San Diego’s dining scene continues to grow, with new dining options from hospitality powerhouses like Consortium Holdings, Cohn Restaurant Group and Rise & Shine Restaurant Group. Here are 12 of the most buzzed-about openings in town.
5th & Sky Rooftop Gardens & Lounge
In August, the upscale movies, dining and entertainment complex Theatre Box opened this rooftop bar and nightspot. The 5,000-square-foot space, designed to look like a contemporary Japanese garden, is open for food, drinks and dancing — a DJ spins on Thursday through Saturday nights and during the day on Sundays. The menu includes burgers, pork sliders and sushi, and the bar menu serves Asian-inspired cocktails like a lychee martini and spicy tamarind margarita.
701 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp, 619.814.2225, theatrebox.com/5th-sky
Artisan Noodle Tatsuki
In August, chef Daiki Tanaka — formerly of L.A.’s famed Tsujita LA Artisan Noodles — opened his first solo ramen shop in downtown San Diego. The shop sells traditional ramen, as well as his signature dish tsukemen, which involves dipping noodles from one bowl into a second bowl of soup, followed by a helping of light broth to mix with the soup.
531 Broadway, Gaslamp, 619.310.5370, instagram.com/artisannoodletatsuki
Black Rail Kitchen + Bar
In August, North County restaurateur Grant Gottesman opened this elegant 6,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor restaurant and bar inside the former Tuscany space, which had been shuttered for two years. Gottesman, who owns adjacent Tin Leaf Fresh Kitchen, brought in the Cohn Restaurant Group as investors and hired high-profile San Diego chef Travis Swikard to design the menu, which features house-made pastas, kale and walnut flatbread, Moroccan lamb meatballs and whole branzino. The restaurant is named for the endangered marsh bird depicted on a large wall mural in the dining room.
6981 El Camino Real, La Costa, 760.931.0020, blackrailkitchen.com
El Jardin Cantina
A year after launching El Jardin as a fine dining regional Mexican restaurant under the leadership of star chef Claudette Zepeda, Rise & Shine Restaurant Group closed and relaunched the Liberty Station eatery in August with a new name, chef team, look and menu. The 8,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor garden restaurant is now serving a more approachably priced, traditional menu with $4 to $6 tacos, $10 entrée salads, $12 to $14 ceviches, $14 to $21 aguachiles and combination plates from $17 to $24. The bar menu features 11 custom margaritas, priced from $8 to $14, and tequilas, wines and beers starting at $4 a glass. The restaurant’s exterior décor has also been brightened up with colorful parasols and murals. A new happy hour, weekend brunch and prix-fixe menu are in the works.
2885 Perry Road, Liberty Station, 619.795.2322, eljardincantina.com
Gelati & Peccati
The culinary team behind the popular Buona Forchetta restaurant group has introduced this pared-down quick-service option in North Park. The walk-up window-service shop serves only gelato and pizza. Founders Matteo Cattaneo, Luca Zamboni and Giovanni Bonomi are known for their oven-fired Neopolitan pizzas, but this shop sells Roman-style pizza, which has a thicker, airier crust cut in squares. Diners can choose from up to 40 varieties of pizza and 18 flavors of fresh-made gelato.
3068 University Ave., North Park, facebook.com/gelatiandpeccati
J & Tony’s Discount Cured Meats and Negroni Warehouse
One of San Diego’s most successful restaurant groups, Consortium Holdings, has opened this combination cocktail bar, restaurant and coffee bar. It’s modeled after the Italian aperitivo bars that serve a pre-dinner snack of Negroni cocktails and small bites, including sandwiches, salads, cured meats and cheeses. Sharing the space is the Invigatorium, a retro coffee bar with vegan pastries run by Modern Times brewery and coffee.
631 Ninth Ave., East Village, 855.634.7664, instagram.com/prosciuttoboyz
RoVino the Foodery
In mid-August, the co-founders of three-year-old RoVino Restaurant & Wine in Little Italy opened this new authentic Italian market in East Village. Co-owners Tom Tarantino, Antonia Buona and Vincenzo Bruno met with residents and businesses to determine what was needed in the area. The venue has a deli counter serving imported Italian meats and cheeses, a pizza oven, gelato, a bakery, a coffee bar, a wine bar, a grab-and-go market and a restaurant serving pizzas, pastas, salads and antipasti.
969 Market St., East Village, 619.310.6421, rovinothefoodery.com
Siamo Napoli Ristorante
Naples-born restaurateur Flavio Piromallo opened this 100-seat Neopolitan pizzeria in the former Il Postino space in North Park. Piromallo has focused the Siamo menu on Southern Italian cuisine. The specialty is Neopolitan pizza, but the restaurant also serves pasta, beef, chicken and fish entrees, antipasti, salads and imported Italian cheeses and salumi. The restaurant has a full bar offering cocktails, wines, beer and ciders from Italy and America.
3959 30th St., North Park, 619.310.6981, siamonapolisd.com
Fox Restaurant Concepts opened its fourth Henry location in Coronado, joining sister locations in Phoenix, West Hollywood and Dallas. Described as a “modern ode to the Gatsby era,” The Henry serves separate breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch menus, as well as a full bar, with 12 custom cocktails. The diverse menu ranges from burgers and fish and chips to Korean prime skirt steak, Scottish salmon and spaghetti Bolognese.
1031 Orange Ave., Coronado 619.762.1022, thehenryrestaurant.com
TownHall Public House
In early September, Roger and Aaron Browning closed down their four-year-old Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen in Vista and converted it into this new community-focused, lower-priced gathering spot for all ages. TownHall serves an all-day Southern-inspired gastropub menu with nightly specials developed by chef Mario Moser. Diners can choose between waited table service in the 89-seat dining room or walk-up bar service in the bar and on the fire-pit patio. There’s a new children’s play area, more TV sets for sports fans and the number of beer taps has expanded from 23 to 30.
230 South Santa Fe Ave., Vista, 760.630.4311, facebook.com/TownHallPublicHouseVista
Windmill Food Hall
After more than a year of construction delays, this 12,000-square-foot attraction opened Sept. 1 in Carlsbad’s iconic 38-year-old windmill building. Founded by quick-service pizza pioneer James Markham, the Windmill Food Hall has 14 vendor booths serving sliders, salads, Belgian frites, sushi, poke bowls, grilled cheese sandwiches, Asian ice cream desserts, coffee, lobster rolls, pho, Mexican, Korean food and more. A barbecue eatery should open in the base of the windmill -- which is finally turning again after 10 years of disrepair -- in mid-October. There’s a full bar and children’s play area as well.
890 Palomar Airport Road, Carlsbad, 442.287.8485, windmillfoodhall.com
Los Angeles-based French wine bar and bistro Zinqué opened in September on the ground floor of the AV8 complex, a mixed-use retail and residential development in Little Italy. The all-day eatery’s menu (divided into breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner) includes items like breakfast sandwiches, pastries, quiche, steak frites, tartines and whole branzino.
2101 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy, lezinque.com