At Wine Steals, a casual wine bar and market the bar?s barrels and shelves are filled with more than 40 international wines. The executive chef, a former US Navy galley cook, arranges artisanal meat and cheese boards and crafts wine-themed international flavor combinations that either spread onto pizzas or curl up into sandwiches. For example, the pinot noir combo mixes Italian flavors of prosciutto, asiago, mozzarella, and white truffle oil.
Servers suggest ideal pairings to novice and experienced oenophiles as they pass drinks and plates across a 14-seat stone bar topped with European-style zinc. Above the bar, a chalkboard framed by wine barrels lists 40 vintages available by the half glass, glass, or bottle. Throughout the space, plush couches and chairs gather around wine barrels with wooden tabletops for more intimate gatherings or heated staring-contest championships. Wine Steals? casual approach to wine and eclectic food has earned it the title of Best Wine Bar in the San Diego Union-Tribune's 2012 readers' poll.
This North Park eatery is renowned chef Matt Gordon’s first restaurant in San Diego (he has three now) and it’s remained a local favorite for the past seven years. Set in a New Orleans-style yellow house, Urban Solace hosts a festive packed affair each Sunday with their live bluegrass brunch. Their homemade buttermilk cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing are a worthwhile splurge and other delectables include homemade cheddar and chive biscuits and butter pecan french toast. Chef Gordon’s modern American cuisine favors organic, sustainable and natural foods, and the chef makes his own sauces and condiments. For dinner, customers can start with black mussels dotted with potatoes and bacon lardon, and then try the barbecued-glazed Duroc pork belly with creamy grits for some Southern flair. The craft cocktail program provides fun sippers like their Cuke Mule, organic cucumber-infused vodka with ginger syrup, fresh key lime and ginger beer.
Twisted Vine Bistro's staff comprises a fifth-generation Italian vintner and two veteran California-born chefs who cultivate unpretentious epicurean experiences praised by Gayot and Thrillist. During tasting events, local winemakers mingle with guests and tie-dye tongues with fine red and white varietals, which tasters pair with locally sourced snacks from the eatery's menu. The topic of each cooking class rotates frequently, but all sessions allow amateur foodies to rub spatulas with classically trained chefs so they can finally ask an expert why their oven never seems to get their undershirts their whitest. Artwork forged by local artists decks the space, and elegant drapery pulls back to reveal ample windows, which stream sunlight onto green and orange walls.
This La Jolla location of Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is conveniently nestled into the Aventine shopping center, adjacent to the Hyatt Regency courtyard. They serve up some of the finest USDA prime beef, which can be ordered wet or dry-aged, broiled or iron-crusted. These choice cuts can then be topped with truffle-poached lobster, diablo shrimp or king crab with caviar. The steaks pair elegantly with their award winning collection of 100 wines by the glass, all of which are thoughtfully curated during a twelve-month tasting process. Its flare for fine dining makes Fleming’s a popular place for a date night and they also offer a private dining experience for intimate get-togethers and events upon reservation.
Sip wine, snack on paninis, and devour small plates in the heart of San Diego’s Italian district. With today’s Groupon, $25 gets you $50 worth of food and drink at Enoteca Style, an upscale café and lounge brought to you by the folks behind East Village spot Salad Style.
Bite into at Medjoul dates stuffed with gorgonzola or potato herb gnocchi with bay scallops at Bite. Chef Chris Walsh of Confidential Restaurant and Loft serves French and Italian-influenced finger-food in small, tapas-style dishes. Deviled eggs with salmon caviar and banana pepper sauce for $3.50 and swordfish skewers for $5 mean you can sample and share plenty of plates for $55.