San Diego is known for coastal foods using fish and then there’s the abundance of Mexican restaurants and taco shops.  Searching around, I found five international eateries cooking up eye appealing and stick to your rib’s foods.

A unique food find on Clairemont Mesa Blvd is  Perky’s, A Taste of South Africa. Graham Perkett from Durban, South Africa has been in the restaurant business for many years and well known in Southern California for his imported grocery items, handmade sausages, freshly baked savory pies and soon to come fish and chips.

He ships all over the US and its worth a stop to buy a hand pie for lunch and sausages for grilling. Graham loves to talk about his home country, and I learned so much while checking out all his products. I brought home hot savory pies for lunch and his homemade fudge.  The pies were meaty and had just the right amount of spices in a flaky crust.  Very delicious, I must say.

Graham poses for picture in his store

Owner Graham of Perky’s South African Foods and Catering

When you dine at Surf and Soul Spot you need to decide if your cravings are for seafood or soul food because the menu changes depending on the day. Shrimp and grits on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and soul food Friday and Saturday. The menus are posted on the website so read it before arriving or like me, have the nice employees explain the items for the day. I was able to briefly talk with Chef Sarajevo Petty between them cooking and being on the move to satisfy her hungry customers. The grits were very smooth and filling which satisfied the soul.

Shrimp and grits

Island Spice Jamaican Restaurant at College and University Ave, San Diego, serves Jamaican food bursting with lively flavors.  Susie the owner, started her restaurant about 20 years ago. When I was there a stream of customers ordered favorite meals and the phone wouldn’t stop ringing. Super popular are the oxtail plate, jerk chicken, and plantains. Susie has a good handle on her imported Jamaican spices, robust and not too hot. It might have been my first-time eating oxtail and they were flavorful with the accompanying rice medley and cabbage salad. You can also find a selection of Jamaican sodas and don’t miss the marinated bbq chicken.

Owner Susie stirring pot on stove

Susie stirs big pots of simmering foods

National City is on the move with the new food hall called Market on 8th   which is also its location.  Not an ordinary pop-up food hall, developer and local Joel Tubao put lots of thought and energy into inviting tenants representing the area. You’ll find Filipino, Indonesian, Japanese Ramen and more.  Wash it down with beers, coffee and kombucha. My Katsu curry chicken had me wanting more.  The mural outside and dining tables have significance to National City, and all of this has brought the community together to share a meal and visit.  Some local merchandise is for sale, so meander around and then pop over to Niederfrank’s Ice Cream next door for homemade ice cream.

Curry katsu with cabbage salad

Curry Katsu with cabbage salad

Eli’s Peruvian Kitchen serves traditional South American food, and the small restaurant is ready to please. Friendly owner and Chef Elizabeth Mostacero is from Peru and loves to prepare family dishes she knows best. She uses fresh halibut for ceviche and the meat dish, Lomo Saltado is grilled meat in a savory sauce served with rice in a pyramid shape. There are varieties of authentic drinks and try the Chicha Morada made in house with purple corn juice, pineapple and cinnamon.  The afternoon I dined, a woman near me said she was from Peru, and this was her favorite Peruvian restaurant in San Diego.  The menu is small but each item will bring you back again.

Grilled beef and rice

Grilled beef and rice pyramid

Perky’s  8280 Clairemont Mesa Blvd #117 San Diego, Ca 619.370.8085

Surf And Soul Spot 7229 El Cajon Blvd San Diego, Ca 92115 619.439.8801

Market on 8th 41 E 8th St, National City, Ca

Island Spice Jamaican Restaurant 6109 University Ave, San Diego, Ca 619.702.9309

Eli’s Peruvian Kitchen 4979 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, Ca 619.452.2852

After soaking in the sun at the beach or touring the zoo,  give one of these restaurants a try for a different San Diego dining experience.