Food and Drink Blotter: January 2017

Posted: January 6th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Food & Drink Blotter | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

Coronado-based Blue Bridge Hospitality, which operates Liberty Public Market in Point Loma, has reconfigured its anchor Mess Hall Restaurant to accommodate three new concepts: the fast-casual food and drink area called Mess Hall Bar, the Grape Smuggler Bar featuring wine and tapas, and Pi Bar, which specializes in rectangular Roman-style pizzas. The market, which opened in March, is currently home to 30 vendors. 2820 Historic Decatur

Saltbox Dining & Drinking in Hotel Palomar is currently in transition to become Curadero, which its promoters are describing before it opens in a couple months as “a celebration of soulful Mexican street food in a vibrant, modern interior.” The concept will incorporate braised and roasted meats, ceviches, a taco window, Mexican craft beers, Baja wines, and specialty cocktails. During the renovation, guests can take advantage of the hotel’s rooftop deck for drinks and munchies. 1047 Fifth Ave., 619-515-3000,

An iconic seafood restaurant to close its doors (Courtesy Anthony’s Fish Grotto)

The longstanding Anthony’s Fish Grotto perched along the Embarcadero will officially shutter Jan. 31. The establishment, which opened as a 16-seat diner at Downtown’s Old Ferry Landing in 1946, moved to its current location in 1965. But in a Port of San Diego bidding process for redevelopment, it lost its lease to The Brigantine Inc., which will reportedly modernize the space with a fresh restaurant concept.

In commemoration of Anthony’s final month on the waterfront, the restaurant plans on conducting free raffles for dinners at its La Mesa location (9530 Murray Drive) and may also offer throwback prices on signature dishes, such as the revered clam chowder. 1360 N. Harbor Drive, 619-232-5103,

Seared ahi at 57 Degrees (Photo by Russ Kindom)

Locals and their friends or family members arriving into town via San Diego International Airport are entitled to a glass of beer or wine at half off the regular price at 57 Degrees if they show their boarding passes at the bar. Located in Middletown, the spacious establishment also recently introduced several new fall-winter dishes by New Orleans native, Esteff DeFelice. They include fried green tomatoes, sesame-crusted seared ahi, PEI mussels, and house-made chocolate mousse. 1735 Hancock St., 619-234-5757,

Southern Italian food cooked by Michelin-rated chefs visiting from Southern Italy will take center stage in two dinners scheduled for 5:30 and 7:45 p.m., Jan. 18, at Civico 1845 in Little Italy.

(l to r) Award-winning restaurateurs Luca and Antonio Abbruzzino arrive this month from Italy to cook two public dinners (Courtesy Civico 1845)

The multi-course meals each include an appetizer, two pasta dishes, two entrees and two desserts for a price that has yet to be determined. In conjunction with Civico’s chefs, the dinners will be cooked by visiting chefs Antonio Abbruzzino and his son, Luca, both of whom have received Michelin stars each year since 2014 for restaurants they operate in Italy. Reservations are required. 1845 India St., 619-431-5990,

After serving as a go-to spot for Mandarin and Szechwan cuisine for nearly 30 years in Horton Plaza, the Panda Inn is closing its doors on Jan. 31. A company rep from the original Pasadena location, established in 1973, told San Diego Downtown News that consumer traffic at the restaurant “and the plaza in general” has dropped significantly because of the plaza’s restructured parking fees. 506 Horton Plaza, 619-233-7800,

—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at

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