Quaint and neighborhood-y are words that come to mind for Kensington, a vibrant neighborhood north east of downtown San Diego. Located in a pocket of the city that predominately serves locals, visitors will find there are some serious eats, drinks, and other charms hidden here.
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.
Kensington Brewing Company
4067 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
This family-friendly brewery has more than beer on its menu, including non-alcoholic drinks for little ones. In keeping with the neighborhood vibe, they’ve partnered with neighboring Italian restaurant Cucina Sorella to supply a small but mouth-watering bar menu of Sicilian meatballs, spicy sausage hot dogs, and parmesan mac-and-cheese.
4055 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
The little sister to the popular Cucina Urbana restaurant, Cucina Sorella is a funky Italian restaurant featuring a bohemian-chic design with pops of color and floral prints. The kitchen is helmed by executive chef de cuisine Daniel Wolinsky, formerly from Italy’s three-star Michelin restaurant Oteria Francescana. The menu specializes in hand-crafted pastas, antipasti, and polenta boards, offering small and large plates. The beverage program includes an extensive list of Italian and regional wines, seasonal cocktails and craft beer on tap.
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.
4061 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
Known by locals as “The Ken,” this small theater has pleasantly old-school vibes in abundance, beginning with the classic-looking marquee outside. Moviegoers take in an ever-changing list of foreign and indie films—not to mention a small-town ambience—not found at modern mega-theaters.
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.
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.
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