Well, damn. San Diego’s restaurants are currently limited to takeout and delivery service only. That’s a crusher for local spots, many of whom had invested significant money to build outdoor, pandemic-friendly spaces. So, if you’re able, order takeout from a local this week. We just dropped our annual Best Restaurants issue, so below are five of them with suggested dishes that made me pick them for the list.
I named Barrio Dogg my best fries because we didn’t have a best hot dog category—and that’s probably because if we did, Barrio Dogg would win it every year. Their dogs start with 100-percent Black Angus beef (no GMO or antibiotics or associated hooey), then they’re loaded with full-on Mexican meals. For instance, the El Xolito is wrapped in bacon and then topped with mayo, mustard, ketchup, red onion, roma tomatoes, jalapeño, cilantro, crunchy garlic, grilled onions, cheddar, sour cream, salsa verde, and Sriracha aioli. Dear god. The fries? Basically get the same treatment. The El Chihuahua fries are served under slow-braised pork, poblano and serrano peppers sautéed in salsa verde, sour cream, crunchy garlic, cilantro, and Manchego. You’re gonna need a fork. Here’s your takeout menu.
Kindred has been the de facto hitching post for San Diego’s creative set since it opened in late 2015. It’s exactly what vegan culture needed. A plant cookery that claims neither supremacy nor vendetta. It merely makes highly indulgent vegan food and phenomenal craft cocktails in an environment of art, not artifice. They’re doing takeout right now. For dinner, try the Babylon Burger with an Impossible kebab patty, preserved lemon and Castelvetrano olive relish, and whipped garlic on a sesame bun. For brunch, it’s the ridiculously good breakfast strudels, especially the cinnamon brown sugar with candied pecans. They’ve got holiday cocktails to go as well, like the Necronominog: spiced rum blend, brown butter nog, and oat milk. Here’s your takeout menu.
At Addison, San Diego’s only Michelin-starred restaurant, chef William Bradley is obsessive about sourcing. So when I asked him about his phenomenal bread years ago, I was shocked when he said it was from this little French bakery downtown. I have no idea if Bradley is still using them, but now the word is out and married owners Guillaume Ryon and Ludivine Mas have expanded to three locations. Get the breakfast box: two croissants, one chocolate croissant, one almond croissant, one chocolate almond croissant (my personal kryptonite), a full baguette, fruit jam, and butter. Or go for 60 or 3,000 macarons. Here’s your takeout menu.
Oceanside native son Davin Waite took me on a tour of his neighborhood and introduced me to this Peruvian spot and chef-owner Iole Revilla. Ceviche and tiraditos aren’t a common sight in pandemic life, so grab one here marinated in onion and lime-ají (Peruvian pepper) with rocoto pepper, served with the Peruvian version of corn nuts, canchita. In Peru, rotisserie chicken is an honorary national dish (marinated in Peruvian pepper sauce with spices), and they’re serving a family pack of it. Their ají de gallina—torn chicken in a spicy, creamy sauce with Parm, yellow pepper, and pecans—is excellent. Here’s your takeout menu.
Co-owner Han Tran was raised in restaurants. For hers in North Park, she wanted to elevate her native cuisine a bit. So for their pho (a famed Vietnamese soup, their version of ramen or chicken soup), they use an obscene amount of bones to create that deep, rich, intense flavor and then add slices of shank, eye of round, and brisket with a house-made chile sauce and herbs. Also try the Saigon chicken wings, which have a thick, caramelized sweet glaze that’s balanced with a base of fish sauce and chiles. Here’s your takeout menu.