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. We begin 2023 with a collection of fresh spots that will be regularly updated; revisit last year’s extensive lineup here.
Did we miss a spot? Drop a note at the tipline and we’ll consider it for the next update.
NOVEMBER 7, 2023
GASLAMP— Karina’s Group (Taka, Saffron Thai) is behind Santa Gula, a new 3,500-square-foot entertainment venue that will regularly feature live music from a house band as well as guest performers and DJs. The swanky 80-seat restaurant and lounge, set within a historic downtown building, serves a menu that includes oysters and caviar, pork belly chicharron, oxtail dumplings, and dry-aged New York steak. 554 4th Avenue.
LA MESA— Chef Drew Bent has opened a dedicated space for his Sonoran-style barbecue in East County. Papalo, whose launch in North Park was followed by a stint in the East Village, brings an appealing dining option to the heart of La Mesa with plates of beef short ribs and mole barbecue chicken paired with sides like citrus pickle slaw and Mexican saffron red rice as well as a vegan cactus sandwich and ground brisket cheeseburger. 8323 La Mesa Boulevard.
GRANTVILLE— Chinese restaurant Mr. Spicy has morphed into Hi!Dumplings which, true to its name, specializes in xiao long bao as well as boiled dumplings filled with pork and shrimp or beef and onions. The menu extends to comfort food favorites like dan dan noodles, house special chow mein, honey walnut shrimp, and orange chicken. 6618 Mission Gorge Road.
KEARNY MESA— The latest addition to the Korean fried chicken landscape (replacing Padadak Chicken) is a chain based in Japan called Crispy Chicken n’ Tomato which offers boneless chicken, wings, and whole chickens dressed with an array of seasonings and sauces including honey-soy, cheese snow, truffle salt, jalapeno mayonnaise. Other dishes and snacks include kimchi pancakes, yakisoba, and spicy Korean rice cakes. 9363 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard.
LA JOLLA— Blue Whale is a charming new cafe whose eclectic menu includes brunch plates like ube pancakes, lox toast, and breakfast burritos as well as lobster rolls, smashburgers, octopus tacos, and Thai-style grilled ribeye. Along with a full range of coffee, tea, and specialty drinks including turmeric lattes and a Mayan mocha, there are smoothies and build-your-own superfood bowls based on acai, dragon fruit, mango and more with granola, chia, pudding, and various toppings. 834 Kline Street.
OCTOBER 24, 2023
NORMAL HEIGHTS— A daytime spot called the Vibe has replaced Ska Bar, spotlighting daily brunch offered from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Joining brunch standards ranging from avocado toast to eggs Benedict, and a burger are dishes like spicy shrimp tacos, lobster rolls, and fried chicken sandwiches. There are micheladas and Bloody Marys as well as cocktails on draft. 3250 Adams Avenue.
RANCHO BERNARDO— Adams Avenue’s Hawthorn Coffee recently unveiled an expansive new space under its roasting moniker, Compa Coffee Roasters where it can continue to expand its roasting operations. Doubling as another coffee shop, it features Hawthorn’s popular drinks like the SuperTonic and Flash Gordon while its in-house kitchen bakes up fluffy homemade biscuits for a menu that also includes bagels, toasts, and sandwiches. 11828 Rancho Bernardo Rd #101.
OCEANSIDE— Bread and Cheese Eatery added a North County coastal location to its roster of shops specializing in gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, pairing it with the launch of a new brand called And Breakfast Burritos, whose menu revolves around burritos filled with eggs, cheese, and garlic tots with optional add-ins like sausage, bacon, and pastrami. Along with coffee, And Breakfast Burritos also whips up tropical fruit smoothies served in a whole pineapple. 1904 S Coast Hwy, Unit 101.
LA JOLLA— Old Town Temecula’s family-owned Havana Kitchen has opened a second location serving its traditional recipes for Cuban classics. Operating for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday, the restaurant’s menu includes an assortment of empanadas as well as variations on a Cubano sandwich, snacks such as yuca fries and tostones, and Cuban specialties like ropa vieja and lechon asado to pair with a sweetened cup of Cafe Cubano. A weekend brunch is coming soon. 1055 Torrey Pines Road.
CORTEZ HILL— The latest restaurant to pop open at the base of the El Cortez building is Osteria Cotto e Mangiato, an Italian restaurant offering a large selection of antipasti, from carpaccio to calamari and arancini which along with meat and cheese boards, fresh pasta, and flatbreads. Its happy hour runs between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. every day and all bottles from its California and Italian wine list are half-off on Wednesdays. 702 Ash Street.
SEPTEMBER 22, 2023
OLD TOWN— Recently launching daily lunch service, El Sueño is the second Old Town venture for Trattoria Don Pietro owners Pietro Busalacchi, his father Sal, and their longtime friend Gustavo Rios. The jungle-themed, two-story restaurant and cocktail, informed by Pietro Busalacchi’s travels through Mexico and the Huasteca heritage of Rios’ mother, brings a late-night dining and drinking option to the tourist district, offering a menu that includes crab empanadas, queso birria tacos, duck carnitas, and grilled whole fish. 2836 Juan Street.
CARLSBAD— Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient LOLA 55 has expanded from the East Village into North County’s Beacon at La Costa. Designed by Agostino Sannino of Itaca Design Studio, the 3,365-square-foot space includes an 800-square-foot patio in which the acclaimed taco specialist is serving its menu of bestsellers including the Baja-style fish taco and mesquite-grilled mushroom taco along with cocktails. A happy hour is coming soon and owner Frank Vizcarra tells Eater that may also be adding some breakfast options. 7720 El Camino Real Suite N.
POINT LOMA— California Wild Ales has relocated its original brewing facility from Sorrento Valley to a new 1,200-square-foot space that also holds a 20-tap tasting room showcasing a lineup that includes its barrel-aged sour beers made with seasonal fruit, IPAs, and lagers as well as seltzers and a non-alcoholic beer option. With food options like burgers, fried chicken, and sandwiches supplied by the Last Typewriter, the bar will show live sporting events on a massive movie screen and also host live music performances. 3826 Sherman Street.
FASHION VALLEY— Starting as a food truck before branching out into the Sky Deck at Del Mar Highlands, Craft House has opened another location of its gastropub at the Fashion Valley Mall. Kitted out with an interior inspired by Tulum, the all-day restaurant features live music on the weekends to pair with a menu from chef Caesar Huerta that includes its Monster Burgers along with local catch ceviche, lobster rolls, chicken wings, and specialty cocktails like a tamarind Painkiller and Coco Loco margarita. 7007 Friars Road, Suite 347.
HILLCREST— Run by two professional opera singers, DivoDiva is a new European cafe that replaces Papalecco. Pouring coffee and wine, it offers a daytime menu that includes fresh pastries, bagels, and avocado toast for brunch, shifting over in the afternoon to feature charcuterie boards, various bruschetta, and pinsa Romana, or Roman-style pizza. 3650 5th Avenue #104.
MAY 9, 2023
LEMON GROVE— East County has a new Italian entry in AnniVenti La Trattoria, opened by three brothers and named after their family’s original restaurant in Palermo, Italy where the siblings once worked. The Gagliano’s menu starts with antipasti, including breaded burrata served with pistachio pesto and fried calamari, and extends to pizza, calzone, pasta like gnocchi alla Sorrentina and entrees ranging from roast chicken to filet mignon. 8099 Broadway.
MISSION BAY— The beachside Bahia Resort Hotel has unveiled an all-day waterfront restaurant whose nautical design provides a backdrop for California cuisine created by new executive chef Bryan Stuppy. Dockside 1953, named in honor of the resort’s founding 70 years ago, will launch a new lunch menu on May 15 and new brunch offerings on May 26,. Situated steps from the beach and the marina, with fire pits warming its outdoor patio, the menu includes rockfish ceviche, a grand seafood tower, steak au poivre, shrimp arrabbiata, and a local catch of the day provided by nearby TunaVille Market and Grocery. 998 W Mission Bay Drive.
OCEAN BEACH— The Shop, a popular pizzeria in Rancho Bernardo and one of Eater’s essential pizza spots, is now serving at its second location which focuses on wine from lesser-known regions available by the glass, flight, bottle, or to-go. Its full menu has transferred down, including its renowned deep-dish pies plus thin crust pizzas, salads, sandwiches, and handmade pasta. Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day except Tuesdays, the restaurant and wine bar is hosting a grand opening party on May 20, with free slices of pizza for the first 200 guests and a raffle to win free pizza for a year. 1929 Cable Street.
MISSION VALLEY— Clairemont’s crowd-pleasing Cuban restaurant Havana Grill has opened a larger location at Westfield Mission Valley, where its menu of favorites includes classic dishes like ropa vieja, arroz con pollo as well as standout Cuban sandwiches. The new counter-service restaurant, which has a full bar, also holds a bakery where the family-owned establishment is making its own Cuban pastries and desserts. 1652 Camino Del Rio N.
PACIFIC BEACH— It’s Pudum is a new pickup-only shop that specializes in pudim, a traditional Brazilian dessert similar to flan. Taking online orders for its pudim in individual or family-sized portions, with flavor options like coconut and passion fruit, the buisiness also features other Brazilian desserts like quindim and brigadeirao. 1050 Hornblend Street.
MARCH 29, 2023
UNIVERSITY CITY— A newly-refreshed Mexican restaurant has landed at Campus Point by Alexandria. Casa is the latest restaurant to open under the umbrella of Bottle Boon, the hospitality company that took over operations of the nearby Green Acre in 2020 and has a highly-anticipated tapas restaurant and wine bar coming to North Park. Run by Dan Valerino and Joe Bower, with Bower leading all things culinary, its menu features tacos like al pastor and garlic shrimp rojo on flour tortillas from Gabriel Tortilleria in Sherman Heights and tortas sandwiched with shredded beef and ham or soyrizo and black bean as well as salads, sides, and homemade agua frescas. Currently open for lunch, it’ll eventually add extended hours, an espresso bar, and a margarita program. 4242 Campus Point Court.
SORRENTO VALLEY— Dot & Dough and Fika Fika Creamery have opened side-by-side at the new Mercato at Sorrento food hall. Both hailing from the LA area, Dot & Dough specializes in mochi doughnuts in flavors like rainbow taro and matcha white chocolate as well as made-to-order malasadas; both the doughnuts and malasadas can also come with fillings like taro, ube, and Belgian chocolate. The stand also offers coffee, boba drinks, and smoothies. Fika Fika Creamery’s artisanal scoops and pints are inspired by Asian ingredients and popular boba shop beverages, with flavors ranging from Hokkaido milk tea and brown sugar milk to young coconut ube and strawberry Pocky. 9450 Scranton Road.
KEARNY MESA— Just opened inside the food hall at H Mart Balboa, Jaws TPK is part of an immensely successful South Korean chain that focuses on street food. The stall is offering set menus that include tteokbokki, or spicy rice cake soup, paired with soondae and deep fried seafood and vegetables along with a wide variety of gimbap, seaweed rice rolls wrapped around fillings like tuna mayo, bulgogi, and fried shrimp. 7725 Balboa Avenue.
CARLSBAD— The newest arrival at the Forum Carlsbad shopping center is Kaiseki Sushi, a sushi and seafood restaurant from Wild Thyme Restaurant Group, which operates Kai Modern Japanese Bistro in Huntington Beach as well as Newport Beach’s Shorebird Coastal Eatery. Sushi chefs Tin Nguyen and Jon Kim (Nobu) are behind a menu that includes hot and cold appetizers and plates like tuna truffle tataki along with a wide selection of nigiri, sashimi, temaki (hand rolls), and signature rolls like the spicy yellowtail roll and shrimp crunchy roll. 1935 Calle Barcelona. Suite 172.
OCEANSIDE— Continuing its expansion in the San Diego area, the late-night pop-up turned mega-hit Dave’s Hot Chicken has a new spot that joins its existing locations in Pacific Beach, Encinitas, and Mira Mesa, El Cajon, and Escondido. Open at 11 a.m. daily and staying open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, the fast-casual restaurant serves up its famous chicken tenders and sandwiches in a range of heat levels. 4201 Oceanside Blvd., Suite A.
MARCH 9, 2023
CARLSBAD— The Grand Restaurant Group (Bellamy’s, Nick & G’s) has turned the former Ignite Bistro space into a new outpost of Alejandra’s Fine Mexican Food & Cantina. At 5,600-square-feet, the sprawling North County restaurant includes two bars and multiple indoor and outdoor seating areas where executive chef Diego Arriaga is doing a menu of traditional and modern Mexican cuisine that includes sea achiote-marinated whole fish and shrimp aguachile as well as chile-garlic skirt steak, chicken mole, and crispy duck. Alejandra’s just debuted a weekday happy hour that includes specials on margaritas as well as appetizers like fresh oysters, nachos, and tostadas. 6996 El Camino Real.
LA JOLLA— Urban Kitchen Group (Cucina Urbana, Gold Finch) has opened a garden cafe at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Called the Kitchen, the daytime spot offers a full-service menu that highlights the Mediterranean, ranging from Turkish-poached eggs and sweet and savory buckwheat crepes to swordfish kebabs and lamb bulger burgers. Later this spring, chef/partner Tim Kolanko and executive chef Jeff Armstrong will turn a private event space at the museum into a lunchtime pop-up featuring four-course tasting menus. 700 Prospect Street.
BARRIO LOGAN— Landing on Logan Avenue is Fish Guts, a seafood spot specializing in tacos made with locally-caught fish. Operating for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday, its taco menu includes Baja-style fish, a twist on al pastor made with chile-marinated salmon, and coconut-crusted shrimp along with ceviche and smoked fish dip. There are also agave wine-based margaritas, like the Pepino Santo made with cucumber hoja santa syrup, and citrus. 2222 Logan Avenue.
UTC— LA’s Silverlake Ramen has launched its second San Diego location at Westfield UTC. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., the noodle shop is cooking up its signature ramen, including the Blaze, which has a spicy and creamy pork base, and its garlic truffle ramen. The menu extends to sushi rolls, rice bowls, and appetizers like gyoza and karaage. 4545 La Jolla Village Drive, E7.
UTC— Also new to Westfield UTC is Pazza Market & Cucina, an all-day Italian restaurant that includes a wine shop and marketplace selling gourmet goods as well as ready-made, take-home meals from its sit-down menu, which ranges from handmade pasta and sauces such as gemelli al pesto and pappardelle al funghi to pizza, soups, salads, and desserts. 4577 La Jolla Village Drive.
JANUARY 31, 2023
GASLAMP— A crowd-drawing NYC pizzeria with a controversial past, Prince Street Pizza is now baking up slices and whole pies of its signature Sicilian square pizzas like the Spicy Spring with fra diavolo sauce and spicy pepperoni and Neapolitan-style rounds as well as salads at its new downtown takeout shop that’s open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The store is now also accepting pickup orders as well as doing delivery through UberEats and Postmates. 415 Market Street.
POWAY— Ju Feng Yuan Dumpling Cafe is a recently-opened Chinese restaurant that specializes in a variety of dumplings including xiao long bao, or soup dumplings that come with assorted fillings like pork and chicken, as well as boiled dumplings, pan fried dumplings, won tons, and dessert dumplings shaped like cartoon characters. Open Wednesday through Monday for lunch and dinner, the cafe’s opening menu extends to chow mein, fried rice, and assorted entrees. 12265 Scripps Poway Pkwy Ste B109.
COLLEGE AREA— Located conveniently close to SDSU is a new Filipino food spot, Adobo House, that does a streamlined menu of burnt coconut rice bowls topped with a fried egg and a choice of chicken adobo, pork adobo, or bistek with caramelized onions with sides like adobo chicken wings, lumpia, and tortang talong, also known as eggplant omelet. 6784 El Cajon Blvd Ste J.
LITTLE ITALY— The latest addition to the Little Italy Food Hall, open daily at noon, is Sweet Petite Confections, a gourmet confectionery with another location in the Clairemont area. Chocolatier Michelle Lomelin has a background in fashion design, and creates unique treats like bonbons, caramels, chocolate barks, cookies, and more with seasonality in mind. 550 West Date Street, Suite B.
CARMEL VALLEY— The entire bean-to-bar process, from roasting cacao to tempering chocolate, is on display at Seabreeze Craft Chocolates where owner and chocolatier Jim Lantry holds chocolate-making classes and turns out single-origin chocolate bars, truffles, bonbons, and chocolate-nut spreads along with loose leaf tea made from cacao husks and ground cacao nibs. 3840 Valley Centre Drive, Suite 604.
JANUARY 3, 2023
BANKERS HILL— North Park Beer Co. has branched out with a new taproom and kitchen, open daily from 11 a.m. on, where the 24-tap bar is stocked with a large selection of the brewery’s beers including its award-winning Hop-Fu as well as guest beers, wine, hard kombucha, and cider. The full-service kitchen is serving up a brand new food menu that ranges from shareables like hand-cut French fries with beer cheese fondue and Thai-style or Buffalo chicken wings to salads and bun-based dishes like smashburgers, vegan burgers, and Nashville hot chicken sandwiches. 3095 Fifth Avenue.
KEARNY MESA— Convoy’s omakase sushi spot Hidden Fish has launched an adjacent restaurant called Hitokuchi, a sleek sake lounge featuring a menu split into raw bites like king crab and uni milk bread toast and amberjack crudo in yuzu ponzu and hot bites that include miso-sake Chilean sea bass with butter-dashi spinach, a rice bowl with Sichuan pepper broth-braised pork belly, and a creamy dish of lobster with Thai basil. 4764 Convoy Street.
PACIFIC BEACH— Mati’s Kitchen, a popular food truck from Southeast San Diego, has established its first storefront near the boardwalk. Mati’s Birria + Beer specializes in slow-braised Mexican birria, which is offered in tortas, tacos, quesadillas, flautas, and crunchwraps, with birria grilled cheese and birria chilaquiles available on weekends. There’s even a vegan version of birria made with mushrooms. The restaurant’s Taco Tuesday deals include two birria tacos for $5 and $5 Mexican lagers. 4150 Mission Boulevard.
LIBERTY STATION— The Sushi Stand is a recent addition to the Liberty Public Market, where it packs its specialty sushi rolls into convenient and portable boxes that are perfect for picnicking. Priced at $17.50, its popular rolls include the I See Fire roll with seared salmon and shrimp tempura and the Black and Yellow roll with spicy tuna, shishito tempura, and seared yellowtail. 2820 Historic Decatur Road.
SORRENTO VALLEY— Daru Indian Gastropub’s menu of street food and fusion dishes spans small plates like masala fries, fish and chips, and tandoori-grilled prawns as well as pizzas topped with paneer or chicken tikka. There’s also kati rolls, or paratha bread wraps featuring mutton, chicken, or chickpeas, along with homemade desserts like mango lassi and saffron ice cream. 9430 Scranton Road.