As the dog days of summer bring blistering heat and sweltering humidity, San Diegans are looking for the cool eats to bring down their internal temperatures. With a range of raw, vegetarian, and seafood options around the county, locals can chill out and fill up on delicious chef creations.
Here are some of the top cool options this summer.
In true San Diego style, this Mission Hills spot pays tribute to the city’s southern neighbor with the Nopales Salad, featuring fresh cactus, red onion, pulled cilantro, radish, chile poblano, queso fresco, tortilla strips, avocado, tomatoes and bloody Mary vinaigrette.
860 W. Washington St., Mission Hills, 619.458.9929 or farmersbottega.com
Named by Andrew Zimmern as the best place for ramen in the United States, this social media darling offers a summer special, the Cold Tantan Men, with or without meat (seasoned minced pork), cucumber, tomato, onion, roasted sesame seeds, ginger, chili oil and red pepper.
8199 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Mira Mesa, 858.571.2010 or menya-ultra.com
Cool down at this new hotspot with chef Brad Kraten’s ceviche bar selections, including the beautiful green Aguachile Verde with citrus marinated shrimp, cucumber, marinated red onions and lemon oil.
1047 Fifth Ave., #100, downtown, 619.515.3003 or curadero.com
Go raw and vegan with the Liberated — a raw pesto kelp noodle dish featuring heirloom cherry tomatoes, basil hempseed pesto, olives, arugula, and cashew ricotta and brazil nut parmesan. Looking for a new ceviche? A must try on the menu, the Brilliant Coconut Ceviche is made with chopped fresh coconut, summer squash, roasted tomatillo sauce, coconut bacon, avocado and served with tortilla chips.
1980 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy, 619.736.5077 or cafegratitude.com
Veladora at Rancho Valencia, Rancho Santa Fe
Decadent delight, thy name is lobster. Looking like a summer garden, the lovely Lobster Salad is artfully crafted with fresh lobster, citrus, and stone fruit, and prosciutto.
5921 Valencia Cir., Rancho Santa Fe, 858.759.6216 or ranchovalencia.com/dining/san-diego-fine-dining
Who says soup needs to be hot? A perfect summer starter, the Red Bell Pepper Citrus Chilled Soup features blood orange, Meyer lemon, lime, citrus crème fraiche and hibiscus crystals.
777 Fifth Ave., downtown, 619.546.4995 or queensboroughsd.com
The Grass Skirt
Nestled among an array of tropical delights, the Green Papaya Salad refreshes with cabbage, peanut, avocado, crispy corn tortilla, Vietnamese herbs, and nam pla (fish sauce) vinaigrette.
910 Grand Ave., Pacific Beach, 858.412.5237 or thegrassskirt.com
Common Theory Public House
Vegetarians will love this take on poke, the Beet & Watermelon Poke, with salt-roasted beets, roasted watermelon, flax seed oil, sea beans, onion, cucumber, nori and sesame oil, served with taro chips.
4805 Convoy St., Mira Mesa, 858.384.7974 or commontheorysd.com
Head to this Kensington classic for the hearty Salade de Farro with jicama, avocado, fresh orange, pumpkin seeds, mint yogurt and a lime and honey vinaigrette.
4090 Adams Ave., Kensington, 619.255.4167 or bleuboheme.com
Cusp Dining & Drinks
Keeping it cool and breezy high above the La Jolla coastline, chef Ingrid Funes offers her juicy Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad with cherry tomatoes, radish, cucumber, mint and jalapeno lime vinaigrette and the appetizer Cold Crab Tostada with lump crab meat, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, avocado puree and citrus creme.
7955 La Jolla Shores Dr., La Jolla, 858.551.3620 or cusprestaurant.com
Red O Taste of Mexico
The long awaited La Jolla restaurant is open and ready for the heat with their Yellowtail Aguachile crafted with fresh hamachi yellowtail sashimi, spicy lime broth, diced avocado, knob onion, cucumber and orange.
4340 La Jolla Village Dr., La Jolla, 858.291.8360 or redorestaurant.com
AVANT at Rancho Bernardo Inn
Taking the beet salad to the next level, this gorgeous version stars three varieties of beets alongside duck prosciutto, rhubarb, caracara oranges, pepper cress and seasonal berries.
17550 Bernardo Oaks Dr., Rancho Bernardo, 888.281.7938 or ranchobernardoinn.com/avant
Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill
Raising the Mission Valley food scene bar, the ranch offers the Tuscan Kale Salad with watermelon radishes, chives, carrots, green beans, cauliflower, golden raisins, toasted pumpkin seeds and shaved parmesan, all tossed in a zesty vinaigrette.
7510 Hazard Center Dr., #215, Mission Valley, 619.764.4411 or woodranch.com/restaurants/san-diego
Pisco Rotisserie and Cevicheria
What’s a chilled list without Ahi tuna? A beautifully plated dish, the Causitas de Ahi Tuna pleases with avocado, cucumber, wasabi tobiko and rocoto cream. Also be sure to check out the Salmon Tiradito Ceviche featuring sliced salmon with creamy scallop leche de tigre, avocado, chalaca and olive oil.
2401 Truxtun Rd., #102, Liberty Station, 619.222.3111 or piscorotisserie.com