Ultimate Guide to Eating at Liberty Public Market

By Darlene Horn  |  May 3, 2016
Credit: Darlene Horn

There's a problem with Liberty Public Market — Point Loma’s newest foodie destination in San Diego with 20-plus vendors — although it's a good one to have. There are too many choices and not enough time or stomach space to try everything. And if you want to know which place has the quickest service, which vendor has the best deals or where to shop? Never fear. We scoured the entire 22,000-square-foot space while braving hoards of hungry souls to answer all these questions and more.

  • Credit: Darlene Horn

    Best Bang for Your Buck

    Head straight to Parana Empanadas for hot-from-the-oven, authentic Argentinian meat pies at easy-on-the-wallet prices. Empanadas start at $2.60 for one; however, the best deal is your choice of any three for $7.50. Empanada fillings combine cheese with eggplant, spinach, mushroom, bean, corn and/or roasted chilies. You can't go wrong with the standout five-cheese pie either. Don’t leave the counter without filling up on small containers of chimichurri, creamy celery sauce, chipotle chimichurri or spicy roasted tomatoes.

  • Credit: Darlene Horn

    What to Snack On

    There’s a lot to see and eat at the new market, and you shouldn't rush into a decision because your stomach is growling. Quell that hunger with a meat and cheese cone ($4) from Venissimo Cheese. Your choice also comes with a few nuts and olives to keep the hunger at bay, and it's prepackaged and ready to go.

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    When You Need a Cup of Joe

    Surprise, surprise! Liberty Public Market not only houses some of the best food in town, but it also features one of our favorite coffee roasters. Visit WestBean’s friendly counter for pour-overs, French Press and cold brews like the refreshing Kryptonite ($4.25; pictured) with mint infusion. This location (the other is Downtown) has long operating hours, serving coffee from 6:30 AM until the market closes at 7 PM.

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    Sweet Tooth Central

    Liberty Market has you covered when the sugar craving hits — try either Crafted or Scooped. Conveniently located next to each other in the middle of the market, the adjacent counters ooze sugar, spice and everything nice. Crafted specializes in cakes like the towering Birthday Cake Extravaganza (pictured) along with cookies and other pastries, while Scooped by Coronado’s Mootime Creamery offers a selection of gourmet ice cream and ice cream sandwiches. Also don’t miss Le Parfait Paris near the west entrance, to indulge in majestic French pastries and macarons.

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    Sandwiches Galore

    Sandwiches representing different styles, regions and tastes abound at the market. Those looking for seafood should visit Wicked Maine Lobster for classic lobster rolls using ingredients imported directly from Maine almost daily, with cost adjusted to reflect the market. For a taste or New Orleans, there's Cane Patch Kitchen, which serves made-to-order po’ boys filled with your choice of chicken, hot links, tilapia, catfish (pictured), shrimp, oysters and even gator. A fully-loaded sandwich comes piled high with lettuce, tomato, pickles and sauce and ranges from $8.99–$12.99. Don’t bypass Liberty Meat Shop’s counter for quick sandwiches for $10, like pulled pork or beef served on a soft French roll. Or visit Venissimo Cheese for your choice of signature sandwiches ($8) served hot or cold, like the Gouda Idea with sweet gouda cheese and spicy sopressata.

  • Credit: Darlene Horn

    Sausage and Burger Fix

    In an effort to keep the sandwich list tight, we think that sausages and burgers deserve their own category. And there are two prime choices that fill the niche at Liberty Public Market. Mastiff Sausage solidly plants its first brick-and-mortar, an offshoot of its food truck business. Unlike the mobile unit, you’ll be able to choose from a long list of offerings like bratwurst, bockwurst, shrimp chorizo and chicken coconut curry. Sausages come served on a bun, as a protein bowl (both $9) or as part of a sausage sampler ($15; pictured). And don’t miss the Mastiff fries ($7) — potatoes sliced into coins and topped with harrisa aioli, cotija and cilantro. As for burgers, Stuffed! cooks up grass-fed patties starting at $8 with cheese packed into the patty for a hearty bite with an option to add fries, onion straws or tater tots ($4 each) on the side.

  • Credit: Darlene Horn

    Healthy Options

    Eating at the market doesn’t just mean burgers and fries, although the options are worth the calories. Visit Local Greens near the middle of the market for salads, wraps and bowls using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. The Omega Rising ($13.95; pictured) mixes wild arugula, chopped cabbage with grilled salmon, edamame, tomatoes, cucumbers, toasted sesame seeds and avocado into a power-packed bowl that’s also gluten-free. And the juicing trend makes its way to the market in the form of Fully Loaded Juice, a counter near the back of the space that sells prepackaged bottles of cold-pressed juices.

  • Credit: Darlene Horn

    When You're in a Hurry

    The popularity of the market is leading to long lines at many of the vendors. So if you’re looking for a quick bite, visit FishBone for fresh, prepackaged sushi ($13) straight from the cold case. We can’t stress how fast Liberty Meat Shop fulfills the order for its pulled pork or BBQ beef sandwiches for $10. Pasta Design Company features a premade mac ‘n’ cheese ($6) that’s ready to go when you reach the cashier.

  • Credit: Darlene Horn

    What to Buy to Cook at Home

    Don’t leave the market without picking up a few things to fill your refrigerator at home. Pasta Design makes it easy to recreate an Italian dining experience from scratch with fresh pastas like ravioli, fettuccine, ziti and fusilli and six different sauces that you can reheat and serve in your own kitchen. As for protein, FishBone offers a choice of seafood that the fishmonger can cut into a filet according to your preferences. Just in time for BBQ season, there’s also something for the grill with marinated meats at Liberty Meat Shop and a dizzying array of links at Mastiff Sausage.