1BRIAN MALARKEY Part of a winning team on The Taste, Malarkey has guest
starred and judged several series on Food Network, such as
Guy’s Grocery Games, Rachael vs. Guy’s Kids Cook-Off, Chopped
All-Stars and Cutthroat Kitchen. Beyond the success of his multi-venued Searsucker and seafood-centric Herringbone, his
latest Little Italy project, Herb & Wood, is a dynamite blend
of jaw-dropping design and wood-roasted delicious eats.
2 JAVIER PLASCENCIA While Tijuana’s star chef Plascencia has been on shows
like The Taste, Mexico: One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless,
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and Top Chef, he favors being
in the kitchen of Bracero, his modern Mexican bilevel restaurant in Little Italy, or cooking over a mesquite grill at Finca
Altozano, his rustic wine country restaurant that overlooks
his family’s vineyards in gorgeous Guadalupe Valley.
3 CLAUDIA SANDOVAL Born and raised in San Diego, Sandoval recently won
season six of Fox’s MasterChef and penned the cookbook
Claudia’s Cocina: A Taste of Mexico. Presently, she’s cooking
and creating dishes for her Sabor Y Vinos pop-up dinners
and plans to open an authentic Mexican restaurant in her
hometown San Diego in the near future.
4 GISELLE WELLMAN This Top Chef season 13 alum, who’s worked with
Thomas Keller, Jean-Georges and Mario Batali, has returned
to her hometown to open Pacific Standard Coastal Kitchen
in Little Italy. Her cuisine focuses on rustic-refined seasonal
dishes and fresh seafood.
5 RICHARD BLAIS Top Chef All-Stars winner and Food Network and Bravo
regular Richard Blais has taken Little Italy by storm with his
acclaimed Juniper and Ivy, set in a stylish 100-year-old warehouse; and The Crack Shack, an all-day chicken-and-egg alfresco
eatery. When he’s not cooking, you can catch Blais on shows like
Guy’s Grocery Games, Hungry Games and Top Chef.
San Diego Magazine food critic Troy Johnson shares his favorites
NOT-TO-MISS CULINARY EXPERIENCES
Addison at The Grand Del Mar for
world-class, James Beard food
Jason Knibb’s Jamaican jerk pork belly
Oysters and cocktails at Ironside
Micheladas and octopus tacos at TJ Oyster Bar
Lamb barbacoa at Aqui es Texcoco
Greasy, godly tacos at Las Quatro Milpas
Cali-Baja cuisine at Galaxy Taco and
Bracero Cocina de Raíz.