Saturday, July 31, 2010

Zanzibar in San Diego

A great recommendation from a friendly bartender led my boyfriend and I to check out this restaurant on our first night in San Diego. The place is wonderful. It has an eclectic menu. You can order slightly fancier/more substantive meals, like steak or lamb. You can order simpler meals, like fish and chips or fish tacos (my choice). Then, there is a solid list of sandwiches and burgers.

The execution of the food was good, but left a little to be desired. As I said, I got the fish tacos. The fish was cooked pretty well, and the toppings it came with are great. In particular, there was a hot pepper on the side that was very well done. I think it was pickled and roasted? It put my boyfriend's taste buds to the test! If there was a failing in the tacos, it was that it did not come with any pico de gallo or similar salsa. It did have some great guacamole, but I missed the freshness that salsa adds to a dish. My boyfriend got the pastrami rueben, since that is a combination of two of his favorite foods. The filing of the sandwich was fantastic, but the bread was too crunchy so that it scratched the top of your mouth.

One thing that Zanzibar did absolutely perfectly was its drink flights. Jeremy got the flight of beers. Although, to be honest, it's hard to mess up pouring 3 small glasses of beer. I got the flight of mimosas. They had about 6 or 7 flavors you could choose from. I chose the pomegranate, peach, and strawberry. Each one was more delicious than the last. I would definitely go back just for the champagne cocktails.

Outside of what we ordered for dinner, Zanzibar seems to have a lot going for it. The service was great. Our waitress had the unique quality of instantly making us feel like we were old friends. The decor is relaxed and warm, but not overdone. There is a market area attached to the restaurant, which serves up cheese, sweets, and pre-made foods. I was particularly interested in the sweets. There was an old-school lollipop stand. I haven't seen a stand like that outside of the local orchard near my parents house, and the stand was filled with lollipop flavors that I don't think I have ever seen. I didn't end up getting any of those lollipops on this trip, but I'm determined to make it back in the near future so that I can try more mimosa flavors and a lollipop.

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