Summer Meals For Two

Doughnuts and Bacon at The Rail (courtesy photo)

Summer love is in the air, and there’s no better way to celebrate than with food. With a booming restaurant scene like San Diego’s, finding the idyllic venue can be overwhelming. Rest assured, here is a list of some of the city’s finest spots to enjoy summer meals for two!

Searching for an elegant and sophisticated downtown evening? Look no further than Osetra Seafood & Steaks, a prominent feature of the Gaslamp Quarter. As one of Southern California’s premier fine dining and nightlife destinations, Osetra is the ideal spot to wine and dine your special someone with an upscale, exclusive experience. Indulge yourself with Classic Caviar for two from white Pacific sturgeon found on the West Coast for a creamy pop of flavor. Share a sushi roll for a seafood starter, such as the Anniversary Roll, made with crab, cream cheese, and avocado, all topped with spicy lobster, spicy eel sauce, spicy mayo, and spinach tempura crunchies for roll with a kick.

Head over to La Piñata in Old Town for a summer spot to sip and savor with your special someone. Proudly known as the oldest establishment in Old Town, La Piñata is beloved by tourists and locals alike for its traditional Mexican fare and festive atmosphere. Enjoy the colorful mosaics and brightly colored patios while dining on a shareable plate of Nachos covered with beans, shredded beef, cheddar cheese, ranchero sauce, guacamole, sour cream, and slice olives, or split a plate of Chile Colorado, made with tender chunks of beef mixed with a red sauce of tomatoes, onions, and green chiles alongside rice, beans, and a hot tortilla.

If your forecast calls for summer lovin’, head north to check out Barrel Republic Oceanside, a mecca for craft beer lovers looking for the freedom to pour. With well over 40 casks to choose from, Barrel Republic is the ideal spot for adventurous beer seekers. Snack on the gorgeous Charcuterie Board; this colorful medley of meats, cheeses, nuts and seasonal fruits is almost too beautiful to eat! If you need a little more protein on your plate, snag some Bacon Wrapped Pork Belly, honey-glazed to perfection and served with kale slaw.

There’s nothing sweeter than dining at a French restaurant. Now you don’t have to make the journey to Paris for some authentic French fare – Et Voilà French Bistro has mastered the art of blending French classics with an innovative flair. Nestled near Normal Heights, this eatery offers a cozy interior reminiscent of a traditional French bistro with a contemporary twist, where you can share a plate in style of the Ravioli Aux Champignons, homemade mushroom ravioli with white truffle oil, parmesan, and a port wine mushroom sauce, or the Roulade de Saumon, Mousse D’Avocat, a crispy salmon croustillant with mango tartar, lime, and a sweet rum sauce.

Be sure to stop into BeShock Ramen & Sake Bar, a trendy addition to East Village’s culinary enclave and San Diego’s diverse and ever-growing restaurant scene. Boasting a full menu of authentic Japanese cuisine, BeShock has crafted a lighter take on the traditional ramen dish. Beat the heat with their seasonal Cold Ramen for summer, a refreshingly cool twist on the savory dish with a focus on local vegetables and classic Japanese seasonings, or split some Crispy Shrimp Rolls, served with green perilla sauce.

If you’re on hunt for a hometown pizzeria, you can’t miss Woodstock’s Pizza in Pacific Beach. From the beginning, Woodstock’s has focused on dishing out fresh, hand-tossed dough to create their special folded-over crust with sauce inside, topped with more fresh toppings than any competitor. A favorite of surfers, students, and locals alike, you can’t go wrong with Woodstock’s! Order up a plate of Wildebread with Cheese, bakery fresh bread bits covered in melted cheese and seasoned with garlic and herbs, or split a serving of crispy Man Cave Wings in smokin’ dry rub, spicy buffalo, and honey BBQ flavors and a whole host of dipping sauces.

It’s no secret that weekends in San Diego are reserved for two things: mimosas and brunch! Take your special someone to The Rail, the hottest new place for the best meal of the week. A longstanding icon of San Diego nightlife, this eatery is now serving up a fresh new spin on the most important meal of the day. Spread the love with this shareable menu of brunch time favorites, including the Fig & Prosciutto Flatbread, made with fig jam, brie cheese and prosciutto baked perfectly and finished with fresh arugula, or the delightfully dainty Coffee & Doughnuts, coffee-cured bacon bites and doughnut holes served with a creamy vanilla latte dipping sauce.

Going steady this summer? There’s no better place to spend these warm summer nights than The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch, a mixed-use living, retail, and lifestyle destination bringing together gourmet and casual dining options, specialty groceries, clothing and accessory boutiques, health and wellness studios, and family amenities in addition to Santa-Barbara inspired gathering spaces, all designed with the community in mind. Stroll amongst the stores before sharing a bite of fresh Mussels & Prosecco at Pascal Lorange’s Crudo, roasted poblano beer-cheesePretzels & Dip at Westroot, or Baked Italian Meringue at Dolce at the Highlands for a decadent finish.

Toast this summer season with a pizza for two at The New Yorker Pizzeria, the most authentic East Coast pizzeria this side of the Mississippi. Set inside the historic brick Chinese Laundry building in the exciting Gaslamp Quarter, The New Yorker brings a slice of the Big Apple all the way to San Diego with a New York neighborhood bar feel. In addition to their killer Neapolitan-style pizza, dig into a shareable plate of Truffle Fries, served with skin for added crunch and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and parsley, or divide some 5 Chile Mango Glaze Wings for a hot and tangy way to spice up your summer.

Seeking a trendy hotspot that offers progressive American cuisine? Union Kitchen & Tap in Encinitas and the Gaslamp District offers a selection of locally honed menu items suited to sharing! Split an order of Thai Coconut Mussels, made with Bilbao chorizo, kaffir lime, lemongrass, serrano chili, coconut soy broth and served with grilled bread for a unique flavor profile of subtle acidity balanced by coconut-based broth. Follow this dish with theirProsciutto Flatbread, topped with farm egg, prosciutto, burrata and rocket. Expertly crafted with thoughtfully paired ingredients and simplicity, this dish exudes culinary excellence.

Located in Hillcrest, Uptown Tavern offers a lively atmosphere and a menu brimming with shareables! Lounge on their modern patio and enjoy an order of Truffle Salted Fries, prepared with shoestring fries, black summer truffle salt, gorgonzola crumbles and paired with house infused ketchup and garlic aioli. Top this off with an order of twoAngus Chuck Sliders served on Hawaiian sweet rolls and made with garlic aioli, house pickles, cheddar cheese and house infused ketchup. A delectable melding of flavors, these shareable dishes will leave both parties fully satisfied!

If a neighborhood bar is more suitable for your party of two, True North Tavern in North Park offers a laidback atmosphere ideal for conversation and flat-screen entertainment. Whet both of your appetites with Sweet Chili Brussels Sprouts, a heaping dish of charred organic brussels sprouts, sweet chili sauce, chopped scallions, sesame seeds and fresh herbs. An intermingling of sweet and spicy, these brussels are an experience worth sharing! Split an order of their Famous Original Loaded Tots, topped with their house seasoning blend, warm queso sauce, fresh cilantro, chipotle crema and salsa fresca for a full flavor experience big enough for two.