What’s New in San Diego’s Restaurant Scene
Located in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter, Rustic Root opened its doors in May 2015. Helmed by Executive Chef Antonio Friscia, the kitchen focuses on local, farm-fresh and house-made ingredients; offerings include a full brunch, dinner and late-night menus. The main dining room boasts a life-sized Sudoku wall, lighting features that include overhead colander lamps and street-style lamps that pay homage to the Gaslamp’s signature street lamps. Rustic Root’s 2,500 sq. ft. rooftop space is expected to open in July 2015.
Michelin Star rated Chef Michael ‘Bao’ Huynh, who has been featured on Iron Chef Vietnam, helms the kitchen at downtown San Diego’s newest Asian dining spot. The Vietnamese FoodShop, which opened its doors May 2015, offers casual, affordable Vietnamese street food such as bahn mi sandwiches and pho, along with other delicious grab-and-go fare while its next door fine-dining sister, Sovereign Kitchen + Bar, focuses on modern Vietnamese cuisine with rolls, salads, meats and poultry, noodles and rice options.
In June 2015, Breakfast Republic started serving breakfast in the hipster neighborhood of North Park. The 2,100 sq. ft. space holds 95 seats within its dining room and front and back patios. Featuring eggs from a local farm in Ramona, the menu includes classic breakfast dishes plus unique creations like a Vietnamese Chicken Wing Breakfast Bowl, Oreo Pancakes and S’mores French Toast. A rotating list of 15 beers is available on tap, kombucha and other unique beverages are available as well.
The much anticipated Bracero Cocina de Raíz by internationally renowned chef Javier Plascencia is expected to open July 2015 in Little Italy, San Diego’s most up-and-coming epicurean neighborhood. Encompassing 4,800 sq. ft. and two levels, the modern Mexican restaurant will include a patio; an open terrace; a raw/ceviche bar; a taco space with fresh hand-made tortillas; two bars featuring tequila, mescal, craft beer and wine programs; and a Caja China-fueled open kitchen where the chef will create Baja inspired small and large plates, like a shrimp and bone marrow sopes or a Caja China lamb roasted asado.
Another addition to Little Italy is The Crack Shack by Juniper & Ivy’s chef Richard Blais and owner Michael Rose. Expected to open fall 2015, the all-about-chicken-and-eggs outdoor casual eatery plans to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with free range, non-GMO eggs and organic ingredients sourced from local farms. A custom bread program is also in the plans.
Slated for completion in summer 2015, KINDRED will open in South Park, a charming uptown San Diego neighborhood. The 2,800 sq. ft. restaurant will focus on offering a new food and cocktail concept comprising an all-vegan menu. The new venue will feature indoor and outdoor spaces and a bar area highlighting draft beers and kombucha on tap. The signature cocktail program will include house-made syrups, soda and bitters, with a special focus on amari.
What’s New in San Diego’s Craft Brew Scene
In April 2015, South County’s beer scene grew thanks to the opening of NOVO Brazil Brewing Co. in Eastlake. The Brazilian-owned brewery and tasting room offers 13 beers on tap, like the Trio Pale Ale, Otay IPA, Copacabana Blond and the Brazil Soul, a blend between a dry stout and a porter. The brewery boasts fourteen 100-barrel steel tanks imported from Brazil and hosts rotating food trucks during the week.
In April 2015, Quad AleHouse opened in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter on the third floor of a 5,000 sq. ft. historic building once used by the U.S. Navy as a locker facility. The bar’s 28 taps include a wide selection of beers from San Diego County, while the food menu features slow-cooked, house-smoked meats, sandwiches, salads and shareable plates. The décor incorporates wood and brick elements, recycled beer growlers and kegs, and a wall-length map of San Diego denoting the county’s 100+ brewery locations.
In May 2015, Citizen Brewers opened a unique retail space where beer aficionados can brew on commercial grade equipment in centrally located Mission Valley. The 2,000 sq. ft. facility offers everything needed to brew ales and lagers, including assistance from experts, recipes, ingredients, eight copper-jacketed steam kettles, a bottle washing system, a temperature-controlled room for fermentation and taps for bottling and kegging. Appointments are preferred and there is a maximum limit of six people per kettle group. Patrons will also be able to develop their own labels to print and attach to bottled beer.
In June 2015, Duck Foot Brewery opened its first 5,000 sq. ft. tasting room and production facility in Miramar. The new brewery stands out for offering gluten-free beers without compromising flavor and body. The beer lineup includes year-round brews like a double white IPA, chocolate hazelnut porter and blonde ale, plus special release and seasonal beers. The tasting room is open Wednesday through Sunday and hosts rotating food trucks.
Slated for completion in summer 2015, AleSmith Brewing Company, one of the biggest breweries in San Diego, will boast a brand-new 105,500 sq. ft. facility with a cellar room for 200,000 barrel’s worth of fermentation vessels. The new production house located in the Miramar neighborhood will include a 25,000 sq. ft. two-story tasting room with views of the brewing area, a beer garden and a bar with 20 taps. Other features will include a merchandise store, a club room for special releases and VIP events, and a Tony Gwynn museum with memorabilia of the Padres baseball star. The former Alesmith space will be home to a new brewing project by renowned Danish brewer Mikkel Borg Bjergsø and AleSmith owner and brewmaster Peter Zien.
Spill the Beans – What’s New in San Diego’s Coffee Scene
In May 2015, Holsem Coffee opened its doors in North Park, offering seven daily roasts like the Holsem Blend, Espresso Peru and the Yirgecheffe. The coffee is sourced from around the globe and focuses on fair trade and ethical beans with no preservatives, colors or additives, utilizing third wave brew methods. A total of 18 non-alcoholic coffee cocktail creations, such as the “banana bread” (a cold brew with banana milk, cinnamon and honey), will also be crafted from all-natural ingredients. A changing selection of cold brew on nitro, like decaf, signature Holsem blend and ice teas, will pour from a 15-tap system.
In May 2015, M.A.D. Fix Coffee started brewing in Little Italy. The café offers hot and iced drinks such as iced teas, espressos, lattes, cappuccinos and macchiatos. The small coffee shop uses local Caffé Calabria-roasted beans and offers organic coffee options. Locally made treats are also available from North Park’s Nomad Donuts and The Raspberry Factory.
North Park’s cafe and roastery Caffe Calabria is in the process of building a new location in downtown San Diego, which is expected to open at the end of summer 2015. The 1,600 sq. ft. space will feature a coffee bar procured from Italy, a Kees van der Westen espresso machine and inside and outside seating options. The menu will offer espresso drinks, house coffee, cold brew on tap and teas. Treats like pastries and gelato will be also available.
Major Culinary and Beer Events – See What’s New!
The annual Farm to Bay Food and Wine Classic returns for its 6th year on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015. Taking place at Chula Vista’s Living Coast Discovery Center, a wildlife refuge, the event will give guests an opportunity to sample fine culinary delights from some of the most popular restaurants, breweries and wineries in San Diego. The event will also feature up-close animal encounters, live music and a silent auction. The zero-waste event supports coastal wildlife, education, and sustainability.
Stone Brewing Co. will be celebrating 19 years of brewing from Aug. 14-15, 2015 with the Stone 19th Anniversary Celebration and Invitational Beer Festival. Event goers will enjoy commemorative anniversary tasting glasses, fifteen 3 oz. samples, an expansive two-level festival area, more than 60 guest breweries, more than 100 beers, Stone brews on cask, homebrewed sodas, complimentary food selections and live music. Held on the California State University, San Marcos campus, the celebration will benefit various San Diego non-profit organizations.
From downtown San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter to the beaches of La Jolla and Coronado and beyond, visitors to San Diego can find amazing deals at top restaurants during San Diego Restaurant Week, from Sept. 20-27, 2015. The six-day celebration provides food lovers the opportunity to experience the region’s evolving dining scene for a fraction of the normal cost with special three-course, prix fixe dinner menus for just $20, $30, $40 or $50 per person (beverages, tax and gratuity not included) at more than 180 participating restaurants. Lunch menus are also available for just $10, $15 or $20 per person (beverages, tax and gratuity not included) at participating restaurants. Tickets or special passes are not required; however, reservations are recommended.
For the 15th year in a row, the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa on Mission Bay will host Summer Sunset Luaus. Held on Fridays, June 26–Sept. 4, and on Tuesdays, July 21–Aug. 18, the Polynesian-themed event gives visitors an opportunity to experience a journey across the Pacific with music and hula and torch dancers. Oceana Coastal Kitchen Executive Chef Steve Riemer will create an all-you-can-eat beach buffet featuring salads, entrées, desserts and kid friendly options.