Bun & Patti, Kaiseki Sushi and CooCoo’s Nest lead list of new restaurant openings

Three different burgers lined up next to one another
Three burgers at newly opened Bun & Patti in Little Italy: Taste of the South, left, Hangry Burger and Smoke Show.
(Courtesy of James Tran)

Read all the the latest in San Diego restaurant and dining news, from new burgers in town to info about the upcoming San Diego Restaurant Week.


Bun & Patti, a gourmet “fine casual” burger restaurant, opened last week in Little Italy. Founded by 20-year Las Vegas restaurateur Elion Prodani and his wife, Amy, the restaurant serves burgers made from gourmet beef blends, fried chicken sandwiches made with organic Mary’s chicken, chicken wings, salads, power bowls, milkshakes and nonalcoholic cocktails.

The restaurant’s signature burger, Smoke Show, is made with Flannery Beef’s 14-day dry-aged beef with truffle aioli. Bun & Patti is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at 2171 Kettner Blvd., San Diego.

A sushi roll at Kaiseki Sushi in Carlsbad.
(Courtesy of Kaiseki Sushi)

Kaiseki Sushi in Carlsbad

On March 16, Wild Thyme Restaurant Group opened Kaiseki Sushi in the Forum Carlsbad shopping center. The Japanese-inspired restaurant is helmed by master sushi chef Tin Nguyen and former Nobu sushi chef John Kim.

The restaurant serves sushi, sashimi, nigiri, hand rolls, and hot and cold appetizers. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily at 1935 Calle Barcelona, Suite 172, Carlsbad.

Sunday Supper Club, an option family-style menu offered on Sundays at Juniper & Ivy in Little Italy.
Sunday Supper Club, an option family-style menu offered on Sundays at Juniper & Ivy in Little Italy.
(Courtesy of Juniper & Ivy)

Juniper & Ivy Sunday supper

Juniper & Ivy restaurant in Little Italy has launched Sunday Supper Club, a three-course shareable family meal option, featuring comfort foods that will change monthly, with a focus on locally farmed ingredients. On a recent Sunday, the menu included a green salad starter, main course of smoked beef brisket, baked rigatoni, Parker house rolls and coleslaw, followed by a tiramisu-style dessert. Cost is $65 per person, with optional $45 wine pairings. Juniper & Ivy is at 2228 Kettner Blvd., San Diego,

Ahi tuna tartare tostada, foreground, and a raw oyster plate at Saltwater Seafood and Steak.
Ahi tuna tartare tostada, foreground, and a raw oyster plate at Saltwater Seafood and Steak in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.
(Courtesy of Saltwater)

Saltwater debuts raw bar

Saltwater Seafood & Steak in the Gaslamp Quarter has unveiled a new crudo raw bar with seafood imported from around the world.

The crudo bar was created by chef Christopher Washburn with Saltwater’s Sicilian owners, chef Vincenzo Lo Verso and partner Alessandro Minutella. It features seafood from the Mediterranean, South America and the local Pacific Ocean waters. Options include oysters, sushi-grade tuna, a variety of caviars.

Saltwater is at 565 Fifth Ave., San Diego.

Sam "The Cooking Guy" Zien on a Vespa holding a fried chicken sandwich
Sam “The Cooking Guy” Zien has partnered with Grain & Grit Collective to open CooCoo’s Nest, a “bold” chicken sandwich booth, in Little Italy Food Hall.
(Courtsy of Grain & Grit Collective)

Sam goes CooCoo

San Diego YouTube star Sam “The Cooking Guy” Zien has partnered for the fourth time with Grain & Grit Collective on a new food outlet in Little Italy. CooCoo’s Nest by Sam the Cooking Guy is a new booth inside G&G’s Little Italy Food Hall.

CooCoo’s Nest serves seven varieties of crispy chicken sandwiches in buns and biscuits with six house-made sauces, as well as jumbo chicken tenders, crispy chicken salads and sides. CooCoo’s joins Zien’s Not Not Tacos and Samburgers inside the Little Italy Food Hall, as well as Graze By Sam, a sit-down restaurant across the plaza from the food hall. The restaurants are all at 550 Date St., San Diego.

Chefs Angelo Sosa and Ruffo Ibarra at Feeding San Diego's Pairings with a Purpose dinner.
Chefs Angelo Sosa, left, and Ruffo Ibarra at Feeding San Diego’s Pairings with a Purpose dinner party at The Conrad in La Jolla on March 2.
(Courtesy of Carly Matsumoto)

Pairings With a Purpose

Feeding San Diego’s annual Pairings With a Purpose fundraiser returned March 2 in a new format. Originally presented in 2016 as a large-scale food and drink event at a racket club in Encinitas, the event has been transformed into a four-course sit-down dinner party with cocktails for 100 donors.

This year’s event features a dinner with alternating courses prepared by Bravo “Top Chef” alum Angelo Sosa and Tijuana chef Ruffo Ibarra, the new culinary director of the Guild Hotel in downtown San Diego. The dinner was held at The Conrad in La Jolla. Funds raised from the March dinner will help provide 28,000 meals to San Diegans facing hunger ($1 helps provide two meals). Another Pairings With a Purpose dinner is planned this fall.

The one-pound Wagyu meatball  at LAVO San Diego Italian restaurant.
The one-pound Wagyu meatball with marinara and whipped ricotta is one of the dishes at LAVO San Diego Italian restaurant that can now be ordered for takeout or delivery.
(Courtesy of James Tran)

LAVO launches delivery service

LAVO San Diego, the luxurious Italian restaurant and bar that opened last June in the Gaslamp Qarter, has launched delivery and takeout service this month.

Among the more than 50 items available for pickup are LAVO’s house-made pastas, steak, seafood, chicken and veal entrees, salads, pizzas and appetizers like the top-selling one-pound Wagyu meatball with marinara and whipped ricotta. The full dessert menu is also offered, including the famed 20 Layer Chocolate cake with peanut butter mascarpone. Many menu items are vegan and vegetarian. Delivery via DoorDash and takeout are offered from 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and from 5 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

San Diego Restaurant Week is back: San Diego Restaurant Week returns Sunday with more than 80 San Diego County restaurants offering prix-fixe two- or three-course lunch or dinner menus through April 2. Lunch menus start at $20. Dinner menus start at $30. Participating restaurants have posted their Restaurant Week menus and prices along with reservation links on the website, where diners can search by neighborhood, style of cuisine, lunch or dinner option and price point.

Charlotte Randolf wine dinner: Vino Carta Wine Store & Bar in Solana Beach will host Michelin Guide’s 2021 Sommelier of the Year Charlotte Randolph for a five-course wine dinner on Saturday. Randolph will pair wines from Vino Carta’s wine shop with a menu prepared by Vino Carta’s in-house chef team of Kelly and Elliott Townsend of Long Story Short. 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Dinner is $100, plus $40 for wine pairings. 437 Highway 101, Suite 107, Solana Beach.

Black Rail wine dinner: Black Rail Kitchen + Bar in Carlsbad is partnering with Daou Vineyards in Paso Robles for a four-course wine pairings dinner. Dishes will include a watermelon sald with grilled halloumi cheese, roasted butternut squash risotto, 6-ounce New York strip steak and chocolate cake. 6 p.m. Thursday. $90. 6985 El Camino Real, Carlsbad. (760) 931-0020.

Over the Top Garden Pop-Up: Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego will soon open a pop-up rooftop garden bar at Top of the Hyatt. The event, running March 30 through May 23, will include a lush garden-like setting, botanic and floral decorations, fruit, herb and vegetable-infused beverages and Instagram photo spots. For details, visit

La Valencia Spring Tea: The La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla is kicking off its spring season of morning tea parties themed to spring, Easter and Mother’s Day. Features include French Dammann Frères teas, fresh-baked scones, quiche, mini pastries and tea sandwiches, and a glass of bubbly for adults. Tea times are at 11 and 11:30 a.m. April 7, 14, 21, 28 and May 5. The April 7 tea will be Easter themed and the May 12 event will celebrate Mother’s Day. Cost is $89 for adults, $65 for children. Teas are in the hotel’s Mediterranean Room at 1132 Prospect St., La Jolla.

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