Quaint and neighborly are words that come to mind for Kensington, a vibrant community northeast of downtown San Diego. While this pocket of the city is mostly known to locals, visitors will find some serious eats, drinks and other charms in the historic neighborhood.
Ponce’s Mexican Restaurant
4050 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
The Meza family, the owners of this neighborhood-y Mexican spot, are conscious of trying to create an atmosphere at once welcoming to foodies, families, and the community. Offering a place where tequila lovers can educate their palate is as important as providing a venue for a Girl Scout fundraiser. Come here to take the pulse of this emerging neighborhood, and knock back a margarita, sirloin steak, or camarones a la diabla, from the folks who make it what it is.
Clem's Tap House
4108 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
Grab some takeout food in the neighborhood and take flight to Clem’s Tap House. This tasting room-style bar specializes in beer flights which you can pair with the food of your choosing—they encourage bringing outside food, whether from their adjacent deli or any of the other delicious neighborhood eateries.
Mission Brewing Kensington
4067 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
Tapping into a historic name in San Diego beer-making, Mission Brewing (in its modern incarnation) has been crafting local brews since 2007 — and now has branched out to Kensington, taking over the former Kensington Brewing Co. space. Mission's Kensington tasting room boasts a full two dozen taps dispensing fresh craft beers, and the place also serves up wine, coffee and kombucha. Plus, the digs are dog-friendly, and families will love the indoor and outdoor seating options.
4202 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
From gelato to coffee to paninis to pizza, Pappalecco — which bills itself as “the most authentic Italian café experience outside of Italy” — has plenty of your culinary needs covered. With roots in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood, Pappalecco is now a Kensington favorite as well, serving up such specialties as Napoli and Milano pizzas and a wide choice of gelatos and espresso drinks; wine and beer are on the menu, too.
4183 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
Kensington is not an area defined by hustle and bustle. Still, you may want to bliss out with massages, acupuncture, or skin care at this boutique spa. A collective of numerous specialists, Zen Sanctuary offers a wide array of services based on the expertise of its aestheticians, acupuncturists, and masseuses. Massages are $50 for 30 minutes.
Stehly Farms Market
4142 Adams Ave #101, San Diego, CA 92116
Stehly Farms Organics, a 300-acre North County avocado and citrus farm, opened this market to sell its produce and other locally grown foods. Alongside vibrant produce—much of which is organic—you’ll find a fresh juice bar and natural grocery store prefect for collecting a great picnic for nearby Balboa Park.
4090 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
Accessibility is the name of the game at this French bistro, although its seasonal menu is stocked with classics that can at times be intimidating: escargots, duck leg confit, and steak tartare. Can’t decide which to try? Go for the nightly prix fixe menu with an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert. Each week diners will find new dishes based on local availability.
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