And the winner of the I Love Poke Festival is...


Tuesday, the sixth annual I Love Poke tasting event and competition returned to the Bali Hai Restaurant on Shelter Island Drive.

A sold-out affair, San Diego’s finest chefs showcased their best island-inspired dishes and competed for the title of best poke.

I Love Poke event

What a great event last night @onoyum thank you! San Diego #poke festival #ilovepoke @pacificcatch - Tom Hanson (@PacCatchCOO) May 27, 2015

Pronounced “pok-eh,” the Hawaiian delicacy is more than just seasoned ahi, it’s a lifestyle powered by surfers and beach denizens.

At this years I Love Poke showdown, returning champions Chef Kurt Metzger of Kitchen 4140, Chef Keoni Simmons of Sushi on a Roll, and Chef Dion Morales of the Bali Hai tried to defend their tuna titles, but a Filipino/Mexican fusion restaurant in the South Bay took the crown - or, lei in this case.

I Love Poke event 2

Beautiful Pokes at #ILovePoke Fest! Can’t wait for it to come to SF @pacificcatch @onoyumfood @PacCatchCOO - Keith Cox (@FoodTravelMusic) May 27, 2015

Congratulations go out to Zarlitos Restaurant in National City (505 E. Eighth St.), your 2015 I Love Poke champions. Yes, in addition to serving traditional Filipino and Mexican food, Zarlitos sells award-winning Hawaiian-style poke by the pound.

I Love Poke event 3

And the crew at Zarlitos couldn’t be happier, instgramming “Culinary school dropout..... kid that took every wrong road in life.. It would come to this... this is not about winning, but validation...”

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34 total votes.

View the photo gallery: 5/26/15 I Love Poke Festival at Bali Hai Shelter Island

Source: DiscoverSD