Hello friends! Today will be about part 2 of FANCY SHMANCY restaurants in San Diego. There are way too many to fit into one article, so this will be a three part series! Let me know your thoughts in the comments down below.
Now I might be a bit biased towards Pushkin as they serve Russian food, which I myself grew up eating. But they’re the only place in all of San Diego that does fine dining Russian cuisine and they deserve a spot on this list, damn it. I would describe Pushkin’s interior as eclectic- not quite formal, but a bit upscale, but also quirky at the same time? You walk in and there’s shrubbery on the walls, along with animal heads. In the middle, there is a stunning chandelier. You get what I’m saying? Once you stop looking at the walls and sit down and settle in, you’re in for quite the treat. Pushkin serves some of the best Russian food I’ve ever had (don’t tell my mom). They have all my childhood favorites, albeit fancified. Blini (stuffed crepes) herring under fur coat (a layered salad with beets, potatoes, herring. I would always see this at Russian dinner parties growing up, and it looks like a salad cake. Hated it as a kid!) and the quintessential BORSHT, or beet soup! You must try this soup at least once in your life if you want to know what a universal Russian staple tastes like! Oh and don’t forget the pelmeni, or Russian dumplings! Another staple I grew up eating. They have a variety of classy meat options for entrees, such as lamb shank, rabbit, duck, lamb, and Siberian stag. I can attest that the chef knows how to cook his proteins. And for the drinks? I would highly recommend anything off their menu, but most of all I recommend their flight of HOUSEMADE VODKA! With flavors like currant, dill, guava, lychee and jalapeno! Why would you say no? Now, I will take PERSONAL OFFENSE if you do not get a dessert. Russian cakes are world famous. The must try is the medovik, or Russian honey cake. It has decadent layers of honey mixed with sour cream- the secret ingredient in many a Russian cake! Get this and thank me later- even better, come back to this article and let me know what you think!
Ah, ARLO. It holds a special place in my heart. There’s not quite a restaurant in San Diego with food nearly as fun or playful. Octopus with panna cotta? Pizza with lamb curry? You heard that right. I wouldn’t describe any of ARLO’s dishes as traditional, and that’s what I love about them. They have a gorgeous patio and are located smack dab in the middle of the Town and Country resort. I’d highly recommend coming here if you’re looking for a meal that’s a culinary adventure, sure to surprise you at every step with innovative combinations of flavors and influences.
We started our meal with the PULPO & PASSION- Spanish Octopus, Coconut Panna Cotta, Espelette Glaze, Watercress. The octopus was cooked perfectly, and tasted amazing with the panna cotta (who would have known?!) We then got the lamb curry braised leg flatbread, with caramelized onion, tomato marmalade, tarragon and feta cheese. One of the best flatbreads I’ve ever had! I mean come on. Don’t YOU ever get tired of the same old margherita? We then got a scallop dish, which you can probably already guess, was cooked perfectly. And for the finale, the brick oven Bolognese with
Italian Sausage, Beef Bragiole, Rigatoni Pasta, Chardonnay Rosa Sauce, served on a tarragon Crust. This is essentially a giant pasta served on a pizza crust. I would come back just for this. It was cheesy, meaty, and the crust sopped up and absorbed all the juices. HEAVENLY, especially after the drinks we got. Which, speaking of drinks, would you be surprised if I said they were must trys? Probably not right? Everything about ARLO is a MUST. Make sure to stop by as soon as possible!
Now I’m not going to say a lot about Tanuki because I dedicated an entire article to them (you can find it on my page) but what I WILL say is: Japanese. Tapas. One of its only kind in San Diego. While the ambiance of Tanuki is more of that of a café, the prices can certainly become fine dining if you go crazy and order a bunch of things like I did (what? It was delicious and I couldn’t stop myself!). Everything is exquisite, fresh and artfully crafted. A hidden gem for sure.
TRUST is another exquisite gem that serves a mish-mash of worldly flavors, influences and ingredients. Located in Hillcrest, cozy and dimly lit, TRUST describes its food as ‘urban rustic food with the addition of wood fire cookery’. While that sounds a bit vague, I was pleasantly surprised at how at how well that translated into their dishes. The golden beet salad for example. With ingredients such as apples burrata, pepitas, poppy, pickled red onion, sourdough and apple cider vinaigrette, one might find it a bit difficult picturing a dish like that coming together. However, this salad turned out to be a marvelous explosion of flavors and textures that I was completely wowed by. And I’m generally pretty unimpressed with salads…Dishes I recommend here are the Glory Bay Salmon (smoked fennel cream, fried sunchokes, mushrooms, black kale, kuri squash) spiced pork tenderloin (kimchi brussels, Persian cucumber, pickled shrimp, orange emulsion, fennel) and by far my favorite, the smoked and braised lamb shoulder, with grains, cucumber, feta, mint, cilantro and charred jalapeno yogurt with a side of naan. This lamb was DIVINE. Take my word for it. The one thing would say about Chef Wise’s dishes is that they tend to read a bit salty for me. Just a warning if you’re salt sensitive!
Part 3 is a-coming friends!
Don’t forget to check out my Instagram page, foodventurewithanna, for more delicious bites. Check out my youtube worldventurewithanna if you’re into mukbangs or you need something to laugh at!