The options of where to eat in San Diego are infinite and somehow my list of where to dine next continues to grow. As you can probably notice from my previous posts, I tend to eat out mainly for breakfast and dinner and don't venture out for lunch often (note to self: check out more lunch spots). I love to start and end my day with a great meal, a leisurely lunch is difficult to achieve with work, life, and duties but we should all pamper ourselves with a mid-day pause to slow down over a great meal in the afternoon as well. Next month, I will aim to break out of my usual pattern and explore more lunch-focused restaurants in this awesome city that I live in. For now, I gladly share some more delicious dining destinations that I enjoyed in the mornings and evenings this month.
Smoking Goat (North Park)
This dimly lit and cozy French bistro focuses on seasonal ingredients to whip up fantastic fare. There are so many enticing options on the menu, it's difficult to decide what to order so make sure to taste as many plates as possible! For appetizers, we ordered the beet salad, baked brie, mussels, truffle fries, and fried cauliflower, all delicious. For my main dish, I opted for a wild salmon perfectly prepared with parsnip puree, spinach, lentils, and lemon beurre blanc. Dessert was a superb finale to a great meal!
pros: extremely well-prepared dishes, only a $25 corkage fee, easy-to-make reservations
cons: service can be slow, even on not-so-busy-nights
must order: truffle fries, mac and cheese, creme brulee, and griddled banana bread
Sugar & Scribe (La Jolla)
Home of Food Network Champion Chef Maeve, this popular breakfast and lunch spot is always packed with patrons for the first meal of the day. I have eaten breakfast here at least twenty times in the last year. It's that good.
pros: pet-friendly, large selection of breakfast dishes, decadent hot chocolates, an indoor bakery with creative concoctions, cute outdoor patio
cons: they do not take reservations and waits can be long sometimes, especially on weekends
must order: blazin' hot chilaquiles, unicorn hot chocolate
La Puerta (Mission Hills)
You'll find Mexican cuisine done very well in this bustling neighborhood joint. The food is surprisingly good and not greasy, which is hard to come by on a Mexican menu. The chips are fresh, salted just right, and have that crunch that comes with homemade chips. The loaded Papas Fritas should be illegal, these are dangerously delicious and we devoured them. Cocktails are equally enjoyable, well-balanced, and creatively crafted. What really stands out is the great service. Our server checked on us regularly and although the restaurant was crowded with the dinner rush, drinks and dishes came out in a timely manner. This is a fun place to go with friends to share several dishes; sharing is caring!
pros: excellent cocktails, fantastic service, fresh food
cons: my menu was really grimy, and I was grossed out to turn the pages; staff should dispose of dirty menus
must order: the papas fritas la puerta - fries topped with cotija cheese, jack cheese, grilled onion and poblano, crema, guacamole, pico de gallo, cilantro; and the award-winning bark at the moon margarita
Piatti (La Jolla)
This quintessential neighborhood Italian trattoria located in La Jolla Shores is every local's favorite go-to for housemade pasta, great wine, and a lively atmosphere.
pros: stunning outdoor patio centered around a gigantic ficus tree, great service, a well-curated wine list, housemade pasta made fresh daily
cons: the basic ravioli is filled with spinach, and ricotta, and topped with lemon cream which is overpowering in flavor and not balanced well.
must order: ravioli di melanzane filled with roasted eggplant and ricotta parmigiano reggiano topped with rose cream sauce and the homemade ciabatta with dipping oil
NINE-TEN Restaurant and Bar (La Jolla)
Set in The Grande Colonial Hotel and recognized with Michelin distinction, this casual restaurant offers an elegant setting and diverse menu focused on locally sourced cuisine. I've eaten breakfast here a couple of times and have always noticed that the quality of the ingredients is superior, rich in color, and packed with flavor.
pros: freshest ingredients are always used, friendly service
cons: courses weren't paced well, we received our mains before finishing our appetizers
must order: homemade sourdough bread served right out of the oven and the beet and whipped ricotta salad