San Diego, there's something tasty on the horizon: The return of Restaurant Week, making its way onto our food scene next week.
This edition of San Diego Restaurant Week -- the first installment of 2020, and really, THIS decade -- runs from Jan. 19 to Jan. 26.
As always, the 8-day dining event will showcase more than 160 eateries across the county offering every type of cuisine under the (San Diego) sun, from fast-casual options to fancy dinners.
According to SDRW organizers, the bi-annual event aims to inspire locals and visitors to try new restaurants and food.
It attracts about 150,000 diners per installment, and, in the end, is all about bonding and making memories over the universal language of good food.
How It Works:
The scrumptious set-up is familiar: select local restaurants will offer special two and three-course, prix fixe menus for lunch and/or dinner. Two-course lunch menus are priced at $10, $15, $20 or $25 per person, while three-course dinner menus are priced at $20, $30, $40, $50 or $60 per person.
Diners can also choose the "Restaurant Week Your Way" option at some eateries, which allows diners to mix and match items on the special menus. This option debuted during last September's SDRW, and it's sticking around.
So, for instance, if a restaurant is offering several choices of appetizers, entrées and desserts on its SDRW menu and a patron is perhaps only in the mood for small bites and sweets, the patron can pick two appetizers and a dessert instead of the entrée, or two desserts and an app. Or, maybe no appetizer and instead an entrée and two desserts – whatever combo suits their taste – all for the same SDRW price.
By the way, no special passes are required to attend SDRW but reservations are recommended. Just pick the participating restaurant that sounds good to you, go there and ask for the SDRW menu. Really, it’s easy as pie.
So, What's Cookin'? And Where?
As always, the popular culinary event spans eateries across more than a dozen regions in San Diego County: Coronado, downtown San Diego, uptown San Diego, East County, La Jolla, Little Italy, Central San Diego, Mission Bay and Beaches, North County Inland and Coastal, South Bay, Point Loma/Harbor Island, Old Town and Hillcrest.
Cuisine varies, too, with every type of food imaginable on the SDRW menus: from American and California fare to Argentine, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, French, Italian, Greek, and even gluten-free options.
A small sampling of eateries in different neighborhoods participating in SDRW January 2020 include:
- Serea Coastal Cuisine (Coronado; $60 dinner option)
- Puesto at The Headquarters (Downtown San Diego; $15 lunch and $30 dinner option)
- Great Maple (Uptown San Diego; $20 lunch option)
- Vine Cottage Restaurant (East County; $15 lunch and $20 dinner option)
- Draft Republic (La Jolla; $15 lunch option and $20 dinner option)
- Indigo Grill (Little Italy; $30 dinner option)
- Bleu Boheme (Central San Diego; $50 dinner option)
- JRDN at Tower23 Hotel (Mission Bay and Beaches; $30 dinner option)
- International Smoke (North County Coastal; $25 lunch and $50 dinner options)
- Gravity Heights (North County Inland; $10 lunch and $30 dinner options)
- SEA180 Coastal Tavern (South Bay; $20 lunch and $30 dinner options)
- Tom Ham's Lighthouse (Point Loma/Harbor Island; $20 lunch and $40 dinner options)
- Rockin' Baja Lobster (Old Town; $15 lunch and $30 dinner options)
- La Bonne Table (Hillcrest; $40 dinner option)
Inside tip: Two of the restaurants above are relatively new, high-profile spots. Serea, the new anchor restaurant at the iconic Hotel del Coronado, and International Smoke, Ayesha Curry's new eatery at One Paseo in North County.
Serea will offer a three-course appetizer, entree, and dessert deal for $60 during Restaurant Week. The menu includes Tuna Tartare, Ora King Salmon “Pistachiodine” with grilled french beans, pistachio aillade and sumac yogurt, and Grilled Lamb Ribs with Vadouvan tzatziki, pickled cucumber and pepper. Also, ask about the three specialty cocktails designed just for the occasion.
Meanwhile, International Smoke will offer a $25 lunch deal that includes three appetizer options such as Crab & Thai Coconut Soup or Arugula Salad, a main dish like American Ribs with Slaw & Sweet Potatoes or the Smoked Prime Rib Sandwich with fries. For the $50 SDRW dinner deal, the restaurant will offer a three-course meal with a choice of select appetizers, a main dish, and dessert.
Another newbie to the SDRW scene is Del's Hideout, a laid-back, Texas-style barbecue spot in central San Diego owned by local hospitality powerhouse, Cohn Restaurant Group. Del's Hideout is located at 5351 Adobe Falls Rd., and just opened about six months ago.
Executive Chef Tim Eylens told NBC 7 Friday that this marks the eatery's first time ever participating in SDRW.
Del's Hideout will offer a $20 option for both lunch and dinner, and Eylens said the special menu includes many of the eatery's favorites, including BBQ plates with brisket, pulled pork, and chicken, plus salads, burgers, and sandwiches. You can see the restaurant's full SDRW menu here.
He hopes SDRW helps draw in patrons that haven't visited Del's Hideout yet because he's confident the fresh batch of customers will be impressed by the food.
"We put a lot of love into it," Eylens told NBC 7. "Everything's fresh, and you can tell when you eat it."
The long list of participating SDRW eateries, along with photos and mouthwatering menus, can be seen in full on the SDRW website.
Here’s to hoping you enjoy San Diego Restaurant Week – every last bite of it.