Taste of Downtown San Diego

Downtown.  This neighborhood has the highest concentration of places to eat at various price points in town.  I was excited when Mcfarlane Promotions invited us to their Taste of Downtown event.  I was prepared to power walk through downtown.  Restaurants were mostly clustered around the Gaslamp District but some were quite a few blocks out of the way.  I was pleasantly surprised there was a free shuttle.  It was awesome riding in style through downtown.  There were 40 stops but I just made it to these.

This is where the adventure begins.
Tables outside Florent is where you get your official ticket for Taste of Downtown.


Florent had tender delicious beef.  Looked like it was perfect for adding to a beef stew dish.
Whiskey Girl had Thai wings which were tender and juicy with a little spicy kick.  Meatballs had a nice beefy flavor.
Casablanca Lounge had fried zucchini sticks.  Nice crunchy batter sized like big french fries.  I prefer big zucchini spears where you get more zucchini flavor and less of the batter.
10 Barrel Brewing had pork belly.  Delicious crunchy pork goodness.  Samples were the size of jelly beans.  Wish I could have gotten seconds of this dish.
Knotty Barrel had cornflake breaded chicken strips.  Crunchy and nice flavor.  Wish these were available back in the day when I was eating chicken nuggets 10 at a time at McDonalds.
East Village Tavern and Bowl had bbq meatballs.  Good beefy flavor with sweet and tangy sauce.
Rustic Root had braised venison which was really tender and juicy.  Blend of gamey and salty flavors very strong.
Jolt N Joe’s had cajun chicken fingers.  Crunchy batter and nice slightly spicy flavor.
Burger Lounge had beef sliders.  Nice char on the beef and delicious beefy flavor.
Havana 1920 had shredded braised beef which had a nice beefy flavor.
The Field had Guinness beef stew.  Loved the flavors from the beef and veggies.  This dish was my fav of the evening.  Great singer playing guitar.  Wish I had time to listen more.
Le Parfait Paris had macarons.  I chose the mango passionfruit one.  Nice mixture of tart and sweet flavors.  My fav dessert of the evening.
This event had a good variety of samples from a lot of restaurants.  We did a ton of walking and were exhausted at the end.
Maggie pointed out the lovely sunset.


Drove by the apartment I lived the first 5 years of my life.


We only took the shuttle once as there was a 20 minute wait for it unless you got lucky.  It would have been awesome if there were 2 shuttles.
Above portion written by Soo
Handy map.
Restaurant offerings.
Lovely people.
Asti Ristorante offerings.


Taste of Downtown San Diego

Checking in at Florent we found out they offer shuttle service specially for this event provided by the orange trolley car. Such a welcome addition because this meant we could visit more participating restaurants. After all there was a whopping 40 restaurants this year!

A convenient map was provided depicting the shuttle route, restaurant locations and what each dish offered would be. That way you could strategically plan which places to go and in what order.


Riding the trolley we admired the setting sun showing itself between the buildings.

Asti Ristorante offered two types of pasta with a mixed salad. You could pick just one or all three, I picked all three. My favorite was the pasta with the green sauce. Lovely mixture of Italian spices. The hostess was super congenial with everyone and the server was very gracious.


Pizza from Coyote Ugly.


Coyote Ugly Saloon offered four types of pizza with generous portions! You could pick all four but I was afraid if I did I’d be too full for everything else, so I picked two kinds. The crust was super fluffy with just a touch of sweetness, add the sauce cheese and toppings and pow you’ve got yourself a very distinctive, flawless pizza. Wish I could have had more!

Casablanca Lounge offered zucchini stick which was pretty good. My preference is for a thicker cut, this one was thinner. The ambiance inside is interesting complete with tobacco hooka pipes at a few tables.

10 Barrel Brewing cucumber water.


10 Barrel Brewing offered Korean barbecue pork belly with watermelon, grapes, Serrano, arugula, lime, Thai basil with soy vinaigrette all offered in a small sample cup that sure packed a punch on the flavor scale, leaving you wanting a huge plate of it! Cucumber water was a welcome addition.


Knotty Barrel offered cornflake breaded chicken strips with either ranch or buffalo sauce. The breading was very crispy, spices super delectable paired with homemade ranch sauce. Definitely would come back here again.


Lotus Thai offerings.


Lotus Thai offered two well paired dishes, a tomato pasta dish and tofu lettuce wraps with mint, chili and lime juice. The ambiance and decor inside is impeccable, impressive and relaxing all at the same time.


Social Tap offering.

Social Tap offered seared Ahi with several sauces on top, very interesting, spicy combination. Plenty of comfortable seating outside.


The Blind Burro offering.


The Blind Burro offered a small chicken Tinga tostada with chipotle chicken and queso Fresca. These would make the ideal appetizer or just have a whole plate for dinner.


Rockin Baja Lobster offering.


Rockin’ Baja Lobster offered ceviche with chips and an avocado sauce on top. Super fresh, flavorful makes a marvelous appetizer. Wish I could have taken some home!


Nason’s Beer Hall offering.


Nason’s Beer Hall offered a small pretzel with salami and mustard sauce inside with a raisin on top. These little beauties were just glorious. Loved the collaborative games offered; large size checkers, large size jenga and bean bag toss.

Burger lounge offered their beef burger complete with sauce, cheese and pickles. Grass fed beef really does taste better and this burger was fabulous.

Last stop was Le Parfait Paris, their offering was your flavor choice of macaron, I chose lemon. Phenomenal flavor and texture. Exceptional presentation with all their creations showcased.
Above portion written by Maggie


Taste of Downtown
672 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92101


8 Replies to “Taste of Downtown San Diego”

  1. I went to this tasting some years ago and had a fun time. Friend had a full on 7 mo food baby in his tummy by the time we finished. We also only managed to visit well less than what we could have. Too bad some of the restaurants are far away and need the shuttle.

    1. If we started at 5pm we might have made it to the places we wanted. We didn’t start eating till 6pm cause the traffic was terrible then I had to park.

      Friend did a good job!

    2. Taking the shuttle was part of the fun! Plus it enables you to visit more restaurants.?

  2. Wow! So many amazing foods to chooses from! Great photos!

    1. Thanks! It was fun eating all that food!

    2. Yes all the restaurants outdid themselves! ?

  3. Missed this cuz I checked out Diner En Blanc that evening plus my mom was in town. So. Much. Food. I can only handle a few eating events these days haha. Did you see our Burgers And Beer or Tacotopia posts? We will be at Taste of North Park soon!

  4. Lucky! Diner En Blanc was cool! The Burgers and Beer and Tacotopia look awesome if you have VIP tickets. Have fun at Taste of North Park! We are going to a big Yelp event at the Air + Space Museum in a few weeks.

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