For the best
view of the
a seat at the
ramen bar and
at work in the
It’s worth the trek to score an order of
chicken tawook, a flatbread “pizza”
topped with garlic sauce and tender
chicken, at this friendly Lebanese
restaurant. It’s best to go with a group
and dine family-style, so you can sample
a wide variety of dishes.
5965 El Cajon Blvd., Rolando
Don’t be fooled by the name; this
walk-up Lebanese restaurant is a
tightly guarded secret among in-the-know locals. Menu highlights
include shawarma, falafel and
house-made flatbread baked in a
traditional saj oven.
4237 Alabama St., University Heights
The Kebab Shop
It’s tough to beat this casual Californian-Turkish eatery with six locations in San
Diego, including two downtown outposts
(Little Italy and East Village). The Döner
Kebab is a great choice for a filling meal
of meat, veggies and savory homemade
sauces wrapped up in toasted flatbread.
RAMEN & TSUKEMEN
This trendy eatery has a vast menu, from
sushi rolls and rice bowls to Japanese
curry and a mind-boggling variety of
ramen with chicken, pork and miso
broth made with more than 20 herbs
and spices imported from Japan.
4646 Convoy St., Kearny Mesa
Tip: Try the tsukemen, or “dipping noodles,”
a plate of extra thick noodles served with a
bowl of rich soup on the side for dipping.
RUSSIAN: KAFE SOBAKA
Familiar favorites like borscht and beef
stroganoff can be found here, but venturing into unexplored culinary territory with exciting dishes like khachapuri
(cheese pie topped with a sunny-side-up
egg), shashlik (fire-roasted kebabs basted
with pomegranate molasses) or chanakhi
(lamb stew) is more rewarding.
2469 Broadway, Golden Hill
Tip: Servers here are experts in helping first-
time diners navigate the menu, so don’t be
afraid to ask for suggestions.
Two-time Michelin Bib Award–winning
chef Michael “Bao” Huynh presides over
this modern Vietnamese restaurant in
the Gaslamp Quarter, with an exciting
menu stocked with items like fish sauce
chicken wings, sizzling cuttlefish and
banana spring roll sundaes for dessert.
467 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter
Tip: Food Shop, the restaurant’s grab-and-go
kitchen, serves a tasty selection of pho, banh mi
sandwiches and wok dishes at affordable prices.
CHINESE: DUMPLING INN & SHANGHAI SALOON
This local favorite recently expanded into much larger digs
(now with a full bar), but the menu of steamed and pan-fried
dumplings, plus traditional Chinese American entrées like orange
chicken, chow mein and honey-glazed shrimp, remains the same.
4625 Convoy St., Kearny Mesa
Tip: The Saloon has its own separate menu, but you can order
Dumpling Inn items at the bar from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday
(the restaurant is closed on Mondays).
MOROCCAN: KOUS KOUS MOROCCAN BISTRO
Feast family-style on fragrantly spiced Moroccan tapas, kababs
and tagines full of tender, braised meat or vegetables. Mood
lighting and Moroccan-style décor help to create a cozy,
3940 Fourth Avenue, Hillcrest
Tip: During happy hour ( 4–6 p.m., daily),
complimentary tapas are served at the bar.
MIDDLE EASTERN EATS
Rakiraki Ramen &