Whenever I travel to San Diego for the weekend, I usually stay in Tierrasanta, a suburb off of the 15 Freeway in San Diego just minutes from Qualcomm Stadium and dubbed as “Island in the Sun”. My brother and his family live in this quiet community and there are a number of neighborhood eateries that cater to its many residents. One such restaurant offers classic, homestyle Hawaiian cooking and Island Style Cafe, a little gem located right off of the 52 Freeway on Santo Road, can whisk you away to the islands and make you forget that you’re in suburban San Diego.
When you pull into this neighborhood strip mall, it’s easy to miss if you don’t know what to look for. Just look for the market on the south side of the mall. Its signage is small, modest and hard to read, even from the street. When you walk through the door, its layout is equally modest, yet clean and casual. The staff is friendly and I was surprised at their extensive menu. Island Style Cafe offers breakfast which includes crepe specials and omelettes; lunch plate specials, salads, burgers and a ton of side dishes. There is also a special menu for customers 55 years and older (Kapuna Menu) and a Keiki Menu for the younger set 12 and under. Kona Blend Coffee is also on the menu.
Hubby and I were there for lunch and we didn’t have a whole lot of time. Fortunately, it wasn’t too crowded and we were able to get seated immediately. I decided to go for the Korean Chicken, crispy boneless thighs marinated in their special island style BBQ sauce and then grilled. I had my choice of either rice or potatoes AND macaroni salad or tossed salad. I went with the rice but asked for fried rice instead and the macaroni salad. The chicken was flavorful and tender. I love Hawaiian-style macaroni salad and it was really good. The fried rice rounded out the dish and it was perfect with the chicken.
Hubby decided to order the Kaloko Moco and boy was it huge! It was a very large scoop of fried rice on a crepe with ham and onions, topped with a hamburger patty and two eggs over easy and then doused with brown gravy. When the dish came out, it looked like a big mushroom. And it was really good! I love how the flavors all blended together nicely in this interpretation of a Hawaiian classic.
I’m definitely coming back to eat my way through their menu. I’m looking forward to trying their crepes on my next visit! Mahalo!
ISLAND STYLE CAFE
5950 Santo Road
San Diego, CA 92124