Duck Dive in San Diego, CA.

By George Christopher Thomas, Food Critic

SAN DIEGO, CA — The term “Duck Dive” is from surfing, and it references when a surfer dives under the wave just before it breaks.  It is very commonly used to get out past the breaks once you have caught a wave in, and surfing ducks are extremely good at it.

In the food and restaurant business, the “Duck Dive” is a most delicious eatery on Pacific Beach down in San Diego.  A few weeks back my family and I ate at the “Duck Dive,” and everything was delicious.  I have many theories on this, but using duck fat in the kitchen is what I came up with, after all, anything fried in duck fat tastes better.

We started off with duck fat fries, and these thinly sliced potato treats are fried in duck fat, which automatically makes them more delicious than normal fries.  They come with roasted tomato aioli, garlic aioli, and Duck Dive Ketchup.  You can also request them to come topped with meatloaf and cream cheese sauce, which is awesome.  It had never occurred to me to top my fries with meatloaf and cream cheese sauce.

Since we were eating somewhere new, and trying different things, we went with some duck wings.  At first I thought this was a joke, and they would just be chicken wings cooked in duck fat.  Well, the server informed me that ducks have wings and can fly, and they are real duck wings.  Bring them out, and I hope they are glazed with Asian inspired hoisin-plum mahogany sauce.  And they were, double fried in duck fat with the most delicious plum sauce glaze.

Where has this dish been my whole life, this was the most delicious thing ever to eat.  They were bigger than chicken wings, and just absolutely amazing.  After the duck fries, and now these duck wings, what could be next?

How about some Brussels Sprouts.  If there was anywhere in the world that can make Brussels Sprouts taste good, it was the Duck Dive in San Diego.  This is every child’s dreaded vegetable, the thing your parents make you eat, a co-conspirator of the lima bean.  Many a child would rather cry, throw a fit, and be grounded than eat once single sprout from Brussels.

Well, the ones they serve in Pacific Beach are wonderful, and I could walk around with a pocket full of these, just nibbling on them now and then throughout the day.  They are called creamy bacon Brussels Sprouts on the menu, coming with applewood smoked bacon, a creamy parmesan cheese sauce, topped with poached eggs and drizzled with a balsamic reduction.  Totally delicious and I highly recommend them.

The restaurant is right there by the beach, and has a great feel and vibe.  There is plenty of seating to accommodate a large party, and my family had come down for the Chargers game, and we were traveling 10 deep.  The staff sat us in a huge booth, and everyone had a great dinner before game day.

For the main course, I had to get the duck dive burger.  Everywhere I go I must test out the cheeseburger, and over the course of 36 years of eating cheeseburgers all over the world, I have become an expert.  The burger was all natural certified Angus beef with pimento cheese, tomato relish and caramelized onions.  My wife ordered the blackened Mahi sandwich, with house made tartar sauce on a toasted ciabatta roll.

From what my brother and dad had, a pulled bbq chicken sandwich, and a Cubano sandwich, it looked like everything on the menu was just absolutely delicious.  It was a delight to dine at the Duck Dive in San Diego, and it is definitely going to be part of my restaurant rotation the next time I am in the Pacific Beach region.

We didn’t have room for desert, but we had some anyway.  If the whole table is sharing, it is not like you ordered a full desert on your own.  Never mind that we were all getting to-go boxes and couldn’t even finish our dinner, we duck dove right into the cheesecake donuts and ice cream.  I love a good fried banana cheesecake pastry, dusted in cinnamon sugar and served with vanilla ice cream.  A great dish to finish a wonderful evening, and I though more things need to be dusted in cinnamon sugar, in fact there are some people at my work that need a dusting.

The Duck Dive is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and has weekend specials including a bottomless mimosa.  Located on 4650 Mission Blvd, the Duck Dive is in the heart of Pacific Beach.  (For more information, please visit

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