New in Town

New And Noteworthy

Twenty/20 Grill & Wine Bar {5480 Grand Pacific Drive, Carlsbad; 760.827.2500}

Twenty/20 Grill & Wine Bar in the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa has been a fixture for years, but a recent renovation and menu overhaul is turning heads all over Carlsbad. The tapas menu in particular now boasts succulent small plates like the Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Cabrales Bleu and piquillo pepper tomato sauce. Order them with the traditional Lamb Meatballs and a smartly-prepared Spanish Cheeseboard, and you'll feel as if you've been swept away to Spain. Flatbread pizzas pay homage to Northern Spanish cuisine, and the chefs keep is simple and pure—Parmesan, cilantro and spicy bacon on unleavened dough. Pair it with a Spanish Margarita—jalapeño-infused agave nectar and orange liqueur—and step out onto the expansive new veranda for a picture-perfect view of the nearby ocean. At that point, who cares if it's not the Med?

Heat Bar & Kitchen {3797 Park Boulevard; 619.546.4328}

At Heat Bar & Kitchen, expect memorable cuisine, fascinating décor, and a warm environment perfect for a night with family or friends. The comfortable space features two patios, a bar area, and expansive windows with plenty of daytime sun. At night, the overhead lights go down, and rivers of lava-red lighting on the walls and brightly-lit circles behind the tables give a swanky, lounge-like sophistication to the dining room. The knowledge staff serves seasonally-inspired, affordable, and locally-sourced cuisine alongside an award-winning wine list and local, craft beers. So come visit this new neighborhood hotspot—we bet you'll warm up to it right away.

The Blind Burro {639 J Street; 619.795.7880}

Don't let the name fool you. The Blind Burro, open as January 2013, offers a vibrant new spin on traditional Mexican food, focused on cultivating an enjoyable experience using the best ingredients. Try the bright, tangy, and spicy salsa verde, or nosh on some pickled carrot escabeche with crunchy, house-fried tortilla chips. In addition to Baja Style Tacos (with fillings of mole chicken, Angus skirt steak, and achiote shrimp), hearty entrées with a full menu of mariscos—seafood selections—offer up something a little more unique after 4pm. The casual atmosphere features a low-lit, rustic dining room and late-night lounge feel perfect for sipping mezcal, tequila, and a variety of craft beers on tap.

Spike Africa's Fresh Fish Grill & Bar {411 Broadway Avenue; 619.795.3800}

Named for the free-spirited and much-revered 20th century West Coast schooner captain, Spike Africa's Fresh Fish Bar & Grill introduces a spirited seafood haven in the heart of San Diego. The menu offers a well-rounded selection of dinner specials—with just about every sort of fresh fish you can cast a line at. Try the array of “Anytime” Eats, which features Beer-Battered Fish & Chips and Coconut Curry with Black Mussels. The warm interior was designed with natural materials—like 100-year old wood planks and timber—recreating a marine-like feel with modern comforts suitable for a contemporary restaurant (check out the glass-enclosed patio, perfect for dining in any sort of weather). Rain or shine, the legend of Spike's oceanic adventures live on at Spike Africa's.

Eureka! Burger {4353 La Jolla Village Drive; 858.210.3444}

Looking for juicy, tender, grilled-to-perfection enlightenment? Eureka! Burger makes it a priority to make burgers a gourmet affair. All patties are 100-percent vegetarian-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free, and perfectly charbroiled to order. Try the Catalina Bison Burger with jalepeños, or the Napa Burger with pesto aïoli, Havarti, and fried pancetta. Still, the menu isn't limited to chargrilled delights. Cocktails are a serious enterprise at Eureka!—where mixologists visit farmers' markets in search of seasonal ingredients to use in cocktails. Plus, with 40 small-batch whiskeys, and 40 craft beers on tap—nine of which are dedicated to local breweries—it's clear that Eureka! is committed to their drink selection. Enjoy a burger and a beverage at the newest location in the Westfield UTC Mall.

Eclipse Chocolate Bar & Bistro { 2145 Fern Street; 619.578.2984}

After nine years of operation on El Cajon Boulevard, Eclipse Chocolate Bar & Bistro has moved, re-opening in the quaint neighborhood of South Park. And although the same sinful sweets will still be available at the new location, Eclipse now offers even more amenities, like daily Sweet & Savory Brunch service; a private dining room for up to 45 guests; local craft beers and wines from the West Coast; and a bright retail area with chocolates, pastries, and confections. Eclipse Chocolate Bar & Bistro aligns itself with values of sustainability, artisan production, product integrity, and community involvement, so visitors will feel that much better about indulging in the tempting confections, savory brunch items, or exclusive prix-fixe dinners. Chocoholics, rejoice!

Waffle Bar at Grant Grill {326 Broadway; 619.744.2077}

The Grant Grill has long been a culinary icon in San Diego. Chef Chris Kurth serves up elegant edibles during breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and features a monthly Chef's Tasting Menu of local seafood, fresh herbs, succulent meats, and delightful desserts. Bountiful brunches are nothing new to the Grant Grill, but the new Sunday Brunch features worth waking up for—a build-your-own-waffle bar. For $26, enjoy an endless waffle brunch ($31with unlimited bubbly) with all the toppings you can imagine. Picture scooping up savory items like herb gravy and duck confit hash, or sprinkling sweet indulgences like the housemade toffee or pear ginger compote atop an endless assortment of fresh, airy, golden-brown waffles. Brunch never tasted so good. Reservations are available on Sundays between 9am-2pm.

Swoon Dessert Bar {3139 University Avenue; 858.366.3827}

Those with a weakness for sweets find it hard to resist Swoon Dessert Bar, the sugar-lover's haven now beckoning from its outpost in North Park. Swoon occupies an expansive and chic space—connected to the cultural and community development center, Art Produce Gallery—and is headed by Pastry Chef Ian Smith and Partner David Lamm. Chef Smith crafts an innovative selections with ingredients sourced from North Park's weekly farmers'market. From Thursdays through Saturdays, Swoon offers a nightly dessert tasting menu ($15 for three courses) at its central eating counter, where the chef prepares and plates each course right at the table. We've heard whispers of a Meyer Lemon Curd Croquembouche, and an Apple Fritter Bread Pudding; we're already swooning.