Hello friends! It’s time for the continuation of the best hidden gems in San Diego :)
3. Soup Du Jour
Now I go much more in depth about Soup Du Jour in another article, but to sum it up, SDJ is a cute hidden gem that serves soups and other dishes from around the world. It’s nestled in an apartment complex and has a beautiful patio with a fire pit! Every soup I’ve had from there is amazing, and you can tell how much effort they put into perfecting each dish. I often come here on rainy/cold days or when I need a bowl of soup to cheer me up. My favorites include the albondigas (Mexican meatball soup) and their vegetable udon (in a beautiful low sodium dashi broth!). If you’ve never had udon, it’s a thick bouncy Japanese noodle that’s actually my favorite type of noodle! I’m addicted to the thick juicy texture. My boyfriend’s favorite is the spare rib daikon- it reminds him of the soup his Taiwanese mom would cook for him growing up. I pair their soups with the spiced street chicken (Taiwanese popcorn chicken) and homemade taro chips. Their street chicken is as good as any boba shops’ on Convoy, which is saying a lot! And their taro chips are SO addicting, but without any of the additives or artificial flavors of chips at the supermarket. Anything you get from here will be a hit. Some of their other dishes include braised beef pot roast, scallion bread, chickpea cauliflower curry, roasted duck wraps. You can even get local beers/kombucha on tap here, as well as boba! If you miss Souplantation and are looking for a replacement for their soups, look no further!
4. Café Samarkand
Café Samarkand might be the most hidden of all the gems on this list. I mean, they are located in A TENT in the back parking lot of a restaurant! Just finding them using google maps in an adventure in itself. Once you step inside, you are transported to another world. One filled with colorful carpets and tapestries.
Café Samarkand highlights a type of cuisine San Diego has never seen before: Uzbek food. To put it simply, Uzbek food stems from the influences of Turkic people across central Asia. Because of Uzbekistan’s proximity to the silkroad as well as its former union with the USSR, there has been a lot of culture and cuisine exchange throughout the centuries. For example, plov, the Uzbek national dish, was something I grew up eating as a Ukrainian. Or their hand pulled noodles, laghman, are also incredibly popular in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Aghanistan. I highly recommend partaking in this incredible food filled with history. Cafe Samarkand’s menu is a bit on the shorter side and focuses on a few key dishes- soups, salads, noodles, dumplings, plov (a type of rice dish), grilled meat and of course desserts. For a starter I highly recommend the shurpa soup. I nearly died of happiness when I had the first bite. It was so rich and hearty, but pure in flavor at the same time! Shurpa is a lamb and vegetable soup, with the lamb served on the bone.
For entrees I would definitely recommend the plov (served with lamb) and the lagman (served with beef). The plov is so well spiced (but isn’t spicy!) and has an almost curry-like flavor to it. I actually prefer it to the Russian version, which is a bit blander. Just don’t tell my mom!
The lagman are incredibly high quality hand pulled noodles with amazing texture.
I did not try their grilled meats but I am sure those are amazing as well! And of course, you must try dessert. I’ve already done a few rants about why Russian desserts are amazing in other articles, so I’m going to hold back this time! But…….make sure to get them.
My handle on insta is foodventurewithanna, where you can find more photos and reviews on delicious bites! I am also on the you tube now! Worldventurewithanna if you’re into mukbangs or would like to see a little more of me and who I am! See you soon, and have a wonderful day lovelies!