7. Carin de RiA
Let’s talk Filipino food! I’m no expert, but I LOVE me some Filipino meat (do NOT dare say that’s what she said). A lot of good Filipino joints are focused mostly on takeout, but I think Carin De RiA is the perfect sit-down dining experience when you want to enjoy Filipino food that is a little more elevated. The restaurant is located in Encinitas and feels cozy, cute and very much like a café. They have everything you can dream of- noodles, stews, sizzling dishes, skewers, etc! I always recommend starting off with some lumpia (crispy fried egg rolls). Another classic Filipino dish is pancit, or glass noodles.
Some of my other favorites include: Sizzling sisig (salmon or lechon) which is brought out on a sizzling dish with onions and bell peppers, whole milkfish which has been marinated and deep fried, grilled pork belly skewers and pork adobo which is tender pork slow-cooked with garlic, vinegar and soy sauce. I love pork adobo and make it frequently at home with my instant pot!
I also got a bit aggressive and refused to share the skewers, lol. They were just oh so perfectly grilled and tender on the inside.
Definitely get a halo halo, a classic Filipino dessert you’ll see everywhere! It’s a sundae-milkshake-slushy with sweet plantains, sweet potatoes, agar-agar jelly, coconut, ube (purple yam), flan and sorbetes (Filipino ice cream). Quite a treat with lots of textures and flavors, perfect for sharing! Carin De RiA is one of my go tos for Filipino food in San Diego!
8. Bud’s Louisiana Café
Where do I go for Southern food? Bud’s Louisiana Café. To be quite honest, there isn’t a lot of Southern food in San Diego. Bud’s is incredibly well-rounded- they have an extensive menu featuring all the hits, a cute restaurant to enjoy them in, and reasonable prices. They’re tucked into an industrial part of San Diego, making them all the more ‘hidden’. Bud’s has a sister restaurant called Bud and Rob’s, which actually made it onto Yelp’s top 100 restaurants in the US list! Which really speak to how good their food is. For appetizers you can get a ‘trio’ of gumbo, red beans and rice, and jambalaya so you can have a bit of everything! I loved all three, but my favorite was the red beans and rice.
For entrees we got the crawfish etouffee and the shrimp and grits. Did you know shrimp and grits is actually traditionally a breakfast dish? Their shrimp and grits was the best I’ve had in San Diego. Creamy, flavorful, perfectly cooked shrimp. Everything was amazing but this was definitely the standout.
And the dessert. OHHH THE DESSERT. We got the pecan pie. And this was no ordinary pecan pie. It was a pie from heaven. I don’t even know how to explain it. When the waiter brought it over, he told us he had a slice of that pie EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. We thought he was crazy, until we took a bite. It was luscious, it was creamy, it was heavenly. Two years later, and my boyfriend still comments about how much he misses that pie at least once a week. Make sure to stop by Bud’s for the perfect Cajun bite and the perfect dessert.
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