"Now Open" signs are up. Staffs are trained, ready for eager crowds. And these just opened (plus one re-opened) restaurants are vying to become your new favorite spot.
Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens
Hotly anticipated for all the hops/yeast/barley/water they've been turning into delicious beer. And now the Stone empire has brought New York strip steak, lamb osso bucco and Meatless Mondays to a ginormous venue in Point Loma's Liberty Station. 2816 Historic Decatur Road, #116. Point Loma. (760) 294-7899 or stoneworldbistro.com/libertystation
Salt and Cleaver
Sausages are on a roll-meaning they're on buns and stylish at this "old butcher speakeasy." (The sizzling popularity of sausages has us wondering if the Meatball Dynasty is drawing to a close.)
Within this boiled down eatery you'll find cocktails plus 30 beers on tap, industrial décor and house-made plump offerings like bratwurst, frankfurters, pork belly and jalapeño and green chili-stuffed rabbit sausage. You choose your fixins, sauces and poison. 3805 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest. (619) 756-6677 or enjoysausage.com Patio seating; lunch and dinner (pictured)
Tom Ham's Lighthouse
*Re-opened after a $3.5-million makeover
Otter Cove oysters to slurp in the new upstairs bar. Lobster bouillabaisse and whole roasted fish to grapple with in a dining room as big as a hangar. And the astonishing, great-for-imbibing-on-a-craft-beer feature of this open-since-1971 restaurant?
The new outdoor dining deck, steady on its pylons and looking onto the San Diego Bay. The late architect Graham Downes helped envision the new Tom Ham's. "He could look at an old building and see what it could be," co-owner Susie Baumann said of Downes, at the restaurant's re-opening ceremony this week. Tip: When you're having your wedding reception/graduation ceremony/good time at Tom Ham's, check out the nautical artifacts (a Coast Guard 1893 Fog Bell; the ship figurehead Saucy Sally). 2150 Harbor Island Drive, Harbor Island. (619) 291-9110 or tomhamslighthouse.com
The Regal Seagull
More grilled sausages, this time on a Sadie Rose buttermilk roll with house-made chips! You'll find ground-up offerings like the bacon-y Hungarian kolbasz, the veal bratwurst, Moroccan-style lamb sausage and pork brats at this ale house. And donut holes. From the same guys behind Mission Hills' Regal Beagle, this minced meatery is 2 months old. 996 N Coast Hwy 101 Encinitas, (760) 479-2337 or regalseagull.com
Solterra Winery and Kitchen
Leucadia's new urban winery, from owner and winemaker Christopher Van Alyea (the wines are under his Christopher Cameron and Costa Azul labels) has its tapas bar set up for now. It's a buffet-style, all-you-can-eat deal with flatbreads, paellas and small bites. 934 North Coast Hwy 101, Leucadia. (760) 230-2970 or solterrawinery.com
Replacing the old beloved RT'S Longboard Grill, this fun spot has cantina fare like burritos, tacos, burgers, quesadillas, nachos, grilled chicken and the same boozy atmosphere of its sister restaurants Cabo Cantina and Fiesta Cantina. 1466 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach. (858) 270-4030 or pbcantina.com
Three burger bases that you can enhance with fried ham for extra fat, jalapeños for heat, uni pâté for sea-flavor or Frito-topped for what will probably taste a lot like Frito pie. This comes from the minds behind The Linkery nearby, and takes over the old Baja-themed El Take It Easy restaurant. 3926 30th St., North Park. (619) 291-1859 or hubcapsd.com
Coming very soon: Lazy Dog Restaurant in Mission Valley; The Hake, a global bistro focused on fish in La Jolla; Kamikaze 7, a rocking sushi joint from Kevin "The Food Dude" Roberts downtown; Avant at the Rancho Bernardo Inn; Casa Sol y Mar, from Mexican-food doyenne Diane Powers and destined for the Del Mar Highlands Town Center; Sea and Smoke, from Urban Solace's comfort-food master Matt Gordon will be in the same Flower Hill Promenade center as Cucina Enoteca, a two-story from-scratch eatery from Tracy Borkum, who's also bringing seafood to Kensington soon at Fish Public.
Read Keli Dailey's full story and more food news on utsandiego.com