Power shopping at the mall? Fuel up at these restaurants

Power shopping at the mall during the holidays requires three things: determination, comfortable shoes and plenty of fuel to keep going.

We can’t help you with the first two, but we’re all charged up over how many great dining options there are at the mall these days. So whether you need to rest up with a sit-down meal, stay energized with some healthy fare or grab a quick bite on-the-go, here are our power picks to make sure you don’t drop while you shop.

Fashion Valley

7007 Friars Road, Mission Valley

Sit-down: Blanco Tacos + Tequila. A new, casual Mexican eatery, Blanco serves everything from hamachi and watermelon ceviche to short rib machaca pizza, salads, eight kinds of tacos, burritos, bowls, desserts, cocktails, wine and beer. The hip, colorful dining room offers a diverting respite from the crowds. (619) 810-2931. blancotacostequila.com

Healthy: True Food Kitchen. Fresh, nutritious fare in a stylish setting (indoors and outdoors), True Food uses high-quality ingredients in such well-executed dishes as the organic Tuscan kale salad, grilled salmon herbed hummus, or the seasonal dashi ramen and butternut squash pizza. (619) 810-2929. truefoodkitchen.com/sandiego (Also at Westfield UTC.)

Quick bite: 59th & Lex. Tucked away on the third floor of Bloomingdale's is this oh-so-civilized cafe, where you can get the tangy, low-fat 40 Carrots Frozen Yogurt, a New York favorite for more than 30 years. Topped with fruit or enjoyed plain, eaten there or to-go, it’s a satisfying pick-me-up. (619) 610-6400. locations.bloomingdales.com/fashion-valley--san-diego

Otay Ranch Town Center

2015 Birch Road, Chula Vista.

Sit-down: Savoie Italian Eatery. An eclectic menu to match the décor, Savoie is a successful foray into elevated Euro-cuisine and craft cocktails from the Karina’s Group. Menu standouts include the fried eggplant, homemade meatballs, Barolo-poached pear salad and mushroom risotto. (619) 591-5757. savoieeatery.com

Healthy: Vitality Bowls. A so-called “superfood café,” this family-run outpost of Vitality Bowls serves nutrition-packed, antioxidant-rich ingredients, like organic açaí, blueberries, kale, spinach, almonds, Goji berries, flax, chia seeds and more, in various combinations. Smoothies come in 13 varieties; juices in nine. (619) 421-1200. vitalitybowls.com/locations/chula-vista

Quick bite: Nestlé Toll House Café. Craving holiday cookies? You can’t get more classic than Nestlé Toll House. This café serves flatbreads, paninis, wraps and crepes, but we go for dessert — chocolate chip cookies, brownies, cupcakes, cookie ice cream sandwiches, milkshakes and more. For a quick sugar fix, the two-bite mini cookies are just 60 calories each. (619) 421-9991. nestlecafe.com

Westfield North County

Sit-down: Nordstrom Marketplace Cafe. Refuel in casual comfort while dining on comfort foods like the Roma tomato basil soup, cheddar cheese and chive biscuits and turkey and cranberry sandwich. The menu includes seven inventive salads (fresh berries ad goat cheese, cilantro lime chicken), pizza, pasta and entrees like wild salmon with roasted vegetables and farro, and desserts. (760) 740-0170. nordstrom.com/store-details/nordstrom-north-county

Healthy: Pioneer Organic Cuisine. Serving from scratch Greek and Mediterranean fare, this family-run eatery offers up hearty and healthy dishes like hummus, falafel, chicken or beef gyros, Greek salad, kebabs, steamed vegetables and even homemade chicken soup. From the organic menu, you can choose a plate of grilled chicken with basmati rice (white, saffron, herbed green or brown), with tabbouleh and salad. (760) 739-9729. pioneerorganiccuisine.com

Quick bite: GoFruit. Awash in vibrant colors — matcha green and pitaya pink, for example — from the freshly made fruit and veggie juices, bowls, parfaits and frozen pops, GoFruit sates your sweet tooth naturally. The Mango Crush Bowl — with coconut milk, mango, strawberry, banana and agave, topped with granola, banana, strawberry, blueberry, mango, honey and a cacao drizzle — is a crowd favorite. (760) 644-8786. gofruitjuicebar.com

Westfield UTC

Sit-down: Din Tai Fung. Power shoppers are pros at waiting in line, so the always-crowded, cult Asian dumpling house poses no challenge to you. (Just in case, you can reserve online through Yelp.) The first San Diego outpost, the newly opened Din Tai Fung is world famous for its steamed pork xiaolongbao soup dumplings. The tempting menu offers noodle soups and dishes, non-soup dumplings and potstickers, veggie plates, fried rice and sweet and savory buns. (858) 375-5988. dintaifungusa.com

Healthy: Veggie Grill. When the name has “veggie” in it, you can bet the dining options skew toward the way a lot of people are eating today. The menu is all vegetarian and contains no dairy, eggs, animal or trans fat. Many dishes are also gluten free. The choices include salads, sandwiches, bowls, tacos, burritos, entrées, veggie plates desserts and five kinds of “burgers.” (858) 458-0031. veggiegrill.com

Quick bite: Paraná Empanadas Argentinas. Paraná’s convenient kisosk is the perfect pit-stop for flaky, pastry-filled hand pies. Malbec beef with raisins and onion and mushroom with cheese are among the 11 varieties of empanadas. Grab a container of regular or chipotle chimichurri and you’re set to go. Another timer-saver: you can have dessert. Delicate alfajores cookies, filled with dulce de leche and rimmed in shredded coconut, are a specialty. (858) 900 3493. paranaempanadas.com


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