Here they are: San Diego’s most anticipated new restaurants of 2019


Nearly three dozen new restaurant, bar and food hall concepts are coming to San Diego County in 2019. Here’s a look at some of the major new projects.

Animae, Downtown

In the spring, the Puffer Malarkey Collective will open this upscale Asian-inspired restaurant on the ground floor of Bosa’s new luxury condominium tower Pacific Gate. The menu will be contemporary Asian-American featuring the cuisines of Japan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, with options including raw seafood, coal-roasted Kobe beef and exotic proteins. 888 W. E St., San Diego.

Black Rail Kitchen + Bar, Carlsbad

The North County operators Grant and Jenny Gottesman of Tinleaf fresh kitchen & Beach Plum kitchen are opening a new full-service dining and bar concept in early summer 2019 in the former Tuscany space in La Costa. The restaurant will feature a modern American menu, craft cocktails, local craft beers and an extensive wine list. 7981 El Camino Real, Carlsbad,

Blade 1936, Oceanside

Local Italian restaurateurs Mario Cassineri (Bice San Diego) and John Carlo Ferraiuolo (Caffè Calabria) will open this modern Italian restaurant in the first quarter of 2019. The name comes from its historic 1936 building, built by architect Irving Gill for the former newspaper The Blade-Tribune. Chef de cuisine Chris Narvaez will oversee a menu of Neapolitan-style pizzas, fresh pastas, desserts and mix of Italian and local beers and wines. 401 Seagaze Drive, Oceanside.

The Bungalow, Westfield UTC

Two powerhouse restaurant companies, Bungalow Hospitality Group and Michael Mina’s the MINA Group, have teamed up to open The Bungalow La Jolla in late 2019/early 2020. The freestanding, indoor/outdoor 10,000-square-foot restaurant will serve a Mina-directed menu of small and large shared plates and specialty cocktails. It joins locations in Santa Monica and Huntington Beach. 4545 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla.

Casero Taqueria, Carlsbad

Craig Applegate and Clayton Wheeler will open this scratch-made modern Mexican restaurant in the soon-to-open The Square at Bressi Ranch center in April or May. The menu will feature housemade corn and flour tortillas for wrapping its gourmet carne asada, line-caught fish and carnitas tacos. The shop will also offer a take-home market. 2674 Gateway Road, Suite 195, Carlsbad.

Ciao Plaza Restaurant, Vista

The 20-year-old north Vista restaurant is building a massive 10,000-square-foot expansion at its current location, with plans for completion in mid-2019. The 300-seat location is in the midst of adding a bakery, deli, gelateria, enoteca and large banquet hall. 2015 E. Vista Way, Vista. (760) 630-7333.

Draft Republic Brewing Co., La Mesa

San Diego’s Cohn Restaurant Group is getting back into the beer-making business in fall 2019 with the opening of this 12,000-square-foot, 15-barrel brewery that will also feature an outdoor 13,000-square-foot, fast-casual “eatertainment” event space with food service, a beer garden, a high-end miniature golf course, shuffleboard and bocce courts and children’s play yard. 9160 Fletcher Parkway, La Mesa.

Eggies, Pacific Beach and East Village

Rise & Shine Restaurant Group will open two locations in 2019 of this new fast-casual/grab-and-go concept that will open next door to the company’s existing Breakfast Republic restaurants. The menu will include breakfast sandwiches, egg-centric entrees served in Mason jars, coffees and cajeta-stuffed churros. The first will open in the spring at the Pacific Beach location at 4465 Mission Blvd. Still to come: 707 G St., East Village.

Feast & Fareway, Coronado

The longstanding restaurant at the Coronado Golf Course will be replaced in April by this new eatery created by Johan Engman of the Rise & Shine Restaurant Group, John Rudolph of Harry’s Coffee Shop and Tom Penn of Real Restaurant Solutions. It will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and grab-and-go options as well as offer catering services. 2000 Visalia Row, Coronado.

Fort Oak, Mission Hills

Trust Restaurant Group co-founders Steve Schwob and chef Brad Wise will open this new restaurant/bar in January. The restaurant, which will anchor the mixed-use The Fort complex, will specialize in seasonal small plates spotlighting the chef’s wood-fired cooking techniques. The restaurant will feature a 16-seat chef’s counter. 1011 Fort Stockton Drive, San Diego.

Gravity Heights, Sorrento Valley

Whisknladle Hospitality, Alesmith co-founder Skip Virgilio and partner Ryan Trim are collaborating on this large project that will combine a 7,000-square-foot restaurant and tasting room and 5,000-square-foot beer garden. It is set to open in January. 9920 Pacific Heights Blvd., San Diego.

Carlsbad restaurateur and sushi chef Rob Ruiz shows one of the seafood handrolls he will serve at his Hold Fast Temaki Bar opening in February 2019 at Liberty Public Market in San Diego.
(Eduardo Contreras / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Hold Fast Temaki Bar, Liberty Station

Carlsbad restaurateur and sushi chef Rob Ruiz will open this quick-service seafood stand inside the Liberty Public Market in February. It will only serve locally caught seafood to support San Diego’s commercial fishing fleet. The menu will feature bite-size, portable sushi handrolls as well as gourmet yakitori bites. There will also be several vegan options.

Herb & Sea, Encinitas

A summer opening is planned for the Puffer Malarkey Collective’s expansion of its successful Herb & Wood Little Italy concept to North County. The 6,500-square-foot restaurant will open inside a 1920s-era art deco building that is being restored with a New England lighthouse-inspired theme. The menu will be seafood-focused with a custom oyster and raw bar, as well as a mix of wood-fired proteins, pastas, pizzas and desserts. 131 D St., Encinitas.

Himmelberg’s, East Village

The Patio Group is revamping its now-shuttered Harvest by the Patio restaurant in East Village. It will reopen in February as a rock ’n’ roll surf-style fast-casual restaurant/bar. It will serve a sustainably sourced menu and Himmel Brew beer. Both the restaurant and beer are dedicated to owner Gina Champion-Cain’s late friend Joey Himmelberg, who died in 2016. 369 Tenth Ave., San Diego. (619) 541-8301.

Huntress, Gaslamp Quarter

San Diego’s RMD Group aims to open this “sophisticated steakhouse and whisky society” venue in the former Grand Pacific Hotel building in the spring. The two-story restaurant will have an in-house dry-aging program for its beef and one of the largest selections of Japanese whisky in Southern California. Executive chef will be James Montejano. 376 Fifth Ave., downtown.

International Smoke, Carmel Valley

One of the most high-profile projects slated for North County’s One Paseo project, this restaurant is the shared vision of Michelin-starred San Francisco chef Michael Mina and Food Network star Ayesha Curry. A modern steakhouse, International Smoke will explore global approaches to cooking with fire, grilling and smoke. The local restaurant, the third for the San Francisco-based company, will open in the spring. 3387 Del Mar Heights Road, Suite 0100, San Diego.

Kairoa Brewing Co., University Heights

Kairoa Brewing Co. will open a two-story brewpub in January on a prime corner location in University Heights. An ownership team of New Zealand expats are creating a lineup of beers using imported New Zealand hops and dishes inspired by the cuisine of both New Zealand and the U.S. The venue will offer a second-story rooftop patio. 4601 Park Blvd., San Diego.

Louisiana Purchase, North Park

Grind & Prosper Hospitality will open this New Orleans-inspired courtyard restaurant and Southern cocktail bar in January. A recent graduate of the Culinary Institute of New Orleans, chef Quinnton Austin will introduce a menu featuring alligator cheesecake with crawfish cream sauce, Andouille-fried red beans and rice with chipotle mousse and Southern-style BBQ shrimp. 2305 University Ave., San Diego.

Medina Moroccan Baja Kitchen, North Park

Chef/owner Alia Jaziri credits her North African and Chinese/Indonesian heritage and her passion for Baja cuisine for the eclectic Mediterranean/Mexican menu at this new fast-casual restaurant and wine bar opening in February. It will offer lunch and dinner service and brunch service will be added in the spring or summer. 2850 El Cajon Blvd., Suite 4, San Diego.

The Morning After, Gaslamp Quarter

Nightclub impresario Jamie Johnson will open this unique dual-use bistro/bar in January, serving breakfast, brunch and lunch by day and serving as a sports bar by night. Featured daytime dishes will include Fruity Pebbles pancakes and red velvet waffle with cream cheese icing and bar offerings will include chicken and waffles, sliders, buffalo wings and more. 531 F St., Downtown.

Morning Glory, Little Italy

CH Projects, the company behind the ultra-fancy steakhouse Born & Raised, is taking breakfast upscale with this glamorous, cocktail-forward brunch spot opening near Little Italy’s Piazza della Famiglia in late January. The menu will include caviar, smoked fish dishes, daytime cocktails and a coffee and pastry bar. 550 Date St., San Diego.

My Yard Live, San Marcos

In mid-2019, the city-owned restaurant that long ago housed a Home Town Buffet will become a sustainable, family- and dog-friendly community gathering spot and brewpub that will offer food, beer, leisure games, fundraising events and live entertainment. Partners on the project are longtime business partners Jamie Minotti and Mark McLarry, SweetWater Brewing co-founder Freddy Bensch and George McKerrow, co-founder of Longhorn Steakhouse and Ted’s Montana Grill. Pat Korn will lead the brewing program. The 17,500-square-foot indoor/outdoor project will break ground in mid-January. 288 Rancheros Road, San Marcos.

Oculto 477, Old Town San Diego

A hidden speakeasy will open in late February inside the recently opened Tahona mezcal tasting bar in Old Town. The candlelit, 25-seat space is designed to honor the spirits of the 477 early San Diegans buried in the El Campo Santo Cemetery next door. Its Old Town-inspired cocktails, like the Whaley House Punch, will celebrate agave spirits. 2414 San Diego Ave., San Diego.

The Outpost Urban Food Hall, Poway

In fall 2019, North County’s 3LB Restaurant Group will open a two-story 21,000-square-foot food hall in Poway’s mixed-use The Outpost development. The creator of Urge gastropubs, Mason Ale Works and other hospitality properties will oversee the leasing of 14 vendor stalls and will operate some of their own concepts at the 171-seat property. 13247 Poway Road, Poway.

Pan y Sal, Barrio Logan

The historic Bread & Salt venue will soon become home to this food hall featuring vendors from South Bay and Northern Baja California. The centerpiece is a 120-seat-square-foot bakery and cooking school run by Via International’s Elisa Sabatini and Natal Hospitality. There are plans for pop-up demonstrations by regional chefs and more. 1955 Julian Ave., San Diego.

Park Commons, Sorrento Mesa

Whisknladle Hospitality is taking over the former San Diego Tech Center building to create a 10,000-square-foot food hall and event space. Chef Ryan Johnston will oversee the multi-concept food stations that will serve salads, Middle Eastern wraps, street tacos, poke, sandwiches and coffee, plus an evening bar. A summer opening is projected. The Park, 9645 Scranton Road, Sorrento Valley.

The Plot, Oceanside

Oceanside husband-and-wife restaurateurs Davin and Jessica Waite (Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub/The Whet Noodle) are teaming with Carlsbad’s Christopher Logan of Creative Flavors Catering to open this entirely plant-based, zero-waste restaurant. The Plot, focused on locally sourced and seasonal produce, will offer quick-casual breakfast and lunch and full-service dinner. The first will open in summer 2019 with plans for more around the county if the concept is a success.

Sisters Pizza, Bankers Hill

Emily Green will open an East Coast-style pizzeria this spring in a former beauty salon space in Bankers Hill. It’s named for her late sister, Kate, who died in 2016. Chef Alex Carballo (former chef/owner of URBN Coal Fired Pizza) is helping Green develop the menu, which will include pastas, salads, sandwiches and more. 3603 Fourth Ave., Bankers Hill. (858) 228-6822,

Social Syndicate unnamed project, Del Mar

San Diego’s Social Syndicate hospitality group will open an as-yet unnamed “social dining” indoor/outdoor restaurant in Del Mar Plaza shopping center in late 2019. Social Syndicate’s other projects include Wonderland Ocean Pub, The Local and OB Surf Lodge. Mall owner Brixton Capital said the new restaurant, which will be located on the center’s top floor, will be hip and casual but but with an upscale aesthetic.

Storyhouse Spirits, East Village

Co-founders Matt Kidd and Steve Kuftinec will open this two-story urban distillery and restaurant in January. The 7,600-square-foot project will house a distillery and production facility and a full-service bar, tasting room and lounge. Chef Nick Paulerio’s menu will feature seasonal plates, mostly cooked in a copper wood-fired oven. 1220 J St., San Diego.

Travis Swikard restaurant project, location TBA

Daniel Boulud protégé Travis Swikard recently left his job as executive chef at Boulud Sud in New York City to return to his hometown of San Diego and open his own restaurant serving “Cal-Med” (California Mediterranean) cuisine. The restaurant, which is receiving some investment and mentoring assistance from David and Lesley Cohn and Deborah Scott, will open in an as-yet-undetermined location in fall 2019.

Ways & Means Oyster House, La Jolla and Carmel Valley

Orange County’s award-winning seafood bar chain will open its first two San Diego County locations in the first quarter of 2019. With locations in Huntington Beach and Portland, Ways & Means is known for its fresh seafood sourcing program that includes its own house brand oysters. It’s known for a menu with prices starting at $4 and nightly seafood specials. The first is set to open in February in the former Alfonso’s space at 1251 Prospect St. in La Jolla. In March, the second location will open at the One Paseo project at 3720 Caminito Court, San Diego.

Wild ‘N Out Sports Bar and Arcade & iLov305, Gaslamp Quarter

Two new entertainment venues will open in the spring inside the new Theatre Box movie and entertainment complex. Comedian/actor Nick Cannon will open Wild ‘N Out, which will feature a monthly DJ appearance by Cannon and other celebrity guests. Also at Theatre Box, rapper Pitbull will open his Miami-inspired rooftop lounge and bar serving tropical drinks and craft cocktails. 701 Fifth Ave., Downtown.

Windmill Food Hall, Carlsbad

Due to construction delays, restaurant visionary James Markham has pushed back to January the opening of his 12,000-square-foot food hall inside Carlsbad’s iconic windmill building. Once finished, the hall will have a 52-seat indoor/outdoor bar and 11 vendor booths, including Bing Haus rolled ice cream; Bread and Cheese grilled sandwiches; Cross Street Chicken & Beer; Lobster West; Taco Lady; Thai-Style Chicken; a Korean hot pot spot; and a Belgian waffle and fries shop and more. 890 Palomar Airport Road, Carlsbad.

Zinqué, Little Italy

This L.A.-based restaurant and wine bar, with locations in Venice, West Hollywood and Newport Beach, expands into San Diego County next year with a Little Italy location. Zinqué serves European-inspired menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including tartines, ratatouille, paninis and soups. 2155 Kettner Blvd., San Diego. Twitter: @pamkragen