There’s constant talk of heading west for true beach grub or south for the authentic Mexican good stuff. But central San Diego – in the Morena District and Bay Park region – is overflowing with dining gems of its own, many of which have existed for more than 30 years. The Morena District and Bay Park areas are hilly residential neighborhoods bordered by Clairemont and Mission Bay. The scene has grown over the years to feature a diverse smattering of international cuisine with inviting attitudes.
Discover top Morena District and Bay Park restaurants
Baci Ristorante: This long-time staple restaurant has been crafting up Italian cuisine since 1979. The applauded menu features Penne alla Salmone (with chunks of salmon, green peppercorns and cream), Calamari Marinara, Pollo Toscano, Veal Marsala, Braised Lamb Shank and New York Steak. The Sicilian-based cuisine is paired with an extensive collection of specially selected wine and a full bar. 1955 West Morena Blvd. 619.275.2094 sandiegobaci.com
Kitchen 4140: Seasonal cuisine shines at Kitchen 4140, which has risen in popularity because of owner and Chef Kurt Metzger’s creative flair. Menu highlights include the Grilled Shrimp & Spinach Pappardelle, the Vegetarian Risotto, Spiced Braised Lamb Shank and the Sweet Chili Salmon. When you rise and shine for Sunday brunch, feast on treats at Kitchen 4140 like Chorizo and Potato Torta or Red Velvet Waffles. Metzger describes his style of cooking as “ingredient-inspired and ingredient-driven”. 4140 Morena Blvd. 858.483.4140 kitchen4140.com (Main image)
Andre’s Cuban & Puerto Rican Cuisine: There are few and far-between spots in San Diego that celebrate authentic Caribbean cuisine. The island menu at Andre’s sizzles with zesty options for any diner looking to spice things up. For dinner, try some Arroz con Pollo, Bistec Saltado (top sirloin strips, stir-fried with thin slices of green pepper and onions) or Pierna de Puerco Asada (Cuban-style roast pork, served with moros rice and yuca con mojo). Plus, seafood entrées are prepared with authentic Caribbean ingredients and original recipes – all served with rice and the famous black beans accented with side orders of fried plantains. 1235 Morena Blvd. 619.275.4114 andresrestaurantsd.com
Sardina’s Italian Restaurant & Bar: This Southern Italian experience is frequented for its daily happy hour specials, as well as regular lunch and dinner offerings. The full bar offers a large selection of wines and 12 beers on tap. Menu highlights include Fettuccini Chicken Alfredo, Ziti Chicken with broccoli and sun dried tomatoes and entrées of Veal Marsala or Eggplant Parmigiana. Get inventive and create your own pizza at Sardina’s, too. 1129 Morena Blvd. 619.276.8393 sardinasitalianrestaurantandbar.com
Bull’s Smokin BBQ: When you’ve got a craving for that real down n’ dirty Texas BBQ, Bull’s specializes in slow-cooked meats, gourmet sides and friendly service. Highlights include the Pulled Pork and Brisket, smoked for 11 to 14 hours. Chicken, salmon, pork and beef ribs are smoked for three hours. For lunch, find flavorful sandwiches including a Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich, Sausage Sandwich or a BBQ Chicken Sandwich. You can also order up Gumbo, a Smoked Salmon Caesar Salad and Onion Rings under the specialties. Happy hour runs from 2pm to 6pm daily, where guests can snag $2 Pulled Pork Sliders. 1127 West Morena Blvd. 619.276.2855 bullssmokinbbq.com.
Bay Park Fish Co.: Bay Park Fish Co. is the site of the Annual Chagers Rookie Camp Party. This is your go-to spot to scarf down Fish Tacos, Calamari Torta, a Swordfish Picatta or Lobster Ravioli. Try the sushi at Bay Park Fish Co. with a specialty roll such as the Macadamia Crusted Halibut Roll, or get the freshest Catch of the Day. Happy Hour runs every day from 3 to 6 pm. Drink up at the recently expanded 30-foot bar. 4121 Ashton Street. 619.276.3473 bayparkfishco.com
Old Trieste Restaurant: For your fine dining experience, Old Trieste Restaurant flaunts New York style, with spacious tables covered by white linens, Italian chandeliers and delectable Italian cuisine. Start off with a Chicken Cannelloni or some light Prosciutto and Melon. Then, dig into pastas. The restaurant’s pasta of the day is served with your choice of sauce, including options of Garlic and Oil, Marinara Mushroom, White Scampi and more. Dinner entrées spotlight a Veal Scallopine Fiorentina, Filet Mignon Marsala or a Shrimp Fritti. 2335 Morena Blvd. 619.276.1841 www.oldtriesterestaurant.com
Luce Bar & Kitchen: Seasonal California meets cultured Italian taste at the new Luce Bar & Kitchen. Guests have been raving about the small plates for sharing, cheese and meat boards, artisan pizzas and more, all priced under $20. The dining experience invites you in for lunch with their tasty Tuna Crab Melt or Grilled Fish Sandwich; or for dinner with entrees such as the Polenta Cakes or Roasted Crispy Skin Chicken. Sunday brunch features Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes, Banana Stuffed French Toast, Chicken & Waffles or a Goat Cheese Omelette. 1959 Morena Blvd. 619.275.0321 sandiegoluce.com
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