6 of the latest restaurant and wine tasting rooms to open in San Diego County

Brazilian churrasco skirt steak and fingerling potatoes with chimichurri at Fresco Cocina in Carlsbad.
Brazilian churrasco skirt steak and fingerling potatoes with chimichurri at Fresco Cocina in Carlsbad.
(Courtesy of Fresco Cocina)

Check out some of the latest openings in the San Diego dining and drinking worlds.


Fresco Cocina, a new Latin-inspired restaurant, has opened in the former KoKo Beach space at Carlsbad Boulevard and Grand Avenue in Carlsbad. The restaurant’s executive chef is Carlsbad resident Chris Idso, the former longtime chef at Pacifica Del Mar in Del Mar.

Fresco Cocina is the second restaurant opened on Carlsbad Boulevard by Linda DiNitto, who was born in Venezuela to Italian parents. Her first restaurant, 264 Fresco, serves Italian food, and her second, Fresco Cocina, serves dishes from Peru, Venezuela, Brazil and Uruguay. Among the new restaurant’s specialties are short rib empanadas, Venezuelan shrimp tequeños, Peruvian lomo saltado and Brazilian churrasco beef.

The restaurant at 1858 Carlsbad Blvd. is open for lunch and dinner on weekdays and brunch and dinner on weekends. Visit

A selection of pasta dishes at Marisi, an Italian restaurant that opened Wednesday, Aug. 31, in La Jolla.
(Courtesy of Jim Sullivan)

Marisi restaurant opens in La Jolla

After more than two years of planning, Marisi restaurant opened Wednesday in La Jolla. The long-awaited Italian restaurant has generated a lot of buzz thanks to its creative team. Executive chef Chad Huff previously worked at three of the most acclaimed restaurants in the Los Angeles area: Providence, Felix Trattoria and Broad Street Oyster Co. And bar and spirits creative director Beau du Bois hails from the Michelin three-star Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa. Their goal is to step outside the usual Italian restaurant boundaries with dishes and drinks that reflect all of the regions of Italy. Specialties on the opening menu include agnolotti with local crab, pappardelle with duck ragu Genovese, chicory salad with salami and tomato, American wagyu carpaccio and 60-day aged American wagyu steaks. The cocktails will highlight Italian apertifs, housemade limoncello, Italian pilsner beer and rare imported spirits. Hours are 5 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays only, at 1044 Wall St., Suite A., La Jolla. Visit

Carruth Cellars has opened a new wine tasting room in Little Italy.
(Courtesy of Kellie Viagem)

Carruth Cellars returns to Little Italy

Less than three months after Carruth Cellars was forced to close its 5-year-old tasting room and wine garden in Little Italy after lease negotiations hit an impasse, the San Diego urban winemaker has returned to the neighborhood.

On Sept. 1, Carruth opened its new location at the boutique Carte Hotel at 401 W. Ash St. in Little Italy. The new tasting room has indoor and outdoor seating and all-day live music and local vendors. Besides wines by the glass, flight and bottle, the new location offers cheese flights and dishes from the hotel’s restaurant menu, including poke, pasta and a burger. Hours are 3 to 9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays. Visit

Coffee, sandwiches, pastries and smoothies are offered at newly opened Chiefy Café in the Gaslamp Quarter.
(Chiefy Café)

Chiefy Cafe expands

Chiefy Café, a pet-friendly coffee shop and café that opened last year in the Gaslamp Quarter, has recently opened two more San Diego locations.

Named after his dog, Chiefy, owner Dani Nissan has recently debuted new outlets at 1080 University Ave., Suite H105, in Hillcrest’s Ralphs shopping center, and at 5665 Lindo Paseo, Suite 103, near San Diego State University. He’s also now expanding the menu to include waffle, toast, sandwich and bowl options for meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans. Visit

Little Thief opens in North Park

Little Thief Wine Bar & Kitchen, a new concept launched by the owners of Bottlecraft Beer Shop and Vina Carta, opened Aug. 3 in North Park.

Little Thief specializes in serving natural wines, which are organic wines made from grapes grown without pesticides or other chemicals. Besides a large menu of wines by the glass and bottle, Little Thief is serving a menu of dishes from Papalito, a new Sonoran-inspired culinary concept created by chef Drew Bent, formerly of Lola 55. Dishes include salads, eloté, sandwiches made with smoked fish, carnitas, brisket fish, carnitas, fried chicken and smoked mushrooms, and desserts. Hours are noon to 10 p.m. Sundays-Wednesdays and noon to 1 a.m. Thursdays-Saturdays at 3017 University Ave., San Diego. Visit

A rendering of the new White Rice Bodega restaurant in Normal Heights.

White Rice Bodega coming to Normal Heights

White Rice, South Bay chef Phillip Esteban’s Filipino food rice bowl business at Liberty Station, will open a new location this month in Normal Heights.

White Rice Bodega at 3586 Adams Ave., Suite 1, will serve a variety of Filipino silog (rice bowls) entrées, including lechon kawali with crispy pork belly, mushroom and tofu sisig, pandesal sweet rolls and kinilaw, a Filipino fish salad made with local tuna and coconut milk. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekends. Visit