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Multilevel Mexican Seafood Restaurant and Bar Lands in the Gaslamp

The locally owned Karina’s Group returns to downtown

Tables and booths in the main dining room at Karina’s Cantina Courtesy photo

Karina’s Cantina opens in the Gaslamp this weekend in the Fifth Avenue space that last housed the fast-casual Tocaya Organica. Once home to tapas bar and dance club Ole Madrid, the multilevel space was purchased and fully remodeled by the Karina’s Group, which owns a number of Mexican seafood restaurants throughout San Diego and also operates longtime spots like Saffron in Middletown and the Gaslamp’s Taka Sushi.

Partner David Contreras Curiel, whose parents founded the restaurant group in the early 1980s, says the family is thrilled to be returning to downtown after closing a location on B Street in 2016.

An evolution of the restaurant and bar that they opened in La Jolla last year, and Curiel says he hopes Karina’s Cantina will serve as a gateway to the local Mexican food scene as visitors and party-goers return to the Gaslamp. Featuring new dishes and the most popular items from Karina’s large-scale South Bay restaurants, from seafood cocktails and ceviches to Puerto Nuevo-style lobster, the nearly 7,000-square-foot venue boasts a 50-foot bar with custom tequila lockers, multiple dining and lounge areas, private event spaces, and a mezzanine where DJs and bands will be in regular rotation.

The bar at Karina’s Cantina Courtesy photo
Tables and booths fill the dining room at Karina’s Cantina Courtesy photo
Private dining room at Karina’s Cantina Courtesy photo
Place of bacon-wrapped shrimp and a margarita on the bar at Karina’s Cantina
Bacon-wrapped shrimp
Courtesy photo
Plate of aguachile de camaron at Karina’s Cantina
Aguachile de camaron
Courtesy photo

Karina's Downtown Menu

Karina's Cantina

751 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101, San Diego, CA 92101