After more than two years of planning and pop-ups, Kingfisher Cocktail Bar & Eatery will officially glide open its doors on Friday, January 14, bringing more destination dining to greater San Diego and giving the neighborhood of Golden Hill a new place for date nights. Conceived by the family behind the Crab Hut restaurants, it started with the desire to expand representation for Vietnamese cuisine and has evolved into a showcase for modern fine dining based on Southeast Asian flavors, with its spicy, pungent, and herb-forward dishes made new by executive chef Jonathan Bautista, who recently took Eater on a deep dive into his menu that centers around seafood, dry aged meat, and local produce and will continually change through the seasons.
With a dramatic 23-seat central bar and industry vet David Tye as bar director/general manager, Kingfisher should also be a serious cocktail spot. From a spritz to an Old Fashioned and a margarita, classic drinks have been refreshed with Asian ingredients like bitter melon, five spice, sesame leaf, and lychee. Its house shot, also known as Rocket Fuel, combines butter fat-washed blackstrap rum with Mr. Coffee liqueur in a nod to potent Vietnamese coffee.
Glittering in gold, the 90-seat space was created in collaboration with Ocio Design Group and CLTVT, with a shimmery lotus print encircling the dining room where banquettes line the walls and metal display cases hide two cozy booths. Folding glass doors open up the dining area to a sidewalk patio.
Seating diners at a reduced capacity to start, Kingfisher reservations are now available online but the restaurant is also accepting walk-ins.
Kingfisher, 2469 Broadway, Golden Hill, 5 p.m. to midnight, Monday through Sunday, closed Tuesdays.