At this Zagat-rated restaurant, 24-year-old chef Jeremy Manley puts an adventurous spin on the California bistro, using an armory of locally sourced organic produce and seasonal ingredients from Julian, Ramona, Borrego Springs, and Valley Center. The ever-changing dinner menu regales diners with bison bratwurst from nearby Star B Ranch topped with speedway stout sauce blended with AleSmith beer and gouda cheese ($18). The california cheddar burger, like an avant-garde portrait of the Hamburglar, provides an exciting new look at the classic sandwich with its smooth coating of avocado butter, mango pico de gallo, crunchy prosciutto, and chipotle aioli ($15).
Hidden Deli and Catering's staff layers Boar's Head meats and cheeses on a menu of sandwiches named after popular movies and TV shows. Each carnivore-titillating sandwich is filled with 5–6 ounces of meat, such as the genoa and dry salami, pepperoni, and mortadella on the 8-inch New York/New York italian sub, an amalgamation as protein-rich as a millionaire who made his money in hot-dog mining. In the Jaws sandwich, albacore tuna floats atop swiss cheese and horseradish sauce, and the Veggie Tales bathes spinach, cucumber, and cheddar in pesto sauce. The Police Academy brandishes smoked applewood bacon, lettuce, and tomato as it patrols ovens for optional toasted flavor and jaywalking potholders.
After graduating from high school, Reza Karkouti dreamed of opening his own teriyaki restaurant. He garnered support from family and friends, and he and his father, Ahad, opened a tiny eatery called Tokyo's Teriyaki in Encinitas in 1992. Through hard work and an attention to detail, the restaurant's reputation grew, and the demand for juicy, teriyaki-glazed chicken and beef quickly spread to other cities. This led Reza’s younger brother, Amir, to help open a second location. Now a seven-location, family-owned chain, Surf Brothers Teriyaki still sees its two siblings focusing on customer service and quality products.
The duo chooses natural meats that are minimally processed, hand trimmed, and grilled, avoiding shortcuts such as microwaves, frozen foods, and laser-based slicing. Their Hawaiian-themed restaurants and catering business have been featured in numerous television spots, radio shows, and newspaper articles. Michelle Murphy Zive of SanDiegoFamily.com says the restaurant offers "a taste of Hawaii" and "healthy food served fast." The brothers give back to the community that helped them grow by donating to charitable organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Homes project.
Handcrafted, over-stuffed sandwiches are the star attraction at Landmark Deli and Grill. Veggies are cut daily—think fresh avocado, tomatoes, and sprouts—, providing a crisp counterpart to stuffings such as homemade albacore tuna salad, meatballs, and sliced turkey breast. And while at some delis the bread is a mere afterthought, at Landmark the breads are delivered fresh every day, ensuring each slice is as soft and as fluffy as a perfectionist's pillow. Traditionalists will love the Italian sub loaded with mortadella, pepperoni, and salami or classic all-American eats like hot dogs, burgers, and Philly cheesesteaks, while vegetarians will find plenty to love about a veggie sandwich stuffed with fresh greens and served on squaw (a rich, molasses rye bread).
The concept of the South in evidence at Luc's Bistro is expansive, including not just down-home American comfort foods but historical influences from French, Creole, and Cajun cuisines. In an airy room that's a little fancier than the location tucked away off busy Poway Road might suggest, servers deliver plates accented with spicy touches such as paprika mayo or peppered bacon. Breakfast bites include Cafe du Monde beignets and eggs benedict with ham and homemade hollandaise. For a lighter lunchtime offering, diners might try the crab-cake sandwich or simply suck the helium out of a balloon. Dinner entrees range from Atlantic salmon to old Southern standbys such as country-fried steak and shrimp and grits.
Home-style Italian dishes draws visitors to Vittorio’s, formerly Villa Capri 2, where chefs make the restaurant’s cheese ravioli, gnocchi, and black-ink linguine by hand, and even create a unique “ravioli del giorno” each day. Diners can pair selections with 1 of 24 red, white, and sparkling wines, available by the glass or out of your neighbor’s cupped palm. The smell of Italian delicacies permeates through a dining room that resembles a Tuscan villa, with faux wrought-iron balconies, terra-cotta-colored walls, and stone archways.