Last weekend I enjoyed a non-stop, fun weekend in San Diego, returned to work and had absolutely no time to write any blog posts 🙁 It always seems to be insanely busy these days. Why is that?
Anyway to the post, which a rainy Sunday morning in Boston gave me time to do. When travelling with friends, finding restaurants is usually my job, or at least I make it my job, so I am always looking for something with more of a local buzz rather than a tourist vibe. A restaurant, which caught my google eye was a place called Madison on Park in the University Heights neighborhood.
We arrived on Saturday night to a bustling little scene. The whitewashed exterior walls of the restaurant have windows which open wide into the street letting a warm breeze filter through the front bar covered part of Madison to the open air restaurant at the back. I was immediately taken with the scene of this restaurant. We checked in for our 8pm reservation and asked if we could be seated at the bar instead of main dining area, which just seemed a little quieter for what we were looking for on this vacation weekend. We picked well.
The bartenders were having a little dance off behind the bar when we sat down but immediately and genuinely smiled in our direction handing over the one-page drinks and dinner menus.
I am a bit of a fan of the unsung gems of Sicilian white wines but they can be a little hit and miss, so the fact that all of their wines were also offered by the glass meant we could have a little taste prior to ordering a bottle. It was perfect for what we were looking. A breezy, clean tasting summer white.
The dinner menu is simple with just 6-8 appetizers and entrées offering “Mediterranean and Southern California inspired cuisine.”
We started with a colorfully appealing plate of sweet heirloom tomatoes married with salty sopprasetto, fresh juicy watermelon and sprinkled creamy feta along with a bowl of grilled shishito peppers with lemon juice all of which were sweet and none too hot.
For my entrée I was torn between the sesame crusted pork chop, hailed as their signature dish and the new to the menu chicken shish kabob. In the end I decided on the kabobs of tender pieces of chicken, red onions, sweet cherry tomatoes and briny small olives on a bed of rice and paired with simple salad with balsamic dressing. A really good choice, especially for the wine pairing.
Lucky for me, my friend ordered the pork chop and I could definitely understand why it is one of their signature dishes. The sesame crust brings in a crunchy sweetness to the chop making it just that little bit more special.
Instead of dessert we treated ourselves to another glass of the fabulous Etna Bianco wine and enjoyed a fun chat with our bartenders.
Throughout our evening the bar and restaurant filled up and then emptied leaving late evening diners and drinkers to enjoy the company of friends and dates in a little more quiet. I honestly loved the laid-back, easy going and very friendly atmosphere of this restaurant. The food is simply good and we could not have asked for a better overall dining experience during our weekend away.
Madison Park is highly recommended for locals and visitors to San Diego.