14 Must-Try Spring Menus From Some Of San Diego’s Best Restaurants

Spring is in the air, which means the sunny days are getting longer, and your favorite San Diego restaurants are rolling out fresh new menus that highlight the best seasonal ingredients.

Here are a handful of menus that we think are ‘must-try’. Be sure to get some reservations on your calendar now – they’ll go fast!

Wormwood

We can’t get enough of Wormwood, the University Heights Frech Bistro and Absinthe Bar. And we bet you’ll feel the same way!

The classic French touches of the restaurant will have you feeling like you escaped to Paris for the evening, and their Absinthe cocktails will have you feeling…good. 😉

While you’re there, try these favorites:
Burrata – smoked broccolini, spiced walnuts, caldillo, pickled onion petals
Carpaccio de Saumon – “everything” spice, capers, dill, chervil
Fruit de Mer – coconut – tomatillo leche de Tigre, Calabria salsa Macha, makrut lime, salmon roe
Huîtres – Lemon, apple, seaweed, absinthe foam
Artichauts – Caesar butter, shaved Parm, lemon, sourdough Melbas (pictured above…so damn good!)

You’ll see us here a lot this Spring!

Madison on Park

University Heights’ beloved neighborhood gem, Madison on Park, is a springtime oasis with a Mediterranean menu highlighting light, refreshing fare.

Standouts include the Watermelon Stack, which combines Local Watermelon, Grilled Halloumi Cheese, Avocado, Jalapeno, Radish, Mint, Lime, and Aleppo Pepper Oil for a refreshing bite that blends sweet and savory flavors and the Mussels and Toast with PEI Mussels, Saffron, Shallots, Garlic, White Wine, Lemon, and Grilled Sourdough.

Pair Madison’s bites with spring-forward cocktails including the Night Forage, made with Local’s Only Vodka, Blackberry, Wild Black Sage, Lemon, and Prosecco and the C’est La Vie, made with Blinking Owl Gin, Sirena Aperitivo, Orange Peel Liqueur, Pastis Mediterranean Anise Liqueur, and Lemon.

ALCE 101

ALCE 101 in Solana Beach serves fresh farm-to-table Southwestern food that is in a league of its own – it is definitely not your typical Southwestern food experience.

This spring’s menu includes Ahi Sashimi with mango slaw, grapefruit, avocado, house ponzu sauce, wasabi aioli; and Heirloom Tomato & Burrata Salad with heirloom tomatoes, balsamic reduction, mint, basil.

Spring drinks include the Golden Barrel Margarita with banco, carrot, turmeric, cilantro, lemon; the Desert Gem Bloody Maria, with choice of Mezcal or Tequila; the House Tomatillo Bloody Mary with yellow tomato, yuzu, green apple, serrano; and Cricket Margarita with dill-infused blanco, apricot, snap pea, pistachio.

We told you it isn’t ‘typical’!

Little Frenchie

Little Frenchie, the French Bistro and wine bar in Coronado, has a new spring menu that consists of Atlantic scallops with sunchoke purée, braised leek, romanesco, winter citrus salad; Caramel apple clafoutis with walnut crumble, vanilla bean crème clacée, caramel sauce; and Mille-feuille made of puff pastry, meyer lemon crème pâtissière, cream cheese chantilly,  candied almond, strawberry, huckleberry sauce.

C’est délicieux!

Juniper and Ivy

Newly minted James Beard award semifinalist, Executive Chef Anthony Wells, is springing forward with a refreshed seasonal menu at Juniper and Ivy.  As always, Wells has incorporated pique ingredients from local farms and fisherman with creative new dishes that draw inspiration from global flavors.

A few dish highlights include:

Pork Belly Ravioli – snap pea | green garlic | herb butter | smoked mushrooms | farmhouse cheddar
Whole Roasted Aged Duck – confit duck legs | buttered rice | peanut slaw | duck xo sauce
Lamb Meatballs – white bean hummus | house yogurt | dill naan | marinated cucumbers
Local Halibut – chicories | citrus vinaigrette | miso | sunflower seed crumble | herbs

Pastry Chef Lindsay Sipress has also debuted a new “Yodel” iteration made with dark chocolate, cold brew “snow,” hazelnut brownie crumb, and dolce Frangelico ganache, as well as the “Not an Ice Cream Sandwich,” a flourless chocolate cake complete with white chocolate vanilla bean cream and pomegranate molasses.

We can’t wait!

Camino Riviera

Don’t be fooled by the fun neon exterior – Camino Riviera is much more than a party spot! We’ve been blown away by their food!

Now, just in time for spring, SDCM’s corporate Executive Chef Brian Redzikowsk has incorporated a few new dishes to Tulum-inspired Camino Riviera’s hybrid menu of traditional Mexican and Central American cuisine. As always, Brian Redzikowsk is exploring flavors that celebrate the spirit of the Yucatán coast, drawing inspiration from the unique traditions of the cuisine. A few dish highlights include:

Chili Rubbed Prawns – Cucumber Salad | Mint | Cilantro Crema | $17
Crispy Fried Frog Legs – Macha Butter |  Lime | $15
Refried Black Lentils – Avocado | Cotija | Tortilla Chips | $12

In addition, Bar Manager and mezcal expert, Stephen O’Halloran, draws from his knowledge and relationships with various mezcaleros (mezcal producers) to source exclusive small-batch, artisan mezcals, offering Camino guests the specific expression until it undoubtedly runs out.

Guests can experience these offerings “a besitos” (sipped in little kisses) in a rotating flight of three mezcals ($45).

Each is served in hand-made copitas, sourced directly from small producers/artists located in Tlaquepaque and Oaxaca, served on a board locally made by Urban Timber.

Fort Oak

All of the Trust Restaurant Group’s restaurants are on our shortlist of favorite San Diego restaurants, but the bright, beautiful colors of the Mission Hill neighborhood’s Fort Oak, in particular, have us feeling the spring vibes! Here are some highlights from Fort Oak’s spring menu:

Asparagus + Snap Peas – pickled kohlrabi, toasted caraway vinaigrette, sunflower butter, crescenza, basil, rye crumble
Ahi Crudo – meyer lemon + celery vinaigrette, tonnato, pine nuts, fried capers, chili oil, seeded lavash
Shawarma Spiced Lamb Sausage – cucumber labneh, garlic chili crunch, pickled shallot, mint, pistachio
Burrata – smoked honey, aged balsamic, strawberries, radish, pepita crunch, sorrel
Embered Black Cod – lentil tabbouleh, cape gooseberry, tehina, makrut lime, za’atar

Herb & Sea

Beloved Encinitas restaurant, Herb & Sea, known for its seafood-forward menu and welcoming atmosphere, is offering spring menu additions highlighting the freshest in-season ingredients.

Blending classic East Coast culinary traditions with a modern California sensibility, Herb & Sea’s spring menu additions will include light and fresh dishes like the Wood-Grilled Swordfish with Moroccan coffee rub, red chermoula, rainbow carrot and dill, along with a refreshing Scallop Crudo with blood orange, preserved meyer lemon, serrano and mint.

Pair the dishes perfectly with spring cocktails like the Lavender and Love for the Vodka, with the cherry on top being one of Chef Laura’s famous desserts like the Creme Fraiche Mousse – a pistachio cake with raspberry pistachio ice cream.

The space’s art deco elements are matched with cozy touches and the sunlit outdoor patio, dubbed the Moonlight Deck, makes for the perfect place to enjoy spring’s freshest ingredients whether it’s in a cocktail, entree or dessert.

Also, be on the lookout for the rotating WILDCOAST menu item featuring the day’s fresh catch utilizing local treasure fish, lesser-known and non-targeted species caught in San Diego’s fisheries often called “by-catch”. The restaurant is donating $5 from each dish sold to WILDCOAST to help protect our coasts! 👏🏻

Moe’s

Moe’s recently opened in Mission Beach, and we are thrilled! Housed in the former Saska’s space and owned and operated by the same family of restauranteurs, Moe’s brings the rich luxury of a traditional steakhouse back to Mission Beach.

Top menu items include their 40oz Prime Bistecca alla Fiorentina, Crispy Skin Salmon with shrimp, risotto, caper butter, Housemade Ricotta Agnolotti with Kabocha squash, walnuts, brown butter, and Crab Cakes.

And no steakhouse experience would be complete without top-shelf cocktails. Try, The Vaquero, made with Jack Single Barrel, Pineapple, Ancho Verde, Orgeat, Mint, or The Don, made with Haku, cranberry, Licor.

The Guild Bar

Located inside the historic 1924 building that used to be a YMCA and today is The Guild Hotel, The Guild Bar’s stunning design, rich velvet furnishings, and custom-designed bar make it easily one of the coolest spots in San Diego.

And lucky for us, the luxurious urban oasis recently launched a whole new food and cocktail menu, just in time for spring.

New menu items include the Panzanella Salad with torn bread croutons, sweet 100’s, charred spring onion, housemade mozzarella, arugula, smashed cucumber and smoked tomato vinaigrette and the Burrata with dandelion green pesto, golden raisin and served with focaccia.

For those just looking to grab a cocktail in a chic atmosphere, try one of their new cocktails, each created by one of the bartenders, such as the Honey, I’m Home! made with cachaca, honey syrup, calamansi lime, lychee foam and strawberry dust or the Local Lover made with You & Yours Vodka, mango, makrut lime, lemon and curry oil.

Puesto

Cocktails and tacos on a Puesto Mexican Artisan Kitchen & Bar patio on a warm spring day are always a good idea!

And with the new spring menu they just rolled out, showcasing the best locally sourced ingredients, we have something new to try.

New menu offerings will include contemporary twists on classic dishes like the Mushroom Enchilada and Ceviche Verde made with local line-caught fish, cucumber, serrano, radish, avocado and Japanese peanuts.

And, of course, you can’t skip on the cocktails at Puesto. Puesto offers a completely additive-free tequila cocktail menu, highlighted in the spring cocktail menu with additions like the Carajillo made with Licor 43, Oaxacan coffee, Mr. Black cold brew coffee liqueur and reposado tequila, a frozen version of the popular, thirst-quenching Puesto Perfect, the Frozen Puesto Perfect, a refreshing Coconut Margarita and a classic Mojito.

Barbusa

Little Italy hotspot, Barbusa, is welcoming the new season with a variety of spring-ready menu offerings, (and a new member of the family – congrats!) perfect for enjoying a night of people-watching in Little Italy as the weather warms up.

The restaurant’s modern take on classic Sicilian cuisine boasts a selection of lighter fare, including a full crudo bar, and menu favorites like the California Pizza, made with mozzarella, avocado, arugula, meyer lemon, and a balsamic reduction, and Frutti di Mare, a spaghetti made with calamari, mussels, clams, shrimp, and seafood brodo.

To complement the food, Barbusa also serves several refreshing spring cocktails, like the Italian Love Affair, made with Dos Hombres Mezcal, Malfi Limone Gin, lemon juice, and ramazzotti orange blossom, and the Fresco, which combines Uncle Ed’s Damn Good Jackfruit Vodka, cucumbers, basil, and lime, to transport yourself to the Sicilian coast.

Wolfie’s

As the days get longer, Wolfie’s is the perfect place to start (or end) your night with a bright, beautiful cocktail at their rotating carousel bar – nobody does it better! They are releasing two new spring sips that highlight floral and fresh ingredients as the change of the season begins.

Vélo Parfait – Gin | Apricot | Strawberry | Egg White
Belle Fille – Vodka | Lilet | Cucumber | Prosecco

See you at the bar!

Communal

After a big dinner out, a late, lazy breakfast and a strong coffee at Communal, the creative-minded cafe and shop, sounds like just the thing.

Showcasing a selection of fresh, bright flavors from Chef Jeannette Silva, the updated spring menu includes a variety of novel drinks, breakfasts and bites including an Apricot Toast highlighting lemon ricotta, apricot preserves, smoked rosemary salt and toasted almonds, as well as a Citrus Toast lathered with orange ginger butter and chevre cream, topped with herbs and fresh honey.

Other standout items include Turkish Eggs made with Mediterranean yogurt and soft boiled eggs with smoked chili oil butter and toast, with the option to add pickled vegetables and olives and for a larger meal, the freshly baked Pear Gorgonzola Pizzetta topped with sliced pear, cambozola, mozzarella, caramelized onions, prosciutto and arugula.

In addition to the new bites, cheers to the warmer weather with one of Communal’s new spring-inspired drinks in the form of coffees or cocktails with offerings such as the Dark Chocolate Orange concocted with house-made dark chocolate orange sauce, espresso and milk or the Raspberry Basil Margarita highlighting house-made raspberry and basil syrup, sabe tequila and lemon.See you there, San Diego!

See you there!

Reservations are getting hard to get in this city, so make yours now!

We’ll see you out there, San Diego!