San Diego’s Tastiest Temptations

by Staff

Dustin Michelson
Dustin Michelson

3rd Corner

By Tara Millspaugh

A yummy Sunday brunch is the way to my heart, but what’s even better than that are bottomless mimosas at The 3rd Corner. This restaurant looks like a small hole-in-the-wall, but is quaint and intimate inside. This is an excellent date spot and a great place to grab a drink with some girlfriends on a Saturday morning. It’s quiet enough to hear each other talk, yet lively enough for young college students.

One of the best features of The 3rd Corner is the location. It’s located on Bacon Street, near West Point Loma Boulevard in Ocean Beach. After knocking back three or four mimosas, the last thing you should do is get behind the wheel of a car. So, it’s the perfect scenario: With a full belly and a slight buzz, you have the beach within walking distance.

Dustin Michelson
Dustin Michelson

Aero Club

By Leonardo Castaneda

The Aero Club is a bar that knows its booze. Featuring more than 600 whiskeys, most of them prominently displayed behind the counter, the place likely has what you want.

Built in 1947, the Aero Club doesn’t scream “Whiskey connoisseurs, come here.” In fact, the only way to distinguish it is the iconic neon sign outlining Delta Dart airplane in flight. If the name wasn’t enough of a hint, airplanes played a prominent role in the creation of this local dive. Maryann Prophet, who founded the bar with her husband, was a pilot, and decided to establish the bar just off the Interstate 5, across from the San Diego International Airport.

Inside, bar goers will find nothing short of high-flying class. The bar is small, but still manages to fit two pool tables and a row of booths. Neon signs cover the walls and ceiling, and well-dressed bartenders serve the knowledgeable clientele night in and out.

For a whiskey bar the prices are ideal, especially for those hoping to experiment on a budget. The selection of whiskies is also worthy for those with a better-developed taste. Whatever your preference, this bar is the perfect place for a layover your next night out.

Antonio Zaragoza
Antonio Zaragoza

Funky Garcia’s

By Caitlin Johnson

Many great restaurants and bars crowd the Gaslamp Quarter, but none are as unique as Funky Garcia’s. True to its name, the bar’s atmosphere blends fun with a touch of crazy—just enough to make any night out a little more, well, funky.

Located on Market Street, the bar’s distinct vibe is instantly apparent. A painted portrait of the restaurant’s portly namesake overlooks the booths lined with genuine cowhide. The worn brick walls come to life with colorful sombreros and serapes, while chandeliers made out of old barrels create a bright, inviting ambiance.

Great drink specials make Funky Garcia’s a perfect go-to spot any day of the week. All drinks and appetizers are half-price during happy hour, which runs all day on Monday and Wednesday, as well as 3 to 7 p.m. every other day. Weekend partygoers can drink during late-night happy hour from 9 p.m. to midnight Friday through Sunday.

An authentic Mexican eatery wouldn’t be complete without Taco Tuesday. From 7 p.m. to close every Tuesday, the restaurant offers $1 carne asada and chicken street tacos topped with onions, cilantro and avocado. They pair perfectly with beers and tequilas, which are also offered at a discounted price. For those seeking a more substantial meal, the full menu features many delectable dishes, such as sizzling fajitas and carnitas with rice and beans. One of the more noteworthy dishes is the Funky Roll, a must-try appetizer that is perfect to share with a small group of friends.

The next time adventure calls you to the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter, be sure to check out Funky Garcia’s. If the zany vibe doesn’t bring you in, the good deals and fantastic food should. As the slogan goes, Garcia’s is the place “Where dreams become a reality…after a few drinks.”

Antonio Zaragoza
Antonio Zaragoza

Il Postino

Julie Aeilts

Before heading to some of the more rambunctious bars in North Park, hungry patrons should drop in at the ruggedly vintage restaurant and bar, II Postino, located on 30th Street, less than a block away from University Avenue.  The post-themed interior of this Italian eatery emphasizes simpler days of the past, with warm images depicting the weathered leather of mail satchels and rotted mailboxes with peeling paint.

Hanging lights and exposed ventilation running the length of the ceiling offer an industrial vibe, similar to what I imagine an early-century mail sorting room would look like. Brick accent walls the color of rust, wooden tables stamped with black postage and a bar encircling a wood-fired pizza oven contribute to the atmosphere.

I ordered an appetizer of bruschetta, which was prepared with 3-inch high mosaic mounds of fresh mozzarella, basil, diced tomatoes and olive oil towering atop grilled, house-made bread slices.  For dinner, I savored five mushroom-stuffed raviolis soaked in a rich cream sauce.  And for dessert, cocoa-powdered tiramisu drizzled with chocolate syrup graced my taste buds and capped my full stomach.

With fair prices and attentive waiters, II Postino is an ideal place to subdue hunger with delicious Italian foods.  The restaurant also boasts a deli with a large display showcasing fresh cheeses, saucy artichoke hearts and other classic Italian sides, as well as a wine cellar and a bar with more than 500 wines imported from around the world. This eatery is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and for dinner from 5-10 p.m. with extended weekend hours. With the Italian word for “the postman” as its namesake, this eatery won’t fail to deliver.

 

Dustin Michelson
Dustin Michelson

Kensington Cafe

By Ashley Williams

Kensington Cafe has a versatile menu that provides for all types of eaters. Vegetarian, vegan and omnivores can all find something tasty here. Breakfast and lunch are served until 4 p.m. and the dinner menu is available from 5-10 p.m. Better yet, happy hour specials are available daily from 4-7 p.m.

When friends can’t agree on what type of restaurant to go to, Kensington Cafe is the place to go. The menu contains Asian, Italian, Mediterranean and Mexican options that somehow work together to create a seamless American cafe lineup.

The cafe is a mere 3 miles away from campus, but completely shakes the cheap College Area feel. For a moderately priced restaurant, Kensington Cafe is able to pull off a fairly upscale atmosphere. This Adams Avenue find is the perfect place to impress a date without breaking your bank account.

For those craving brunch, there are plenty of fun drinks to accompany a waffle, scramble or bagel. Beverages such as spiced apple, creamsicle and raspberry lemonade mimosas add unique twists to conventional breakfast items.

There is also an extensive menu including espresso, blended beverages and root beer floats for those who want to relive their childhood through a straw. Sweets include shakes, cakes, gelato and brownies.

This eclectic medley of options makes for a fun dining experience that explores a variety of delicious options.

 

Paige Nelson
Paige Nelson

Stacked

By Kelly Hillock

Stacked is a restaurant for artists, foodies and those who wish to create their own masterpiece of a meal. Stacked offers America’s favorite foods, including pizzas, burgers, salads and macaroni and cheese.  But this particular restaurant gives patrons the freedom and creativity to design their own version of a classic. Each table is equipped with an iPad, which customers can use to browse menu items, design a burger and place their order. Stacked is reasonably priced, with entrees averaging at approximately $10. However, Stacked is priced according to the ingredients, which means customers only pay for exactly what they eat. I stacked smoked bacon in the Egg on Your Face macaroni and cheese, and it ended up costing less than a dollar. The food at Stacked is hearty, comforting and delectable for those on a budget. My favorite part of Stacked, however is the dessert menu. Customers can build their own ice cream cookie sandwiches or design their own milkshakes. Oozing, creamy ice cream sandwiched between two freshly baked cookies is a highlight of any night out—and it only costs $3. The only notable negative aspect of this restaurant is the ambiance, which is too dark with uncomfortable seating. But the thrill of creating a combination of one’s favorite foods and the quality of the food itself overshadows its atmosphere. Stacked is located at the Fashion Valley mall, which makes it a perfect place for dinner after a day of shopping. This restaurant is the ultimate place to dine for those searching to embrace their inner chefs.

Antonio Zaragoza
Antonio Zaragoza

Small Bar

By Sofia Casillas

Located on Park Boulevard in University Heights, Small Bar serves its patrons a wide selection of beers, cocktails and food in a cozy pub-like environment.

Small Bar’s customers enter through the side alley where they ring a hanging bell to order. On Saturday and Sunday, Small Bar offers brunch with dishes ranging from biscuits and gravy to chilaquiles, as well as omelettes and French toast. Small Bar even pairs brunch dishes with mimosas, a French 75, michelada, draft beer or the restaurant’s signature bloody mary.

For dinner, best-selling dishes include fish and chips, fried pickles, assorted sandwiches and various house ground beef burgers. Dinner dishes are complemented well with one of Small Bar’s 42 beers on tap or a spicy signature mule, which are spicy concoctions made of ginger beer. Small Bar features Anchor Brewing Company products, in addition to beer aficionado favorites, such as Delirium Tremens, Wells Banana Bread Beer, Green Flash Surfs Up India pale ale and Ballast Point. Happy hour specials are from 5-8 p.m. every day and include $1 off drinks.

Small Bar Manager Louis Mello said newcomers should always ask bartenders for recommendations because of the overwhelming amount of beer options. Those looking for a unique neighborhood bar experience, where drinks are served in fancy goblets, visit Small Bar. It will not disappoint. At only three and a half years old, it’s still considered one of San Diego’s hidden gems.

 

Antonio Zaragoza
Antonio Zaragoza

U-31 Cocktail Lounge 

By Ethan Bailey

There are countless spots to get a cold drink in San Diego. However, my favorite area to go barhopping is North Park. One of my favorite bars is U-31 Cocktail Lounge, located on University Avenue and 31st Street.

While U-31 doesn’t have the same flashy firepower as downtown bars, it embodies the seedy, undercover nature of North Park with its simple logo and dimly lit interior. Thirsty Aztecs will find a yellow backlit bar where they can order cocktails or draft beers.

For bargoers who enjoy dancing, U-31 is the place to be. On a Saturday night, the bar is packed with abundant dancing. Loud music fills the bar, and the wide-open dance floor provides plenty of space for bad—or good, depending on the point of view—decision-making. All jokes aside, U-31 is easily one of the best bars in the area to dance at.

Also, they’ve got a couple of pool tables for patrons. There’s nothing better than some slightly intoxicated friendly competition.

Taco Tuesday at U-31 is a highlight, as the bar offers all of its draft beers and tacos for $2. Taco varieties include fish, Cajun chicken, steak and spicy black bean. The beer specials are from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., and the discounted tacos are served from 5 -9 p.m.

For some fun without the overpriced flashiness of downtown or the beach, head to U-31 in North Park. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Paige Nelson
Paige Nelson

Super Cocina

By Christian Benavides

People make the mistake of only going to restaurants that look good or are in neighborhoods bustling with people. Super Cocina, a Normal Heights restaurant, offers amazing food in an atmosphere where patrons don’t feel the need to double-check a mirror to make sure their outfit is up to par. Super Cocina offers traditional Mexican food that focuses more on creating tasteful dishes. The menu is as simple and organized as the food display, highlighting the low prices that seem too good to be true. With $6, one can get a fulfilling meal of rice, beans and your choice of three “antojitos.” These antojitos, or snacks, include dishes from empanadas to sopes. Super Cocina also has delicious Mexican stews that are perfect for cold days and hangovers. Coming from a Mexican household, I’m apt to being highly critical of Mexican restaurants that profess they’re authentic. While eating my choice of antojitos at Super Cocina, I had to constantly remind myself I wasn’t at home. As I walked out, I may have glanced once or twice at the kitchen just to make sure my mom wasn’t cooking back there.

 

Paige Nelson
Paige Nelson

Veg-N-Out

By Sheena Jafari

Vegans, vegetarians and meat lovers alike, there’s a restaurant in town everyone should try. Does Veg-N-Out ring a bell? I can truly say it’s the healthier version of In-N-Out Burger. Located in North Park, Veg-N-out is a restaurant where customers can devour “meat” made of tofu. This tropical restaurant displays a beautiful array of bright colors and tiki-themed decor, including bamboo trunks and cultural artwork. With the beautifully casual ambience, the restaurant almost feels like a mini vacation.

Veg-N-Out is known for its veggie patties, which contain no wheat, gluten or dairy. With prices less than $10, it’s a steal to get a healthy meal. The restaurant’s famous Western Burger was definitely on my list of things to try. The soy patty came topped with cheddar cheese, homemade onion rings, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. Did I mention it’s drowned in delicious barbecue sauce? There’s an option to add imitation bacon for meat lovers, although the meal would no longer be gluten-free. Veg-N-out is also the perfect place to get fresh juices I couldn’t resist creating my own apple and strawberry juice to complete my delicious meal. The portion sizes are extremely large, so don’t worry about not feeling full. The staff is extremely friendly and the food is prepared immediately after ordering. This self-seating restaurant also offers a takeout service, as well as an excellent catering business. Who says meat lovers like myself can’t enjoy a vegan meal? I know I can, with Veg-n-out to fill a hearty appetite.

Dustin Michelson
Dustin Michelson

World Famous

By Bridget Chapman

Dining on the boardwalk with the sound of the waves crashing onto the beach can be an ideal way to spend an evening. World Famous in Pacific Beach offers this experience with the ocean in sight. Whether dining inside on the patio or, the large windows allow each diner to have the ocean ambiance and the menu reflects this view with its emphasis on seafood.

Each dish varies in complexity. A salad of greens with fresh ahi tuna is a simpler item while the Capellini California was a uniquely crafted angel hair pasta dish with sundried tomatoes, spinach, Greek olives, Parmesan cheese and chunks of asparagus tossed in a clam garlic olive oil sauce. The portion size was filling, but small enough to finish in one sitting.

The main downside of World Famous is that it’s pricier than the typical college budget allots for dinner, with main dishes for lunch and dinner ranging from $8.25 to $55. It would be a perfect spot to have a drink and appetizers rather than a complete meal. There’s also a decent selection of classic desserts, such as key lime cheesecake and creme brulee, averaging $7 each.

Without a doubt, the quick service and experience by the sea is worth a visit.

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