While the weather seems to always be shining in sunny California, the nights do tend to get cold and a cozy spot for a meal is always the best way to shake off any winter lull you may feel. San Diego Jeff Svitak breaks down some of his top winter spots to go for a bite to eat, from brunch to dinner, Svitak names a few places you may want to check out the next time you're around town.
1) Favorite food spot for a warm meal on a chiller San Diego night:
Underbelly in Little Italy is my favorite on this type of occasion. It is on the lower level end of a concrete and glass iconic building called The Q by Jonathan Segal. The vibe is mellow with tasteful hip hop and you can find what is my favorite ramen dish in the city, "The Belly of the Beast”.
2) Best San Diego restaurant to impress high-end friends and clients:
For me, there are a few options for this. If you want to show off the city and treat someone to some phenomenal views, go to C Level Lounge in Harbor Island, it literally floats on top of the water and you can look back at the city skyline across the Harbor, it is great pick, day or night. If you’re not so concerned about the view and just want to impress someone based on food, I would say Hana Sushi in Bankers Hill, you will sacrifice the atmosphere but the food is impressive.
3) Best spot for a sit-down lunch (actually just restaurants I like on a night out or date night.):
Sit down lunches are rare for me, as it tends to bog down the day, so instead I will just give you some of my favorite spots to go out in San Diego. I tend to stick with what I like so these spots are my regulars:
a) Starlite - in Mission Hills. A classic ambiance that is tastefully done and never gets old. The food is great and the music is always on point. It is a bit off the beaten track, which I like. Follow it up with a walk down the street to Aero Club and try one of their hundreds of whiskeys. The combo makes for a great night.
b) Louisiana Purchase in North Park. I am slightly biased because I designed the restaurant and the building it is in, but it delivers serious flavor with Chef Q - coming straight from New Orleans. Rob McShea does the cocktails and he is a genius with it. The vibe is cozy and refined and takes notes from the flavor and scene of New Orleans. It also has plenty of outdoor seating, a must in San Diego.
c) The Lion's Share - in Downtown. Beyond the overall great ambience and somewhat reserved nature of the place, I love this little spot for several reasons: 1. The lighting is dark, basically candlelit, which is my favorite. 2. The food is always interesting and delicious. 3. There is never a wait to get in. 4. It is open late and serves food late, which is hard to find in San Diego.
4) Best Brunch Spot in San Diego:
I am typically an early riser unless I am traveling but my favorite breakfast spot, which can also be brunch, is Harbor Breakfast in Little Italy. It is in a historic harbor supply building and designed by a favorite local architect of mine, Ted Smith, who is actually the owner as well. I used to live above it for about three years so it became my go to almost daily while I lived there. I know the staff and owners so it feels like home to me. The food is great too.
5) Best Spot for a quick meal in San Diego:
If there is no wait, Cantina Mayahuel is the best. It is in North Park and has the best tacos and mezcal in the city. My favorite is the carnitas taco and a mezcal margarita.