The great thing about big cities is that they are never short on restaurants/bars with unique character and fun premises. Craft and Commerce is no exception: decorated with hand-written literary quotes, old books, and dark wood, it looks exactly like someone opened a restaurant inside an old estate library.
They only serve spirits, so all you vodka-lovers are out of luck. But the drinks are delicious, if a bit strong. If you’re with a group, definitely get one of the famous punch bowls. The Mothers Ruin is particularly good.
If you’re in the mood for something more than conversation and sips, the menu doesn’t disappoint. From burgers to mac-n-cheese, to fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits, it’s all delightfully sinful. Just don’t bother asking if it’s good for you or not. Soul food is good for the soul.
The atmosphere is lively and a bit loud as this place always seems to be crowded. The typical patron runs the gamut from college kids out for a sophisticated drink, to young couples, to girls night outs, older married couples, and friends of all ages.
Tip: They don’t take reservations. Get there early or be prepared to wait, especially if you have a large group (more than four people).
Best known for their wine, pizzas, and flatbreads, Mosaic Winebar is a beautiful little jewel tucked along 30th Street. Daily happy hour from 4-7pm and daily specials that change with the week.
Mosaic is a casual, yet romantic retreat for couples, an intimate setting for those looking to catch up, or a fun place for larger groups. Upscale decor and atmosphere combine for the right balance of casual cool—everything you’d expect from a North Park locale.
The venue is small, though usually not too busy, even on weekend nights.
The sangria is a good bet, along with the Ocean’s Eleven flatbread and Spiced Ground Kobe Beef flatbread. They are also known for their baked brie. On weekends, they offer a Sunday brunch with bottomless drinks.
If you’re in the area, make sure to stop in at Mosaic.
In their own words: “With creative takes on rustic as well as elevated gastro-pub fare, the menu showcases truly inspired dishes.”
San Diego’s Gaslamp is chock full of good eats and drinks. For a no-less delicious, but more sophisticated meal, head over to Analog Bar. Modeled to look like the inside of a 1970s recording studio, Analog has a clean, dark, chic feel. An ambiance that is only complemented by their spectacular and robust menu. Craft cocktails and amazing beers round out the selections. Even such regular, run-of-the-mill dishes as the burger and grilled chicken achieve out-of-this-world flavor that quickly elevates them to the head of the class.
Dine out on the patio to get a feel of the Gaslamp atmosphere. Heaters keep you warm even in winter, so you can people-watch, eat, drink, and be merry the whole year through.
After 10pm, the music and dancing starts. As Analog is the sister restaurant to FIREHOUSE and Vin de Syrah, two other amazing San Diego spots, it’s no surprise that a visit to Analog is fun and packed with energy.
Happy hours deals from 5-8 Wed-Saturday. And don’t miss the Sunday brunch!
Located in the heart of North Park, off University Avenue, True North Tavern is a bar with great atmosphere. Definitely more of a casual get-together place, it has great character.
Spacious interiors, wood floors, and comfortable leather booths offer great views of the whole bar and the many television screens.
Characteristic to many bars and taverns in downtown and the outer reaches of downtown, the food is superb. Bar food with a fresh, upscale twist.
True North is perhaps best known for their signature tater tots, served on the side of many of the dishes on the menu. Tater tots can often come off too greasy and tasting like the inferior little brother of the mighty french fry, but the tots at True North put all that to rest.
The burgers, sandwiches, and appetizers are flavorful and well-prepared.
An ample supply of wine, beer, and cocktails contributes to the jovial atmosphere. You can dine and drink inside or outside on one of the two patios. Shoot a little pool, chat, or relax with someone special. True to be told, while True North might not seem like a romantic escape on the outside, the noise level encourages you to lean in close to hear your dining companions.
The service is fast, friendly, and easy. Stop into True North before heading downtown for the night. Even on a busy Friday, you can find a table and get served in a timely manner.
This is what bar food wants to be when it grows up. UNION Kitchen and Tap serves New American food, craft beers, and specialty wines. Located along historic Highway 101, just north of Swami’s beach in Encinitas, UNION isn’t your average coastal restaurant. It’s corrugated metal facade gives it an appropriately tough look, though the shiniest belies the restaurant’s youth. Open air windows on the side allow you to mingle and people watch. In the summer time, you can’t beat that breeze.
UNION is known for its specialty nights
Mondays: Social hour from 3pm to close. Check website for food and drink deals.
Tuesdays: Industry nights. Customers who work in the service industry receive 1/2 off their bar tabs.
Wednesdays: Uncorked and Unplugged. Live music and half off all wines
Saturdays and Sundays: Brunch from 9am-3pm, including Bacon Bloody Marys
Most of the menu hovers somewhere between comfort food and upscale chic in name, if not in price or quality. This may look like a collection of your southern aunt’s favorite recipes, but we can guarantee, average it’s not. Some customer food favorites are the bacon mac ‘n’ cheese, the shrimp and grits, and the UNION burger. For dessert, choose from the seasonal doughnuts, apple wood smoked creme brulee and the house-made moon pies, among others.
Dobson’s Restaurant, in the Gaslamp is the premier place for meal meetings in downtown San Diego. They are open for lunch Monday-Friday and dinner all the nights of the week. Reservations are strongly recommended. The cuisine as best described as New American, with an assortment of cultural influences.
Amy Green, real estate agent and co-owner of Coastal Premier Properties, had this to say about her experience at Dobson’s:
“It’s not often that I am downtown during the weekday, but last week I went to meet a client. I wanted to take her out to lunch so I told her to pick the place. She said “one of my favorites is Dobson’s”.
What a treat! I had never been there, but apparently it’s been here for at least 30 years. Great décor and ambiance, made me feel like I was in an old restaurant in Chicago with the wood bar and homey feel. When we sat down my client said, “You must order the mussel bisque, it’s famous!”
Well, I am never one to pass up on famous food so we both ordered it as an appetizer and I now see why it deserves its title. Not only is it a rich, creamy soup with delicious flavor, it is served with puff pastry on top which the server pokes with a spoon to pour a bit of Sherry inside. Need I say more?!”
Have you entered your chance to win a date for two to The Market? It’s not too late!
3702 Via de la Valle Del Mar, CA 92014 P: (858) 523-0007
Though it’s been in Del Mar for nearly six years, the popularity of Carl Schroeder’s Market Restaurant + Bar is just heating up. Schroder, who got his start in New York, attending the Culinary Institute of America, has won numerous awards and been featured in a number of culinary magazines. All of the ingredients used in the kitchens of The Market are locally sourced and reflect an attention to excellence that is synonymous with the restaurant name. Even the design of the interiors of the restaurant reflects this grounded approach to gourmet food. The colors are earthy and warm, creating an inviting atmosphere not unlike that of a Tuscan farmhouse.
While the menu is ever-changing, some of our past favorites dishes include the short ribs and the chocolate s’mores dessert!
For menu information and reservations, please visit The Market online.