10 Delicious Fall Dishes From Top San Diego Restaurants

Naturally, this is the time of year when pumpkin everything rears its head. We’ll skip the latte and take this pumpkin gnocchi instead. Inside, a luxurious black walnut bolognese with porcini mushrooms and red kale is complemented by castelmagno cheese and Granny Smith apple butter from Juniper and Ivy.

Nothing feels quite as cozy as a big, steaming bowl of ramen with all the trimmings. Rakiraki offers a delicious range of ramen featuring handcrafted noodles and flavor-rich ingredients like fermented garlic oil and kurobuta pork. Frankly, no food feels more like a hug on a chilly day. Word to the wise: a side sushi roll never hurt anyone.

Meatballs. Classic? Cliche? Call them what you will, but Buona Forchetta is doing meatballs with style. Their antipasto Polpettine is everything your friend’s Italian grandma wants to feed your soul with. Three beef and pork meatballs are lovingly nestled in a fresh tomato sauce with ample parmigiano. It’s simplicity at its finest. Don’t overthink, just order (and possibly get their arancino as well).

The Hake in downtown La Jolla just opened a stunning new space and freshened up their already-delicious menu. Right now we’re racing to the cove for their tuna “carnitas.” Expect to be floored by the combination of shallot, ponzu, serrano and avocado. It’s a perfectly fresh departure from summertime ceviche, with just enough earthy accompaniments to let us know chillier times are ahead.


Photo Credits: Soda & Swine Instagram

PSA: Soda & Swine offers whole pies for purchase! Even more valuable PSA: You can pre-order yours for Thanksgiving! Let those host/hostess skills shine while leaving the pastry skills to the pros. With your choice of deliciously classic apple, or a dreamy caramelized pecan, there’s no reason to sweat dessert duty.

Octopus seems to be popping up on every menu here in San Diego for the last year or so. This application from The Smoking Goat is one not to be missed. Perfectly charred-yet-tender octopus is joined by crispy fingerling potatoes and a bright romesco sauce. It’s a deliciously balanced bite evoking the warmth of fall without sacrificing that ocean freshness.

The Cheese Store is a lovely fall spot for oh-so many reasons. They boast artisanal mac and cheese, wine and a seemingly endless selection of delicious cheeses. Our current seasonal favorite for a quick lunch? This delicata squash tart with Ricotta, thyme, and caramelized onions. Now all that’s missing is a crisp glass of white.

When it comes to soup, few take the cozy cake more than French onion. Mastiff Sausage Company officially upped the ante on this classic with the additions of braised oxtail, a garlic crouton and manchego cheese. Who knew a restaurant named after a slobbery dog would have such an elegant soup game? We’re certainly happy they do.


Photo Credits: conreteair Instagram

Located in Liberty Public Market, Messhall offers a daily rotating menu. Utilizing ingredients solely from the market’s vendors, you know you’re getting the ultimate experience in seasonality. This duck confit with cabbage, figs, roasted carrots and sweet potato puree is like the who’s-who of fall produce in a deliciously caramelized package.

Bencotto is a San Diego mainstay for delicious, hand-crafted pastas. What sets them apart, though, is the unexpected flavors like beet, cayenne, squid ink, tomato, spinach, and much more. Their Stracci allo Speck e funghi is a delicious dish featuring saffron pasta sheets, speck and mushrooms in parmigiano sauce. The warmth of the saffron is perfectly complimented by the speck and earthy mushrooms, resulting in an unexpectedly light situation. It’s sure to wrap you up in that proverbial fall blanket.