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This is 'Made': San Diego's Best Food Right Now

103 answers to the question, “I’m going out; what should I eat?”


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For the past 10 years, I’ve kept a list. I share parts of it with friends who ask where and what to eat in San Diego. As a food writer covering our city for over a decade, I’ve been lucky to taste tens of thousands of dishes from extremely talented chefs, cooks, and families. Last week, I sampled 80 dishes from 16 different chefs—20 dishes a day, four days in a row. Treadmills know me by name.

Whenever a dish makes me say, “Oh, god, that’s good,” I add it to the list. It’s my little black book of the city’s best food and drink. I’ve never published the entire list in one place, until now. So here it is: 103 answers to the No. 1 question people ask me every day: “I’m going out; what should I eat?” These are the dishes I feel you should systematically eat one by one or six by six. Make a game or a life out of it, because happiness is a nice goal.

Troy Johnson

This feature will kick off Made, a series of short, hypnotic videos of every dish on this list. My partner and videographer Sam Wells filmed all 103 of them, with the first 42 online now. You can watch each dish come alive, from raw ingredients to finished plate, in 30 seconds.

No restaurant paid to be here. I’ve gotten no pressure from anyone. There is one chef on this list I wouldn’t invite to my birthday party, though they’d probably like to attend my funeral. But their dish was phenomenal, so it made the cut. The list is pure. The only metric: Is it good?

The Made list is by no means finished. This is just the beginning of our hunt. Every week following the 103 originals, we’ll add another dish to the list, and put its Made video on San Diego Magazine’s website—one day, we hope to create the largest living, breathing video database of the best food and drink in San Diego. It’s a new sort of guide to the city.

We hope you enjoy watching it evolve.

And please tell me (@_troyjohnson) what I’ve missed so that I can hunt them down.

View the full list here.


Note: Some of these dishes will change slightly, or temporarily go off the menu, according to seasonality.

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