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Restaurants

The newest eateries in San Diego, from Oceanside to the Gaslamp

More than a dozen new restaurants have sprouted up around the county, everything from vegan and zero-waste spots to Thai and Italian. The theme these days seems to be creativity, with one spot giving Mexican dishes a French twist, and another making vegetable-infused breakfast cocktails. Intrigued? Read on to see what’s new in San Diego dining.

Bahn Thai, Hillcrest

Popular University Heights restaurant Bahn Thai opened its second location in Hillcrest. Owned by husband and wife chefs from Thailand, the restaurant serves a traditional menu of Thai soups, salads, noodle dishes, curry, fried rice and stir-fry dishes. bahnthai.net

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Green curry from Bahn Thai in Hillcrest
(Courtesy photo)

Break Point, Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach nightclub impresario Mike Lee has reimagined his former Johnny V’s club into this new all-ages, 10,000-square-foot entertainment venue that includes a restaurant, four-lane bowling alley, bar and club. By day, the family-friendly restaurant serves a Baja/Asian menu by chef Bobby Borja, and by night it transforms into a club with DJ and bottle service. breakpointpb.com

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Cardellino, Mission Hills

In January, Trust Restaurant Group (Trust, Fort Oak) opened Cardellino, a multiconcept “all-day eatery” in the former Brooklyn Girl space in Mission Hills. The 4,800-square-foot venue offers an elevated Italian-American restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, a bar, a bakery, a grab-and-go market, a walk-up ice cream window and a bottle shop. cardellinosd.com

Carte Blanche Bistro & Bar, Oceanside

Brothers Brandon Ross and Ryan Ross branched off from their parents’ Old Town restaurant business to open their own project with their wives: Oceanside’s Carte Blanche Bistro & Bar. (Parents Chuck and Gail Ross took over and revitalized Fiesta de Reyes and the Cosmopolitan Hotel.) Carte Blanche is a French-inspired Mexican bistro overseen by executive chef Alex Carballo. Some of the 160-seat, 4,300-square-foot restaurant’s dishes include carne asada tartare, prickly pear ceviche, duck confit street tacos, chile verde moule frites and quinoa negra with beet and ricotta hummus. eatcarteblanche.com

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Brothers Brandon and Ryan Ross of Carte Blanche Bistro & Bar with their father Chuck (center)
(Courtesy photo)

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Cori Pastificio Trattoria, North Park

Former Solare chef Accursio Lota recently opened his own restaurant spotlighting the recipes he grew up on in Sicily. Lota was the winner of the 2017 Barilla World Pasta Championship and in 2018 was one of just four U.S. chefs to earn a 3 Gamberi rating, the Italian equivalent of three Michelin stars. Cori blends classic and contemporary and traditional and vegan dishes. Specialties include Lota’s signature cocoa pasta raviolini stuffed with oxtail and parsnip, and Sicilian escargot. coripasta.com

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Gnocchi from Cori Pastificio Trattoria in North Park

Del Lusso Napoletana Pizzeria, Carlsbad

Carlsbad business partners Walter Wong and Steven Seminara opened this Neopolitan-style pizzeria/osteria in Carlsbad’s Bressi Ranch. The 1,600-square-foot restaurant, helmed by Wong as executive chef, is built around a custom-built Marra Forni brick oven that can cook a pizza at 725 degrees in just 90 seconds. The menu also features pastas, protein entrees, salad and desserts. dellussopizza.com

Gaslamp Breakfast Company, Gaslamp

Rise and Shine Hospitality Group opened the second location of its new Breakfast Company brand in the Gaslamp Quarter. (The first location opened last year in North Park.) The Breakfast Company signature is fruit- and vegetable-infused breakfast cocktails, which accompany a hearty menu of sweet and savory pancakes, waffles and French toast, as well as Mexican specialties. breakfast-company.com/gaslamp

The Gluten Free Baking Company, North Park

After repeated customer requests, this wholesale production bakery in Coronado recently opened its first retail location in North Park. Owner/chef Roanna Canete was a globe-hopping leadership consultant when her son was diagnosed as gluten-intolerant. In the process of learning to cook for him, she found her new vocation. With in-house cake designer Lisa Altfest, The Gluten Free Baking Company was featured on Netflix’s Sugar Rush series in November. The new bakery sells same-day-order cakes, cinnamon rolls, bagels, cookies, cupcakes, doughnuts and custom wedding cakes. There are also pour-over coffees, as well as dairy-free and vegan items. thegfbakingco.com

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Matteo, South Park

Matteo Cattaneo, founder of the Buona Forchetta family of restaurants, will open his passion project, Matteo, early this month in the former Rebecca’s Coffee House space in South Park. All of the profits from Matteo will be donated to rotating quarterly causes, beginning with the community’s Chavista Cesar Chavez Service Clubs. The 2,800-square-foot cafe will serve American breakfast fare along with house-baked pastries by head baker Joanne Sherif, former proprietor of shuttered Cardamom Cafe & Bakery in North Park. Matteo will have a grab-and-go market selling Italian groceries and house-made pastas and sauces as well as an event space that will host classes for children. Instagram: @matteoforacause

Pacific Coast Spirits, Oceanside

Pacific Coast Spirits, which held its grand opening in December, is a craft distillery and restaurant/bar that serves both farm-to-table food and grain-to-glass cocktails under one roof. The restaurant/bar/distillery occupies a former furniture store, which has been renovated by the people behind this project, led by founder and distiller Nicholas Hammond. The menu consists of “California comfort” shareable plates. Pacific Coast Spirits distillery makes American single malts, California bourbon, heirloom corn whiskey, vodka, gin, brandy and agave spirits, all served in cocktail form or in tasting flights. Future distilling plans include making schnapps, amaro and other small-batch products. paccoastspirits.com

The Plot, Oceanside

Married Oceanside restaurateurs Jessica and Davin Waite and chef/consultant Christopher Logan have teamed up on this ambitious “proudly” plant-based and zero waste-ethos restaurant on Coast Highway. The Waites run Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub, a modern sushi bar, and The Whet Noodle ramen shop, which both offer vegan dishes. But The Plot menu is entirely vegan-friendly. Jessica, a longtime vegan and sustainable food advocate, is president of the Berry Good Food Foundation. She’s leading the restaurant’s minimal-waste initiatives, which include an on-site garden and edible herb landscaping. The 4,400-square-foot restaurant has 146 seats. theplotrestaurant.com

Ramen Ryoma, Hillcrest

Oregon-based Ramen Ryoma opened its second San Diego location in Hillcrest in December after opening a Clairemont Mesa store in 2018. The company is known for its rustic temomi, or hand-massaged wheat flour noodles, which have a wavy quality and unique texture. The restaurants serve a mix of traditional and artisan ramen dishes along with rice bowls, sushi and sashimi. ramenryoma.net

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A bowl of ramen from Ramen Ryoma in Hillcrest
(Courtesy photo)

RustiCucina, Hillcrest

Four Sicilian transplants who have run Italian and other restaurants throughout San Diego teamed up to open this rustic Italian neighborhood restaurant in the former Pardon My French bistro space. The menu is helmed by Marco Provino, who ran Verandina in Imperial Beach. Fellow partners are Nino Cusimano, Mario Liga and Vincenzo Loverso. The expansive menu features antipasti, housemade pastas, pizzas, flatbreads, vegan items, meat protein entrees and tableside service specials with cheese and charcuterie. rusticucina.com

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Saltwater, Gaslamp

This Italian and seafood fine-dining restaurant opened in mid-February in the former home of Cohn Restaurant Group’s Blue Point Coastal Cuisine. It’s owned by the San Diego Dining Group, which operates Greystone, Panevino and Osetra restaurants. Saltwater has dramatically reimagined the restaurant’s interior to resemble the deck of a 90-foot Riva yacht in the Grand Canal of Venice. The menu features chilled imported Mediterranean seafood, Prime steaks, housemade pasta and organic local produce. saltwatersandiego.com

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Fish at Saltwater in Gaslamp
(Courtesy photo)

Semola, Little Italy

The team behind Ambrogio15 — Giacomo Pizzigoni, Luca Salvi and Andrea Burrone — opened Semola, a customized, express pasta stand in the Little Italy Food Hall. Diners can choose from seven pasta shapes, six sauces and four cheese and olive oil toppings. The oversize pasta bowls are priced at $9.28. semolapasta.com

The Village, North Park

In January, the owners of Natural Delights Juice Bar in La Mesa, Sonia and Alondra Ruiz, opened this new plant-based restaurant in the shuttered Anthem Vegan space in North Park. The diverse menu offers a mix of Mexican and Asian dishes, including 14 vegan sushi rolls, beet burgers and 16 Mexican items including rolled tacos, burritos and enchiladas. There are also Asian and Mexican ramen dishes as well as salads and soups. thevillagesd.com


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