Even as temperatures cool and San Diego heads toward fall, there are still plenty of new openings to get excited about before the close of 2022. This year has already gifted us with compelling debuts, including Golden Hill’s nationally recognized Kingfisher, and several more buzzed-about restaurants, from White Rice in Normal Heights to Mabel’s Gone Fishing in North Park and La Jolla’s Paradisaea, that are due to arrive any day now.
Though a few highly anticipated spots, including the Encinitas partnership between an acclaimed local chef and skate legend Tony Hawk and the Barrio Logan outpost of Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘N Waffles, have been pushed back from their initial due dates, here’s the latest word on some standout restaurant and bar openings to look forward to before fall ends.
What: Accessed by a secret entrance off the same storefront that leads into their tiki spot, the Grass Skirt, SDCM Restaurant Group is docking a sea-worthy speakeasy in a 1,472-square-foot space that will have Master and Commander vibes, according to founder Matthew Spencer. Working again with Davis Ink on the design, which will bring guests onto an 18th-century ship and behind the door of the captain’s cabin, Captain’s Quarters will be a full-service cocktail bar featuring an emphasis on gin, with drinks by beverage director Eric Johnson, and a tapas menu as bar bites from the group’s executive chef Brian Redizowski.
Where: 1910 Grand Avenue
When: Mid-to-late November
What: CH Projects has operated a standalone restaurant on the UCSD campus since 2019 (CH Projects co-founder Arsalun Tafazoli is an alum of the university). Paused during the pandemic, the operation will reopen this fall to students, faculty, and neighbors as an extension of Underbelly, its popular ramen shop with locations in Little Italy and North Park. While it will offer ramen, the menu will be expanded to include katsu sandos and a range of Japanese-style small plates. With a full cocktail bar specializing in Japanese whiskey, expect the design to feature lots of neon and a Blade Runner-esque look similar to its Fir Street outpost.
Where: 105 Eucalyptus Grove Lane
What: Temporarily closed since the start of summer, this San Diego icon is nearing completion of a top-to-bottom renovation under new ownership — only the third owner in the restaurant’s 57-year run — and will emerge on its 12th-floor perch in Bankers Hill with a refreshed design that includes a newly built 18-seat bar and 72-seat indoor-outdoor lounge to capitalize on its jaw-dropping skyline views. Chef Stephane Voitzwinkler is updating the menu, adding more shareable dishes, and brand new offerings that’ll only be available in the bar and lounge.
Where: 2550 Fifth Avenue
Fisher’s San Diego
What: A long-empty, 8,700-square-foot space in Little Italy will soon hold the first U.S. branch of this Mexico-based seafood chain with over 30 locations around the globe. Operating since 1989, Fisher’s runs its own processing plant and supply chain, delivering fresh seafood to its fleet of restaurants. Featuring an oyster and raw seafood bar, the San Diego location will serve a broad selection of mariscos dishes from its massive menu that includes tiger prawn aguachile, spicy tuna tostadas, fish tacos, and seafood pasta.
Where: 555 W Beech Street