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Michelin identifies several San Diego restaurants as 'hidden gems'

Posted: 12:36 PM, May 28, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-01 17:19:24-04
Juniper & Ivy Whole Roasted Duck

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Ahead of Michelin's reveal of its first California guide to Michelin star restaurants, the food guide has named several San Diego stops as "Bib Gourmand" establishments.

Michelin's Bib Gourmand category highlights restaurants that serve high-quality meals (two courses and a glass of wine or dessert) for $40 or less.

The restaurants are often regarded as hidden gems by Michelin inspectors, who include them in the guide to widen the variety of eateries in addition to the coveted Michelin star winners.

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In San Diego, Michelin honored eight stops as Bib Gourmand restaurants and included inspectors' reviews :

  • Campfire (2725 State St, Carlsbad) - Modern American fare: "Campfire in Carlsbad marries fine dining with the chef’s Mexican heritage. Cooking over fire is a staple with the 12-foot, wood-burning hearth."
  • Cucina Sorella (4055 Adams Ave., San Diego) - Italian cuisine: "Cucina Sorella in San Diego embraces every season with pastas including tagliatelle with pistachio pesto, peas, pickled celery, mint and lime, and small plates like the carrot arancini with tarragon-basil aioli."
  • Cucina Urbana (505 Laurel St., San Diego) - Italian cuisine: "Cucina Urbana’s menu in San Diego varies from Neapolitan-style pizzas to sophisticated dishes like a ribeye carpaccio with pickled beech mushrooms, shaved parmesan, malted melba toast crumbles, and dots of earthy porcini aioli."
  • El Jardin (2885 Perry Rd., San Diego) - Classic Mexican fare: "El Jardin is a regional contemporary Mexican gem in San Diego's Liberty Station, with dishes that pop with creativity and flavor."
  • Juniper & Ivy (2228 Kettner Blvd., San Diego) - New American cuisine: "Juniper & Ivy is a contemporary San Diego hit, loaded with clever dishes bursting with technique. The menu may change frequently, but the food is always fun and filled with high-quality ingredients."
  • Kettner Exchange (2001 Kettner Blvd., San Diego) - Traditional & New American cuisine: "Kettner Exchange in San Diego serves global small plates, like bigeye tuna ribbons tangled with sliced avocado, radishes, nori chips, chive batons and a Makrut lime-soy marinade."
  • Lola 55 (290 F St., San Diego) - Fine-casual Mexican fare: "Lola 55 in San Diego serves sophisticated tacos made with fresh ingredients. Counter service means queuing up is required, but while in line diners watch tortillas being prepared."
  • Solare (2820 Roosevelt Rd., San Diego) - Italian cuisine: "Solare is an inspector favorite for pastas, bread and house-made sausages in San Diego. Produce, fish and meats come from local farms and fishermen."

Tracy Borkum, owner of Urban Kitchen Group, which includes both Cucina Sorella and Cucina Urbana, said the honor highlighted their mission to "life the rising tide" of restaurants in town.

“When we opened CUCINA urbana ten years ago, we were making a statement about the necessity to provide diners with value-driven menus focused on quality while using the best ingredients available to us. That still rings true today," Borkum said. "Our dedication to local farmers is stronger than ever, but just as important, we’ve become one of many restaurants contributing to the overall education of our local dining community. Our restaurants are helping to lift a rising tide here in San Diego, and that’s something we’re incredibly proud of."

Michelin's 2019 California guide will feature 151 Bib Gourmand restaurants. The full guide is set to be revealed on June 3 in Huntington Beach.