10 Must-Try Dishes You Can Only Get In San Diego
March 28, 2018
By Veda Frumkin
Life’s too short to spend time and energy eating bad food. If you’re going to eat out, take advantage of these amazing dishes, and dine at some of the most unique and highest-rated restaurants in San Diego. From full-bodied brunch burgers to simple taco trios, let this list of must-try dishes be your spiritual food guide to better, more fulfilling, dining experiences.
1. Streetcar Merchants
This dish combines sweet and savory for the most unique flavor combinations you’ve ever tasted. It’s fried chicken breast, topped with a fried egg, bacon, jalapeño, and maple glaze, all sandwiched between a sugary, fluffy, cinnamon donut.
2. Soda & Swine
As Soda & Swine’s most ordered menu item, these dirty fries should be on your radar. Topped with any meat of your choice, pork belly, mushroom gravy, jalapeños, and sriracha aioli, they are anything but dirty. Grub on mouthfuls of these savory, meaty bites, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself coming back for more.
3. Juniper & Ivy
You have permission to skip dinner and go straight to dessert. At Juniper & Ivy, this beautiful, chocolate cylinder gets doused with warm, hot chocolate sauce to reveal its delicate insides of nitrogen-frozen white and milk chocolate balls, hazelnut brittle, and white chocolate foam. This dessert is chocolate perfection at its finest.
4. Sushi Ota
Uni (Sea Urchin)
Looking for the most authentic Japanese sushi in San Diego? With over 3,000 reviews on Yelp, Sushi Ota is the highest rated sushi bar around. When Chef Ota first visited San Diego, he fell in love with all the fresh, local sea urchin the city had to offer. Since opening his restaurant in 1990, it’s been one of his specialties, and most-famed, signature dishes.
5. Tacos El Gordo
From adobada, asada, lengua, to even cabeza tacos, this popular and well-known restaurant has a taco for every taste. With long lines always out the door, there’s no wonder why Tacos El Gordo is rated as the best taco restaurant in San Diego.
6. Tajima Ramen House
With a pork-based, creamy broth, the Tonkotsu ramen comes with your choice of mouth-watering pork or chicken, topped with green onions, a soft-boiled egg, sesame seeds, and sprinkled Japanese seaweed. Open until 3 a.m. on the weekends, this ramen restaurant is the perfect house for late night, noodle cravings.
Bone Marrow Cavatelli
Leaning towards the pricier side, this meal should be reserved for a special, celebratory night out. Barbusa’s bone marrow pasta is a fine delicacy, with crumbles of meaty bone marrow in every bite. The Cavatelli is cooked in a creamy, ricotta sauce with Sicilian sausage, so it’s packed with loads of flavor. Also, the meal comes with an actual bone filled with delicious marrow that sits nestled on top.
8. Great Maple
Brioche French Toast Logs
This menu item is the sweetest combination of sugar and salt, and cooked to absolute perfection. This sweet concoction is a masterpiece. Two giant, fluffy French toast logs, swimming in a pool of tasty, maple syrup, topped with thick, candied, salted bacon, powdered sugar, and blueberries will have you dreaming and wanting more as soon as the very last bite is gone.
9. Ironside Fish & Oyster
With huge chunks of fresh lobster, crispy onions, and brown butter mayonnaise, this roll is perfectly buttered and toasted on all sides for the best lobster roll you can get in all of San Diego. As one of Ironside’s menu highlights, the lobster roll doesn’t skimp on the meaty lobster, and includes a side of seasoned fries and deliciously tangy aioli sauce.
Lemon Meringue Pie Milkshake
As a local bar in Mission Beach, this place is known for its wide array of beers on tap, but it is serving something else in a glass that pie connoisseurs everywhere need to know about. This milkshake is like slurping a heavenly slice of chilled, lemon meringue pie-goodness through a straw, and it’s complete with a giant swirl of fluffy, toasted meringue on top.