Gastronomy in the Gas Lamp District, San Diego

May 4, 2011 by Jayne Gorman

 

When you pass underneath the retro sign welcoming you to the Gas Lamp District in San Diego you enter another world. In contrast to the huge modern Convention Centre just outside, in the Gas Lamp Quarter Victorian era buildings house a trendy array of restaurants, bars, hotels, clubs, museums and shops. The streets are ornately lined with electric versions of the historic gas lamps the area is named after. For food and drink you really are spoilt for choice, from tacos inspired by California’s Mexican neighbours to traditional American pancakes served lovingly by a cafe owner from Ajzerbajstan. Bars range from achingly hip, modern affairs to quirky, laid back dives! Here are my top picks for eats and drinks in the Gas Lamp District.

Entrance to the historic Gas Lamp Quarter in San Diego

A retro welcome to this historic area

 

Searsucker– located in the heart of the Gas Lamp district and promoting itself as providing ‘New American Classic’ cuisine, this recently opened establishment is definitely in the achingly hip bracket. The brain child of award winning celebrity chef Brian Malarkey (past Bravo Top Chef finalist) both the restaurant and bar food are artfully presented and incredibly tasty. The duck fat fries are a particularly moreish accompaniment to the creative cocktails; the centrally placed bar stools being a great place from which to watch the cool crowd and interact with the cocktail shaking staff.

La Puerta offers American sized portions of your favourite Mexican dishes. I’m still thinking about the surf and turf burrito I regrettably couldn’t finish. Another popular joint with a buzzing crowd, you may have to wait for a table but munching on the house nachos will certainly help pass the time.

You don’t expect a taste of Azerbaiijan in downtown San Diego but after meeting Alex and tasting his organic teas you will be glad you found it. Cafe 21 combines an original menu with ethnic style and very personal service.

Pancakes in the Gap Lamp District

Simply divine - banana pancakes at Cafe 21 with homemade chai latte

Dick’s Last Resort is a chain of lively American bars well known for pre, post or during sports games drinks! The San Diego branch has a large beer garden decorated with surf boards and straw more suited to the beach, but a pleasure to find in the Gas Lamp.

For the very end of the evening we have Jimmy Loves. A laid back bar where the music is live and the dance floor is likely to be wet from overflowing drinks. A great last stop before catching a rickshaw carriage home.

Have any of you eaten or drunk your way around the Gas Lamp District? What would be your top picks?

San Diego can be reached via a 50 minute internal flight from Los Angeles. For the latest deals on flights to California speak to a consultant on 0208 045 4186.