An Insider's Guide to San Diego
Las Cuatros Milpas
“My family always refers to this homey Mexican restaurant as ‘the place with the line.’ You get the stews that have been cooking for 12 hours or overnight. The menudo and posole are so brothy, hearty and beyond comforting.” 1857 Logan Ave.; 619-234-4460.
Bahia Don Bravo
“My dad does construction in La Jolla, and when I was growing up we would always end up at this spare counter. It reminds me of Ensenada in Mexico. There is shrimp ceviche and seafood stew, but my go-to order is fish tacos and cold horchata.” 5504 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla; donbravogrill.com.
“The best combination of California and Mexico. Tortillas are the main thing here; Christine Rivera adds some hippie touches like vegan tacos, but I go for carne asada and grilled avocado.” 2259 Ave. De La Playa, La Jolla; galaxytaco.com.
“In the Barrio Logan neighborhood, this used to be a place called Porkyland. Now Salud! is bringing contemporary flavors and farm-to-table ingredients to Mexican street food like tacos and fire-roasted corn.” 2196 Logan Ave.; saludsd.com.
Herb & Wood
“I haven’t been to all of Brian Malarkey’s restaurants, but he’s doing things that no one else is, from the bar to the food to the design. It’s cool to see chefs like him care about making downtown hip again.” 2210 Kettner Blvd.; herbandwood.com.
“The last time I worked in San Diego, Javier Plascencia was the idol in restaurant kitchens. He’s embracing the great climate and produce and translating it through a Mexican lens. That’s what I love about San Diegan food.” 1490 Kettner Blvd.; bracerococina.com.
“After hosting vegan and craft-beer pop-ups, Kory Stetina is taking his healthy cuisine to the next level. His riff on a meat-and-cheese board, with chile and orange fennel seitan, smoked beets and miso cashews, among other things, shows that bold flavors can come from unexpected ingredients.” 1503 30th St.; barkindred.com.