Po’boys come from New Orleans. And lobster? From frosty Maine's H20 if you're Lobster West, the new addition to Encinitas' Lumberyard. This shop overnights East Coast crustaceans in for lobster rolls (a lobster-meat sandwich soaked in butter). Lobster West also carries crab rolls, New England-style clam chowder, Cape Cod chips and Whoopie Pies. 765 South Highway 101, Encinitas. (760) 634-1684 or lobsterwest.com.
Supposedly the little emperor Napoleon Bonaparte named lobster Thermidor (a creamy white-sauced mixture of meaty tails stuffed and baked in their shells). And recently local chef Matt Gordon expanded his empire (Urban Solace; Solace & the Moonlight), added new restaurant Sea & Smoke to Flower Hill Promenade. It's doing a wood-roasted version of the French lobster dish for $24, along with artisanal beef for your $40 rib-eye steak, your $12 grass-fed burger. Niman Ranch reared the lamb and pork belly on Sea & Smoke’s craft-informed menu. And if you aren’t drawn to diver-harvested scallops wood-fired in their shells or smoked-oysters with clams, there are vegetarian entrees like achiote-spiced cauliflower. S&S's eclectic daytime menu has omelettes, baked egg casserole, a pork loin sandwich and a smoked lentil mousse tartine. 2690 Via De La Valle, No. D210, Del Mar. (858) 925-8212 or seaandsmoke.com.
Piacere Mio is the sweet new Italian guy in South Park. (His name means “My pleasure.”) Open from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. it’s stocked with gelato, sandwiches, salads, coffee specialties, smoothies and a lot of desserts (tiramisu, chocolate mousse, polenta cake, nutella cake? ricotta cake!). If you can’t commit to a whole dessert, get a mini shot of Italian flan here. 1947 Fern St., South Park. (619) 501-8259.
Fish Public sticks with the fun script written by restaurant sibling Cucina Urbana (communal table; lively adult bar). Except this Nantucket-themed, re-envisioned restaurant (it was Tracy Borkum’s Kensington Grill) feels like a wedding in an Ivy league beach town. The cocktails-by-the-bottle feel like personalized gifts. There’s a back wall of candles in one (of two!) dining rooms. A cozy sidewalk patio is filled with happy people celebrating the union of rock fish ceviche with popcorn! (A texture-party that’s crisp, foamy and smooth). The soft-shell crab is a fleeting, seasonal experience, like your big day. And for a restaurant with an oyster bar and seaport-city theme, why is the house-made bratwurst with spaetzle (light German noodles) so good? Maybe because the executive chef Jordan Davis trained at LA’s meat-temple, Animal? 4055 Adams Ave., Kensington. (619) 281-4014 or fishpublic.com. Closed Mondays. Dinner only.
Tender Greens is a beautiful rarity. The new location is in King Stahlman Bail Bonds country, in an urban core where people tote their few worldly belongings. And Tender Greens has butter lettuce! Albacore tuna steaks! Mighty Leaf teas! Every entrée for $11! This installment of the TG chain feels very city, industrial, keeps with the cafeteria-style ordering system and puts out the same eclectic mix of feel-good, ingredient-driven food found in the Los Angeles stores, San Francisco, and our Liberty Station and UTC locations. Exec chef Bradley Austin has a solid team forged in the Lodge at Torrey Pines' kitchen. So you know what they do to baby arugula with luscious pluots and Pecorino Romano sheets. To boneless Jidori chicken fried to the crispness of sacramental bread. To yellow nasturtium petals peppering up a candied walnut and greens SIDE salad. Yep. This Tender Greens makes the kind of casual-quality dishes you have at your wealthiest friend's picnics. Sofia Hotel, 120 W. Broadway, downtown. (619) 795-2353 or tendergreens.com 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily
Yummy Cupcakes have been seen in the mouths of celebrities like Betty White. This Los Angeles-based bakeshop keeps expanding its sugar repertoire, from red velvet and banana split, to mango-lime-chile-salt and green tea wasabi creations. 1514 Encinitas Blvd., Encinitas. (760) 452-8133 or YummyCupcakes.com.
Sublime Tavern: The beer is here! The Sublime brand introduces 55 craft brews on tap, mac n’ cheese, burgers, pizzas and comfort classics, to the scene across from the San Diego Polo Club. 3790 Via De La Valle #301, Del Mar area. (858) 259-9100 or sublimetavern.com.
La Jolla has an upscale batch of Spanish flavors now, thanks to Iberico Spanish Bistro ($29 paellas and bacalao stews! Plus steamed clams, red wine-braised ox tail, baked Iberico pork loin and more). You guessed right, Iberico’s Gin Club has sangria! Plus 14 types of gin. 909 Prospect St., La Jolla.(858) 454-1958 or ibericobistro.com Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
See also: Bang Bang, the grand-opening for this Japanese social house is July 25. 526 Market Street, (619) 677-2264 or bangbangsd.com
Searsucker Del Mar, actually in Carmel Valley, was remade from Asian-fusion Burlap into another Searsucker incarnation. Now open, from Brian Malarkey & Co. Del Mar Highlands Town Center, 12995 El Camino Real, Ste 21 searsucker.com
Avant, a casual-Cali reboot of the old fine-dining El Bizcocho at Rancho Bernardo Inn. 17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive, Rancho Bernardo, (858) 675-8550 or avantrestaurant.com
Broken Yolk Cafe, open now in Mission Valley. 1760 Camino del Rio North. (619) 574-9655 or brokenyolkcafe.com
Kamikaze 7, bringing tempura'd pork belly, Kobe beef bowls, fish collar, brown-rice sushi, Shochu cocktails, sake bombs 411 Market St. downtown. (619) 696-6262 or kamikaze7.com. Background on K7 here.