Side Sauces You Can’t Do Without

Wood Ranch Original BBQ Sauce
Wood Ranch Original BBQ Sauce

A good sauce can make a great dish even better. From spicy aioli to thick, ooey-gooey cheese sauce, we’ve rounded up some of the top condiments in San Diego. So if you’re one of those diners who asks for as many possible side sauces as you can get away with, this one is for you!

Wood Ranch, an award-winning Mission Valley restaurant features a menu of high-quality, savory smoked meat and barbecue dishes, along with mouthwatering sauces. Smother your Baby Back Ribs or Wood Ranch Trip Tip in the Original BBQ sauce, which also happens to be gluten free. And if you really can’t live without the sauce, you can purchase bottles to take home or have delivered to your house. Wood Ranch also showcases a unique and oh-so-delicious Chipotle Ranch on their Santa Fe BBQ Chicken Sandwich!

Carlsbad’s Park 101 is north county’s go-to spot for fresh food, fun drinks and an overall relaxed atmosphere. Locals and visitors alike flock to the multi-level, plaza-style complex for their weekly events. It’s Wednesday movie nights and trivia with smoked meat platters, veggie-packed salads and loaded sandwiches. Fill up with The Chick, a fried chicken sandwich topped with jalapeño slaw, pepper jack cheese and Park’s signature Sriracha BBQ Aioli. The perfect blend of spice from the sriracha and smoke from the barbecue makes the aioli so tasty you’ll want to put it on everything!

Let’s taco ‘bout how San Diego’s favorite taqueria, City Tacos, has some of the most flavorful, innovative and unique bites throughout the city. With locations in North Park and La Mesa, and two new spots set to open in Encinitas and Imperial Beach, locals and visitors can experience traditional recipes with SoCal flare. The Pescado, one of the most popular seafood tacos, is made with wild golden-fried Alaskan cod topped with cabbage, pickled red onions, habanero and strawberries drizzled with a Chipotle Aioli. The Portobello & Vegetables is a great option for vegetarians! Grilled baby portobello mushrooms, corn, black beans, pasilla chilies, arugula and tomato comes served over Oaxaca and cotija cheeses with a Cilantro Serrano Chili Aioli – yum!

Head to the Gaslamp District to experience Southern-influenced comfort food at The Smoking Gun. Although every dish is worth tasting, its truly the sauces that accompany each appetizing menu option that you must try. The Lemon-Peppered Chicken Drumettes come with both Homemade Ranch (which puts the store-bought stuff to shame) and a green, tangy Cali Wing Sauce. Also found on many of the options at The Smoking Gun is their Spicy BBQ Mustard. From the brisket tacos and chicken nugs to the BBQ pulled pork sandwich, this spicy sauce really makes these dishes one-of-a-kind.

Grind and Prosper Hospitality’s newest endeavor, set to open early next year, will have Chef Quinnton Austin from New Orleans at the helm of the kitchen. Louisiana Purchase, which will be located on the corner of University and Louisiana Street, will bring a refreshing taste of the Bayou to San Diego with authentic plates of seafood and spices, including Chef Quinnton’s jerk and blackened seasoning, and his signature Hot Sauce. We really can’t give away too much about this sauce but look forward to tasting it yourself once this highly anticipated restaurant opens its doors.

Though known for their vast selection of fun and colorful cocktails, Jalisco Cantina also boasts a menu of fresh bites and hearty entrées. Traditional Jalisco flavors can be tasted in each dish, including the Shrimp & Yellowtail plate, served with cauliflower rice, pico and a Scampi Avocado Sauce. Jalisco’s scratch kitchen takes pride in offering creative and delicious fresh food choices that pair wonderfully with some of the finest tequila.

barleymash is a high energy Gaslamp District restaurant and bar where Executive Chef Kevin Templeton creates culinary masterpieces from fresh, local and sustainable ingredients. This includes the dressings and sauces as well! For instance, take the barleymac and cheese plates, which all consist of cavatappi noodles, creamy Poblano-Beer Cheese Sauce, Pepper Jack-Beer Cheese Sauce, three-cheese blend and bread crumbs. Barleymash offers six varieties of barleymacs, including The Mash, with ale-braised pork shoulder, Bourbon-BBQ Sauce, fresh jalapeños and crispy tobacco onions. Housemade sauces at barleymash are delicious and can be found in so many of the menu items!