2019 San Diego Tastemakers
From talented restaurateurs and master mixologists to visionary vintners and coffee connoisseurs, San Diego is an epicurean’s delight. Try a new cuisine, sample a signature cocktail, and savor a meal made from locally, sourced ingredients sure to impress your palate!
Director of Operations at Blue Pokē
Blue Pokē’s build-your-own bowl or burrito concept opened last year in National City. The vision of a group of commercial fishermen, it adheres to the strictest quality control standards—anything that’s fished, packed, cut, or sold is overseen by an industry authority. Their focus on sustainability has aligned them with farmers, fishermen, and suppliers with shared values of the highest-quality, responsibly sourced local ingredients. A commitment to their environment is found in everything they do, from using recycled paper products to implementing energy-saving lighting and kitchen equipment. Order online to use their free delivery service within a five-mile radius that reaches downtown San Diego.
Design Your Own Poke Bowl or Burrito: Select as many mix-ins, sauces, and finishes as you want!
1325 East Plaza Boulevard Suite 103, San Diego, CA | 619.434.4673
Paulina and Cesar Chaidez
Chilaquiles Masters and Executive Chefs at Cocina 35
Offering the undisputed best Mexican breakfast in San Diego, Cocina 35 brings the aromas and flavors of delicious mornings in Mexico. Along with their famed chilaquiles—simply the most flavorful in town, made from scratch in 15 different styles from regions all across Mexico—this family-owned restaurant is known for its refreshing aguas frescas, and the most aromatic, steaming cups of café de olla. Stop by daily from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. to experience a taste of Mexico in every bite.
Chilaquiles la Bomba: Creamy habanero cilantro chilaquiles topped with juicy cochinita pibil and pickled onions.
1435 Sixth Ave, San Diego, CA | 9335 Airway Rd, San Diego, CA | 619.431.5611
Executive Chef at Luce Bar & Kitchen
The first thing to know about Luce Bar & Kitchen is that its name is pronounced Lew-chay, not Loose. The second thing to know: This extraordinary Italian-inspired gastropub will thrill your taste buds and touch your heart. While Luce emphasizes seasonal menus that draw inspiration from all over the globe, it’s still a local eatery at its core. “We have a deep connection to the Bay Park neighborhood around us,” says executive chef Katherine Johnson, “and we’re always evolving to better meet the needs of our customers, whether they see us several times a week or drop by the very first time.”
Pan-Seared Salmon: One of Luce Bar’s signature dishes, the pan-seared salmon comes with forbidden black rice, sautéed red bell peppers, onions, spinach, and a delicious coconut red curry sauce.
1959 Morena Blvd, San Diego, CA 619.275.0321
Corporate Executive Chef at The Patio Group
As the new corporate executive chef at The Patio Group, Jarrod Moiles is busy reinvigorating the menus at The Patio on Goldfinch, Mission Hills; Fireside, Point Loma; and The Patio on Lamont, Pacific Beach. Growing up, Moiles spent hours in his family’s garden learning to appreciate the value of fresh ingredients. Today, this talented tastemaker has garnered countless awards and accolades for his innovative concepts. Still, Moiles concedes that his own palette veers toward simple pleasures: “Nothing beats a perfect pepperoni pizza!” When not in the kitchen, Moiles is a devoted father and husband, and a fitness enthusiast enjoying the Southern California lifestyle.
Local Baja halibut, English pea puree, citrus and mint pea salad, and seared maitake mushrooms, garnished with Valencia orange and radish
Vincenzo Bruno, Tom Tarantino, and Antonia Buono
Owners at RoVino
“Italy to Table.” That’s the concept behind RoVino Rotisserie + Wine, the brainchild of Little Italy natives Tom Tarantino, Antonia Buono, and Vincenzo Bruno. With their strong generational commitment to bringing the Sicilian and Northern Italian cuisine of their heritage to their hometown, the owners use only the freshest, highest-quality ingredients to create authentic, traditional dishes—from perfectly seasoned meats and pastas to their signature free-range Sicilian-style rotisserie chicken. Consistently named among San Diego Magazine’s Best Restaurants, RoVino offers exciting, award-winning dining in the heart of Little Italy. Look for RoVino The Foodery, coming this summer to downtown’s East Village.
Pasta al Sugo: The perfect dish for summer dining! Made with fresh, locally sourced tomatoes, sautéed onions, garlic and basil, served over fresh pasta.
2034 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego, CA | 619.269.9341
Brewmaster at 10 Barrel Brewing Company
Beer lovers rejoice at the selection at 10 Barrel Brewing Company. With 20 taps on frequent rotation, there’s something for everyone. “Every time you come in you’ll see something new—from IPAs to pilsners, Belgians to sours,” says brewmaster Benny Shirley. Soon to begin barrel-aging, Shirley prides himself on staying current and progressive with unique beers of all styles.
Padre Pilsner, a German-style pilsner; Baja Crush, an agave kettle sour.
1501 E Street, San Diego, CA | 619.578.2311
Executive Chef at 10 Barrel Brewing Company
With its massive, multilevel indoor-outdoor brewpub, 10 Barrel Brewing Company combines a locally inspired menu of elevated pub fare with a rotating tap list of craft beer. Chef Tommy Fraioli is committed to supporting local farmers and fishermen and creating unique menu items—like the octopus and shrimp michelada and Choco Tacos—that cater to repeat customers and visitors alike.
Octopus and shrimp michelada: “With most micheladas you just get a drink. This is a meal and a drink all in one,” says Fraioli.
1501 E Street, San Diego, CA | 619.578.2311
Photo by Lauren Radack
Owner at Buona Forchetta
The well-loved Italian restaurant Buona Forchetta has become one of the pioneers of Neapolitan cuisine in San Diego, with locations in Encinitas, South Park, Liberty Station, and Petco Park, and Enoteca in South Park. Offering award-winning pizzas, pastas, and traditional entrées to crowds lining the sidewalk night after night, owner Matteo Cattaneo has become a staple in the community. With more locations planned for Coronado, and additional concepts opening soon, Matteo’s focus on fun, simple dining has captured the hearts of the city and the admiration of visitors from all over the world!
Non-profit restaurant, Buona Forchetta For a Cause coming early summer.
Margherita pizza: San Marzano tomato, mozzarella, basil.
3001 Beech St, San Diego, CA | 619.381.4844
Executive Chef at The Fishery
Over 22 years, this family-owned establishment has perfected its recipe of serving sustainably and ethically sourced wild-caught local seafood. Helming the kitchen for the past decade, chef Paul Arias pulls from Mexican, Mediterranean, and Asian influences in creating the menu of California coastal dishes. “Our wholesale operation provides the unique opportunity to use not only the freshest staples but also whole fish and other species you don’t often see,” Arias says.
Local Wild Spot Prawns: Just a single fisherman is licensed to catch these wild shrimp in waters 10 miles off La Jolla, in season through the end of summer.
5040 Cass Street, San Diego, CA | 858.272.9985
Owner at Gianni Buonomo Vintners
In four short years, this boutique winery specializing in exotic varietals and blends has proven itself as world class, winning double gold medals in some of the most prestigious domestic and international wine competitions. A formally trained vintner, owner Keith Rolle produces a stellar lineup of award winners, including Blaufränkisch and Charbono. Super-premium grapes are sourced from Washington state and the Sierra Foothills.
Charbono: Only 17 winemakers in the US produce this rare gem of a wine.
4836 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA | 619.991.9911
Amy Lemon and Tina Sabouri
The Joint, established in 2011, is named in honor of its unusual union of sushi and tapas. “It’s almost like we’re two restaurants in one,” says certified sommelier and general manager Tina Sabouri. “Our standards are very high for ingredients, service, and hospitality. Our newest addition, executive chef Amy Lemon, who worked for Emeril Lagasse for 12 years, provides the perfect accompaniment to every meal.”
Japanese A5 Wagyu beef: Served on a sizzling Himalayan sea salt block with organic shiitake mushroom and local asparagus topped with sweet cilantro jalapeño butter.
4902 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA | 619.222.8272
Executive Chef and Sommelier at Solare Ristorante
Executive chef and trained sommelier Filippo Piccini brings a taste of the region where he grew up—Tuscany, Italy—to Solare Ristorante. “Our dishes reflect those you’d find at a restaurant in Tuscany,” he says. “I’m dedicated to preserving the incomparable experience of dining back home. You won’t find this kind of authenticity anywhere else!”
Gnocchi Viola e Asparagi: Purple potato hand-made gnocchi, Grana Padano sauce, roasted walnuts, and grilled asparagus.
Liberty Station, 2820 Roosevelt Road, San Diego, CA | 619.270.9670
Bartender and Mixologist at Solare Ristorante
Bartender and mixologist Tommy Smerik is devoted to reaching new heights of creativity in the blending of food and drink. “When you come in and order a dish, I’d be happy to find a perfect cocktail to pair it with so you have an ideal taste experience,” says Smerik, who cofounded Solare Ristorante with his father, Randy, and brother, Brian. “When you come to Solare, ask me about my passion for Italian amaro!”
A Bitter Seduction: 1 ounce Malahat white rum, 1/2 ounce aged rum, 3/4 ounce Campari, 3/4 ounce lemon juice, 1/2 ounce honey.
Liberty Station, 2820 Roosevelt Road, San Diego, CA | 619.270.9670 • solarelounge.com
Matt (Owner), Jack (Beverage Director), Josh (Chef), and Chanel (Manager)
Starlite’s been San Diego’s hidden gem since 2007. Its thoughtful cocktails, local cuisine, and late-night eats win awards every year. Nestled in a discreet location on India Street in Middletown, it has an ambience that’s incomparable. Discover Starlite, and you’ll find a warm, midcentury-inspired decor, a sunken bar, and a patio where drinkers and diners escape in an urban oasis.
Salted maple old-fashioned: Bourbon, salted organic maple syrup, mole bitters.
3175 India St, San Diego, CA | 619.358.9766
Executive Chef at Sugar and Scribe
Ever since winning Food Network’s 2015 Holiday Baking Championship, chef Maeve Rochford has continued creating award-worthy cuisine at Sugar and Scribe in La Jolla. A descendant of Irish bakers, she routinely delights palates with selections of sweets and savories based on recipes that span generations. Infusing passion and creativity, Sugar and Scribe delivers delectable entrées plus custom-crafted bakery fare. With trademark humor, Chef Maeve notes, “Laughter, butter, and passion meets Navy SEALs Hell Week... that’s my life!”
Lemon curd “Unicorn Pancakes” with strawberry compote, marshmallows, and edible glitter.
7660 Fay Avenue, La Jolla, CA | 858.274.1733
Executive Chef at Top of the Market
While new restaurants in San Diego come and go, others have stood the test of time, thanks to their commitment to maintaining a consistently high-quality product. Since 1989, Top of the Market has been widely regarded as one of San Diego’s finest restaurants, with chef Jeremy Loomis’s exhibition kitchen showcasing a seasonal menu of fresh seafood and locally sourced ingredients.
California spot prawn with ají amarillo, sea bean salsa, avocado, lime
750 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA | 619.234.4867
Chef de Cuisine at Village Vino Wine Bar & Restaurant
At this intimate neighborhood spot, it all begins with the wine—more than 100 types of small-production and biodynamic types from family-owned vintners in California, Europe, Australia, Africa, and South America. Using fresh, seasonal, sustainable ingredients, chef Jeremy Estrada crafts a fine-dining menu that knowledgeable service staff can pair for the best experience. “We have fun, vibrant wines that are paired perfectly with locally curated menu selections. It’s a wine lover’s ultimate destination,” Estrada says.
Monthly Wine Pairing Dinners: To pair with featured wines, Estrada creates a five-course menu of an amuse-bouche, three protein-based mains, and a dessert. Tickets at villagevino.com.
4095 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA | 619.546.8466