As another new year comes in to view, now is the time for many to plan their new year’s resolutions and much talked about diets. The rise of the impossible meats has encouraged many to follow a plant-based, vegan lifestyle, while some with goals to shed a few pounds opt for the keto diet. No matter what diet trend you’ll be following in 2020, we’ve got you covered. We’ve rounded up a diet-based San Diego dining guide below to satisfy even the most limited.
Where to dine if you are Keto:
4130 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92103
San Diego’s latest steakhouse to emerge is ablaze by wood-fire master, Brad Wise and partner Steve Schwob. Those looking for a meal high in protein and fat will not be limited here. Menu options are, of course, meat-heavy with offerings ranging from Filet Mignon Carpaccio and Scottish Salmon to Dry Aged Pork Chop and Prime Porter House. Meat lovers can choose accompanying sauces like the house TRG Crack Sauce or Béarnaise and delicious sides such as the Truffled Cream Spinach, Roasted Mushrooms with thyme, garlic and egg yolk or Cheesy Broccoli. Rare Society is open for dinner Wednesday through Monday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. To make reservations, please call (619) 501-6404 or visit https://raresocietysd.com/
Where to dine if you are Plant-Based:
495 Laurel St, San Diego, CA 92101
Neighborhood beer bar, Corner Drafthouse, might catch you by surprise for this category. Start with their Roasted Buffalo Cauliflower, tossed in buffalo sauced and topped with scallions, this dish gives you all the flavor of wings without the meat. Ask to hold the blue cheese crumbles and swap out the ranch for veganaise if you’d like a dipping sauce, or just have them plain! They’re perfectly roasted with a little crunch and a small kick of heat. For an entrée, try their Impossible Burger; it will have you second-guessing if it’s really vegan! With a plant-based veggie patty, soyrizo, caramelized onions, lettuce and tomato, this burger leaves nothing out. Ask to swap out the aioli and cheddar cheese with veganaise and vegan cheese. While these two items are not listed on the menu, Chef Ruben Zamarripa has them available upon request.
641 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024
This surfside coastal hangout offers much more than just beer. Bier Garden Encinitas features a variety of menu items that can be made vegan upon request, without compromising the flavor. Their Sautéed Edamame with garlic and soy sauce topped with kosher salt will have you reaching for more. This simple yet tasty dish is packed full of protein and flavor: no modifications here to be vegan, order as-is. Be sure to order more than one for the table; they go fast! For an entrée, try their mouth-watering Grilled Portabella Mushroom Sandwich, which is both filling and flavorful. This sandwich is piled high with grilled portabella, heirloom tomato, pickled red onion, arugula, roasted red pepper and a fig spread. Ask for no cheese to make this dish completely vegan!
The Westgate Room
1055 2nd Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
An elegant dining experience fit for a queen (or king) should be accessible to every diet type. With a host of delicious French-American offerings on the menu, Executive Chef Fabrice Hardel wouldn’t dare exclude those seeking a plant-based lifestyle. Vegans can enjoy their freshly baked bread dipped in seasoned olive oil, sundried tomato umami and green olives before diving into their Traditional Tortilla Soup complete with a corn, tomato, vegetable broth and topped with ribbons of smokey guajillo chili. Hold the chicken and cheese; you won’t miss it. For reservations, please call (619) 238-1818 or visit https://www.westgatehotel.com/dining/the-westgate-room/
Where to dine if you are Vegetarian:
3752 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92103
Chef Brad Wise has a way with vegetables. There’s something about pairing his wood-fired cookery with house-made sauces and seasonally sourced ingredients that won’t make a non-vegetarian miss meat. At Trust, diners will find an entire section dedicated to the farm, leaving no opportunity for vegetarians to go hungry. Start with the Smoked Carrots + Baby Beets served with grains, aged manchego, red onion, smoky yogurt, tarragon and pistachio or the Wood-Grilled Cauliflower with golden raisins, mint, serrano aioli, black lentils, cilantro and curry vinaigrette. Finish by indulging in a Trust favorite – Ricotta Agnolotti served with sunchokes, black garlic streusel, black truffle, panna, and basil. Trust is open for dinner daily from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations, please call (619) 795-6901 or visit https://www.trustrestaurantsd.com/
2101 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
Vegetarians know how much of a struggle it is to find something plant-based to eat on a menu when dining with your non-vegetarian friends. Zinqué, the newly opened French bistro in Little Italy, offers the best of both worlds, so no one has to compromise. For all of the herbivores, we suggest the Pan Con Tomate, a baguette topped with tomatoes and avocado and rubbed with garlic and tomato for an appetizer. Le Bowl, a fan-favorite amongst vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike, hits all the major food groups by offering a full meal of brown rice, avocado, tomato, arugula, comte, cilantro, and sriracha. For dessert, everyone will be happy no matter what, but we suggest sharing a Pear Tart with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.
Where to dine if you are Gluten Free:
5480 Grand Pacific Drive
Carlsbad, California 92008
Those looking to avoid gluten will have their plate full at 20|Twenty in Carlsbad. Nearly their entire menu is gluten-free, leaving diners with a fair chance to explore the seasonally and regionally sourced offerings from Executive Chef Julian Quinoñes. Start with their Roasted Beets & Seasonal Citrus with wild arugula, fennel, red onion, almonds, citrus tarragon vinaigrette and aged fiscalini cheddar. For entrees, try their Diver Scallops with grilled king mushrooms, asparagus, tomato confit, and sweet potato romesco or their 16oz Cooks Ranch Heritage Pork Porterhouse with apple relish, cabbage and sweet potato hash, apple sage gastrique and pork demi. To make reservations, please call (760) 827-2500 or visit http://20twentygrill.com/
7 Mile Kitchen
5420 Grand Pacific Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Dining with a gluten allergy isn’t as tricky as it used to be — more and more restaurants now accommodate those with allergies, without making those who don’t, suffer. Carlsbad’s 7 Mile Kitchen offers ample gluten-free options in addition to their known specialties like their pizzas, burgers, and views of Carlsbad’s seven miles of coastline. For an appetizer, try the Smoked Wings in either Lemon Herb or Spicy Buffalo, and for your main, there is an entire list of artisanal wood-fired pizzas available on a gluten-free crust, like the Duck Confit which comes topped with brie, arugula, duck confit, and a blueberry balsamic gastrique. For dessert, we suggest a scoop of gluten-free gelato, made by local gelateria, EscoGelato.
750 W Fir Street, San Diego, CA 92101
When you are looking to carb out minus the gluten, Monello should be number one on your list. Known for their freshly made pasta and Instagramable nightly cheese wheel, what many might not know is that they offer gluten-free pasta to pair with their delicious house-made sauces (marinara and arrabbiata are gluten-free). Enjoy Pasta Your Way with your choice of sauce like Cacao e Pepe, Monello or Ragu, or sub out gluten-free pasta for any of their specialty dishes. Monello offers several gluten-free entrees, including Stinco di Maiale – roasted pork shank and mashed potatoes – and Piccata di Salmone – salmon fillet in a white wine and lemon caper sauce, served with roasted tomatoes and mashed potatoes. For reservations, please call (619) 501-0030 or visit https://www.lovemonello.com/
750 W Fir Street #103, San Diego, CA 92101
Similar to their Italian little brother next door, Bencotto would never turn their back on anyone seeking a gluten-free Milanese dinner. Start with sliced to order Formaggi Cheese, Salumi Meats and Prosciutto di Parma as pre-dinner snacks. Next, try their gluten-free pasta, with gluten-free marinara or arrabbiata sauce – our favorite is their famous Bencotto Sauce (pink pancetta sauce). End the night on a sweet note with their Torta Caprese, Italian soft flourless chocolate almond cake and whipped cream. To make a reservation, please call (619) 450-4786 or visit https://www.lovebencotto.com/
3788 Park Blvd STE 4, San Diego, CA 92103
It seems that for a long time, gluten-free options at your neighborhood bakery were few and far between. But times are changing and even the most authentic Parisian-style bakeries usually have a few gluten-free options. There is no exception at Hillcrest gem, Patisserie Melanie, who recently announced their 1,500 square foot expansion to North Park. Guests looking for gluten-free options can indulge in any of their traditional macarons. Flavors vary seasonally and now include Chai Tea, Earl Grey, Espresso, and Matcha. Other gluten-free options include any of Melanie’s caramels, which come in Sea Salt, Espresso, and Cinnamon and her seasonal jam collection, which includes Orange, Peach and Pear. Bon appétit!
Where to dine if you are Pescatarian:
1011 Fort Stockton Dr, San Diego, CA 92103
No meat? No problem! Fort Oak has a plethora of pescatarian options to satisfy any seafood enthusiast. Go all out with their seafood tower, offered in two sizes and which includes oysters, clams, prawns, Jonah crab claws, Maine lobster, lobster hamachi poke, scallop aguachile and marinated tuna. If that isn’t enough, try their Garlicky Hearth Grilled Prawns, which tantalize your taste buds with a smokiness attributed to the blazing fire they’re cooked upon. Namasu pickles, salt and pepper lime and a kimchi aioli dipping sauce complete this pescatarian-friendly dish. Next up, try their Baja Striped Seabass, which is savory, satisfying and perfect for winter. It’s paired with Brussels sprouts, roasted pear, charcoal turnip, preserved orange and a scallop beurre blanc to top it off. To make a reservation, please call (619) 722-3398 or visit https://fortoaksd.com/
723 Felspar St, San Diego, CA 92109
Seafood lovers and pescatarians will be delighted in JRDN’s menu, as a large portion is dedicated to the sea. For starters, try one of their signature sushi rolls, or their Ahi Tuna Nachos topped with avocado, mango, Fresno chili, chives, shiso, cilantro, sriracha aioli and sesame seeds piled high on wonton chips. It’s the perfect appetizer to share with friends or all to yourself! For an entrée, the Scallops are served with mushroom jam, smoked mushroom consommé, tempura enoki mushrooms, and kohlrabi fondant. Pair this with a crisp glass of white wine or rosé to complete your coastal dining experience. To make reservations, please call (858) 270-2323 or visit www.t23hotel.com/dine