Nothing whets the palate quite like a good appetizer. Whether it’s a little starter, hors d'oeuvres, an antipasto or amuse-bouche, San Diego eateries know the right ways to kick off a meal. Gather your friends around a shared plate or two and check out this list of bites from Yelp.
Blue Ribbon Pizza (Encinitas)
Blue Ribbon Pizza is famous for its perfect pies, but the starters are not to be missed and stand tall all on their own. Go for the Devil’s Eggs served with a smoked pimento oil and chili aioli, or try the delightful Whipped Laura Chenel Goat Cheese served aside pickled fennel, toasty bread and Black Mission Figs. Notable Deep-Fried Shishito Peppers won’t disappoint either.
The Smoking Goat (North Park)
Begin with the House-made Butternut Squash Ravioli, complete with kale, butter and sage or order a fabulous first course of Duck Fat Truffle Fries with Romano cheese and mustard aioli. Other starters include options like the Goat Meatballs in marinara sauce and the Tartiflette – a $10, must-try munchie featuring brie and taleggio cheeses, onions, bacon lardons, potatoes and ciabatta.
Flying Pig Pub and Kitchen (Oceanside)
Bring your appetizer appetite and your love for all things pork. The starters on this list include hearty, homestyle hits like the Cheddar Bacon Grits and Parmesan Truffle Fries. The Creamed Collards (also with bacon) are a total win and Polenta Fritters are a crowd pleaser for the whole table. Want more swine as you dine? Don’t miss the famous mac and cheese, made with bacon, naturally!
Savor the unique starters like Grilled Asparagus topped with truffle salt, egg, pancetta and beet puree or the Parsnip Soup with chives. Diners wanting to really dig in should try the Goat Cheese Fondue – cheesy goodness with tomatoes, herbs and olive – or the Lamb Sliders with tzatziki and arugula. Don’t forget the Seared Ahi topped with uni mousse!
This local gem has been around for about 16 years and Vincent himself trained in France at Ecole Hoteliere D’Avignon. The menu boasts hors d'oeuvres that will wow the palate, including the duck, veal and pork pâté, served with pickled onions and prepared with cognac. Also not to be missed: Escargots Bourguignonne, created with fresh herbs, shallots and a garlic butter sauce.
Savoie Eatery (Chula Vista)
Settle into this French and Italian Mediterranean menu and kick things off with hearty Short Rib Polenta or the fresh filet mignon Meatball and Marinara. Reviewers also love the Steamed Mussels with creamy crème fraîche, white wine, butter and garlic and the Maine Lobster cocktail for $15.
Trish Sanderson is the community manager and marketing director for Yelp North County San Diego. She leads the local community of Yelp reviewers both online and off.