Michael A. Gardiner

Michael Gardiner is a food writer and licensed California attorney living in San Diego. In addition to San Diego CityBeat he is the monthly food columnist for L’Chaim San Diego Magazine and the primary writer for the San Diego Food & Travel Blog,


Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

Al pastor, fish tacos and the best street cart on the rock are all the reasons we need to visit Ensenada more

Jan 17, 2018 3:03 PM Staycation Issue


Michael A. Gardiner

The show—the entire dish being prepared tableside with attention and care on a gorgeous, elaborate service cart—is an essential part of the experience. At the end of the day, it’s the salad itself that is its own payoff. more

Jan 15, 2018 2:11 PM The World Fare


Photo by Michael Gardiner

Terzoli makes no bones about the fact he’s not the guy behind Fishmonger’s stove on a day-to-day basis. That’s a younger man’s game. more

Jan 8, 2018 11:15 AM The World Fare


Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

Red Cate (3860 Convoy St.), the Convoy’s newest hot pot destination, provides “warming” services in more ways than one. more

Jan 2, 2018 11:05 AM The World Fare

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Photo by Michael Gardiner

The Hotel Del Coronado has had “high end” restaurants as long as anyone can remember, and for years the biggest name has been 1500 Ocean (1500 Ocean Ave., Coronado). more

Dec 26, 2017 11:51 AM The World Fare

Last year in this space we wrote “2017 surely has to be better, right?” Well, eh, so much for that sentiment. But hey, 2018 surely has to be better, right? Right? more

Dec 20, 2017 12:16 PM , , , Features


Photo by Michael Gardiner

What separates DJK from the rest of San Diego’s Korean pack is the act of cooking over those real coals. more

Dec 18, 2017 10:39 AM The World Fare

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Photo by Michael Gardiner

However, if pork fat rules, then Filipino lechon is the king of kings and Porky’s Lechon (1430 East Plaza Blvd., Suite E12) in National City may be its palace. more

Dec 11, 2017 11:16 AM The World Fare


Photo by Michael Gardiner

Foodie or not, it’s easy to relate to the disappointing experience of an “inauthentic” meal. I, for one, can’t get over the idea anyone thinks Taco Bell offers “Mexican” food. more

Dec 4, 2017 12:15 PM The World Fare


Photo by Michael Gardiner

Roma’s pies are comfortably of the 619er-style, thick and chewy but without the oil slick and cheese bomb of Filippi’s more

Nov 27, 2017 11:01 AM The World Fare


Photo by Michael Gardiner

I’d rather debate the merits of the term “authentic,” because Chinese-American food can be wonderful entirely on its own terms. Golden Chopsticks (1430 East Plaza Blvd., National City) is proof of that. more

Nov 20, 2017 11:00 AM The World Fare 1 Comments


Photo by Michael Gardiner

The showstopper, however, is a new dish in Ponsaty’s arsenal: a veal sweetbread sphere wrapped in a mousseline. more

Nov 13, 2017 11:50 AM The World Fare


Photo by Michael Gardiner

A-Chau (4644 El Cajon Blvd., Suite 111) in Little Saigon proves there definitely is such a thing as good, cheap Vietnamese fare. more

Nov 6, 2017 11:48 AM The World Fare


Photo by Michael Gardiner

Fung Fung Yuen’s owner, Simon Lee (formerly of Sushiya) took over a former Hometown Buffet site, the defining feature of which is its size. more

Oct 30, 2017 11:41 AM The World Fare

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Photo by Michael Gardiner

PL’s bagels are of the New York style. My cinnamon-raisin bagel, like the ones I’d get in Grand Central Station, were toasted and slathered in butter. more

Oct 24, 2017 10:43 AM The World Fare 1 Comments


Photos by Michael Gardiner

As a lifelong local, there are certainly more than 15 reasons why I choose to live here. We’re the biggest small city in the country, or maybe the smallest big one, and there’s none with a better combination of beach, biking, food and culture. more

Oct 17, 2017 12:40 PM Best of San Diego


Photo by Michael Gardiner

I am instantly suspicious when a new restaurant opens to massive hype and is declared “the best” of its kind. more

Oct 16, 2017 10:05 AM The World Fare


Photo by Michael Gardiner

One leitmotif at the Modern is the fact the protein may be at the center of the dish, but it’s the vegetables that are the stars. more

Oct 9, 2017 11:05 AM The World Fare


Photo by Michael Gardiner

Two of Bunz’s chef-driven burgers—often not my favorites—do sing. And they do so just when it seems they won’t. The Cowboy features smoked bacon, fried onion rings, BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, roasted pickled jalapeño, creamy coleslaw, lettuce. more

Oct 2, 2017 1:30 PM The World Fare


Photo by Michael Gardiner

As Daddy’s Hot Dogs (1281 University Avenue) in Hillcrest proves, truly great hot dogs can be excellent things. more

Sep 25, 2017 11:00 AM The World Fare 1 Comments

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