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The Foolproof Guide to San Diego Restaurant Week

Where to go, what to order—here's your GPS to food nirvana during SDRW


Restaurant Week is your chance to try Ponsaty's. | Photo: Paul Body

Restaurant Week was designed to help restaurants during the traditionally slowest part of the year. The deal is this: Restaurants create a prix fixe menu (set menu, with options for every course), usually three courses. Or, in the case of Nobu, four courses. They reduce the prices of all that food. The idea is that San Diegans get to try restaurants they maybe couldn’t afford, or at least get a great deal. And the restaurants, in return, get traffic during their downtime.

Every time it comes around, I get flooded with texts and emails. “Where should I go?” And I have a foolproof strategy for Restaurant Week. It’s simple. And I apologize in advance to the indies, who I love and support most of the year. But this is a simple number’s game.

Go to the highest-end restaurants. The places you couldn’t afford on a regular basis. This is your chance.

So I compiled this list. It’s the same list I send to friends who ask. This is where you should go. The best damn restaurants in town. And I even went through their menu options and, knowing what they do best, picked what I would order. Hope it helps. Enjoy.


George’s California Modern

First Course: Beef tartare with a levain crisp, mustard-fennel kraut, horseradish, egg yolk, pickled shallot and lovage

Second Course: Golden trout, almond butter, king oyster mushrooms, romanesco, golden raisin, parsley, capers, brown butter

Third Course: Milk & Honey Panna Cotta, farmer’s market pears, brown butter meringue, clove ice cream



First Course: Roasted Sugar pumpkin soup and cranberry duck meatballs with spiced pepitas, brandy roasted apples, broccolini saute, cinnamon crème fraiche

Second Course: Herb potato gnocchi and shaved French summer truffles with Chardonnay-braised artichokes, sweet corn saute, white chanterelle mushrooms, truffle butter

Third Course: Tahitian vanilla bean custard with sweet potato puree, bourbon caramel, crisp meringue and ginger-molasses cookies



First Course:Jamaican jerk pork belly with baby carrots, swiss chard, plantains, black-eyed peas, spicy jellies and sweet potato puree

Second Course: Roasted lamb loin with spice roasted carrots, escarole, black garlic and onion marmalade, sunchoke and sunflower seed puree, lamb jus

Third Course: Hazelnut chocolate & Bailey’s ice cream bar with chocolate micro cake and caramel


Cowboy Star

First Course: Fried wagyu beef tongue with cucumbers, roasted peanuts, lime, mint, adobo sauce, oven-dried tomatoes

Second Course: Petite Filet

Third Course: Chocolate chip bread pudding with butterscotch sauce, dark chocolate ice cream



First Course: Local ceviche tostada with serrano, red onion, lime, guacamole, radish

Second Course: Whole roasted branzino with toasted almond, cauliflower puree, chermoula

Third Course: Warm sticky toffee date cake with toffee sauce, Asian pear and blackberry salsa, toasted almond ice cream



First Course: Yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno, yuzu soy sauce, serrano chili, garlic and cilantro

Second Course: Ribeye tataki with garlic ponzu and shaved asparagus

Third Course: Sushi (chef’s choice)

Fourth Course: Matcha green tea cheesecake with cocoa crumble crust, red berry jus gelee



First Course: Poultry and foie gras terrine, seasonal veggies, pickled mushroom, grain mustard

Second Course: Barramundi a la plancha with braised oregano vegetables, garbanzo panisse, parsley sauce

Third Course: Classic opera cake with semi-sweet chocolate ice cream


Marine Room

First Course: Hokto Farm Organic Mushroom Bisque with red walnut muffin, Mt. Tam tartufo butter, vin santo

Second Course: Absinthe butter-basted Maine lobster tail with cumin-gouda polenta, horseradish sprouts, saffron vermouth essence

Third Course: Trefoils chocolate panna cotta, pomegranate-lemon tart, cactus-pear sorbet


Mister A's

First Course: Housemade ravioli with Wagyu beef porcini

Second Course: Lamb duo: chop and braised osso bucco with vegetable tian, garlic and rosemary

Third Course: Ginger butterscotch budino with crème fraiche, whipped cream and caramel popcorn

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Restaurant reviews, food trends, top cocktails, wine, beer and generally the best eats and drinks in San Diego, by Food Editor and general good guy Troy Johnson.

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