San Diego’s food scene heats up for annual Restaurant Week

Restaurant Week returns to San Diego Sept. 25 through Oct. 2 for its 12th annual farm-to-table epicurean celebration. More than 180 area restaurants offer three course, prix-fixe dinners in categories ranging from $20 to $50 per person.

The lunch format, a two-course prix-fixe meal, is $10, $15 or $20 per person. Taxes and gratuities are not included. Logon to for information, menus and reservations. Here are my suggestions from last year’s event.

At Hunter Steakhouse in Mission Valley, I enjoyed a sirloin burger and a Caesar salad for $10. The place has a classic ’50s feel with wood paneled decor and banquettes.

It appeared that a lot of regulars were eating; suits and uniforms, always a good sign.

The eclectic Galaxy Taco in La Jolla served up a terrific $15 lunch. Their motto is “Comer (eat) Awesome!” and they live up to it.

The first choice was from an assortment of amazing appetizers, but tucked away on the list was their homemade churro for dessert (don’t miss it!). Choosing from an array of imaginative tacos was the hardest part of the meal.

Catania, also in La Jolla, was named one of Zagat’s hottest new restaurants. The $50 dinner menu is designed for sharing, featuring coastal Italian specialties. Choices included two appetizers, one pasta or pizza and two desserts. We started with the mussels and risotto, followed by a perfectly baked wood fired pizza. Desserts were off the charts good. Catania has an ocean view, everything is house-made, they feature an extensive drink and wine list, plus the service is impeccable. Go!

liberty-stationBITE San Diego focuses on discovering neighborhood culinary gems. The food tours are offered in seven different areas around town, all featuring hand picked food/drink stops. I recently went on their Liberty Station Walking Tour and was impressed with our guide’s knowledge of the historic Naval Training Center.

We started at Point Loma Tea for hot and cold samples. Next up was a visit to the recently opened Liberty Public Market.

This high energy, former Navy chow hall is filled with eateries, bars and specialty food and craft vendors.

We sampled an outstanding burger at STUFFED! (a former food truck operation) and learned about the benefits of raw, organic cold pressed juice at Fully Loaded Micro Juicery. That was followed by a tasting at Venissimo Cheese, including samples from around the world.

A casual walk took us to Slater’s 50/50 — Burgers by Design for a sampling of this bacon-fest restaurant (they cook approximately 300 pounds of bacon daily!). There is also a huge selection of local craft beers.

Our last stop was Solare Ristorante Italiano to sample traditional Tuscan Southern Italian meatballs and a signature pizza.

Solare has been voted the best Italian restaurant in San Diego the past several years and it’s easy to understand why.

The BITE San Diego outing took three hours and, interestingly, half the group had been on their other tours. That’s a good indication of why they have been voted the No. 1 food tour in San Diego. Other neighborhood excursions include Pacific Beach, North Park, Downtown/Little Italy, Coronado, La Jolla and Encinitas. For more information go to

Enjoy the journey…



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Howard Hian

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