New Developments in San Diego

For a wedding anniversary celebration we tried the Pier South Resort, a new high-end Marriott property with 78 all-suite rooms facing the ocean located on San Diego’s Imperial Beach. (We’d never heard of Imperial Beach before … It’s south of Coronado, about 2 miles from the Mexico border.)

Other than the famous Hotel Del Coronado, Pier South is San Diego’s only beach hotel located on the sand. Their summer prices are a little crazy, but the February mid-week rate seemed reasonable.
South Resort
The views are excellent and the rooms are really nice. The popular happy hour on their beachfront patio is worth a special trip even if you don’t stay there, with great low-priced appetizers and all drinks and wine half price.
Rooftop view from Pier South Resort
The Tijuana River Estuary, just south of the hotel in Imperial Beach, is an important California coastal wetland with many birds and nice walking trails.
Tijuana River Estuary
Liberty Station is another important new project – a recently completed redevelopment of the large former Naval Training Center located on San Diego Bay at the western edge of San Diego Airport. It includes a retail/commercial area with great restaurants and a large promenade in which beautiful historic buildings house numerous non-profit activities that are mostly oriented toward the arts. For example, in one of the buildings we enjoyed an excellent exhibit of works by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
Liberty Station promenade
Critics and diners rated Bencotto Italian Kitchen in the Little Italy neighborhood San Diego’s “Best Italian” restaurant for the last three years. Their sister restaurant Monello next door focuses on Italian street food, where we greatly enjoyed this unusual squid-ink spaghetti dish with spicy lobster bisque and octopus sauce. The picture also shows their excellent swiss chard with garlic and lots of cheese.
Squid-ink spaghetti with octopus sauce
Finally, we loved the happy hour food at Bankers Hill Restaurant, just west of Balboa Park. And we couldn’t resist trying their most popular dessert: Chocolate Coconut Pecan Tart served with kettle corn and espresso gelato on coconut cookie crumbs.
Chocolate Coconut Pecan tart at Bankers Hill Restaurant