Weary of eating burgers during our trip through the USA, we decided to find an Asian food place in San Diego since there is supposedly much variety and tradition in these foods. We were recommended Kabuki which, despite not being the best known of the area, turned out to be the staunchest. The first time we went (we've since been many times), we sat at table and tried a variety of sushi: tuna, salmon and eel. The latter proved to be the greatest discovery of our dining experience in the city. We also tried the rolls, which were also very delicious, especially with avocado and eel. It was so delicious that we went back the next day. We went straight to the fast-paced bar where you have to be ready for anything. But it's ok, you can still ask the cook for whatever you want. And we did, we had a sushi feast. If you're in the area of Mission Beach in San Diego and you like sushi, you can not miss Kabuki.
It has a surf atmosphere and the waiters are very young and with surf shirts, there are TV screens with people surfing. And the typical thing is to order a burger but nobody told me they were gigantic, so I took it home for dinner.
San Diego was where we found the best restaurants during our road trip through the US. Today, I'd like to talk about one of them: Project Pie. It's simple pizzeria in the Hillcrest neighborhood northwest of Balboa Park (not a bad place to just walk around and explore, either). A concept is that you choose your pizza base (starting at $6.00) and then you can add different ingredients (ham, tomato, onion, onions, pepper, etc.). They also have a pretty vast arrange of sodas, lemonades, and beers for $1.00 each.
One interesting thing is that there's an iPad near the door so you can take photos of your food and share it over your social networks. The restaurant was originally started by James Markham who, after getting food poisoning from a bad slice of pizza, decided that we wanted to create a place to get high-quality pizza at a good price.
Cafe 222 is an amazing place for breakfast but be prepared to wait 30 minutes for a table and upwards of an hour if you get there late. The place is small but very well-known for its breakfasts so the seats fill up fast. The menu is huge and the portions are very generous. They have everything from all-American classics like bacon and eggs to vegetarian plates, waffles, and desserts made from fresh California fruit. It's not a particularly pricey place either. It's the perfect way to start your day in San Diego. I'd suggest getting there early.
Located on the top floor of the impressive Westfield Horton Plaza Mall, the food court has a vast array of American fast food classics like burgers and fries, frozen yogurt and ice cream courtesy of Ben & Jerry's, and more exotic choices like Mongolian Barbecue. There is also a large and sunny terrace.
Great Khan's is a fast-food restaurant at Westfield Horton Plaza Mall that serves decent Chinese food. You choose the veggies, meat, and noodles you can and they cook it right there in front of you. It's a good concept and the food isn't too expensive so it makes for a nice place to refuel after an afternoon of shopping.
Sushi Deli 2 is probably the most famous sushi restaurant in San Diego. The food isn't the best, but the value for the money sure is! Their Lunch Special is unbeatable. The choice of rolls, sushi, and temaki on the menu is great, and it's not uncommon to see a line down the block. The place is almost always full, but the wait is worth it.
Dick's Last Resort is a guaranteed good time. Be warned though, the service here is not conventional. The servers are deliberately unpleasant and will go out of their way to make unfriendly comments. For example, one day an Asian friend calls a server that was not his and the server said "I'm not your server, I know that for you Asian, we all look alike!"
Also, it is not uncommon for a servers you give you dunce caps with unflattering inscriptions or throw the silverware at you. I goes without saying that you'll probably get a sarcastic answer for anything you ask. But, it's actually pretty hilarious if you take it in context and go with a sense of humor. Don't miss it!
Tender Greens is a small franchise that started in California and is slowly making its way throughout the rest of the country. It is essentially a salad bar, and a phenomenal one at that. There are several different salads to choose from, as well as smaller plates and daily features. They also have some phenomenal drinks available - my favorite is the Kale-infused Agua Fresca. The day I was there, I ordered the special, for less than $6, which included sliced apples, walnuts, arugula, blue cheese and a light balsamic dressing. Thank you, Tender Greens, for being a quick, healthy alternative to fast food!
You can spend the whole day trying the various types of beers they offer ... The menu includes all the details (except the price), the alcohol percentage, color and bitterness! A plate of squid is the perfect accompaniment, as it is simply delicious!
Seafood lovers will have a field day at Ironside in San Diego. Why? For many reasons: 1. FRESH seafood, 2. Nice environment, 3. Intriguing wall of fish heads, 4. Servers who know about the food they serve. I've been here once and I intend on coming back because the fresh tasting oysters and shrimp I ordered were just too good. I had never eaten such fresh tasting shrimp! The server even went so far as to explain where the shrimp and oysters were from. The lobster rolls are also divine. They’re a little on the buttery side for me, but still tasty enough to order again. (The lobster was evidently fresh, too!) Definitely a food joint to try when in the San Diego area.
Located right in the heart of Little Italy, Caffe Italia makes for a great quick stop for a refreshment and a snack. The staff were friendly, and there was free Wi-Fi available for customers, as well as ample seating both inside and outside on a private terrace that they share with the restaurant next door. The outdoor terrace is beautiful if you are lucky enough to snag a seat! Caffe Italia features a wide variety of coffees, teas, bottled beverages and authentic Italian baked goods. My personal favorite was the Coconut Italian Soda. If you don't like coconut, there are countless other flavors available!
Napizza was the first place I went for dinner during my 4-night stay in San Diego, and it will be remembered as one of the most enjoyable experiences of my trip. For around $13, I had a glass of red wine (served in a cute little mason jar), two slices of delicious, fresh Pepperoni pizza, and a side of Caesar salad. I chose a quiet little corner of the trendy outdoor patio, savored my meal, and watched the Saturday Night unfold on the streets of Little Italy. Great people watching and even better staff. I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face. Thank you Napizza!
This place is what dreams are made of. I'm not joking. I am truly sad that I didn't discover this Sicilian Caffe until my third day in San Diego, because I would have been there every day, twice a day, had I known how amazing it was. Pappalecco serves a variety of coffee and espresso beverages - made with their own beans - such as lattes, cappuccinos, and - the piece de resistance - The Maroccino, which is a drink made up of espresso, frothed milk, cocoa powder and - wait for it - Nutella. Pappalecco also had a selection of fresh sandwiches, paninis, authentic Italian desserts such as Tirimasu and Canoli, and house-made gelato that looked absolutely incredible. Come for the food and stay for the ambiance - friendly staff and fantastic Italian music. Grazie!
El Pescador is two things - a fresh seafood market, and a fresh seafood cafe-style restaurant. I was overwhelmed by the menu choices - so many different types of fish and seafood to choose from! I finally settled on a small bowl of the house-made clam chowder and an order of the fish tacos. Both were positively phenomenal. The restaurant is a little bit off the beaten path from the main part of La Jolla, but it is definitely worth the trip! Go early, though - I was in there on a Monday around 11 AM, and by noon the place was completely packed.
Recommended to me by every staff member at the hotel where I was staying, I chose Bencotto for dinner on the night of Canadian Thanksgiving since I couldn't be at home to feast with my family. I was definitely not disappointed. Bencotto's chefs make their own pasta fresh every single day. The menu features authentic Italian dishes, pastas, appetizers, salads and desserts as well as an impressive Wine selection. I chose the Fettucine pasta with the Bencotto sauce - a tomato based meat sauce with a tiny bit of cream - and it was phenomenal. This is a wonderful destination for a romantic date night out…I will admit that I felt a little bit awkward eating in a place like this alone. Overall, though, it was a beautiful experience and I would definitely go back!