by billy nordmeier –
Restaurant week has always been a San Diegan’s best opportunity to “Celebrate Local!” But, you certainly don’t need just this one week to visit any of the over 200 restaurants on the list…Though it’s a darn good excuse to do so. Lunch options range from $10, $15, $20 and dinner options from $20, $30, $40 and $50 for a multiple course experience.
Wine crushed from locally grown grapes and vinted throughout the county offer a natural pairing alongside lunch and dinner prix-fixe menus. For the hop-centric diner, one of San Diego’s many craft beer selections can complete the perfect restaurant week meal. With participating restaurants typically using this time to show off some of their best, because it’s such a great marketing opportunity and can lead to a whole new group of diners.
In Japan, there isn’t a month that goes by that doesn’t feature a festival; local or a national. Some of these festivals celebrate the mountains, lakes or the elderly. The local celebrations are frequently punctuated by fireworks (hanabi) and for some, a loin cloth (hadaka matsuri) is the dress code of choice! Fortunately, we don’t need the loin cloth, or the fireworks to enjoy amazing Japanese fare during San Diego Restaurant Week.
One of my absolute must-eat-at restaurants is Azuki Sushi. Conveniently located at 2321 5th Avenue on Banker’s Hill, Azuki features beautiful, creative rolls with a decidedly authentic feel. The Japanese word, “Shun” means seasonal and is a central tenant to the cuisine at Azuki. Hisashi “Nao” Ichimura and business partner, Shihomi Borillo, only work with local purveyors and source responsibly farmed food to showcase their culinary artistry. You can see and taste the quality.
If Japanese cuisine isn’t what you’re looking for, take a short 5 minute drive up the street to La Bonne Table. This intimate French bistro is arguably one of the most romantic spots in Hillcrest! On the corner of 5th and Pennsylvania, this hidden gem features French Provencal cuisine with the wines to compliment. Tucked away in the south of France, there is a little known town called, Limoux, which lays claim to the world’s longest annually held carnival celebration!
Over the course of three months, revelers eat, drink and dance while celebrating, not the end of harvest, but the time after harvest when everything is taken to the market and you get paid for it (so one story goes)! Revelers roam the streets speaking in their native Occitan while dressed in elaborate costumes. Sorry for us, but your ten-foot stilt and sequined carnival outfit won’t fit in La Bonne Table.
Previous offerings way too tame? Spice it up with some S&M! Located at 4130 Park Boulevard, S&M Sausage and Meat promises to inspire your sense of adventure and push you to the edge of your comfort zone. Sounds like a good Friday night out on the town! Exotic cuts of meats like alligator, elk, venison and pig’s ear make for interesting gastronomy any day of the week. Try their Campfire Lemonade while snacking on Sriracha Honey Bacon Strips.
For our friends in Mission Hills, no need to trek outside of your neighborhood. The Patio On Goldfinch at 4020 Goldfinch Street, offers not only an Orchid Award-winning atmosphere, but food to match. Under the revitalized leadership of Chef de Cuisine, Adam Mali, The Patio’s seasonal offerings feature local, sustainable produce and proteins from across Southern California.
If you choose not to avail yourself of the wine pairings with your three-course San Diego Restaurant Week menu, then by all means, indulge yourself in one of the most extensive agave lists in San Diego! Don’t forget about their critically-acclaimed cheese and charcuterie board.
Whatever your plans are for celebrating this September, always remember the men and women who work tirelessly behind the scenes, prepping a great experience for you and your guests.
For more information on the hundreds of participating eateries for San Diego Restaurant Week , go to: