Spring arrives with flurry of new restaurant openings in San Diego

People cook their own food at Tabu Shabu restaurant in Carlsbad
At new Tabu Shabu restaurant in Carlsbad, customers cook their own proteins and vegetables in a pot of steaming hot broth in the Japanese shabu-shabu style.
(Courtesy photo)

New eateries include Tabu Shabu, Baba’s Hot Chicken, Quiero Tacos, Zizikis Street Food and HottMess Woodfired Pizza


As the pandemic hopefully begins to wane, the pace of new restaurant openings has increased. Here’s a look at several new projects that have opened this month.

Tabu Shabu, a hot pot restaurant, opened in mid-March in The Square at Bressi Ranch center in Carlsbad. It’s the 9-year-old Orange County chain’s second San Diego County location, following North Park. Named for the Japanese cooking style of shabu-shabu, which translates as “swish-swish,” the restaurant has cooktop tables where diners cook their own meats, seafood and vegetables by swishing them around in a pot of steaming broth. The restaurant is at 2674 Gateway Road, Suite 190, Carlsbad. For details, visit

A hot chicken sandwich at newly opened Baba's Hot Chicken in Hillcrest.
(Courtesy photo)

Baba’s Hot Chicken, a Riverside-born quick-service chain specializing in Nashville-style hot chicken and sides, opened its first San Diego County location in Hillcrest in mid-March. Founder Mahmoud “Mike” Hemood said he has plans for more local locations soon. The Baba’s menu includes hot chicken sandwiches, tenders and sliders as well as loaded fries, mac & cheese and garlic grilled cheese sandwiches. The new location is at 406 University Ave., San Diego. Visit

The Mike Hess fish taco at Quiero Tacos
The Mike Hess fish taco at Quiero Tacos, which opened March 17 in the Mike Hess Brewing tap room at Seaport Village.
(Courtesy photo)

Quiero Tacos, a new full-service Mexican restaurant, debuted March 17 at the Mike Hess Brewing 20-tap tasting room in Seaport Village. The menu includes nachos, burritos, seafood and a wide variety of tacos. It’s at 879 Harbor Drive, Suite 13-E, San Diego. Visit

A lamb pita plate from Zizikis at Del Mar Highlands center's Sky Deck.
A lamb pita plate from newly opened Zizikis at Del Mar Highlands center’s Sky Deck.
(Courtesy photo)

Zizikis Street Food, a fast-casual modern Greek restaurant, is the first tenant to open in Del Mar Highlands long-anticipated Sky Deck food hall in Carmel Valley. Located above Jimbo’s, Zizikis features family recipes from owners Costa and Mary Arabatzis, prepared by 20-year-old executive chef James Augustine. It’s now open for delivery and takeout only. The rest of the 13 Sky Deck tenants should open in late spring. It’s at 12841 El Camino Real, Suite 206, San Diego. Visit

HottMess WoodFired Pizza, the latest piece of the indoor/outdoor 40,000-square-foot Acre of Awesome restaurant/tasting room/brewery complex in Barrio Logan, will open on April 1. Chef Kenzo Inai’s menu will feature Neapolitan-style pizzas made with a dough using spent grain from the onsite Thorn Brewing Co. The indoor pizzeria joins the all-outdoor Sideyard BBQ by HottMess. It’s located at 1735 National Ave, San Diego. Visit

Kragen writes about restaurants for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Email her at