Known for its eclectic eats that range from exotic seafood to contemporary modern fare, San Diego has long been considered a culinary haven. The epitome of epicurean delights, the city’s diverse menu is comprised of cuisine from all around the world. The best way to explore San Diego’s diverse dining style is to join one of the many food tours happening throughout the year in America’s Finest City. Those of you who have yet to explore the city thoroughly will find great neighborhood eats at one of these culinary tours, and locals who want to venture out of the hubbub of daily life can find new eateries to frequent. Be sure you come prepared with an empty stomach—you don’t want to pass up on a culinary experience that will for sure surprise and delight your senses.
Taste of Downtown
The Taste of Downtown is a unique dining experience that allows participants to explore local cuisines of downtown San Diego restaurants. To get the full-on Taste of Downtown experience, participants are expected to walk the event’s 18-block/1.4 mile span. The event offers a selection of San Diego’s finest restaurants located in the historic Gaslamp Quarter, Financial District, Little Italy, the Ballpark District and Horton Plaza, which have included these participating restaurants in the past: Monsoon, Chianti, La Fiesta, Operacaffe, Royal India, and Shout House. Past Taste of Downtown events have taken place annually from August-September.
Taste of Hillcrest
On Saturday, April 16, 2011, from 12:00pm-4:00pm, experience a culinary treat at Taste of Hillcrest. A self-guided tour that encourages participants to spend the afternoon strolling through the neighborhood of Hillcrest while enjoying its charming storefronts and indulging on the world famous fare of its restaurants, come see Hillcrest as you’ve never seen it before. For an idea of participating dining destinations, here’s a list of a few restaurants you may enjoy at the event: Babycakes, Bombay, Taste of Thai, Celadon, Gossip Grill, and Urban Mo’s Bar and Grill. Proceeds will benefit the Hillcrest Business Association.
Taste of Little Italy
The Little Italy Association will be highlighting different Italian cuisines at its semi-annual Taste of Little Italy event on May 25, 2011, from 5pm-9pm. Take a stroll through the quaint streets of Little Italy and sample some of the most delightful selections the region has to offer. Taste of Little Italy will provide you with a range of dining possibilities from eats at restaurants like Anthology to Indigo Grill; you definitely won’t go hungry with the scrumptious samples that the restaurants at Little Italy will be offering you. Ticket prices will be available soon. Proceeds will go towards benefiting the Little Italy Association.
Taste of North Park
Take this a unique opportunity to visit North Park’s “Restaurant Row,” which runs through 30th Street from El Cajon Blvd to Upas Street. On Saturday, October 1, 2011, from 11am-4pm, North Park will be opening up its doors to participants of the Taste of North Park food tour. Local breweries, boutiques, and art galleries will also be offering participants locally-made microbrews and ales. Participating businesses will include Heaven Sent Desserts, Urban Solace, Claire de Lune, and Toronado. Tickets range from $30-35 to this appetizing event, and all proceeds will be going towards North Park Main Street, a non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement and innovations of the North Park neighborhood.
Taste of Shelter Island
The Taste of Shelter Island is an event that showcases an eclectic array of restaurants located in San Diego’s Island peninsula. Participating restaurants will be serving signature dishes to guests participating at the event. On April 19, 2011 from 6:00pm-9:00pm, participants can wine and dine at some of the most dedicated eateries located on Shelter Island while exploring the coastal town. Participating restaurants this year include La Playa Bistro and Blue Wave Bar & Grill. Filled with amazing vistas and views and good food and company, the event will be sure to tantalize the senses. Taste of Shelter Island is partially funded by the City of san Diego’s Small Business Enhancement Program,
Taste of Del Mar
The Del Mar Village Association with support from the City of Del Mar, is presenting an event at the quaint and charming village of Del Mar that will be sure to awaken all of your five senses. The city of Del Mar will be opening its doors to art lovers and food connoisseurs alike for their Taste of Del Mar event on Sunday, October 2, 2011, from 1:00pm-4:00pm. This annual event includes a free art stroll and a ticketed restaurant taste. Be sure you come prepared for an enjoyable time with delicious culinary creations, selections from California wineries and local breweries, live music and children’s interactive art area, and a pet stroll that will also be available.
La Jolla Wine and Walk Taste
On November, 2011, from 5:00pm-9:00pm, come experience a evening of breathtaking coastal views, fresh culinary treats, and fine wines at the 8th Annual La Jolla Gallery, Wine Walk & Taste. Participants will be given the exciting opportunity to explore the gorgeous art galleries that line the streets of La Jolla and taste the many delightful fares and savory wines that the coastal village has to offer. Examples of past restaurant participants include Azul La Jolla and Karl Strauss. Attendees must be 21 years or older and have a valid ID to enter the event. All proceeds will go towards benefiting La Jolla Business Improvement District.
Taste of La Mesa
The Taste of La Mesa is taking place on Monday, May 16, 2011, at the La Mesa Community Center located at 4975 Memorial Drive, La Mesa from 5:30pm 8:30pm. Since this event will be at one main venue, attendees will have the opportunity to sample many delicious selections from participating businesses and will be able to interact and create relationships with these businesses. Be sure to come and enjoy some great food and company! Past participating businesses include Anthony’s Fish Grotto and San Diego Desserts. Tickets are priced $30 in advance and $40 at the door.
College Area Taste
The First Annual College Area Taste will be happening on Sunday, April 17, 2011, from 11:00am-3:00pm. College Area is known for its culinary creations inspired from all around the world. These mini-tastings will take you on a journey to those places near and far from College Area. This self-guided tour of over 20 restaurants, scrumptious fare, and what is promised to be a pleasant stroll through the College Area will showcase the town’s culinary diversity. Participating restaurants include Terra and San Diego Desserts. Tickets are $20 pre-sale/$25 at the door. Proceeds will benefit the College Area Business District.
What's a better way to find good local eats than to participate in one of these mini-neighborhood tastings. You can come and sample delicious dishes while mingling with restaurateurs and their patrons. This is a great way for first-time visitors to explore the premiere dining hotspots in town and for locals to find new favorites. These events sell out fast so be sure you buy your tickets on time.
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