Food & Drink

15 San Diego Dishes That Need to Stay on the Menu Forever

Published On 03/09/2015 Published On 03/09/2015
Erin Jackson/Thrillist
ERIN JACKSON/Thrillist
ERIN JACKSON/Thrillist
BO-beau kitchen + bar
Erin Jackson/Thrillist
Erin Jackson/Thrillist
Erin Jackson/Thrillist
Urbn Coal Fired Pizza
Erin Jackson/Thrllist
Azucar
Erin Jackson/Thrillist
Carnitas Snack Shack
PUESTO
Erin Jackson/Thrillist
Erin Jackson/Thrillist
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1. Prepkitchen 1660 India St, San Diego, CA 92101 (Little Italy)

Prepkitchen's Little Italy location serves farm-to-table cuisine including homemade soups, salads, sandwiches, pastas, and cured meats made in-house. The gourmet comfort food at Prepkitchen has been carefully selected and prepared by chefs with chefs in mind, and there's also a killer selection of Happy Hour specials on the menu.

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2. Nine-Ten 910 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037 (La Jolla)

This New-American La Jolla restaurant features innovative menu items with fresh, seasonal ingredients alongside great service and ambiance. Be sure to try the infamous half-baked chocolate cake.

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3. BO-beau Kitchen + Bar 4996 W Point Loma Blvd, San Diego, CA 92107 (Ocean Beach)

It's low-lit, cozy, and romantic as hell with glowing candle chandeliers, and on Tuesdays they have a date night special with a specially priced food and wine paring for two.

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4. Romesco 4346 Bonita Rd, Bonita, CA 91902

This Chula Vista "Mexiterranean bistro" offers a delicious hybrid menu, as well as a separate tapas menu and a Wednesday Pasta Night.

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5. Soda & Swine 2943 Adams Ave, North Park, CA 92116 (North Park)

Soda & Swine does meatballs in a way that you might not expect, assuming that the word "meatball" conjures up images of spaghetti all covered with cheese. Sure, they've got spaghetti and meatballs too, but this place gives you the ability to choose your mix and match your meat, creating anything from a meatball slider to meatballs a la carte. There's a wild bevy of sodas to choose from as well, so there's really no excuse for you to be anywhere other than here.

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6. URBN 3085 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104 (North Park)

The kitchen at URBN's 5,000 square-foot spot churns out coal-fired pizza as fast as the patrons can scarf it down, and that's saying something. Each of the craft pizzas on the menu bring their own unique flavor to the table (get it?), and you can even choose from a galaxy of sauces, toppings and cheeses, ensuring that the pizza you get is exactly the pizza you want. There's also a killer collection of craft and imported beers, as well as a number of craft cocktails and a fine wine list.

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7. Basic 410 10th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101 (East Village)

This trendy East Village pizzeria and brewpub is serving pizza that's anything but basic: pies are super fresh and anything-but-simple. The quirky "Mashed" pie with mashed potatoes, bacon, and mozzarella, is a favorite. Converted from an old warehouse, this space boasts a 5,000 square foot lounge and restaurant, will a full bar and an open-air setup.

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8. Urban Solace 3823 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104 (North Park)

You can always rely on filling, farm-fresh food at this North Park eatery. Instead of brunch, Urban Solace serves "blunch" (on weekdays and Saturdays) where egg-centric breakfast dishes, hot & cold sandwiches, and soups & salads will leave anyone with functioning tastebuds happy. The Sunday Bluegrass Brunch draws crowds for standouts like the cinnamon roll with butter pecan sauce, braised pork belly Benedicts, and the grilled four-cheese sandwich served with fries and creamy tomato-fennel soup.

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9. Solace & Moonlight Lounge 25 East E St, San Diego, CA 92024 (Encinitas)

Solace & Moonlight Lounge serves adventurous American cuisine within an artistic, wood-furnished interior.

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10. Azucar 4820 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107 (Ocean Beach)

Azucar, translating from Spanish to 'sugar,' brings lots of just that to Ocean Beach from within a Cuban-style patisserie that draws customers in with a tantalizing display case. The goods fuse French technique with Latin island flavors: passion fruit scones, mojito cookies and pastries stuffed with guava and cream cheese. Those looking for something con mas sal can opt for savories like cuban sandwiches and ham croquetas to cover lunchtime cravings.

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11. Cafe Chloe 721 9th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101 (East Village)

This East Village French-insprired cafe offers bistro classics and tons of boutique wines. Be sure to try the delicious macaroni and pancetta gratin, with a creamy Béchamel made with a blend of mild blue cheese, Gruyère, fontina, and white cheddar cheese.

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12. Carnitas' Snack Shack 2632 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104 (North Park)

At Carnitas' Snack Shack, just about everything is influenced by pork, from the menu of bacon-heavy fare to the big black pig that sits atop the roof. In true southern California fashion, 100% of the seating is in an outdoor area out back that's shaded by umbrellas and wooden roofs. The space includes a spacious bar serving up wine, beer, and snacks (also pork-focused) like chicharrones and pork belly.

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13. Puesto 789 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

The vibrantly decorated Puesto pays homage to all kinds of Mexican street food, with a heavy emphasis on tacos. You'll find a mix of familiar fillings (chicken al pastor and filet mignon) alongside refreshing combinations like lobster with black beans and crispy onions, and zucchini with sweet corn and cactus. The house-made corn tortillas here prove to be so much more than a vessel for the meat and cheese fillings, and you'll find yourself savoring their earthy taste -- or spreading them with guacamole when the chips run low. Speaking of guac, you can stick with cilantro and onion classic or have yours loaded with Brussels sprouts and crispy bacon.

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14. R Gang Eatery 3683 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103 (Hillcrest)

R-Gang serves up top-quality American comfort food, including must-try homemade tater tots.

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15. Project Pie 3888 4th Ave, Hillcrest , CA 92103 (Hillcrest)

Hillcrest is one competitive restaurant neighborhood, but Project Pie has earned an edge over the fast-casual pizza chain competition by holding it down for over three years. Here, you can build a pizza with whatever you want on it (or everything!) for one reasonable price. Don’t feel like making decisions? There’s also a menu of pre-designed pies that are reliably tasty.

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16. 100 Wines Hillcrest 1027 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103 (Hillcrest)

Mediterranean cuisine with lots of good wine pairings.

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