Seven dishes you must try in San Diego, California: Chef Tim Kalanko

HAMACHI SASHIMI, NINE-TEN RESTAURANT & BAR

The hamachi  sashimi has long been a staple menu item at this restaurant dedicated to evolving California cuisine, helmed by one of the most skilled chefs in San Diego, Jason Knibb. He pairs shiitake mushrooms with the fish, which is amazing. Hamachi is farmed Japanese yellowfin tuna. It's smooth and buttery in texture. See nine-ten.com

BRAISED GRASS-FED BEEF CHEEKS, URBAN SOLACE

I love the rich unctuousness of beef cheek and the smoked tomato jam here is the perfect complement. Chef-owner Matt Gordon takes comfort food and makes it as healthy and delicious as possible. His menu utilises natural ingredients and proteins that are carefully raised, free of hormones and antibiotics. See urbansolace.net

MOLTO AUTENTICO PIZZA, TRIBUTE PIZZA

With crushed tomatoes, fresh mozz', garlicky mushrooms, Calabrian chilli and fennel sausage, and house smoked cheddar, this satisfies all the comfort of a classic pizza but with the added twist of cheddar cheese. It's a great example of an American pie. Tribute Pizza's unique crust is crafted with flour from Central Milling and is cooked off in a sleek, wood-fired Renato oven. See tributepizza.com

OYSTERS ON THE HALF SHELL, IRONSIDE FISH & OYSTER BAR

Whenever I find myself in little Italy where Ironside is located, I have to stop in for what is the best oyster selection in San Diego. The restaurant showcases a fresh, local selection of seafood and a raw bar that's a must-visit if you're an oyster lover. The menu changes daily. See ironsidefishandoyster.com

LOBSTER CARPACCIO, LIONFISH

Chef Jojo Ruiz has a deft touch with seafood and really shows his style and understanding of balance in this lobster dish. The restaurant focuses on modern coastal cuisine and features sustainable seafood and prime meats alongside seasonal ingredients. See lionfishsd.com

CHARCUTERIE PLATE, AR VALENTIAN

Enjoying chef Jeff Jackson's pates and a glass of wine on the patio makes for a flawless afternoon. I also used to work alongside Jackson at AR Valentien, which is at The Lodge – a luxury La Jolla resort overlooking the 18th hole of the world-renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course and the Pacific Ocean. See lodgetorreypines.com

DAN DAN NOODLES, WEST PAC NOODLE BAR

I love this dish. Comprising Shanghai noodles, minced pork, bok choy and peanut butter, there's a tingle of Szechuan and the straight heat of chilli oil to satisfy all the senses: it's exciting comfort food. West Pac Noodle Bar is the newest concept within Blue Bridge Hospitality, which is made up of a diverse group of restaurants based in the city of Coronado on San Diego Bay. See bluebridgehsopitality.com

Tim Kolanko worked under several of the most respected food industry innovators in the US, including Stuart Brioza and Charles Dale, before receiving an invitation to join executive chef Jeff Jackson for the opening of San Diego's The Lodge at Torrey Pines and AR Valentien in 2002. During his tenure, AR Valentien was named one of the Top Ten Farm to Table Restaurants in the US by Epicurious and America's Top Restaurant by Zagat. In 2013, Kolanko was appointed executive chef of Blue Bridge Hospitality. See bluebridgehospitality.com

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