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Kelly Bone

Where to Get Satisfying Salads in San Diego

It’s always salad season in San Diego

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Donna Jean
| Kelly Bone

Salads are a celebration of freshness. And in San Diego, the pristine produce is often locally sourced from neighborhood farmers markets or delivered directly from farms to restaurant kitchens. From creative and complex plates of crisp, leafy greens or warm roasted vegetables, with add-ins like grains or proteins, here are 19 restaurants with salad-making skills that go beyond boring.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Choice Juicery

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430 Carlsbad Village Dr
Carlsbad, CA 92008
(760) 994-0013
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With COVD-19 friendly grab and go options (you can order ahead online to ensure they have what you want), Choice Superfood is a smart choice for salads and organic juice. The Macho Taco Salad comes with walnut “taco meat,” bell pepper, red cabbage, cilantro, and chipotle cashew dressing while the Coconut “Bakon” Cobb offers avocado, marinated hearts of palm, and quinoa with chawer ranch.

Choice Juicery
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2. Mendocino Farms

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2674 Gateway Rd
Carlsbad, CA 92009
(760) 448-1290
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Salads at Mendocino Farms are infused with the same creativity as their sandwiches. The Impossible Taco Salad is a customer favorite with savoy plant-based chorizo and succotash drizzled with a smoky vegan chipotle ranch. The Mama Chen’s Chinese Chicken Salad is built on a base of crunchy napa cabbage and kale slaw with bean sprouts, baby spinach, toasted cashews, and wontons in a miso mustard sesame dressing (it’s free to sub avocado for chicken).

Mendocino Farms
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3. Lotus Cafe & Juice Bar

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765 S Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024
(760) 479-1977
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In the historic core of Encinita, Lotus Cafe and Juice Bar serves primary vegetarian dishes including many wholesome salads. Many ingredients at Lotus are organic, like the leafy base of the Soulful Salad. It comes topped with carrots, red onions, jicama, red cabbage, radish, tomato, and organic sunflower sprouts with creamy dill dressing and optional add on proteins like tuna, tempeh, and tofu. 

Lotus Cafe & Juice Bar
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4. The Greenspot Salad Company

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16625 Dove Canyon Rd #109
San Diego, CA 92127
(858) 798-5199
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If you work in an office near a Greenspot Salad Company you likely know the joy of seeing their boxes arrive for a catered lunch. There never boring salads include the Roasted Veggie with red peppers, grilled zucchini, and balsamic roasted mushroom and the Superfood with baby spinach, kale, broccoli, roasted sweet potato, quinoa, and avocado, tossed in a lemon dressing.

The Greenspot Salad Company
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5. Parakeet Cafe

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3745 Paseo Pl #820
San Diego, CA 92130
(858) 345-1688
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Popping up all over San Diego, Parakeet Cafe offers a creative menu including many salads. The Kale Caesar is a crowd favorite with carrot, fennel, pepitas, and quinoa, in a cashew Caesar dressing. The Farro Salad with roasted yams, shaved fennel, toasted almonds, and Fuji apples in a Dijon mustard vinaigrette is a filling choice as well. 

Parakeet Cafe
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6. Head Lettuce

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4150 Regents Park Row UNIT 175
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 230-6786
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This University City shop offers customized chopped salads like the Green Goddess with avocado, edamame, quinoa, spiced pepitas in a green goddess dressing and the Miso Ginger Crunch with shredded carrots, scallions, bean sprouts and crunchy ramen noodles and optional add on grilled chicken. 

Head Lettuce
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7. The Oasis Cafe

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4909 Murphy Canyon Rd #100
San Diego, CA 92123
(858) 492-1372
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Tucked in to a quiet business park, The Oasis offers high quality creative breakfast and lunch dishes. New to the menu is the filling Avocado, Grains and Greens Bowl with lettuce, chickpeas and radish in a tangy Italian salsa verde dressing or try the Greek Salad cucumbers, olives, pepperoncini, and cheese with optional add-ons like grilled chicken, tofu, and vegan or hickory bacon. 

The Oasis Cafe
Kelly Bone

8. Crafted Greens

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745 Jamacha Road
El Cajon, CA 92019
(619) 328-4044
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This East County spot offers a rich, organic, menu of sandwiches, platers, and of course salads. Choose a base salad—like the Guacamole Greens with corn, black beans, avocado, tomatoes, grilled onions, white cheddar or vegan cheese, and crispy tortilla strips in a housemade lime cilantro vinaigrette—and enjoy as-is or with an added protein.

Crafted Greens
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9. Grater Greens

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5608 Mission Center Rd #901
San Diego, CA 92108
(619) 539-7598
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Mission Valley’s Grater Greens (who owes name harks to sister restaurant, Greater Grilled Cheese) offer  build-your-own option salads or choose one of their featured creations. Choices include the Kale Couscous Salad with cabbage, couscous pilaf, avocado, roasted cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, and stewed black beans in a champagne vinaigrette and the Apple Cranberry with spinach, shaved red onion, and candied pecans in an apple cider vinaigrette.

Grater Greens
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10. Alforon Mediterranean

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5965 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92115
(619) 269-9904
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When seeking Lebanese salads that go beyond Fattoush, Alforon steps up and provides. From their tender Beet Salad over crisp romaine to their Favarugula—fava beans marinated in olive oil and lemon over arugula and tomatoes—they go well beyond the basics. Of course Alforon’s Fattoush with romaine tomato, cucumber, radish, bell peppers, and toasted housemade bread is solid as well.

Alforon
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11. Garden Kitchen

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4204 Rolando Blvd
San Diego, CA 92115
(619) 431-5755
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With a menu built on what is available direct from the handful of farms Garden Kitchen works with, the ever-changing salad selection highlights San Diego’s local produce. On the menu you’ll find smoky blue cheese or herby sunflower seed pate with baby kale and micro greens or the housemade bread toasted into a Panzanella with cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, agave balsamic, and a pungent pop of capers. 

Garden Kitchen
Kelly Bone

12. Loving Hut

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1905 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 683-9490
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Loving Hut lost no abundance when translating their Heavenly Salad to takeout. The clear clam shell busts with shredded cabbage, carrots, onions, and bell pepper with thin strips of fried tofu and soy protein, a handful of Vietnamese mints (like pepper and fish mint), and crushed peanuts with tamarind-spiced sweet and sour dressing. 

Loving Hut
Kelly Bone

13. Tribute Pizza

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3077 North Park Way
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 450-4505
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Nothing makes it to Tribute Pizza’s menu without being perfect. Every pizza, every appetizer, and ever salad deserves individual acclaim. The seemingly simple Elaine Benes Little Big Salad—with heirloom tomatoes, veggies, and marinated garbanzo beans in a bright red wine vinaigrette—reveals why it’s namesake character made a scene over these greens. The “betrayal of caesar by the coward brutus, or, et tu brute” has been a favorite from the start with grilled romaine (sometimes switched to baby kale with the season gives) spotted with Calabrian chilies and a garlicky dressing finished with the lacey crisp of wood-fired focaccia croutons.

Tribute Pizza
Kelly Bone

14. The WrapShack

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12098 Fury Ln
El Cajon, CA 92019
(619) 660-6001
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At their two locations in East County, The WrapShack offers ready designed salads, like a California Cobb, or you get any of their dozens of wraps served salad style. Favorites include a Thai Chicken with peanut sauce cucumbers, bean sprouts, and basil and the Vera Cruz with corn bell, bell pepper, and spicy salsa—both available with grilled or vegan chicken. 

The WrapShack
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15. Soi 30th

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3442 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 892-7300
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Soi 30th’s Somtom salad is built with a crunchy base of shredded green papaya, tomatoes, lettuce, and peanuts steeped in a tart lime dressing with optional shrimp. The larb salad, marinated protein tossed with generous portions of fresh herbs and slivers of onions then dusted with roasted brown rice powder is available with pork or crispy mock duck.

Soi 30th
Kelly Bone

16. Donna Jean

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2949 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 299-5500
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Seasonally driven, the kitchen at Donna Jean plays with vegetables through the vegan menu. The salads feature the freshest items like shaved Brussel Sprouts with tatsoi (a bok choy like leafy green), golden raisins, apples, seared maitake mushrooms, smoked almond, and vegan parmesan in a shallot vinaigrette.

Donna Jean
Kelly Bone

17. Tender Greens

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2400 Historic Decatur Rd
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 226-6254
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As the name implies, the greens here are always tender and fresh... and filling. A selection of proteins come plated with simple salads like butter lettuce with chives and a tarragon dressing or kale with parmesan and roasted garlic vinaigrette. Or bypass the meat altogether an get lemon dressed greens nestled between farro with tart dried cranberries, green hummus, and a nutty tabbouleh in the Happy Vegan salad.

18. Cafe Gratitude San Diego

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1980 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 736-5077
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Café Gratitude San Diego’s ‘I AM Expansive’ farmers market salad is the ideal dish for a healthy start to the new year. Deliciously filled with butter lettuce, watermelon and French breakfast radishes, avocado, heirloom cherry tomatoes, persian cucumbers, pickled carrots, cashew mozzarella, and maple-toasted seeds, all tossed in a shallot herb vinaigrette. Other faves include the Kale and Sea Vegetable salad and Little Gems Caesar.

Cafe Gratitude

19. KINDRED

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1503 30th St
San Diego, CA 92102
(619) 546-9653
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 Never shy about changing the menu, since opening South Park’s Kindred has held tightly to the Wizard Bowl. The kitchen casts a bowl of buttery greens with maple glazed carrots, crispy tempeh, tender beets, candied pecans, and more under a champagne vinaigrette. The Little Gem Caesar, with sourdough croutons and fried capers in a white miso dressing, is another lair favorite.  

Kindred
Kelly Bone

1. Choice Juicery

430 Carlsbad Village Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Choice Juicery
Facebook

With COVD-19 friendly grab and go options (you can order ahead online to ensure they have what you want), Choice Superfood is a smart choice for salads and organic juice. The Macho Taco Salad comes with walnut “taco meat,” bell pepper, red cabbage, cilantro, and chipotle cashew dressing while the Coconut “Bakon” Cobb offers avocado, marinated hearts of palm, and quinoa with chawer ranch.

430 Carlsbad Village Dr
Carlsbad, CA 92008

2. Mendocino Farms

2674 Gateway Rd, Carlsbad, CA 92009
Mendocino Farms
Facebook

Salads at Mendocino Farms are infused with the same creativity as their sandwiches. The Impossible Taco Salad is a customer favorite with savoy plant-based chorizo and succotash drizzled with a smoky vegan chipotle ranch. The Mama Chen’s Chinese Chicken Salad is built on a base of crunchy napa cabbage and kale slaw with bean sprouts, baby spinach, toasted cashews, and wontons in a miso mustard sesame dressing (it’s free to sub avocado for chicken).

2674 Gateway Rd
Carlsbad, CA 92009

3. Lotus Cafe & Juice Bar

765 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024
Lotus Cafe & Juice Bar
Facebook

In the historic core of Encinita, Lotus Cafe and Juice Bar serves primary vegetarian dishes including many wholesome salads. Many ingredients at Lotus are organic, like the leafy base of the Soulful Salad. It comes topped with carrots, red onions, jicama, red cabbage, radish, tomato, and organic sunflower sprouts with creamy dill dressing and optional add on proteins like tuna, tempeh, and tofu. 

765 S Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024

4. The Greenspot Salad Company

16625 Dove Canyon Rd #109, San Diego, CA 92127
The Greenspot Salad Company
Facebook

If you work in an office near a Greenspot Salad Company you likely know the joy of seeing their boxes arrive for a catered lunch. There never boring salads include the Roasted Veggie with red peppers, grilled zucchini, and balsamic roasted mushroom and the Superfood with baby spinach, kale, broccoli, roasted sweet potato, quinoa, and avocado, tossed in a lemon dressing.

16625 Dove Canyon Rd #109
San Diego, CA 92127

5. Parakeet Cafe

3745 Paseo Pl #820, San Diego, CA 92130
Parakeet Cafe
Facebook

Popping up all over San Diego, Parakeet Cafe offers a creative menu including many salads. The Kale Caesar is a crowd favorite with carrot, fennel, pepitas, and quinoa, in a cashew Caesar dressing. The Farro Salad with roasted yams, shaved fennel, toasted almonds, and Fuji apples in a Dijon mustard vinaigrette is a filling choice as well. 

3745 Paseo Pl #820
San Diego, CA 92130

6. Head Lettuce

4150 Regents Park Row UNIT 175, La Jolla, CA 92037
Head Lettuce
Facebook

This University City shop offers customized chopped salads like the Green Goddess with avocado, edamame, quinoa, spiced pepitas in a green goddess dressing and the Miso Ginger Crunch with shredded carrots, scallions, bean sprouts and crunchy ramen noodles and optional add on grilled chicken. 

4150 Regents Park Row UNIT 175
La Jolla, CA 92037

7. The Oasis Cafe

4909 Murphy Canyon Rd #100, San Diego, CA 92123
The Oasis Cafe
Kelly Bone

Tucked in to a quiet business park, The Oasis offers high quality creative breakfast and lunch dishes. New to the menu is the filling Avocado, Grains and Greens Bowl with lettuce, chickpeas and radish in a tangy Italian salsa verde dressing or try the Greek Salad cucumbers, olives, pepperoncini, and cheese with optional add-ons like grilled chicken, tofu, and vegan or hickory bacon. 

4909 Murphy Canyon Rd #100
San Diego, CA 92123

8. Crafted Greens

745 Jamacha Road, El Cajon, CA 92019
Crafted Greens
Facebook

This East County spot offers a rich, organic, menu of sandwiches, platers, and of course salads. Choose a base salad—like the Guacamole Greens with corn, black beans, avocado, tomatoes, grilled onions, white cheddar or vegan cheese, and crispy tortilla strips in a housemade lime cilantro vinaigrette—and enjoy as-is or with an added protein.

745 Jamacha Road
El Cajon, CA 92019

9. Grater Greens

5608 Mission Center Rd #901, San Diego, CA 92108
Grater Greens
Facebook

Mission Valley’s Grater Greens (who owes name harks to sister restaurant, Greater Grilled Cheese) offer  build-your-own option salads or choose one of their featured creations. Choices include the Kale Couscous Salad with cabbage, couscous pilaf, avocado, roasted cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, and stewed black beans in a champagne vinaigrette and the Apple Cranberry with spinach, shaved red onion, and candied pecans in an apple cider vinaigrette.

5608 Mission Center Rd #901
San Diego, CA 92108

10. Alforon Mediterranean

5965 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115
Alforon
Facebook

When seeking Lebanese salads that go beyond Fattoush, Alforon steps up and provides. From their tender Beet Salad over crisp romaine to their Favarugula—fava beans marinated in olive oil and lemon over arugula and tomatoes—they go well beyond the basics. Of course Alforon’s Fattoush with romaine tomato, cucumber, radish, bell peppers, and toasted housemade bread is solid as well.

5965 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92115

11. Garden Kitchen

4204 Rolando Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115
Garden Kitchen
Kelly Bone

With a menu built on what is available direct from the handful of farms Garden Kitchen works with, the ever-changing salad selection highlights San Diego’s local produce. On the menu you’ll find smoky blue cheese or herby sunflower seed pate with baby kale and micro greens or the housemade bread toasted into a Panzanella with cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, agave balsamic, and a pungent pop of capers. 

4204 Rolando Blvd
San Diego, CA 92115

12. Loving Hut

1905 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104
Loving Hut
Kelly Bone

Loving Hut lost no abundance when translating their Heavenly Salad to takeout. The clear clam shell busts with shredded cabbage, carrots, onions, and bell pepper with thin strips of fried tofu and soy protein, a handful of Vietnamese mints (like pepper and fish mint), and crushed peanuts with tamarind-spiced sweet and sour dressing. 

1905 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92104

13. Tribute Pizza

3077 North Park Way, San Diego, CA 92104
Tribute Pizza
Kelly Bone

Nothing makes it to Tribute Pizza’s menu without being perfect. Every pizza, every appetizer, and ever salad deserves individual acclaim. The seemingly simple Elaine Benes Little Big Salad—with heirloom tomatoes, veggies, and marinated garbanzo beans in a bright red wine vinaigrette—reveals why it’s namesake character made a scene over these greens. The “betrayal of caesar by the coward brutus, or, et tu brute” has been a favorite from the start with grilled romaine (sometimes switched to baby kale with the season gives) spotted with Calabrian chilies and a garlicky dressing finished with the lacey crisp of wood-fired focaccia croutons.

3077 North Park Way
San Diego, CA 92104

14. The WrapShack

12098 Fury Ln, El Cajon, CA 92019
The WrapShack
Facebook

At their two locations in East County, The WrapShack offers ready designed salads, like a California Cobb, or you get any of their dozens of wraps served salad style. Favorites include a Thai Chicken with peanut sauce cucumbers, bean sprouts, and basil and the Vera Cruz with corn bell, bell pepper, and spicy salsa—both available with grilled or vegan chicken. 

12098 Fury Ln
El Cajon, CA 92019

15. Soi 30th

3442 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104
Soi 30th
Kelly Bone

Soi 30th’s Somtom salad is built with a crunchy base of shredded green papaya, tomatoes, lettuce, and peanuts steeped in a tart lime dressing with optional shrimp. The larb salad, marinated protein tossed with generous portions of fresh herbs and slivers of onions then dusted with roasted brown rice powder is available with pork or crispy mock duck.

3442 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104

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16. Donna Jean

2949 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
Donna Jean
Kelly Bone

Seasonally driven, the kitchen at Donna Jean plays with vegetables through the vegan menu. The salads feature the freshest items like shaved Brussel Sprouts with tatsoi (a bok choy like leafy green), golden raisins, apples, seared maitake mushrooms, smoked almond, and vegan parmesan in a shallot vinaigrette.

2949 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92103

17. Tender Greens

2400 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106

As the name implies, the greens here are always tender and fresh... and filling. A selection of proteins come plated with simple salads like butter lettuce with chives and a tarragon dressing or kale with parmesan and roasted garlic vinaigrette. Or bypass the meat altogether an get lemon dressed greens nestled between farro with tart dried cranberries, green hummus, and a nutty tabbouleh in the Happy Vegan salad.

2400 Historic Decatur Rd
San Diego, CA 92106

18. Cafe Gratitude San Diego

1980 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
Cafe Gratitude

Café Gratitude San Diego’s ‘I AM Expansive’ farmers market salad is the ideal dish for a healthy start to the new year. Deliciously filled with butter lettuce, watermelon and French breakfast radishes, avocado, heirloom cherry tomatoes, persian cucumbers, pickled carrots, cashew mozzarella, and maple-toasted seeds, all tossed in a shallot herb vinaigrette. Other faves include the Kale and Sea Vegetable salad and Little Gems Caesar.

1980 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101

19. KINDRED

1503 30th St, San Diego, CA 92102
Kindred
Kelly Bone

 Never shy about changing the menu, since opening South Park’s Kindred has held tightly to the Wizard Bowl. The kitchen casts a bowl of buttery greens with maple glazed carrots, crispy tempeh, tender beets, candied pecans, and more under a champagne vinaigrette. The Little Gem Caesar, with sourdough croutons and fried capers in a white miso dressing, is another lair favorite.  

1503 30th St
San Diego, CA 92102

Related Maps