Having a tough time keeping up with all the new dining options? Welcome to the Opening Report, a curated roundup of recent restaurant openings big and small across San Diego that will be regularly updated.
Did we miss a spot? Drop a note at the tipline and we’ll consider it for the next update.
December 19, 2022
KEARNY MESA— With an array of noodle soups that can be ordered with wheat or rice noodles, including spicy braised beef, lamb offal, and beef rib, Sunny Noodle’s relatively short menu also includes a variety of snacks, from seaweed salad and meat skewers to dumplings, steamed buns, and a smoked meat plate featuring pork tripe, pork knuckle, and pork feet. 8046 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard.
LITTLE ITALY— Bay Park area treat shop Sweet Petite Confections is the newest resident at the Little Italy Food Hall. Founded by Michelle Lomelin, who has a background in fashion design, the chocolatier specializes in creatively-decorated bon bons and caramels, including seasonal flavors, as well as colorful chocolate bark, lollipops, and more. Open daily at noon, the outpost has also added fresh-baked cookies. 550 W Date Street.
UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS— The group of Sicilian and Neapolitan hospitality vets behind Rusticucina and Zama has opened a fresh Italian spot called Al Dente. Open daily for dinner from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., the Park Boulevard restaurant’s menu includes a wide array of homemade pasta, from duck pappardelle to oxtail ravioli, as well as meat and seafood dishes ranging from elk chops and braised short ribs to seafood soup and stuffed sole. 4207 Park Boulevard.
CLAIREMONT MESA— Featuring a full yoga studio offering a varied class schedule, Vinya: vino + vinyasa, is also a wine bar whose kitchen cooks up lunch and dinner on weekdays and brunch on weekends. The menu, which includes baked brie, mushroom toast, and smoked brisket sandwiches, is designed to pair with its list of wines from small producers and family-owned wineries, poured alongside other beverages like local beer, non-alcoholic kombucha, nitro coffee, and tea. 6185 Balboa Avenue.
VALLEY CENTER— Salt & Fin is a 3,565-square-foot, no-reservations-required fine dining restaurant and bar that just opened at Harrah’s Resort Southern California. Open daily for dinner service and helmed by executive chef Eric Mickle, it includes an oyster bar and offers a mostly seafood menu that includes dramatic shellfish towers, whole grilled fish, cioppino, and more. 777 S. Resort Drive.
November 30, 2022
GASLAMP— A solid six years after first announcing its expansion into downtown San Diego, Tacos El Gordo has finally opened its long-awaited outpost at the corner of 5th and F in the Gaslamp. The family-owned company, which was founded 50 years ago in Tijuana, launched in San Diego back in 1998 and now operates locations across San Diego and Nevada. True to its other branches, the Gaslamp restaurant features counter-service and a wide range of Tijuana-style tacos, from adobada to cabeza and carne asada, and is open daily starting at 10 a.m. 511 F Street.
SOUTH PARK— Carbon BBQ, the long-simmering smoked meat spot backed by Buona Forchetta is up and running, operating Wednesday through Sunday with a menu of sandwiches and platters featuring everything from prime roast beef to pork belly, chicken wings, and sausage alongside sides like bacon mac n cheese and jalapeno cornbread muffins. 2318 30th Street.
KEARNY MESA— A new Chinese restaurant called Taste of Hong Kong has replaced Kangxi Is Coming, which primarily specialized in Sichuan and Hunan dishes. The Convoy Street spot, which claims ties to a top-rated Cantonese restaurant in Kunming, China, serves a broad menu that includes Cantonese roast pork and duck, Peking-style duck, live seafood, and other Cantonese classics. 4428 Convoy Street, Ste 320.
KEARNY MESA— After running a sushi catering company during the pandemic, chef Nghi Dao has opened a new Convoy District sushi bar and modern Japanese restaurant offering a $100 omakase as well as a la carte sashimi, nigiri, temaki, and specialty rolls. Offering a good variety of sake bottles and sake flights, Ju-ichi also features small plates and specials like roasted bone marrow with shiso chimichurri and maitake mushroom tempura.7905 Engineer Road, Suite A.
NORMAL HEIGHTS— Modrn Medicin brings yoga and acupuncture to Adams Avenue along with specialty coffee drinks, ayurvedic lattes, cacao beverages, and a mostly vegan and gluten-free menu that ranges from toasts, sandwiches, and quiches to cakes, pastries, and dairy-free ice cream. 3349 Adams Avenue.
November 1, 2022
CORTEZ HILL— The cafe space at the base of the El Cortez building is now home to Cali Breakfast, which serves a daytime menu of morning starters ranging from lobster eggs Benedict and steak and eggs topped with edible gold to breakfast tacos, burritos, and chilaquiles. On the sweet side, there are Oreo waffles, banana and Nutella French toast, and a “tower of sweetness” piled with treats from the pastry chef. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., the breakfast bar features build-your-own Bloody Marys along with brunch drinks like mimosas, bellinis, and more. 702 Ash Street.
KEARNY MESA— The latest arrival on the Korean-style fried chicken scene is Pelicana Chicken, a South Korean chain founded in 1982 that’s since expanded to more than 2,000 stores around the globe. Offering whole and half chickens, boneless chicken pieces, and chicken wings, Pelicana’s sauces range from its signature sweet and spicy glaze to garlic, cheese, soy, and smoky hot. The menu also extends to sides like fried cheese balls, chicken gizzards, sweet potato fries, and spicy sea snail salad. 7767 Balboa Avenue.
MIDWAY DISTRICT— Replacing Banzai Bar, La Barca specializes in a wide variety of Mexican seafood dishes, including octopus and marlin tacos, shrimp ceviches and aguachiles, tuna tostadas, and whole fried Baja fish. The restaurant, which has free valet parking, will host DJs and live music on select evenings and weekly Wednesday karaoke nights. Running from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., its daily happy hour features specials on beer, wine, and certain appetizers. 3048 Midway Drive.
SEAPORT VILLAGE— Hailing from Long Beach, Louisiana Charlie’s has arrived at the waterfront complex’s Carousel District where the Mardi Gras-themed restaurant is cooking up mesquite barbecue from a wood-burning rotisserie smoker as well as Creole and Cajun classics like jambalaya, crawfish etouffee, and seafood boils. Open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., the casual spot will next add carnival-inspired cocktails as well as Southern-style desserts. 849 W Harbor Drive, building #55.
NORTH PARK— With a coffee and breakfast window open at 8 a.m. serving French lavender lattes and avocado toast, the Seventh House also brings daily brunch to the neighborhood through a France-meets-Baja menu that includes poblano crepes, poached eggs over fried green tomatoes with black mole, and croissants topped with al pastor-style pork. The restaurant’s dinner menu ranges from moules frites and Nicoise salad to a variety of seafood crudo and pasta dishes along with tableside martinis and other specialty cocktails. 2835 University Avenue.
August 8, 2022
LIBERTY STATION— After shuttering its Little Italy location, San Diego’s largest urban winery Carruth Cellars has opened a brand new 12,000-square-foot wine garden in Liberty Station’s Arts District. Operating daily, the space spans two large patios as well as an indoor wine bar and marketplace that holds a cheese counter as well as gourmet specialty goods for retail. Offering its wines by the flight, glass, or bottle, the tasting room is also serving an extensive menu of appetizers, panini, salads, cheese and charcuterie boards, and desserts, and featuring a schedule of live music. 2710 Historic Decatur Road, Barrack 17.
BARRIO LOGAN— Karina’s Ceviche Bar ‘N Tacos from the prolific Karina’s Group is a new 3,000-square-foot market and restaurant that includes a 2,500-square-foot patio. In addition to serving popular Karina’s dishes, from tacos, burritos, and tostadas to a variety of ceviche, the casual, all-day spot also offers whole fried fish, grilled shrimp, seafood cocktails, and more, with happy hour specials on food and drink available all day Monday and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The space also features a 20-foot, full-service seafood counter selling fresh fish, live lobster, and pantry items. 1852 National Avenue.
CARLSBAD— Carlsbad Village’s Sushi Taisho has been remodeled and revamped under its new owners, Brian and Misun Yoon (Hooked On Sushi and Hooked On Poke). As the sushi bar’s chef, Brian Yoon has rolled out a fresh menu, ranging from signature and specialty sushi rolls, premium sashimi, and nigiri to chicken katsu, salmon teriyaki, and traditional curry as well as fusion dishes like yellowtail carpaccio and mango pineapple ceviche. Open daily for lunch and dinner, the bar pours a large selection of sake along with soju-based cocktails. 300 Carlsbad Village Drive, Suite 214.
ENCINITAS— The Cottage, a La Jolla institution since 1992, has expanded to North County with a new location has landed at Encinitas Village. The 3,500-square-foot restaurant and patio includes a cafe and bakery counter featuring fresh baked goods as well as coffee from its new in-house roastery and an art-filled dining area serving a menu from executive chef Paolo Chan that includes breakfast and brunch fare like the Cottage’s signature stuffed French toast and capellini crab cakes and new additions that include charred octopus salad, cauliflower and lentil curry, and a leg of lamb sandwich. 127 N El Camino Real Suite H.
LEUCADIA— Hamburger Hut has relocated to the former Priority Public House space on the 101. The all-day restaurant and bar from local group Leucadia Co. (Valentina, Moto Deli, Corner Pizza) is still serving executive chef Alex Carballo’s menu of grass fed beef smashburgers along with salads and Jabba fries, aka carne asada fries, but the new spot now has a full cocktail list that includes frozen cocktails such as Hurricanes and Negroni slushies plus tiki-inspired drinks like the Space Monkey made with rum, banana, oat milk, lemon and nutmeg. 576 N Coast Hwy 101.
July 6, 2022
MISSION VALLEY— Fast-casual taquito outfit El Tianguis, which got its start in North Park in 2018, has opened an outpost in the Civita development near Civita Park. Alexis Dachs of Location Matters represented the tenant in the lease, which is the fourth location in San Diego County for owner Oscar Ancira. Specializing in freshly-made and fried rolled tacos, its taquitos are filled with everything from chicken in tomatillo sauce and shredded beef with potato and cheese to a vegan mix of lentils and quinoa. 7995 Civita Blvd.
LA MESA— Popular plate lunch spot Da Kine’s has resurfaced in East County after briefly touching down in National City and Linda Vista. The longtime local Hawaiian restaurant, which dates back to the 90s, is run by chef and caterer Nelson Ishii, also known as “Uncle Nelson”, whose is still serving up combos of teriyaki beef, kalua pig, and katsu chicken paired with steamed rice and mac salad. 7436 University Ave.
KEARNY MESA— Trendy Korean twisted doughnuts have landed at Zion Market’s food court courtesy of Monnani Kkwabaegi. The fried crullers, known as kkwabaegi, are topped with sweet and savory seasonings ranging from cinnamon sugar and Oreos to ube, matcha, and cheddar cheese but the food stand also sells doughnuts filled with red bean, sweet potato, or an entire sausage. 7655 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
KEARNY MESA— The Comedy Palace has reopened as Mic Drop Comedy, a new comedy club that also includes a full-service restaurant and bar. Offering 90-minute shows Wednesday through Sunday, including two upcoming showcases featuring LGBTQIA+ comedians, the venue offers a menu of sandwiches, tacos, hot dogs, and shareable bites like charcuterie boards and dessert platters as well as classic cocktails. 8878 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
SANTEE— Founded 25 years ago in Pacific Beach, San Diego-based chain the Broken Yolk Cafe just opened its 35th location in the Santee Trolley Square center. The 4,000-square-foot restaurant, which includes indoor and outdoor bars along with a large patio, is now serving its daytime menu of homestyle breakfasts and brunch plates. 9832 Mission Gorge Rd. Suite A.
June 8, 2022
LA JOLLA— Java Earth, a favorite gathering spot celebrating its 12th year in North Pacific Beach, has opened a second cafe in the lively La Jolla Country Market hub that also houses Himitsu and Candor by Giuseppe. Run by the local Artenstein family, including siblings Andrea and Alex, the coffee shop serves specialty drinks like lavender lattes and mint iced coffee as well as a smoothies and a daytime menu that includes bagels, bowls, burritos, and panini along with a rotating selection of pastries that might include mom Debbie’s homemade lemon poppyseed loaf. 1030 Torrey Pines Road.
GOLDEN HILL— Sepulveda Meats & Provisions, a neighborhood butcher shop and market, has launched an adjacent bar and restaurant called Juan Jasper Kitchen & Wine whose wine counter is open from noon to 9 p.m. A food menu is offered starting a 4 p.m., and includes hand cut steaks as well as seasonal dishes and specials ranging from sweetbreads to Salisbury steak, sausages, and pasta. 216 28th Street
DOWNTOWN— The latest addition to an ongoing upgrade of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront that includes a new waterfront lounge and grab-and-go market is Hudson & Nash, an all-day restaurant and bar on the hotel’s promenade level that offers a menu that takes diners on a California road trip from Baja to the Bay Area. There are pizzas inspired by the neighborhoods of Barrio Logan and Little Italy, plus shrimp aguachile, a seafood cobb salad with local rock crab, classic San Francisco clam chowder, and large shareable dishes like a whole fish with taco fixings. 1 Park Boulevard.
SEAPORT VILLAGE— The waterfront complex’s only rooftop deck recently opened atop the space shared by Quiero Tacos and Mike Hess Brewing. With four big screen TVs, it’s set up for sports watching or just for enjoying views of the San Diego Bay. Throughout June, the restaurant is offering specials on starters like its Caribbean-style seafood cocktail or ahi tuna poke tower, which can be paired with a pint of any Mike Hess beer for $15. 879 W Harbor Dr. Suite W14-E.
HILLCREST— A Canadian pizzeria’s first U.S. outpost has opened in Hillcrest where it’s cooking up a huge array of 12-inch pies. Founded in a fishing village in British Columbia, Steveston Pizza Co. is best known for its seafood pizzas, which range from the Mist pizza with smoked salmon, crab, scallions, and truffle-scented tomatoes to the Forty Five, an indulgent, over-the-top pizza stacked with pesto shrimp, creamed potatoes, caviar, lobster, and pommes frites that costs a whopping $345. 127 University Avenue.
May 9, 2022
KEARNY MESA— Replacing Chopstix Too at Hawthorne Crossings, the center that houses Mitsuwa Marketplace and Nishiki Ramen, the freshly-remodeled Kumi Cafe is a casual and modern Japanese restaurant offering an extensive menu that ranges from sushi and specialty rolls to bento boxes, ramen, udon, yakisoba, and rice bowls topped with everything from beef teriyaki to curry chicken and salmon poke. The all-day establishment features drink specials like hot sake night on Wednesday and a daily 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. happy hour with $3.50 beers. 4380 Kearny Mesa Rd Ste 300.
CORONADO— French bakery and patisserie Le Parfait Paris has expanded to Coronado, where its fifth location has docked at the Coronado Ferry Landing. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., the cafe serves an array of pastries and desserts, from crepes to chocolate-almond croissants and lavender-honey macarons, along with savory dishes like quiche Lorraine, vegetable galettes, and croissant egg sandwiches. 1201 1st St #104.
MIRAMAR— The first local outpost for karaage experts Tentakori is now cooking up a fast-casual menu revolving around Japanese-style fried chicken, from boneless chicken thighs to popcorn chicken, wings, gizzards, cartilage, and chicken tenders, paired with dipping sauces like wasabi mayo and yuzu aioli. There’s also karaage-topped ramen and rice bowls as well as chicken fried rice. 6780 Miramar Rd. Ste 104.
LA JOLLA— Perched atop Prospect Street’s newly-renovated Cormorant Hotel is Birdseye, a rooftop restaurant and cocktail bar with ocean views. Headed up by chef Luciano Scagliarini, the all-day establishment offers an eclectic menu that includes Scagliarini’s family recipe for beef or corn empanadas with chimichurri along with choripan, or Argentinean sausage sandwiches, carne asada or tempura-battered shrimp tacos, and pepperoni flatbreads. The hotel also has a grab-and-go market selling snacks and picnic supplies like wine and charcuterie boards. 1110 Prospect St.
LA MESA— Duke’s Old Fashioned Onion Burgers serves Oklahoma’s signature smashburger, with onions cooked into the beef patty. Offering single, double, or triple burgers, the shop also features fried chicken sandwiches, salads, and fresh-cut fries that can be topped with chili and cheese, taco fixings, and more. 5020 Baltimore Dr.
April 11, 2022
KEARNY MESA— Landing adjacent to Mikami Revolving Sushi in the Convoy area is Mikami Bar, a Japanese lounge offering an izakaya-style menu of plates ranging from braised pork belly and tuna tataki to select nigiri and sashimi from chef Joshua Hiroki. In addition to beer and wine, the bar is also serving cocktails based on sake and soju, and offering live music from local bands every Thursday and Saturday. 7319 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
GASLAMP— Good Time Design’s latest venue replaces the Gaslamp Strip Club with Happy Does, a new bar named after a Kenny Chesney song whose resident DJ is spinning retro hits from 80s and 90s. With a massive outdoor space, it’s open Thursday through Sunday with a menu of bar snacks like fried chicken sandwiches, burgers and loaded fries, the bar’s libations include Happy Juice, made with Topo Chico, tequila, lime, and simple syrup with a Tajin rim. 340 5th Avenue.
NORTH PARK— At 7,000-square-feet, Pure Project North Park is the local brewery’s fifth taproom and its largest yet, with indoor-outdoor vibes and a 4,000-square-foot backyard biergarten. A rotating selection of 20 beers is on tap at the site, which is also offering beer go-to in growlers, crowlers, cans, and bottles. 2867 El Cajon Blvd.
EAST VILLAGE— Operating its first storefront across from Petco Park is Hey Sugar, a pop-up specializing in comforting desserts and sweet treats including peach cobbler, banana pudding, cinnamon rolls, and pastries along with vegan cupcakes and cookies and gluten-free cheesecakes. 101 Park Plz Ste 102.
GASLAMP— LA-based Latin-American restaurant La Conde has moved into the former Donovan’s space and is now serving an eclectic menu that includes tacos, burgers, sushi, and seafood dishes like diablo shrimp and salmon in pineapple gravy as well as an extensive selection of steaks, from prime beef to wagyu and Kobe. 570 K St.
March 22, 2022
SAN MARCOS— The newest location of Draft Republic is now up and running in North City where it shares the 30,000-square-foot former Urge Gastropub/Mason Ale Works space with a brewery run by Rouleur Brewing Company. Spanning bowling lanes, arcade games, a golf simulator, shuffleboard, and more, the beer-centered restaurant and entertainment is also hosting live music nightly in its beer garden. 255 Redel Road.
UNIVERSITY CITY— Locals are excited by URBN Sushi’s arrival in the Renaissance Towne Center, where the remodeled sushi bar is now open daily for lunch and dinner. The menu holds a variety of cooked dishes, including Japanese curry, rice bowls, and noodle dishes like yakisoba, udon, and ramen, but its main focus is on nigiri sushi and a large array of specialty rolls, including rice-less rolls wrapped with sliced cucumber or soy paper. 8895 Towne Centre Dr Ste 100.
NORTH PARK— After losing its lease and a two-year hiatus, the legendary Red Fox Room has finally reopened across the street from its decades-old location. The retro steakhouse and piano bar has reportedly retained its former employees who will be helping to recreate the old vibe in the new space, which holds many of its original decorations. 2200 El Cajon Boulevard.
MIRAMAR— Longstanding area chain Taste of the Himalayas has opened an offshoot in the Little India Plaza that specializes in yak meat, a delicacy in the Himalayan region. In addition to Nepalese, Indian and Tibetan dishes like goat curry, vegetable pakora, and several popular selections from the Taste of the Himalayas menu, including chicken and shrimp tikka masala, the Dancing Yak is now serving a variety of yak momo (dumplings) as well as yaki chili and yak chowmein. 9474 Black Mountain Road.
NORTH PARK— El Jardin the Vegan Paradise is a new fruiteria and deli serving an extensive menu of fruit salads and acai bowls as well as elote and tostilocos and both vegan and non-vegan versions of everything from adobada burritos and carne asada fries to shrimp tacos, birria tortas, and chicken wings. 2041 University Avenue.
March 9, 2022
LIBERTY STATION— Reopening at the former El Jardin space is Go Go Amigo, a playful new Mexican spot from Good Time Design (the Presley, Moonshine Beach). Open for lunch, happy hour, and dinner, the restaurant features a huge outdoor dining patio complete with fire pits and a satellite cocktail bar mixing up margaritas and specialty cocktails. Executive chef Todd Nash’s menu hinges on a variety of tacos as well as plates ranging from a cheese-stuffed chile relleno to rockfish and octopus aguachile and a torta ahogada filled with carnitas. 2885 Perry Road.
PACIFIC BEACH— Former farmer’s market vendor Shake and Wake brings its extensive quick-service menu to the beach, offering bowls centered around fruit sorbets and fresh fruit along with smoothies, cold-pressed juice, and specialty cold brew coffee drinks. On the savory side, the daytime cafe also serves made-to-order salads as well as bagel or croissant-based sandwiches at breakfast and lunch. 910 Grand Avenue.
NORTH PARK— The owners of Park Boulevard’s gracious Muzita Abyssinian Bistro have opened Kemmen, a new restaurant serving its Eritrean and Ethiopian cuisine in a more casual, counter-service setting. There are meat dishes featuring lamb, seafood, chicken, and beef and a wide selection of vegan and vegetarian options, including braised mushrooms and East African stewed chickpeas, served with injera and house salad. 2786 University Avenue.
OCEANSIDE— With a glassed-in showcased kitchen and a sleek, modern dining room, the Lab Cooperative has landed in downtown Oceanside with an eclectic menu of dishes that includes queso fundido, curry chicken salad, seafood linguini, and vegan mole as well as a full bar. The space also houses Jet Fuel, a coffee shop using locally-roasted beans to brew up coffee and espresso drinks that include flat whites and an orange molasses latte. 201 North Cleveland Street.
GASLAMP— Based in San Francisco, the Melt has opened the second San Diego location of its all-American, fast-casual chain. Operating until 2 a.m. daily, the downtown outpost features a cheese-drenched menu of angus and wagyu-blend burgers, mac and cheese, classic patty melts, and grilled cheese sandwiches plus milkshakes and soft-serve ice cream. 635 5th Avenue.
March 2, 2022
DEL MAR— Chin’s Szechwan, which took over the Camino Del Mar space that housed longstanding Chinese restaurant Double Happiness and was most recently Chef Zhu’s, has completed a remodel of its dining room. Offering takeout and delivery since July 2021, the updated restaurant is restarting dine-in service on Thursday, March 3. With other locations in Carlsbad, Encinitas, Oceanside, Vista, and Rancho Bernardo, the restaurant serves a menu of Americanized Chinese favorites as well as Szechwan dishes. 1011 Camino Del Mar #110.
KEARNY MESA— Two Hands, a national chain specializing in Korean-style corn dogs, has landed at the Sunrise Town Centre (home to Nijiya Market and Wa Dining Okan). Open daily from 11 a.m. 8 p.m. daily, the Convoy location features a customizable menu that starts with sausage or cheese stick fillings and coating options that range from potato cubes to crispy rice and classic cornbread. 3860 Convoy Street Ste 100.
KEARNY MESA— Replacing J/Wata Temaki Bar is Formoosa, a new Taiwainese tea shop serving a succinct menu of snacks and larger plates ranging from popcorn chicken, sesame wontons, and cucumber salad to iconic Taiwainese dishes like beef rolls and beef noodle soup. 4646 Convoy Street.
EL CAJON— Sycuan Casino Resort unveils a brand new restaurant and cocktail lounge on Thursday, March 3. The casual Pink Buddha will serve a menu that pulls from variety of Asian cuisines, offering everything from build-your-own pho and banh mi to fried rice, dim sum, pad Thai, and bento boxes while the Karma Lounge features bar bites like chicken karaage, sisig tacos, and uni shooters along with drinks that incorporate Japanese whiskey, Filipino coconut liquor, and Tia Maria Matcha. 5469 Casino Way.
GASLAMP— TV personality Nick Cannon has opened a branch of his “eatertainment” destination in downtown San Diego. Spanning 3,500-square-feet and two floors of the Theatre Box, the indoor/outdoor venue holds tons of sports-themed arcade games and offers brunch, bottle service, and a menu that includes fried chicken sandwiches, lobster rolls, burgers, ribs, and more as well as sharable dishes like chicken finger buckets and seafood platters. 701 6th Ave.
February 14, 2022
CARMEL VALLEY— The latest addition at the Sky Deck in Del Mar Highlands Town Center is the Glass Box, a glittering glass-enclosed sushi bar and restaurant from chef/owner Ethan Yang (Zen Modern Asian Bistro). Its mostly-seafood menu ranges from nigiri, sashimi, and sushi rolls to shrimp gyoza, yellowtail and salmon collars, and crab fried rice. 3790 Townsgate Drive.
NATIONAL CITY— West African cuisine is in the spotlight at Nigeria Breeze where owner Maria Onisemo and her mother are cooking up Nigerian dishes such as jollof rice, fried yams with spicy sauce, savory stews like egusi stew or stewed okra, and soups ranging from goat meat soup to spicy fish soup. 925 E Plaza Boulevard, Ste 106.
COLLEGE AREA— Portland’s acclaimed all-vegan deli serves up a menu that ranges from bagels and schmears to bagel sandwiches and deli sandwiches stacked on marble rye; the “whitefish” salad is made from smoked hearts of palm while brined and salt-roasted carrots sub for lox. Traditional Jewish deli treats, from babka to hamentashen and black and white cookies also get the vegan treatment. 6663 El Cajon Boulevard.
GASLAMP— The Smoking Gun has a new arcade component, featuring everything from air hockey and skee-ball to retro games like Galaga and Pac-Man, where players can drink and eat while gaming. Open the same hours as the restaurant and cocktail bar, the Smoking Gun Arcade offers reloadable cards instead of having players use coins at its machines and is stocked with TVs for sports watching. 555 Market Street.
TIERRESANTA— The family-run Sangucheria specializes in Peruvian street food with a streamlined menu centered around sandwiches including the chicharron filled with slow-braised pork served with spicy dipping sauces as well as classic desserts like a clove and cinnamon-spiced bread pudding and Peruvian-style strawberry jelly cake. 5950 Santo Road.
January 25, 2022
LEMON GROVE— Giardino owner Karina Kravalis has just debuted a second spot that shares a parking lot with her longstanding Italian restaurant. Zest Wine Bistro brings a new spot for wine and small plates to the neighborhood, offering a menu that ranges from charcuterie boards to truffled burrata and seafood tostadas along with an extensive wine list. In addition to a monthly wine club, Zest is also hosting a monthly afternoon tea service as well as sommelier-led wine and food pairing events. 8129 Broadway.
CHULA VISTA— Celebrating the Mexican state that’s known for its beef production, Rancho Sonora spans a boutique butcher shop housed in a converted shipping container and an outdoor beer garden and grill where co-owner Roger Canez is serving up a menu of steaks accompanied by tortillas, guacamole, salsa and other fixings as well as meaty tacos that include rib eye with bone marrow, adobada, and the chipilon, which combines tripe, carne asada, and cheese chicharron. 1283 Third Avenue.
DEL MAR— Beeside Balcony chef/owner Christophe Cevasco has launched a new Italian restaurant called Cevasco’s that is located just beneath his popular Mediterranean spot. Now open for lunch and dinner with a menu that includes grilled steaks and seafood along with pasta and classic dishes like chicken parmesan, risotto, and carpaccio, the restaurant also has a full bar mixing up cocktails like a lemon drops made with limoncello, negronis, and espresso martinis. 1201 Camino Del Mar Suite 1.
CARLSBAD— Orange County’s Ichitaru Ramen lands in North County bearing Japanese appetizers, bento boxes, and shoyu and miso-based ramen that includes the “Garlic Bomb” with fried garlic and fresh garlic, wonton ramen, fried chicken curry ramen, and a super spicy version. 7040 Avenida Encinas Ste 111.
MISSION HILLS— Johnny Rivera (Hash House A Go Go) has finally opened the long-delayed Wolf in the Woods with an executive chef team that include Carmine Lopez, who helped Rivera open Great Maple in Hillcrest. The wine bar and cafe’s dinner menu ranges from snacks and tapas like chicken liver pate and crispy calamari to roasted clams and Iberico ham toast. 1920 Fort Stockton.
January 4, 2022
HILLCREST— There now exists a whopping 12 locations of Breakfast Republic throughout Southern California with the latest outpost of the San Diego-based chain touching down in the heart of Hillcrest in the space that formerly housed Two Seven Eight. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., the restaurant and bar serves up a crowd-pleasing menu of brunch plates and cocktails that currently includes winter season specials like a pomegranate mimosa, katsu curry with eggs, and a lime meringue French toast. 3685 Fifth Ave.
SOUTH PARK— Local roaster Dark Horse Coffee has rolled open its fifth San Diego area branch at the corner of Juniper and 30th. Two years in the making, it replaces the Daily Scoop and brings small-batch ice cream back to the neighborhood courtesy of its Golden Hill scoop shop Mutual Friend. Dark Horse’s new 1,500-square-foot cafe is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. with full coffee service offered until 5:30 p.m. 3004 Juniper St.
LEMON GROVE— The Italian compatriots behind Osteria Panevino, Breakfast & Bubbles, and Rusticucina, along with chef Marco Provino, have teamed up to open Inpasta in East County, a spacious establishment that combines a sit-down restaurant, deli, and gourmet marketplace. The restaurant’s menu is based on pasta and pizza, with grab and go sandwiches, prepared pastas, pizza by the slice, and gelato available in the deli and a large assortment of Italian ingredients showcased in the market. 8099 Broadway.
NORMAL HEIGHTS— After five years on Adams Avenue, Beerfish has morphed into the Swan Bar with owner Abel Kaase transforming the breezy beer spot into a dark cocktail den. Serving classic drinks, including an espresso martini and cosmopolitan on draft that are $5 during happy hour, the bar also serves up a basic menu of build-your-own burgers, sides, and salads. 2933 Adams Ave.
PACIFIC BEACH— The birria boom has reached the coast with the arrival of Riverside’s Birreria & Taqueria La Huasteca in North PB. Featured both beef and lamb birria, highlighted in tacos as well as on-trend birria pizza, birria ramen, and quesabirria, the extensive menu also includes breakfast specialties, mole, menudo, pozole, and street tacos filled with everything from cabeza to carnitas. 865 Turquoise St.
- All Openings Coverage [ESD]