Where to eat in San Diego: Chef Javier Plascencia

Tijuana-born Javier Plascencia has multiple restaurants in Baja California and Southern California and regularly appears in US media as well as on MasterChef Australia. Recognised as one of Tijuana and Baja California's most passionate promoters, he and his restaurants Bracero and Mision 19 have received many prestigious awards.
See bracerococina.com; sandiego.org 

FAVOURITE TABLE

Sushi Ota, an award-winning Japanese restaurant located in Mission Bay, San Diego. This restaurant opened in 1990 and is still going strong. The chef prepares an excellent sushi. See sushiota.com

MUST-TRY

For any visitors to San Diego, you can't miss out on trying live sea urchin at the Little Italy farmers market on Saturday mornings. This coveted delicacy has earned the name "California Gold" because of its bright gold, yellow or orange colour. They're cracked open, cleaned and you eat them right out of the shell – delicious. See littleitalysd.com

LOCAL FOOD DISCOVERY

The Liberty Public Market, located in Point Loma, San Diego.  It has a wide variety of foods and beverages characteristic of the region. The place has a fun and rustic environment and you can always find artisans explaining their own product. See libertypublicmarket.com

BEST-KEPT FOOD SECRET

The gourmet sandwiches at the Mona Lisa Deli in the Little Italy area of San Diego. If you don't have a lot of time and you want to eat well, one of these freshly prepared sandwiches is a must-try. My favourite is the Delux sub (provolone, mortadella, salami, hara) and it's just $US7.50. See monalisalittleitaly.com

FAVOURITE INDULGENCE

I really like Asian food so I would have to say the ramen from RakiRaki in Convoy Street. See rakirakiramen.com

BIG NIGHT OUT

The Del Mar racetrack on Friday evenings in the summer is a great spot and I also love House of Blues because of its live music in an intimate setting. In addition, both the Casbah and Belly Up Tavern are vibrant live music venues and often attract great artists – visitors should keep an eye on the line-up to see who's playing while they're in San Diego. See dmtc.com; houseofblues.com/sandiego; casbahmusic.com; bellyup.com

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Aside from being called "America's finest city" there is a famous phrase for San Diegans – "we live where you vacation". All year round is great but I would be inclined to suggest summer, given all the fresh produce you can get.

HOT RIGHT NOW

Celebrity chef Brian Malarkey has just opened Herb & Wood in Little Italy. It's a stunning spot and the menu is all about farm-fresh ingredients. Craft & Commerce is also about to reopen just in front of our restaurant Bracero, in Little Italy. See herbandwood.com; craft-commerce.com