While you were suffering through your swimsuit-ready diets and fitness routines, you missed out on an incredible wealth of new San Diego restaurants opening one after the other all summer long.
Whose brilliant idea was it to launch a new era of decadent San Diego dining while the majority of the local population is surviving on mini carrots and diet shakes? OK, yes I realize summer is tourism prime-time and you probably wanted the street traffic to fuel the opening process. But still, it’s just pretty cruel to us locals who had to look sizzling hot every Sunday for high-profile pool party-hopping yet couldn't say no to dining out at every new hot spot in town.
For all of you strong-willed locals who actually had the self control to stick to your summer diets, I have some good news for you: that was absolutely not the case for me. I happily busted through my bikini-weight so you didn’t miss a beat in the local kitchens. As I sit cozy in my fall boots and cover-ups I present to you the ten best new San Diego restaurants you've been missing out on. And this is just a small selection of our favorites, if you can believe it. When dining out this fall and winter, dare to break your routine at these must-try new restaurants in San Diego.
Discover ten new and notable San Diego restaurants that opened this summer.
Searsucker in Gaslamp Quarter
San Diego’s favorite celebrity chef, Brian Malarkey of “Top Chef 3 Miami” fame and former Oceanaire Executive Chef teamed up with local nightlife guru James Brennan of Stingaree to create the Gaslamp Quarter’s first official neighborhood restaurant and bar: Searsucker.Inside the new American classic on Fifth & Market, modern and industrial edge is softened by an overflow of comfy couches, Oriental rugs, textured animal patterns, and understated graphics that simply read “EAT” in black and white. If you want to remain on land, check out the Ranch portion of the menu that boasts such stand-out dishes as Loin Filet Mignon with lobster butter; Hanger with porcini and truffles; Cheek with goat cheese dumplings; and Ribeye Tomahawk with cognac and horseradish. Don’t forget to visit the Farm and taste the Pork Butt with grilled peach and bacon butter or “Benny and the Birds” with apricot gastrique. For more details please call 877.351.8073 or visit Searsucker in San Diego. (pictured above)
Analog in Gaslamp Quarter
In celebration of our journey into the digital era, Matt Spencer and Tyler Charman’s newest creation Analog has landed in the Gaslamp Quarter with a vengeance to rattle the cage of boredom and bring something fresh to Fifth Avenue. Suited like a vintage recording studio with wood walls that mimic anechoic chambers with crisscross paneling for acoustic absorption, the Michael Soriano-designed space boasts two venues in one: Recording Room and Control Room, featuring live karaoke, DJs, and varied dining options. The rooms are divided by clear, soundproof sliding doors, creating two separate yet equal environments. The full menu is served in the Control Room (served in a pink “Pee Chee” folder!), with a selection of Starters, Lil Burgers, Totchos, Fries, Signature Entrees, and Desserts to choose from. For more details please call 619.233.1183 or visit Analog in San Diego. (pictured below)
Banker’s Hill Bar and Restaurant in Banker’s Hill
Carl Schroeder’s latest hotspot offers the Banker’s Hill community a completely new dining experience. Antique wood walls, industrial sliding doors and minimalist design featuring a few key pieces, such as an oversized autumn-toned mural in the semi-outdoor dining room and cascading chandeliers made completely of wine glasses, set the stage for some incredibly flavorful cuisine. Small plates range from Steamed Mussels & Andouille Sausage with roasted sweet peppers and garlic-parsley toast; to Crispy Dungeness Crab & Rockshrimp Cakes with Beluga lentil – arugula salad and chili aioli; and the Roasted Beet & Citrus Salad with Belgian endive and goat cheese. For your main course, choose items in the Fish, Poultry, Pork or Beef sections. Some of our favorites include the Cabernet Braised Beef Shortribs served with Yukon gold whipped potatoes and roasted vegetables; Cast Iron Roasted King Salmon with asparagus, fresh chickpeas and baby spinach; and the Crispy BBQ Pork Tacos with pepper jack cheese, avocado and lime sour cream. For more details and reservations please call 619.231.0222 or visit Banker’s Hill Bar and Restaurant.
Maria Maria in Mission Valley
Don’t expect to find this Grammy winning artist behind the grill at your next fiesta. Maria Maria is a creative collaboration between the legendary musician Carlos Santana and Chef Roberto Santibañez. Named for Santana’s hit song “Maria Maria,” the restaurant is inspired by the passion and spirit of Santa’s timeless music. From the décor to the ambiance and culinary appeal, every element of the restaurant radiates with the very same warmth you felt upon first hearing Santana's classic “Maria Maria” on the radio. Chef Roberto Santibañez’s menu is a regional exploration of Mexican dishes presented with a distinctive modern flair. Nuevo Mexican cuisine favorites range from slow braised duck tacos covered with a roasted tomato habanero cream sauce; to grilled salmon filet served with a sauce that’s both sweet and hot; and savory ancho chiles stuffed with roasted zucchini, red onions, potatoes and wild mushrooms served over melted cheese and a roasted tomato chipotle sauce. The fast-growing Maria Maria chain boasts five locations on the West Coast, including the newest member of the family on Frazee Road in Mission Valley. For more details and reservations please call 619.574.6800 or visit Maria Maria in San Diego.
Craft & Commerce
in Little Italy
Craft & Commerce is a new project in social engineering with a bold vision to eliminate fast 'n' easy artificial stimulation and reinvent the art of real human interaction. Also the brains behind Neighborhood
, El Dorado
and Noble Experiment
, the head honchos of these local haunts explain that Craft & Commerce is a happy medium or blend of their existing venues. There isn’t a television in sight, a library of classic literature towers up the walls, including Tafazoli’s favorite, Thoreau’s On Walden Pond,
and the venue publically seeks to call out the smoke and mirrors while almost mocking the hype of modern design. Craft & Commerce is known for food that is familiar and memorable – without any of the transparent celebrity chef hype. The menu at Craft & Commerce was executed by Chef Craig Jimenez, known for his work at the Guild and Firefly, and focuses on old-world cooking techniques to ignite flavor from house-made items. Boasting custom meat grinds and an in-house smoker, the menu serves up hearty American food, ranging from bone marrow to Ribeye and Broiled Oysters. For more details please call 877.758.0073 or visit Craft & Commerce in San Diego
. (pictured left)
Barfly in La Jolla
Barfly is a brand new all-encompassing lifestyle venue that brings the best of Prospect Steet inside, and is served with a side of breakfast, lunch, dinner, happy hour and a variety of entertainment options. Never before has La Jolla been home to a true neighborhood restaurant and bar before Barfly landed in the scene this summer. With an extensive menu comprised of Middle Eastern specialties, pizzas, appetizers, salads and more, Barfly stands out for exceptional cuisine. Menu items include the Hummus Falafel Plate, Salmon Tartare, Insalata Caprese, Chicken and Steak Skewers, Angus Beef Burgers, Coca Cola Chicken, Beer Battered Fish and Chips and more. Barfly’s mission is simple: to bring quality back to the nightlife and sports bar scene in La Jolla. Whether you’re grabbing dinner, watching the game, or partying the night away VIP-style on the intimate dance floor with all your favorite San Diego DJs, the all-in-one Barfly transforms to meet your needs. For more details and reservations please call 877.825.9142 or visit Barfly in San Diego.
Cosmopolitan Restaurant in Old Town
Shining in dapper vintage ambience, the newly restored Cosmopolitan Hotel – the oldest surviving building in San Diego – takes you back in time with Victorian style hospitality. But for a real taste of the Cosmo, dine in high style at the Cosmopolitan Restaurant with renowned San Diego Executive Chef Amy DiBiase, formerly of Roseville in Point Loma. The spacious Cosmopolitan Restaurant serves American regional cuisine with locally grown and produced ingredients, and spices up traditional foods of the 1870s with a sophisticated modern flair. From the firepit-warmed outdoor lounge to the charming retro-chic dining room, there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Main Course highlights range from the alluring and local Temecula Lavender Honey-Glazed Pork Cheeks with English pea puree, quinoa, pearl onions, and pea greens; to the Citrus Marinated Swordfish served with olive oil crushed potato and roasted red and yellow bell pepper relish; and the 8 Ounce Meyer Ranch Top Sirloin with a cherry tomato and blue cheese salad. For more details and reservations please call 866.243.7162 or visit Cosmopolitan Restaurant in San Diego.
BeachWood in Pacific Beach
With over 15 years of industry experience, Aaron Phillips, creative mastermind behind The FleetWood, decided to create a completely new concept for the beach. BeachWood is taking over the shanty, old Hooters building to bring us fresh-from-scratch cuisine and open-air dining in the heart of Pacific Beach. Downstairs you will find BeachWood’s dimly lit sports bar, Red's Saloon. From the massive taxidermy bison and boars heads mounted on the walls to the rich red coloring set against dark wood paneling, it’s easy to see how Red is similar to that of a man cave. Upstairs BeachWood features a spacious dining room and main bar with floor to ceiling oceanview windows, as well as the luxurious rooftop lounge. Chef Mark Bolton of The FleetWood brought all his classic American dishes with fresh, regional ingredients seaside, including the butter-poached Lobster Roll with shaved romaine and garlic aioli and the Lobster Sliders with avocado; Fried Chicken with creamed corn, buttermilk mashed potatoes and bacon biscuit; and the Chili Brown Sugar Rubbed Ribeye with toasted garlic broccolini and those delectable house-made tater tots. For more details and reservations please call 866.903.4942 or visit BeachWood in San Diego.
Tikul Coastal Mexican in La Jolla
In April of 2010, the Grupo La Palapa jumped on the opportunity to bring their signature Puerto Vallarta dining experience to La Jolla. The new 3,500-square-foot Tikul restaurant in La Jolla boasts an outdoor patio, unique Coastal Mexican lunch and dinner menus accented by fresh fruit margaritas and tropical martinis, and nightly live acoustic Latin music to evoke the authentic ambiance of the Mexican Riviera. The La Jolla Tikul was designed by Alberto and Renee Perez to reflect the ambiance of the original Puerto Vallarta location. Worlds away from the Mexican and Tex Mex cuisine we are so familiar with in San Diego, Tikul offers a fresh Coastal Mexican flavor, with specialty dishes ranging from Braised Short Rib Flautas to Duck Enchiladas with Goat Cheese, and the Mexican Tuna Stack. For more details and reservations please call 858.456.6611 or visit Tikul in San Diego. (pictured above)
Sessions Public in Point Loma
The new Sessions Public in Point Loma is simple and straightforward in concept, design and menu. First and foremost, Sessions Public is a bar, with good food – specifically local craft beer and farm-to-table global comfort food. Small plates range from Nueske Bacon Lollipops with chili lime dipping sauce; and Duck Confit Thai Summer Rolls with sweet chili dipping sauce; to Crispy Chicken Oysters with Frank’s hot sauce, celery and RLL dressing; and Roasted Beets with goat cheese, sherry vinegar and pine nut brittle. For your main course check out Seared Local Albacore Tacos with mole, corn relish and black quinoa; Orecchiete Pasta with seasonal wilted greens and truffle butter; and Pan Roasted Chicken with black quinoa, salsa rojo, seasonal green and glace de volaille. But let’s be honest – your Sessions Public experience is all about the craft beer. Enjoy the best of San Diego, ranging from Lost Abbey Inferno Ale to Ballast Point Sculpin IPA and Stone IPA. For more details and reservations please call 619.756.7715 or visit Sessions Public in San Diego.
More New San Diego Restaurants We Can’t Wait to Try!
EDEN in Hillcrest – December, 2010
Slated to open early December, 2010, EDEN is the fresh new club and restaurant from Scotty Wagner of ChileCo and David Laurent of NightlifeSD and Side Bar. These two industry pros bring a wealth of knowledge from the dining and nightlife industries and are returning to the simple, natural basics when breathing new life into this 15,000 square-foot entertainment complex. Get details here!
Solace & The Moonlight Lounge in Encinitas – Winter, 2010
From the brains behind Urban Solace in North Park comes the all new restaurant Solace & The Moonlight Lounge. Designed by architecture firm Blue Motif, the restaurant will offer an intimate dining experience with a light color palette with blues and metal accents, increased natural lighting through large, west-facing windows and recycled/sustainable components. Some notable décor details include handmade recycled wine bottle chandeliers, full-length glass barn doors and local art displayed throughout the restaurant. Get details here!
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