Puesto: Puesto, West Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA Puesto at the new and improved Seaport Village “Headquarters” is some of the tastiest Mexican food I’ve had North of the border. The street taco style from Tijuana plays out in about a dozen creative hand held tacos. You can get a plate of 3 for $11 dollars and you will leave stuffed and ever so happy. The options for the taco fillings are plentiful. Including the classic San Diegan fish taco, carnitas (pulled pork), grilled shrimp, lobster and beef as well a good number of vegetarian types. There’s really something for everyone here. The entire plaza has been transformed into shopping and restaurants in what was formerly the old police station and a prison. There’s a very interesting preserved part of the jail to walk through while you wait for your table. Check out the wanted posters! They are hysterical! The interior of the restaurant has old remnants of what was housed there before. There are staircases hanging from the ceilings and it’s decorated with graffiti style street art. It’s a very intriguing and colorful place. Taco Tuesday happy hours have $1 tacos and $1 Tecate beers! Don’t miss out on that!
Soda & Swine: 2943 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA
Soda & Swine is possibly the first restaurant that I went to twice in one day. Soda & Swine consists of two parts. The menu is based on four kinds of meatballs with different sauces you can eat a la carte, on a slider or as a sub. The menu is supplemented by such standards as mac and cheese and fries, but also has unique offerings such as roasted chick peas and polenta, Next door is Polite Provisions and they have wonderful creatively flavored cocktails for the evenings!
The modern design of the Soda & Swine is lovely. The cafeteria style dining room is open to the sky yet enclosed on the sides. Polite Provisions was an old pharmacy and they’ve kept the old fixtures but modernized it a bit The effect is beautiful. Be sure to pay a visit to the bathroom and pay special attention to the floor!
Con Pane: Liberty Station Suite 105, 2750 Dewey Rd, San Diego, CA
Con Pane is the perfect Point loma place for a tasty breakfast or a quick lunch. Con Pane is a bakery and they bake the most amazing fresh breads each day. My favorites are the rosemary bread and the Point Loma Sourdough.
For breakfast grab an orange cinnamon roll and a giant latte and you’ll be set until lunch time. The sugar and cinnamon coated roll is light and fluffy and slightly orange flavor, just perfect! You can also order a sandwich for breakfast, if you’re feeling like brunch.
Their sandwiches come in whole or half sizes, they are great for sharing as they are quite hearty servings. My favorite is the turkey cobb sandwich. I order it with no mayonnaise because it doesn’t need it. There’s avocado, zesty gorgonzola crumbles, lettuce and a good amount of quality turkey breast.
If you’re seeking something simpler, they even have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Also, keep in mind, they are closed on Wednesdays! Sandwiches are $6 each, which is very reasonble for the high quality!
Izakaya Masa: 928 Fort Stockton Dr, San Diego, CA
Izakaya Masa was recommended to me by a great foodie friend and she told me just what to order. And she was right! You must try the: Takutsu ramen (get the half bowl size), the Tuna Carpaccio, a spicy yellow tail roll, pork gyoza and a Sapporo big beer.
The ramen bowls come in 2 sizes and are more than generous. Even the half size is very filling and the full size is enormous.
The tuna carpaccio is gorgeous, it’s topped with some oily sauce and crispy fried garlic slices that match perfectly with the tuna. I could eat one or two of these on my own.
The pork gyoza are so lightly fried on the bottom you can tell yourself they’re healthy. They are light and melt in your mouth.
We also tried the “San Diego Dream Roll” that was beautifully displayed and the little crunchies on top were so good! The roll is stuffed with generous portions of tuna, salmon, and avocado. It’s topped with caviar too, it really is a San Diego dream.
The restaurant is hidden in a strip mall filled with lawyers’ offices. While it’s not the place you’d expect to find top notch sushi, the line out the door says otherwise. Come on a weekday night and come early and the line won’t be too bad!
Pepa Tomate: Plaça Revolució De Setembre De 1868, 17, Barcelona
Gràcia is one of the most authentic neighborhoods in Barcelona, yet often overlooked by tourists. I highly recommend all visitors to Barcelona explore this maze of a district as each street has something special. Pepa Tomate is a cute tapas place boasts all things “tomato”. Jars of tomatoes and tomato products from all over the world fill the restaurant. Notice the dining table made of a table football game.
There is even tomato themed artwork on the wall and a giant piece of smashed tomato art on the ceiling. The decoration is cute and the paper placemat menus give the place a relaxed vibe. The “patatas bravas” are made quite differently than the rest of the Barcelona. They are a sweet and onion based tomato sauce, not spicy at all. Definitely order these, the twist on this Barcelona staple is perfectly executed.
The other must-order is the “Bloody Pepa” drink which is just like a Bloody Mary but more delicious. You can order it with or without alcohol, it’s tasty either way. I also recommend the cheese plate. It’s a rather generous serving especially for Barcelona. I have a deep passion for cheese and the cheese product to money ratio is very important to me. Pepa Tomate’s cheese plate is a bargain and a must-visit. You can leave full for about 20€ per person!
El Mirador de la Venta: Plaça Doctor Andreu, Barcelona
This tasty restaurant, La Venta, has serving up tasty Catalan meals since 1975. Their food is never to disappoint, they make the classics perfectly and add a modern twist as well. Mirador means “lookout” as this restaurant is picturesquely placed on Tibidabo’s mountain side. The views from across the road look out over all of Barcelona. This restaurant should be saved for special occasions like birthdays as the bill can quickly round up to 50€ per person.
For the starters we enjoyed each dish we tried including: fried artichokes, sea urchin, quiche omelette and jamon. Ordering “pan con tomate,” meaning bread smeared with tomato, sprinkled with salt and drowned with olive oil is a must at every restaurant. We especially loved the sea urchin! They remove the insides and add eggs and I suppose flour and some spices and pour it back into the shell and bake it to form a mini wet cake inside the spikey shell. It’s surprisingly delicious!
The main plates or “segundo platos” were great. The shrimp and veggie tempura is a Barcelona favorite. While I suspect the Catalan people didn’t invent this dish, they love to serve it at traditional places paired with the Catalan romesco sauce. I had a beef stew sort of dish, the meat just fell apart in your mouth, it was a delightful experience. The steak and fish plates were simple and perfectly prepared.
Most importantly, let’s talk about the desserts, or the “postres,” if you will. (Look at you, learning Spanish!) I love apple pie but it’s all too American to be common in Spain. This deconstructed apple pie tart was the next best thing. It had a thin layer of puff pastry as the base and baked apples on top with cinnamon and caramel sauce drizzled for extra pizzazz! The chocolate coulant cake, which is really a chocolate lava cake, was amazing, melty, and decedent. The cute scoop of caramel ice cream was the perfect pairing. Don’t miss these two desserts when you visit.
El Japonés: Passatge de la Concepció 2, Barcelona
El Japonés can be found on one of the most darling streets in the Eixample: Passatge de la Concepció. El Japonés is one of three restaurants housed in the building, part of the Grupo Tragaluz. The decoration is modern with a Japanese feel and is clean and beautiful.
The sushi rolls are each outstanding. You can’t go wrong when you order but keep in mind the portions are quite petite. You take your order on a checklist which is fun, and makes sure you get exaclty what you ordered. You will be pleased with whichever plate you order, they’re all colorful and delicious.
The best thing on the menu which you’ll need to save room for is the maki dessert. They essentially make a thick chocolate crepe and wrap up a creamy mascarpone filling. They then slice them and arrange them to look like sushi, topped with powdered sugar. They’re amazing.
The chocolate wrapping is not overly sweet and the mascarpone cheese just melts in your mouth. It’s such a lovely and creative dish. I highly recommend the restaurant even if you only order this dish, it’s a must visit.
The sushi rolls are around 10€ each, so it’s easy to spend 30€ or more a person. So this isn’t somewhere to eat each night, but definitely give it a try!