Duck dive: term commonly associated with surfing; to dive head first under the water while swimming.
Growing up in San Diego, you’d think I’ve performed my fare share of duck dives in my lifetime. But on the contrary, the only duck dive I’ve had any association with is a new gastropub in the heart of Pacific Beach serving up flavorful cuisine in an atmosphere as laid back as the activity from which its name is derived.
Located on Mission Boulevard, just a block from the sand, The Duck Dive is the perfect sidewalk stop to catch the game with a brew and your boys or as your friends’ newest gathering place for cocktails, shared plates and lively conversation. And though relatively new on the restaurant and bar scene, The Duck Dive has already earned the patronage of many a coastal co-ed as one step inside reveals an atmosphere buzzing with vivacity and excitement. It’s the kind of place that could fast become your neighborhood haunt; like “Cheers” for the 20-something and 30-something So-Cal crowd.
And perhaps only second to the comfortable environment are the restaurant’s delicious food offerings. A gastropub at its core, The Duck Dive has redefined traditional “bar fare” with a diverse menu that combines the unfussiness of contemporary California cuisine with an air of refinement. Their Ahi Poke appetizer (yellow fin tuna, olive, jalapeno, avocado and chili sauce, with crispy won-ton chips) and signature Duck Fat Fries, which are fried not once but twice in duck fat providing a crunch and flavor depth not normally found in the humble French fry, are only two of the many examples of how Chefs Juvencio Garcia and Ryan Tuskan are rewriting the rules for pub cuisine.
But probably my favorite aspect of this neighborhood noshery’s menu is their tribute to the kid in all of us–their Tableside S’mores. Perfect for a party of two or four, upon order a self-contained s’mores assembly station arrives at your table, complete with a baby sterno-fueled cast-iron stove, skewers and all of the fixings. The result is one part ingenious, one part nostalgic, and all parts delectable.
If it’s your thirst that needs quenching, The Duck Dive’s drink menu is just as unique, offering cocktails with playful names like “The Trophy Wife” with fresh strawberry and champagne and “The Jeffrey Lebowski,” a twist on a white Russian in honor of the famous character of the cult classic The Big Lebowski. Happy Hour is served Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and starting at 4 p.m. every Wednesday, The Duck Dive holds their weekly “Wine Down Wednesdays” where a selection of popular wines from around the globe are offered at half price.
So throw away all of your preconceived ideas of this being just another gastropub along the Pacific Beach strand. With a lively atmosphere, hand-crafted cocktails, and scrumptious food, The Duck Dive is waves above the competition.
The Duck Dive
4650 Mission Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92109
Ph. 858-273-DUCK (3825)
7 days a week 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.