For the local food enthusiasts, getting a seat on a Friday or Saturday night in the charming Garden Kitchen patio for 7 rustic and decadent courses is a flavorful experience. Here, owner and chef, Coral Strong shares what elements make her menus so unique and how she evolves with the seasons.

1. What makes your 7 course tasting menu unique? 

It’s true farm-to-table. Each course celebrates what is being locally grown—today. Because of this, you might not get to experience the same dish twice.

Dining at Garden Kitchen is a close-encounters event where you know the chef and owner is the only person sourcing and creating your food. Each course is expertly paired with a carefully selected wine and served with attention to detail. We offer a person-to-person experience and get to know you.

The GK Kitchen Sink is a seasonal cheese board with vegan and gluten-free options available.

2. What do you want your diners to enjoy most as they experience a 7-course dinner at Garden Kitchen?

The freshest produce San Diego has to offer in our welcoming and warm, one-of-a-kind al fresco ambiance.

3. How do you come up with your menus?

I call it a game of chess! Each Monday I receive all my fresh lists from a select number of San Diego's most incredible farms and the inspiration starts there. Then I start looking for the freshest meats and local seafood I can find.

4. What are the most memorable comments guests have made during these dinners?

Being compared to Chez Panisse several times—that is a HUGE compliment. I have been told over and over again "best meal of my life", and that still blows me away.

Garden Kitchen's wine lounge is open on Thursdays, featuring a selection of boutique regional and international wines.

5. Why do you want people to know about your local providers? What simple takeaways would you like them to have about local fishers, farmers, artisans, etc.?

I want people to know how incredibly important it is to support our local farms. Tomatoes (any produce) grown 5 miles away will always taste superior to those grown across the US and shipped to your neighborhood grocery store. 

Our farmers, fishermen, and purveyors work really hard building an unmatchable product they believe in and it’s important to support those beliefs. 

6. How do these dinners fit into the lives of your regular customers?

Some regular customers just love my food, so they frequent monthly to experience the seasonal changes. New guests tend to come for a special occasion, bringing two to eight or more guests along to maximize the entire experience. Most guests find us through word-of-mouth and visit for every special occasion.

Variations of jams and blended goat cheeses adorn Garden Kitchen's notorious tempura fig leaf according to what's in season.

7. When can we eat at Garden Kitchen? 

Our main dining experiences are the 7 course dinner menus offered Friday and Saturday evenings. Reservations are required. Sign up for our newsletter for updates.

We also offer dine-in and takeout on Thursdays 4–9pm.

Garden Kitchen

4204 Rolando Blvd.

San Diego, CA 92115

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