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New Restaurants in San Diego: Spring 2016


KINDRED {1503 30th Street, San Diego; 619.546.9653}

Expect a new type of vegan eatery at Kindred. Kory Stetina—creator of LOVELIKEBEER, a pop-up beer and vegan dining experience—has partnered with Arsalun Tafazoli (CH Projects) and Paul Basile (BASILE Studio) to bring the restaurant to life. Designed by Basile, the space calls on aesthetic features from the French Gothic era, featuring mirrored back-lit ceilings and a 35-foot large marble bar as the centerpiece of the venue. A black sculpture of a four-eyed wolf with snake horns—the mascot of the restaurant—overlooks the dining area, and contrasts with the pink toile wallpaper. The menu, created by Executive Chef Jeremy Scullin, offers everything from hearty entrées to smaller snacks. The Deli Battle, a veggie take on a charcuterie board, is really getting us going; it’s served with with red chiles, orange fennel, smoked golden beets, a miso-cashew ball, and kale pesto. How’s that for deliciously off-beat? barkindred.com

Tajima Ramen {901 E Street, San Diego; 619.431.5820}

More ramen please! The ever-popular Tajima Ramen recently expanded to a fourth location in the East Village this past January. Owner and Chef Sam Morikizono acquired the previous Acme Southern Kitchen, and design guru Paul Basile of BASILE Studio transformed the space into a modern izakaya-style eatery. Build your ramen from the broth up by choosing one of four different types—including tonkatsu, spicy sesame, and curry—and dive into toppings like the tender kakuni (stewed pork belly), vegetables, or soy sauce-marinated eggs. The beverage menu incorporates both San Diego beers and Japanese lagers, as well as wine and housemade craft sodas. tajimasandiego.com

Buona Forchetta in Liberty Station {3001 Beech Street, San Diego; 619.381.4844}

Liberty Station, the historic landmark turned foodie and cultural destination, is proud to welcome one of San Diego’s favorite Italian eateries, Buona Forchetta. Owner Matteo Cattaneo was initially approached to bring his restaurant to a Point Loma development, but felt wary about doing it alone. So, he partnered with Mario Cassineri of BiCE—the fine dining restaurant that features from-scratch pasta and seafood dishes—to make it happen. At the recently launched Liberty Station outpost of Buona Forchetta, Cattaneo is focusing on the production of pizza and other signature BF dishes, while Cassineri curates an affordable menu of authentic eats, perfect for the fast casual crowd. The 2,600-square-foot restaurant boasts an expansive outdoor dining area, both in the front and back, as well as a grassy courtyard, perfect for children. The center of the restaurant features two dome ovens—one of which is dedicated to gluten-free dishes—where diners can watch pies cook to thin crust perfection. Salute, BF! buonaforchettasd.com


Moto Deli {810 North Coast Highway 101, Encinitas; 760.943.6686}

Locally renowned chef Alex Carballo—executive chef at Stone Brewing Co. and partner at URBN Brewing—and entrepreneur Mario Warman teamed up to open this gourmet sandwich shop this past January. The duo acquired the 1,200-square-foot space—formerly home of the iconic Sub Palace—with the intent of creating a social hub where community members could congregate for authentic eats right by the beach. Warman’s passion for motorcycles plays into the design of the deli, with concrete walls and touches of steel giving it the feel of an authentic motorcycle shop. Chef Carballo insists that most of the high-quality foods on offer (bread, kettle chips, and roasted meat) are made in house. Fittingly, this fast casual spot also features delivery via scooter, so you can enjoy delicious eats wherever you are. motodeli.com

The Taco Stand {645 B Street, San Diego; 619.546.0570}

Inspired by the taco stands of Tijuana and the Baja Peninsula, The Taco Stand is opening up a new location guaranteed to spice up downtown. The 1,500-square-foot space has been transformed into a traditional Tijuana taco stand, outfitted with scrap metal and a mural overlooking the dining area that pays homage to the urban artists of Mexico. The zesty, Latin flavor-infused menu includes burritos, quesadillas, and, of course, one-of-a-kind taco creations like the Nopal Taco made with flame-grilled cactus, melted cheese, cilantro sauce, tomato, and avocado. The menu also features classic south-of-the-border treats like Mexican Coca-Cola and Mexican flavored popsicles. letstaco.com


Madison {4622 Park Boulevard, San Diego; 619.269.6566}

Jeffrey Fink—of FLUXX nightclub and M-Theory Music—is bringing upscale dining, cocktails, and music to Park Boulevard with the opening of Madison. ARCHISECTS redesigned the 3,000-square-foot space—the former Lei Lounge—transforming the front section into a casual bar opening up to a beautiful indoor/outdoor dining hall outfitted with sky-high, cedar-lined walls and guitar string-inspired rope installations stretching across the archway. Madison’s menu was designed by Chef Mario Cassineri—partner and executive chef of BiCE Ristorante and at the new Buona Forchetta location at Liberty Station—and will be executed by Tony “G” Gutierrez of BiCE Ristorante, La Strada, and Opera Café. Inspired by Mediterranean and Southern California cuisines, the menu will feature a variety of small and shared plates such as Tuna Tartare with tempura Santa Barbara shrimp, as well as larger dishes. Expect an extensive cocktail menu complete with local brews and a full wine program. madisononpark.com

–Morgan Carter and Erin Jackson