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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

See the Urban Side of San Diego


2. Where to Eat

The Mexico City–inspired El Take It Easy is known for its farm-to-table tapas and unique cocktails.  

Be wowed by the design at Starlite, an urbane take on a hunting lodge with a stunning sculptural chandelier that rains tiny points of light onto the sunken bar below. The organic menu—think grilled local octopus ($10) and a caramelized onion and Gruyere cheeseburger on buttery brioche ($13)—holds its own, as does the drink list, which features hard-to-find whiskeys and the signature Starlite Mule, served in a copper mug ($9).

Get lively at El Take It Easy, a Mexico City–inspired “gastrocantina” in North Park with shareable farm-to-table tapas and a cocktail list heavy with rare ingredients like sotol and prickly pear cactus fruit. Menus change often, but the dishes are always original, from grass-fed beef-cheek chimichangas ($7.50) to chocolate crème pie with mescal whipped cream ($6.50).

See how locals prefer their upscale burgers ($10–$11) at Neighborhood, which has a reputation for being a bit snobby about its condiments. You won’t find ketchup here, but there’s always béarnaise, and the craft beer list is long and well selected. Ask your server about getting a seat at Noble Experiment, a speakeasy hidden in a back room behind a fake wall of kegs.

Published on Sep 11, 2011 as a web exclusive.

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