter, Bubba's B.B.Q. Beans, House Made Potato Salad and Mac & Cheese. Open 7 days week for lunch and dinner. If you have any questions, ask for Jeff, the friendly owner.
1101 Wall Street
La Jolla, CA 92037
Monday thru Saturday 11am to 9pm
Sunday 10:30am to 8pm
4116 Adams Avenue
San Diego, CA 92116
Open Daily 10:30am to 9pm
922 Orange Avenue
Coronado, CA 92118
Open Monday - Saturday, 10:30 to 9, Sunday until 8
1608 India St. (at the corner of Cedar)
San Diego, CA 92101
Open Sunday - Thursday, 10:30 to 10
Open until Midnight on Friday & Saturday!
406 University Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103
Open Every Day: 10:30am to 10:00pm
528 5th Avenue
San Diego CA 92101
Open M-Th: 10:30am to 11:00pm
Fri & Sat: 10:30am to 3:00am
Sunday: 10:30am to 10:00pm
This is not a fast food hamburger joint. But it is a restaurant that sells hamburgers. Starting with all-natural grass fed Tallgrass Beef directly from the grower, French Fries individually cut by hand, fresh-made onion rings, home-baked buns, they have created a fun food experience. Burger Lounge also serves cool crisp salads, a turkey burger with fresh basil and their own vegetarian burger made from organic Quinoa. And if you can't live without dessert, they can help you out with their grown-up snow balls and ding dongs. Did we mention the milkshakes?
Carnitas Snack Shack
2632 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104
The Snack Shack opens at noon and closes at midnight and this is one busy spot. You stand in line to place your order and your food is delivered to your table, which is on the open air patio. The food, of course, is pork-centric. Pork tacos, shredded pork sandwiches, pork belly appetizer--you get the idea. There are non-pork items also, such as a BLT, steak sandwich and a burger. Chips and guac and homemade desserts round out the menu. And if you like bacon, this is the place for you!
Casa De Bandini
The Forum in Carlsbad
1901 Calle Barcelona
Carlsbad, CA 92009
If you are looking for quality Mexican food, enjoy strolling mariachis, a large, colorful outdoor patio with festive umbrellas, flour tortillas that arrive at your table hot and freshly made, you have come to the right restaurant. Casa De Bandini is large in size and has an equally large menu. There are many choices from which to choose for all kinds of diners. If you like traditional Mexican fare, you'll enjoy the enchilada, taco and tamale combinations. If you prefer seafood, you'll want to order from the mariscos section. I enjoyed the crab enchiladas especiales, which comes with two enchiladas stuffed with seasoned crab, one with salsa verde and one with salsa roja. Both are topped with sour cream and come with a concha of Mexican rice and frijoles. If you wish to watch your caloric intake, see the healthy dining part of the menu. There are nine choices and all nutritional information is given for these dishes, such as calories, cholesterol, fat, sodium, protein, carb and fiber. What a nice touch! Other popular items are fajitas, breakfast (which is served until 2 p.m.) and the deep fried ice cream. This is vanilla ice cream rolled in a crispy mix, quickly fried and served in a cinnamon sugared concha shell, topped with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. The traditional Mexican flan with a caramel sauce is also a dessert winner.
4105 Taylor Street
A festive atmosphere is what you'll find at this colorful Mexican landmark in Old Town. Strolling mariachis and oversized margaritas set the scene for an enjoyable breakfast, lunch or dinner. Happy hour and drink specials are also part of the party theme. Choose to sit inside or out on the umbrella studded courtyard patio. If basic enchiladas, tacos, rice and beans is what you desire, Casa Guadalajara aims to please. Or be more adventuresome and try the excellent fajitas, that arrive at your table straight from the grill, homemade tamales or seafood rellenos. Mariscos, or seafood, is a house specialty. And you can't go wrong with the Puerto Nuevo Trio, a combination plate of lobster, bacon wrapped shrimp and seabass grilled in butter, garlic and cilantro. Be sure and ask for the fresh flour tortillas. Just walk inside and you will see them being made. Combination plates and daily specials are also available. As Casa Guadalajara is open seven days a week, plan to spend some time at the adjacent Bazaar del Mundo, where you'll find Mexican curios, clothing, artisan's jewelry, gifts, and home decor.
640 Tenth Ave.
Lunch: Tues-Fri 11:30AM–2:30PM
Dinner: Tue-Thu 5–10PM; Fri and Sat 5–10:30PM
Bar Menu: 4PM–10PM (10:30PM Fri and Sat)
Sunday Dinner: Sun 5PM–9PM
Itchin' to get back in the saddle again? Mosey on over to Cowboy Star Restaurant and Butcher Shop for some cooking that's nothing like what you've had around the campfire. Cowboy Star has brought together just the right amount of cowboy kitch with modern comforts. Kick back in their roomy leather tufted booths. Order a round of sarsaparilla to get things started or enjoy a tasty concoction from their inventive and extensive cocktail list. But the name of the game here is steak. I only had to sink my teeth into one bite of the thickest cut of meat I've ever had in my life and I was sold. Whether you choose the 35 day dry aged bone in strip, the American bison ribeye or the 40 oz porterhouse for two, you're sure to find your meal a pure delight. Add to this the excellent side dishes, starters and friendly wait staff, and you've wrangled up for yourself a perfect dinner out. It's a 4-star event when you hang your hat at this establishment. And to boot, Cowboy Star is committed to supporting local and regional farmers.
Craft & Commerce
675 W Beech Street
Brunch, lunch and dinner is what you'll find at Craft & Commerce.Think fried chicken, biscuits, beignets,fish tacos, mac and cheese, smoked ribs and burgers. But the bar scene is what makes this Little Italy spot fun.
Croce's Park West
2760 Fifth Avenue # 100
The new Croce’s Park West is officially opened ! Ingrid Croce left the Gaslamp District after 30 years and opened in Bankers Hill.
Croce’s Park West offers a welcoming retreat for their neighbors and visitors. Located at 2760 Fifth Avenue, they serve a contemporary menu with American tapas, half portions and full dinners. Their generous patio has an extended cabana-style awning and opens into the bar room, for happy hour specials, bar snacks, specialty cocktails, 18 beers on tap and our award-winning wine list. They have 5 very distinct areas to enjoy Croce’s Park West – Patio, Lounge, Cozy booths, open dining, and banquettes. “The Expatriate Room” offers live music, with jazz musicians and singer-songwriters. There’s even valet parking! Open weekend brunch, lunch, happy hour and dinner.
1655 India Street in Little Italy
San Diego, CA 92101
12955 El Camino Real
San Diego, CA 92130
Their innovative menu boasts dishes that can be shared or enjoyed as an entrée as well. Small plate starters include selections of vasi (jars of spreads) and boards (tableside presentations of dishes such as the mascarpone polenta and ragu of the day). Larger shareables will include pastas such as Uovo in Raviolo ‘San Domenico’ (giant ravioli, ricotta, egg, spinach), pizzas like Pizza della Fattoria (farmed egg, potato, pork belly, scallions, asiago, and béchamel) and entrées such as Spada Davanti (grilled swordfish, brussel spouts, pancetta, Calabrian chili). And don't leave without dessert, such as mango carpaccio and butterscotch pudding with whipping cream on top. Dine indoors at either location, on the open patio or at the bar.
Donovan's Steak and Chop House
570 K Street
San Diego, California 92101
Portions are large at this upscale steak and chop house. Service is top notch and you will be made to feel like royalty. You can choose one of their USDA Prime steaks, which are Midwestern corn-fed straight from the Chicago Stockyards. These are fresh, never frozen and wet-aged for tenderness and superior flavor. Choices include filets, strips, rib eyes, porterhouse and T-bones. Chops, chicken, lamb and seafood are also offered. On Friday night enjoy their Prime Rib Special and be sure to make reservations for this special night. A lively bar scene rounds out the entertainment. Private dining rooms and gift cards are also available.
Eddie V's Prime Seafood
1270 Prospect Street
La Jolla, CA 92037
789 West Harbor Drive
San Diego CA 92101
La Jolla Eddie V's: Although fish and shellfish are featured at these upscale restaurants, prime USDA steaks are also a favorite. Enjoy live jazz music in the V Lounge, where you can have an enjoyable evening any night of the week. Socialize over classic and creative cocktails and signature appetizers at their nightly happy hour. Although Eddie V's is a white tablecloth restaurant with a fantastic views, it has a casual and friendly air about it so whatever the occasion might be, from a special event to a simple weeknight dinner, you can't go wrong with the food and experience. We began our meal with the Iced Shellfish Tower comprised of Maine lobster, Gulf shrimp and oysters from both the east and west coasts. We headed in to the Prime Steaks, a 16 oz. New York Strip and a 22 oz. Bone-In Rib Eye. I embellished my steak with an Oscar Style Hollandaise of Jonas Crab and Asparagus. Sides included Baby Beets with Candied Walnuts and Roasted Cauliflower with Bacon and Shallots. Desserts are winners including the Creme Brulee served with homemade chocolate chip cookies and the Mixed Berries with whipping cream. Open for dinner seven nights a week.
San Diego Eddie V's: An upscale interior with two story wine racks will surely catch your attention at this downtown location that is a converted Police Station. But it is the excellent food that wins the day. Prime steaks, fresh seafood and attentive service all add to your experience. You can choose to sit out front on the patio or in one of the several dining rooms. Live music is offered in the bar area with a separate Happy Hour menu. We began our meal with the Shellfish Tower (again) and it was as good as expected: completely fresh seafood including lobster, shrimp, oysters and crabmeat, with all the accompanying sauces. Steak was the next order of the night with a filet mignon and a prime bone-in ribeye. Au gratin potatoes and a bananas foster dessert rounded out our meal. And I hear their in-house homemade cookies are the best! Private dining rooms available. Open for dinner seven nights a week.
3695 India Street
San Diego, CA 92103-4749
Open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., this has been a family owned and operated restaurant since 1940. This is not a table service spot. Stand in line to place your order and your number will be called for pick up. Basic Mexican food is what you will enjoy here: crisp chips, quality salsas, homemade tortillas, good enchiladas and a host of other basic Mexican fare. Indoor and outdoor seating is available as well as full service catering.
2929 Fifth Avenue
1430 Union Street
Ever have one of those days when the only thing that would work for dinner is a big, thick slab o'chocolate cake? Next time the urge strikes, pray that you're in San Diego and make a beeline for one of Karen Krasne's Extraordinary Desserts loctions. At this place, the name truly says it all. The spirited Krasne majored in tropical agriculture and bioscience at the University of Hawaii before she realized she was too creative for science and crossed a couple of oceans to get to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Pastry chef's diploma in hand, she decided to open her own shop (and a taupe beauty it is) in San Diego's Uptown district. Years later she opened in Little Italy. The desserts at Extraordinary are more a work of art than a bite to eat, but by all means, eat! The New York Pumpkin Cheesecake sits on a swirl of lemony raspberry sauce and is sublime. The Extraordinary Brownie is an understatement. Krasne's passion for the islands has not faded away, and she considers her Passion Fruit Torte and Passion Fruit Creme Brulee to be among her best creations. So what's this talented chef's take on pastry? "The French manner of baking is not really to our taste. In Paris, they want a beautiful presentation but one level texture. I want more texture in my product, to mix in the crunchy and the smooth. That gives me a more complex end result. I'm trying to combine a number of things and create a whole meal on the plate." Aha! I knew it was okay to come here for dinner. Open morning, noon and night -- you make the call.
4055 adams avenue
san diego, ca 92116
Located in the heart of Kensington, this Nantucket beach cottage-inspired interior offers fish from both the East and West coasts. Fresh oysters on the half shell, crab cakes, ceviche, and grilled octopus are just a few of their small plates. I enjoyed the Whole Roasted Market fish, which was dressed with roasted potatoes, sunchokes, fennel and lemon. But if you are not a fish don't worry as they serve Fried Chicken, Berkshire Pork Chop and Beef Short Ribs. Open for happy hour and dinner.
Georges California Modern
Why does one go to La Jolla? Well, there's the shopping, and the views, and some beautiful beaches in and around this seaside spot. And then there's the fact that everyone told you you had to go to La Jolla, so here you are. Get the view thing under your belt by going to Georges California Modern. The restaurant's glass wall affords a stunning view of La Jolla Cove and the deep blue sea beyond. Owner George Hauer has renovated his complete operation serving local, seasonal food. You can choose to reserve a table in the Ocean View Room (open for dinner) or find an impromptu spot at our communal dining table or bar. The Ocean Terrace is open daily for lunch and dinner. The casual bistro menu features everything from grilled fresh fish tacos to flat iron steak.
Porto Vista Hotel
1835 Columbia Street
San Diego CA 92101
Executive Chef Brent Calley's menu is created by using local, seasonal and the freshest of ingredients. Located on the 4th floor of the Porto Vista Hotel, the Glass Door is perched above downtown, in Little Italy. Enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of downtown and harbor views at breakfast, weekend brunch and dinner. Dine under a canopy of handmade Moroccan lanterns, or breathe in the air of Little Italy on the balcony. Calley offerings might include Blue Cheese Souffle, Local Black Mussels, Bacon Wrapped Lamb Loin, Bordeaux Short Ribs, Barbeque Grilled Salmon, Gingerbread French Toast with Bourbon Ice Cream and Artisanal Cheese Plates.
1451 Washington Street
San Diego, CA 92103
The well thought out menu and a range of ethnic choices make Great Maple diner a treat. High quality food and yummy desserts are the name of the game here. Think waffles on a stick (Johnny's Lolliwaffles), salted caramel pancakes, and chocolate bacon for brunch; turkey, lamb and beef burgers, flatbread sandwiches and an array of popular sandwiches for lunch and dinner. This is one long menu with lots of fun choices. Reservations are recommended as the lines can get long.
7837 Herschel Avenue
La Jolla, CA 92037
Chef Brian Malarkey's fifth restaurant offers "Fish Meats Field" in La Jolla. This around-the-world farm to sea concept is carried out by Top Chef Season 7's Amanda Baumgarten. Menu items include fresh oysters, wood roasted Thai snapper, bone in short ribs, Berkshire pork chops, hand-crafted cocktails, local craft brews and one of a kind wines. Herringbone's interior evokes the feeling of an old world bazaar through an indoor-outdoor layout, anchored by 100- year-old olive trees growing within the space.
1536 India Street
Parking: street parking
Payment Accepted: Cash, Credit Cards
Happy Hour: 4 P.M. -- 6 P.M.
Open for Dinner Nightly from 5 P.M.
On the edge of Little Italy's main drag is another successful restaurant from San Diego's infallible Chef Deborah Scott and the Cohn Restaurant Group. Modern Latin cuisine is their new concept.
Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern (J-FAT)
4990 North Harbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92106
Hamburgers, Buttermilk and Beer Battered Onion Rings, Kitchen Sink Salad, BBQ Spiced Salmon Salad, and Prime Rib Dip are only a few of the extensive menu items. And don't forget J-FAT’s homemade chipotle ketchup. A full bar, microbrews, and an outdoor patio all make J-FAT a popular restaurant.
JSix Restaurant and Jbar
616 J Street
Located at the corner of 6th and J Streets between downtown San Diego's Ballpark District and the historic Gaslamp Quarter, Jsix Restaurant and Jbar are sought-after destinations for locals and visitors. Open for breakfast. brunch (Saturday & Sunday), lunch and dinner, this 175-seat spot is a bustling gathering place. Coastal California cuisine is offered, showcasing fresh, innovative, seasonal foods inspired by the region's 2000 miles of Baja coastline and nearby farms.
4140 Morena Blvd., Suite A
San Diego, CA 92117
Chef Kurt Metzger is a genius at his “ingredient-inspired and ingredient-driven” farm to table menu. Four specials nightly are made up from what the chef sources fresh that day. Here are the 4 specials the night we visited: Start: Ahi Pizza served with Kalamata Olives, Jalapeños, Red Onion, Cilantro, Soy Glaze, and Anchovy Creme;
Salad: Tea Roasted Peaches and Stilton Cheese Salad which is a salad of Young Greens served with Figs, Crispy Speck, and a Cherry Blossom Tea Vinaigrette;
Sea: Crispy Skin Salmon served with Wasabi Rice and a Black Garlic Ponzu; and
Land: Duck Confit Gnocchi served with Young Vegetables, Shallots, Arugula, and a Poached Truffle Egg. Other composed dinner plates include: grilled lamb chops, bulgogi braised short ribs and branzino, to name only a few. These specials are announced on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kitchen-4140/117254258296836. Kitchen 4140 is open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch and they do take reservations. Indoor and outdoor seating (amongst the organic vegetable & herb garden) plus a private wine room that seats 30 is available. Chef Kurt also offers off-site catering.
Leroy's Kitchen + Lounge
1015 Orange Avenue
Coronado, CA 92118
Leroy's serves farm to table fare at weekend brunch, lunch, social hour and dinner and believes in local, sustainable and fresh. Their indoor/outdoor seating is a plus on beautiful Coronado days. And if you dine on a Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday you might hear the live music coming from the bar area, which boasts televisions and table seating. A private party room seats 14. Now for the food. It is creative, well thought out and tasty. Items such as New England Lobster Roll and Washington Coast Coho Salmon Benedict (brunch), Poke Tacos and Jidori Chicken Ciabatta (lunch) and Duroc Pork Porterhouse and Bacon Pepper Prawns (dinner) give you a feel for the menu. A Naughty Ding Dong for dessert is made of chocolate cake, frangelico cream and hazelnut ice cream. There is also a lounge menu, many beers and cocktails and a kids menu.
McCormick & Schmick's
675 L Street at the Omni Hotel
1-888-344-6861 toll free
This national chain of seafood restaurants offers a daily listing, the "Fresh List," of seafood catches from around the globe. From various kinds of oysters to shellfish and fish, they have it all. The restaurant is connected via skybridge to Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, and is perfect for catching a meal before or after the game. They are also conveniently located directly across from the San Diego Convention Center and the historic Gaslamp District. Open for breakfast, lunch or dinner, they also sport a lively bar where you can enjoy hand-crafted cocktails using fresh-squeezed juices or try a selection from the extensive wine and beer list. There is also a bar menu.
MARKET Restaurant + Bar
3702 Via de la Valle
Del Mar, CA 92014
Open 5:30 pm nightly
If you're looking for top-shelf California modern cuisine, don't miss out on an unforgettable meal at Market. With an award winning chef at the helm, Market has made an impressive debut in the North County culinary scene. Paired with an upscale "California Cool" decor, your visit will be one to remember. Each day the menu is updated according to what local ingredients are available, so you can be sure that no meal at Market will ever feel 'tired,' although chef Carl Schroeder has retained a few of his crowd-pleasing favorites such as the braised short ribs. Complimenting the delicious cuisine is a knowledgeable and cheery staff which will make your meal a pleasant one.
Market is available for private parties and events. If throwing a small fête consider making a reservation for the "Tasting Table" — a 12' long wooden table used specifically for multi-course dinners. You and 11 of your friends can relish in a custom-designed menu. From your appetizers to the after-dinner cheeses, you'll enjoy every moment at Market.
6009 Paseo Delicias
Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92091
Mille Fleurs has been serving the well-healed Rancho Santa Fe clientele for over 25 years. The feeling is calm, friendly and elegant.The food is French Californian Cuisine; the lighter side of French! But be sure and take your credit card with you. All these fineries come at a price. Think foie gras, champagne, lobster, oysters, steak and you are on the right track. Chef Martin Woesle is sure to take care of your every need. There is a piano player in the bar Wednesday through Saturday nights and Host Julien Hug does a fine job of making you feel right at home. This is a perfect setting for a proposal, anniversary or any special occasion. Mille Fleurs is open for lunch Tuesday--Friday and dinner nightly.
Old Town Mexican Cafe
2489 San Diego Avenue
The Old Town Mexican Cafe is smack in the middle of (where else?) Old Town, a slice of downtown San Diego which harkens back to the days of compadres in sombreros. True to form, it's all pretty Mexican here, starting with the tortilla ladies in the front window who are busy flattening corn masa into something we all want to eat. Pit pat pit pat, those hands are hard at work. The rest of the cafe is mexi-mania, from the dark wood booths to the aztec-motif carpet and the clever lamp shades, which are actually inverted clay pots hanging from the ceiling on a wrought-iron curlicue. True to Mexican-restaurant form, the menu is extensive, but you are well advised to zero in on the carnitas, the house specialty. These delicious morsels of pork are brought to you with cilantro, onion, avocado, tomato, peppers, beans and, of course, tortillas. If you want to keep things simple, squeeze a bit of lime juice on your carnitas and roll 'em in a meaty corn tortilla. Works like a charm. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
722 Fifth Avenue
Fifth Avenue in San Diego means food in much the same way that Fifth Avenue in New York means shopping. The main drag in the city's revitalized Gaslamp Quarter, Fifth is teeming with hip-hopping restaurants of infinite variety, a surprising number of which are Italian. How to choose? You can be guided by appearance, or aroma, or the number of people in a particular place. Osteria Panevino scores on all three. The Tuscan-inspired setting and menu may bring to mind the small trattorias dotting the Italian hill towns near Florence, buth then that's the idea. Start with the polentina, grilled polenta over a smooth veal reduction which is topped with portobello mushrooms and goat cheese. Follow it with a brick-oven pizza, maybe a simple Margherita (tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil) or a more robust Marchigiana (tomato, smoked mozzarella, spicy shrimp, sundried tomatoes, goat cheese). A strong espresso will bring you back from your sojourn to Italia and brace you for the madding crowds on Fifth. Lunch and dinner.
The Pearl Hotel
1410 Rosecrans Street
This small, 23 room, mid-century boutique hotel is a fun place to be! Enjoy a table poolside or in the hip bar area for drinks or drinks and dinner. And on Wednesday night The Pearl offers what they call a "dive-in" movie as the screen is above the swimming pool. Plan dinner and a movie and you can't go wrong. The Restaurant at The Pearl serves California Coastal cuisine and believes in buying local, embracing sustainability and the food will speak for itself. Starts include Carlsbad mussels, blue cheese bacon wrapped dates (my fav), and mac & cheese, to name a few. Mains boast a grilled pork chop, steak frites, grass fed lamb bolognese and "The Best Burger in Town." All mains come with either potatoes, risotto or pasta and a vegetable. The two desserts the night we were there were a chocolate sundae and soft donuts drenched in chocolate, much like a beignet. Brunch is served seasonally, so call ahead and there is bingo some nights. But the name of the game here is FUN. Come to relax and enjoy yourself with a lively bar scene and very good food. Dinner only; reservations for parties of six or more.
2182 Avenida De La Playa
With their open kitchen and stone pizza hearth, Piatti reflects the warm charm and welcoming atmosphere of a traditional Italian trattoria. And the food is even better! Whether you dine inside or on the inviting patio, you'll surely enjoy a wide assortment of Italian favorites. The restaurant is open throughout the day for lunch and dinner and for weekend brunch both Saturday and Sunday. A few favorites include: large lunch salads such as the Pronti (with salami) and Capricciosa (with chicken), Steamed Mussels, excellent Lasagna, Petto di Pollo (grilled lemon marinated chicken breast with roasted sweet corn and tomatoes), Margherita Pizzas and Tiramisu for dessert. Did I mention the tasty, warm bread?
Prepkitchen La Jolla
7556 Fay Avenue (across from Vons)
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 875-7737 (PREP)
Prepkitchen Little Italy
1660 India Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Prepkitchen Del Mar
1201 Camino Del Mar
Del Mar, CA 92014
The Whisknladle Hospitality crew (see below review) welcomes you to Prepkitchen. There are now three locations. Prepkitchen was inspired by their never-ending quest to make food from scratch and then driven by physical limitations of Whisknladle’s tiny kitchen. At first it was nothing more than chicken scratch and a logistical nightmare but over time it blossomed into what it is today; a casual quick bite eatery, take out joint and gourmet market offering Soups – Salads – Sandwiches – Antipasti – Entrees – Fresh Pastas – House Cured Meats Artisan Cheeses – Beer - Wine. Limited outside seating available.
1441 Quivira Road
This Restaurant, Bar & Terrace is located on the grounds of the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay and serves savory breakfasts (with a buffet on the weekends), power and leisure lunches and temping dinners. The scenery is special as Red Marlin is located on beautiful Mission Bay and boasts some of the most amazing bayside dining and views in all of San Diego. The Red Marlin Chef’s Table is situated in the heart of the restaurant with its own built-in fire pit and extensively stocked wine wall. Reserve this exclusive table for any special occasion dinner. But it is the regionally-inspired dishes that will keep you coming back. Think blue crab cakes, crispy ahi tuna, Kurobuta pork chop, grilled filet mignon, seared sea scallops, and seafood arrabiata. And don't forget that whether you’re looking for an afternoon appetizer, a post-dinner sweet or a sunset cocktail, this restaurant delivers it all.
Sally's Seafood on the Water
One Market Place
San Diego, CA 92101
A room with a view is always a treat for a meal. In the case of Sally's, it's an awfully big room, which may lead you to expect a really grand meal. If you choose carefully, you'll get what you wish for in this modern, luxe setting. The first item on the menu is "Crab Cakes," and they're not only Sally's best, they may be THE best. These crab cakes are made with baja stone crab, tomato relish and avocado aioli. The crab is incredibly fresh tasting, and I could make a meal of these cakes. No reason to, though, because the Quinoa Crusted Ling Cod comes with artichoke, fennel barigoule, and olive tapenade. There are lots of other tasty items on the menu, including beef tenderloin andcrusted cornish hen. Do look at the view, though -- the harbor, day or night, is a delight. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
215 15th Street
Organic produce, sustainable seafood, antibiotic, hormone free meat (whenever possible) and modern American cuisine is what you will find at this multi-level restaurant in Del Mar. The top level terrace has an ocean view and there is also a cozy private dining room. Sbicca offers both lunch, dinner and bar service. Favorite dishes include sesame ahi tuna stack, Louisiana blue crab cakes,3 x mac & cheese, seafood paella, maple roasted pork prime rib, and the trio play, which is a prosciutto wrapped sea scallop, pan seared jumbo prawns, mushroom crusted sea bass with pineapple fennel confit, wilted spinach and a saffron sherry sauce. The separate dessert menu showcases Tahitian vanilla creme brulee, blueberry-peach crisp, coconut keylime tart and chocolate peanut butter chunk sundae. Look for the menu to change seasonally, at least 4 times a year.
611 Fifth Avenue
(619) 233-SEAR (7327)
12995 El Camino Real
Searsucker is an interesting addition to the downtown dining scene. Top Chef finalist Brian Malarkey's establishment is a cross between a trendy bar scene replete with DJ and pricey drinks and a foodie hangout that sports an impressively diverse menu. The scene is loud but comfortable, with couches and warm decor creating a somewhat lounge like atmosphere. The service could use some improvement ("reservations" are more like approximations here, so expect to be seated at least 30 minutes late on a busy night). However, the food is the standout feature which just about makes up for the shortcomings of this establishment. Menu highlights include: the mushrooms and burrata appetizer, which melts in the mouth; the bacon and egg appetizer, which uses pork belly to reinterpret the classic breakfast dish; a main course of braised beef cheeks accompanied by goat cheese dumplings, two very strongly flavored items which complement each other nicely; and the King sundae, which contains bacon as a secret but delicious ingredient. Speaking of bacon, swine lovers should feel right at home at Searsucker, since various incarnations of pig are strewn throughout the menu. The wine menu is not terribly extensive but not terribly overpriced. If you're looking for a place that combines people watching, tasty food with big flavors, and the energy of the Gaslamp scene, this is the spot for you. The Del Mar location has a similar menu and is located in the Del Mar Highlands shopping center.
Westfield University Town Center
4505 La Jolla Village Drive, Suite C-1
La Jolla, CA 92122
789 W Harbor Dr Suite #134
San Diego, CA 92101
Seasons 52 is a concept that I appreciate. Nothing on their seasonally inspired menu is over 475 calories and this includes flatbreads, appetizers, salads, fish, poultry, and meats as well as mini-desserts. This national chain restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. I like knowing that there is no fryer here and that the evolving menu changes four times a year, celebrating the harvest of each season. Seasons 52 features wood-fire grilling and brick-oven cooking.
I began my meal at the UTC location with one of their signature items, a thin crust Artichoke & Goat Cheese flatbread. I moved on to the Chilled Lobster and Shrimp Spring Roll, which was served with 3 tasty sauces from mild to spicy. The Dungeness Crab, Roasted Shrimp & Spinach Mushrooms were served hot under a Parmesan-panko crust—quite good. Seasons 52 calls their desserts “Mini Indulgences” as they are served in small shot glasses or individual servings of classic desserts such as Blueberry Cheesecake, Meyer Lemon Pound Cake and Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse. And yes, each is no more than 475 calories. Appetizers are priced from $5.50 to $12.25 and entrees range from $12.50 to $28.95. At UTC here are numerous rooms for group and event dining, a private chef's table that seats 10, and award-winning international wine list and a patio that overlooks the UTC shopping center.
The Harbor Drive location is housed in the old Police Station, which makes for fun decor. And the food, which is similar to the UTC food we enjoyed, is quite good. I began my meal with a Trio of Roasted Mushrooms flatbread. Next I tried their Lump Crab Wedge salad which has 2 dressings, a mustard dressing enveloping the fresh crab and a yuzu vinaigrette. I'm used to a regular wedge salad but this is a new treat. The Caramelized Grilled Sea Scallops are served with butternut squash risotto and broccolini while the Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon comes with mushrooms, roasted tomato, broccolini and mashed potatoes. Autumn Vegetables are Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with crispy bacon, garlic and Parmesan cheese plus Roasted Harvest Squash, which is a medley of butternut and delicata squash and apples in a spiced maple-mint glaze. Don't forget their medley of popular desserts in small shot glasses. I tasted the Pecan Pie, which was yummy, and the Carrot Cake, which was quite sweet and a good ending to a fun meal. Weekday Happy Hour is called "Sunset at Seasons" with specialty cocktails, select wines and $5 small plates. Private dining rooms are available for parties or business meals.
Liberty Station Marketplace
2400 Historic Decatur Road, Suite 104
San Diego, CA 92106
University Town Center
4545 La Jolla Village Drive
(on the main plaza next to the clock tower)
San Diego, CA 92122
Downtown San Diego
110 West Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101
San Diego International Airport
San Diego, CA 92101
Tender Greens offers Simple Salads, Small Salads, Hot Stuff, Comfort Soups and Sweet Stuff...all made in house and delicious. Scarborough Farms in Oxnard, California supplies most of their produce and they use organic ingredients whenever possible. Think Grilled Chicken Cobb, Grilled Flank Steak and Happy Vegan Salads. Hot stuff from the Grill can be Rocky Junior Chicken, Herbed Brushed Local Albacore and Temecula Vegetables. Top this fresh, casual meal off with Carrot Top Frosted Cupcakes, Strawberry Almond Cookies, or Aztec Brownies. Walk in, place your order and go down the line where you will see all the salads being made and meats being cooked and cut. Much fun!
The Fish Market
750 N. Harbor Drive
With six restaurants to date, The Fish Market is becoming a chain of sorts. What started out as a small restaurant in Palo Alto in 1976 has grown to five locations in California and one in seafood-starved Phoenix. The San Diego outpost boasts a stunning view of the harbor and an infinite variety of fish on the menu. Unlike many chains, though, quality control is still tops here, and what you'll get on your plate is fresh, perfectly-cooked seafood. Begin with the fresh bay scallop ceviche or the Westcott Bay oysters, which come from the owners' farm in the San Juan Islands. Most of the fish is mesquite charbroiled, and the monkfish, yellowtail and ling cod are all fresh and wonderfully flavorful. You can opt for uncooked fish in the spacious sushi bar or simply settle for a cocktail and the view in the roomy lounge. Its couches are upholstered in (what else?) a fish print. Then there is the upstairs dining area, Top of the Market, which is more upscale than down (no jeans allowed). Reservations are suggested and be sure to ask for a window table. The lights at night are spectacular! Lunch and dinner.
The Prado at Balboa Park
1549 El Prado
San Diego, CA
This is the most upscale of all the Balboa Park eateries, with glass lamps, entertaining art work, white tablecloths and very good service. Set in the center of Balboa Park, The Prado is open for lunch and dinner. Menu items include Steamed Mussels, the Market Salad, the Baby Beet salad, Prado Seafood Paella, Salmon & Short Ribs and the Tres Leches cake. Corkage fee is $15, if you care to bring your own wine.
Thyme In the Ranch
16905 Avenida De Acacias
Rancho Santa Fe
This cafe and bakery is open for breakfast and lunch. Baked goods are the star of the show here with items sold whole or by the piece. Think cakes, pies, sweet breads, muffins, cookies, cinnamon rolls, scones and much more. Breakfast includes frittatas, quiches, oatmeal, fruit and breads. Lunches include salads and sandwiches and meals can be enjoyed on either of their 2 patios, in front or on the side of the restaurant. Food platters are available for meetings and events.
3823 30th Street
Created out of a desire to bring a new and exciting neighborhood dining concept to San Diego, Urban Solace’s new American comfort food and “comfort service,” is the creation of experienced restaurateurs, Matt Gordon and Scott Watkins. Chef Gordon entices patrons with his menu of traditional food served with a modern twist including the New York White Cheddar Mac n’ Cheese with caramelized bacon and charred tomatoes and the Spiced Pork Belly with red beet and sweet corn slaw. Urban Solace’s charming façade in its urban North Park atmosphere offers a setting as cozy as the food. The restaurant’s walls feature work by local artists amid warm mahogany high ceilings and walls, a bar for table waiting and after-work schmoozing, tables for late-night dining, and a patio featuring the restaurant’s now-famed Sunday morning Bluegrass Brunch. Urban Solace has won numerous awards including the coveted “Best New Restaurant” from San Diego Magazine, “Best New American Comfort Food” from ABC’s Channel 10 News, “Best Overall Restaurant” from San Diego Downtown News and a “Silver Fork” award from San Diego Home/Garden. Urban Solace is open for lunch Monday – Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., dinner Monday – Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11 p.m., Sunday, 5 to 9 p.m. and for Sunday Bluegrass Brunch, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Menu items range from $6.00 to $15.75 for lunch and $9.95 to $15.75 for dinner.
1044 Wall Street
Selected by Conde Nast as a Hot Table 2008, this restaurant aims to please. The food is first class, as is the waitstaff and, obviously, the kitchen staff. Think homemade bakery items, breads, ice cream...even house churned butter. Open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, whisknladle has a chef's table that seats up to 14 guests in a private and intimate setting. There is also a bar serving bar tapas and drinks. Seasonal menu's are tailored to suit every taste and budget. A few highlights of the menu are: Mussels and Fries, Grilled Fish Tacos, Niman Ranch Cheeseburger, Daily (house made) Soup, Flatbreads, Chorizo & Date Fritters, Slow Roasted Pork Rack, Meyer Lemon Creme Brulee, Apple Pie and House Churned Ice Creams & Sorbets. I could go on and on. whisknladle has partnered with local farmers, ranchers and fisherman committed to providing the best possible products.