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Must-try College Area dining spots to satisfy your tastebuds

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Poke One N Half is one of five South Campus Plaza restaurants that now accept meal plan.

Poke One N Half is one of five South Campus Plaza restaurants that now accept meal plan.

David Santillan

David Santillan

Poke One N Half is one of five South Campus Plaza restaurants that now accept meal plan.

by Lauren J. Mapp, Staff Writer

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When visiting San Diego State for the first time, the wide selection of local restaurants can be a tad overwhelming at first. Local spots vary from drive-in and fast food options, to craft cocktails and sit-down dinner service.

Check out some of these local options for a taste of what San Diego’s College Area has to offer.

Dirty Birds

With offerings of spicy, sweet and combination sauces, Dirty Birds in the College Area is the perfect spot to watch some preseason football games while snacking on wings and bar grub.

Dirty Birds originally opened in Pacific Beach 10 years ago, later opening the College Area location in 2015.

“We can’t talk about Dirty Birds and not talk about the wings because we have multiple years of awards to back that up — we are very, very famous for our wings,” Dirty Birds bartender Valerie Garza said. 

Dirty Birds serves naked wings, lemon pepper, salt and vinegar, chicken enchilada or old bay wings as some of their heatless options. For a little spice, try the green machine, buffalo, spicy garlic, dirty ranch and maple chipotle barbecue sauces. For maximum heat levels, try the ghost pepper or habanero wings.

Wings can be cooked bone-in or boneless, and they pair well with the super nachos, tater tots, mozzarella sticks and fried green beans.

Poki One N Half

Though the Hawaiian, raw fish salad of poke is often a tasty snack, the worst part about any poke bowl at a restaurant is its petite stature. Patrons of Poki One N Half, however, do not have to worry about tiny portions.

Poki One N Half is one of the newest restaurants added to the South Campus Plaza at SDSU, but the brand has thrived in other locations throughout San Diego. One of the keys to their success has been the affordable and nutritious menu options.

“(Poki One N Half) is pretty healthy and yet still delicious — we don’t cook or fry anything here, so everything is fresh and everything is made on spot,” store manager Jennifer Truong said.

Guests can design their own poke bowls and burritos with numerous ingredient and flavor combinations. Bowls come in three sizes, and can be created by mixing several types of fish.

First, start by choosing white or brown rice, or opting instead for salad, chips or a burrito-style poke roll. Next pick between two and five scoops of fish, with options including salmon, ahi tuna, shrimp and more. Add an unlimited number of toppings like avocado, imitation crab, onion, cucumber, edamame and sesame seeds. Then, pick from the selection of sauces and munch away.

Eureka!

When it is time to look for a sit-down meal close to campus, look no further than Eureka. Located in the South Campus Plaza, Eureka is a full-service restaurant with flavorful dishes and creative, craft cocktails.

“Eureka! has always been about the ‘culture of craft,’ and blending in and meshing with all of the the surrounding neighborhoods,” assistant general manager Justin Christensen said. “Being on campus at SDSU is an incredible feat to be done, but at the same time, it’s a blend of culture, staff and students making sure our neighborhoods are encompassing and embodying what the neighborhood is all about.”

Made with Fresno chilis and beer cheese sauce, the deep-fried, mac n’ cheese balls are a great appetizer to start with. Paired with the osso buco riblets, truffle fries and falafel bites with tzatziki sauce, a full meal can be made from Eureka’s selection of appetizers.

For a more traditional meal, try the watermelon salad. Served over a bed of kale and arugula, the bitterness of the greens and the watermelon’s sweetness are balanced out with the addition of walnuts, cucumbers, beets, feta and balsamic glaze.

Eureka also has a wide selection of burger options, including offerings made with shiitake bone marrow butter, 28-day dry-aged beef and vegetarian patties made with kidney beans and beets.

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