Food and Drink for San Diego's Bipolar Vortex

By Darlene Horn  |  February 10, 2014

Ah, San Diego weather: at its very best it’s consistently mild with not a cloud in the sky. At its worst, it's hot and humid or unfailingly dry due to the Santa Ana winds. Heck we even get that very special kind of cold with heavy raindrops that makes freeway driving a nightmare. Because you have to be ready for anything this time of year, Zagat assembled this list of places, drinks and bites that can meet your needs no matter what the weather throws you.

  • For calories-be-damned cold weather fare: Nothing warms you from the inside out better than comfort food and R Gang Eatery serves it up in spades. Chicken dumplings, short rib pappardelle and meatloaf hash are just a few examples of chef/mastermind Rich Sweeney at work. 

    3683 5th Ave.; 619-677-2845

  • For swimsuit-appropriate eating: If the thought of putting on a swimsuit or any figure-revealing outfit makes you grimace, the meals at True Foods Kitchen will set your mind at ease. You can get a low-fat bison burger served with kale and not a French fry in sight.

    7007 Friars Rd.; 619-810-2929

  • For warming drinks: Bertrand at Mister A’s has a killer view from the roof of the Fifth Avenue Financial Center, but being so high can give you the shivers regardless of weather. Enter: the bar's smashing hot toddy made from warmed up Jameson Irish Whisky, Frangelico and orange honey syrup to convince you the cold weather isn't so bad afterall. 

    2550 5th Ave. #406; 619-239-1377

  • For cooling drinks: One word describes the ultimate tropical drink: margarita. Whether it’s blended or over ice, the only place to find the ultimate version is at Ponce’s Mexican Restaurant. The “De La Casa” uses 100% agave El Jimador Blanco tequila, triple sec and is served on the rocks. But if that doesn’t float your boat, Ponce’s has 13 other varieties on the menu that will do the trick.

    4050 Adams Ave., 619-282-4413

  • For a cabin-like experience: Why drive to the mountains for an alpine getaway when The Lodge at Torrey Pines is right here in San Diego? Resist venturing outside of this warm wood-paneled dining room and let the decor trick you into believing you're in a cabin far from the ocean. To complete the experience, order up a bowl of their Pacific seafood stew and linger by the fireplace.

    11480 N. Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla; 858-453-4420

  • For a trip to the beach: A scenic walk through Ocean Beach leads you to Shades Oceanfront Bistro. Located just steps from the sand and surf, their dog- and swimsuit-friendly patio is a prime spot for people-watching and catching some rays. Visit during the breakfast hours to enjoy the Bacon Bloody Mary.

    5083 Santa Monica Ave.; 619-222-0501