Around the World in One (Restaurant) Week

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Art by Sophia Huang

With 180 participating eateries, San Diego Restaurant Week is the culinary world encapsulated. Sit back, relax and let the Guardian take you on your next gastronomic adventure.    

1. MEXICO: Blind Burro
Location: 639 J Street
Price: $$

Located in the corner of Gaslamp Quarter, the Burro brings the best of both Baja Californian and Mexican cuisines, specializing in street-style corn dishes, grilled fish, and bottomless mimosa cocktails among other quality selections. From housing eccentric coastal vibes to its location just steps from the San Diego Padres home stadium, Blind Burro not only cements its place as a convenient hangout, but as an escape for those looking for casual bites, drinks, and live music at its outdoor bar. With incredible San Diego weather, back-to-back bars, and a vibrant city atmosphere especially at night, the Burro surely can’t be missed.

— Ian Le Tran // Contributing Writer

2. PERU: Indigo Grill
Location: 1536 India Street
Price: $$

Nestled in the vibrant neighborhood of Little Italy is Indigo Grill, a contemporary Latin restaurant with an interior as eclectic as their menu. Although their dishes are rooted in Latin American culture, like the pollo anticucho board, a poster child of Peruvian and Chilean street food, Indigo Grill has beautifully married Latin classics with an Asian zest, evident in their delectable tempura Mahi Mahi cheek tacos and piquant salmon belly tiradito ceviche. They even take on familiar Asian bites like bibimbap and kung pao calamari. Pair your dish with something from their equally bold drink menu for a harmonious and satisfying experience.

— Maria Manalang // Staff Writer

3. ARGENTINA: Puerto La Boca
Location: 2060 India Street
Price: $$$

Home to tango and muse for a Madonna ballad, Argentina never fails when manifesting cultural archetypes. So it’s no surprise their culinary feats are just as iconic. At Puerto La Boca, Argentine classics stand out boldly among the ristorantes and espresso bars of Little Italy, emphatically demanding to be seen and tasted. Traditional fare, from empanadas and chorizo to regional favorites like molleja sweet bread sauteed in a jerez wine reduction and freshly marinated pulpo, or octopus, are just opening acts to the prized possession of Argentine cuisine — el bistec. So if you ever find yourself a little displaced in Little Italy, Puerto La Boca might just give your palate a new home.

— Brittney Lu // Lifestyle Co-Editor

4. FRANCE: The Westgate Hotel
Location: 1055 2nd Avenue
Price: $$$

If you have been itching to put on that million-dollar outfit you purchased two years ago but never had a chance to wear, lunch at The Westgate Room, located inside the Westgate Hotel, is your time to shine. For SDRW, the executive chef Fabrice Hardel has prepared a two-course meal with a choice of two appetizers and a meat or seafood entree. Chandeliers, gold-plated columns and Victorian chic at a four-star hotel modeled after the Palace of Versailles in France is an experience you can rarely get for only twenty dollars.

— Olga Golubkova // Lifestyle Co-Editor

5. SPAIN: Mustangs and Burros
Location: 9700 North Torrey Pines Road
Price: $$

Imagine an elegant outdoor venue inspired by Spanish haciendas, romantically lit with a fireplace, the moon and the stars. Add delicious modern Spanish foods: duck enchiladas, blackened salmon tacos, shrimp and scallop ceviche. Then plant this dream of a restaurant conveniently near the UCSD campus and you have Mustangs & Burros, a La Jolla hidden gem. Take a break from studying and warm yourself up with their truffle cauliflower soup or make it your next Friday night venue and enjoy their meatier entrees, like the bone-in pork chop or the cumin-crusted skirt steak.

— Maria Manalang // Staff Writer

6. ITALY: Monello
Location: 750 West Fir Street
Price: $$

After living in Italy for over a year, my tolerance for mediocre Italian food is next to none. Luckily, San Diego has Little Italy, which offers a plethora of authentic Italian restaurants, like Monello. Serving the best quality of everything — fresh pasta, imported olive oil, the whole nine yards — Monello can be a bit pricey, even for Restaurant Week. It’s recommend to opt for the $20 lunch special, which offers an appetizer, main course and dessert. Suggested dishes: Tortino di Cavolfiore Viola (purple cauliflower souffle with raspa dura cheese sauce) and the Gnocchi di Zucca (homemade butternut squash dumplings).

— Shelby Newallis // Senior Staff Writer

7. GREECE: Apollonia Greek Bistro
Location: 8650 Genesee Avenue
Price: $$

Apollonia has a relatively modest exterior that’s easily overlooked by the average UCSD student looking for cheap sushi and sake bombs at its better-known neighbor, Sushi Ki. If you’re looking to try a different place, but don’t want to go too far, Apollonia is a great option. Located in the Costa Verde Center, it’s accessible by bus, car or walking, if you’re ambitious. The restaurant week offerings are a good value and include three courses with Mediterranean offerings like spanakopita, kebab and a popular dessert, galaktoboureko, phyllo dough with a custard filling.

— Shelby Newallis // Senior Staff Writer

8. IRAN: Bandar
Location: 845 4th Avenue
Price: $$

Bandar’s sleek interior design is the interface of modernity, especially of the Persian culture it represents. For connoisseurs of feng shui, a coronal divide separates the restaurant into two distinct atmospheres. A sophisticated downtown palette of scarlet and oak sets a dim nightclub vibe for its bar; sharing the same ecology, its restaurant is a contemporary black-and-white draped in beige textiles and romantic candlelight. This tonal juxtaposition, while seemingly jarring, showcases Iran’s contemporaneity in the global sphere — whether it’s the welcoming neon from the bar or the fashionable cloth that droops from the ceiling. Bandar specializes in kebabs, whether they’re curated with fresh filet mignon, lamb or chicken.

— Christian Gerard Gella // Senior Staff Writer

9. CHINA: Del Mar Rendezvous
Location: 1555 Camino Del Mar
Price: $$$

Step away from the metal counter at Panda Express and indulge yourself in the culinary creations at Del Mar Rendezvous. While this upscale restaurant might not be your traditional dumpling shack or dim sum cart, their medley of traditional and fusion dishes are sure to beat whatever concoction of orange chicken you are about to consume. With classic items like shu mai, hai gao and Beijing peking duck intermingling with Polynesian firecracker calamari or Japanese seared ahi, Del Mar Rendezvous breaches geo-culinary borders in an innovatively respectful way.

— Brittney Lu // Lifestyle Co-Editor

10. THAILAND: Taste of Thai
Location: 15770 San Andres Drive
Price: $$

Taste of Thai is one of Hillcrest’s classics. Surprisingly enough, open until 11 p.m. it is one of the few non-bar eateries ready to cater before or after your night out. It is a perfect place to get your juices flowing late at night with its extensive variety of dishes and affordability during Restaurant Week. With a filling two-course $10 lunch special and three-course $20 dinner special, it will surely satisfy your craving for a healthy yet familiar Thai meal.

— Olga Golubkova // Lifestyle Co-Editor