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Gary Barlettano

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Berta's Latin American Restaurant in San Diego

by Gary Barlettano » Fri Aug 25, 2006 5:52 pm

We escaped National City and my boss and I headed for Old Town San Diego for the second time in as many days. I couldn't convince him to go to La Jolla. Good thing, though, because ultimately we found a really nice place to eat! We arrived in Old Town, squatted in the public lot for a parking space, and then wandered aimlessly amidst the many trinket shoppes and Mexican restaurants which populate the place. Neither of us was in the mood for another dose of same-old-same-old refried beans, rice, and mystery meat so we went off the beaten path and headed down Twiggs Street. At the end of the block was this really gaudy lobster place, a bar of sorts and Berta's Latin American Restaurant. Berta's looked like one of those little hole-in-the-wall hideaways with promise, so over I went to check it out. Lo and behold, there was nothing specifically Mexican on the menu; rather, it was a collection of interesting Latin American dishes, most of which were unknown to me.

Well, we ordered some Spanish olives, empanadas de queso, and Colombian tostones for starters. Really quite excellent. My boss ordered the Spanish paella as his entree which he said was every bit as good, if not better than his grandfather's which was also his benchmark paella. (His grandfather came from Latin America and was a chef.) I had the Chilean pastel de choclo and it, too, was delicious. And, of course, we had a tasty flan for desert. And, as a bonus, after all that I still felt light as a feather.

The wine list reflected Latin America as well with the usual suspects, e.g. Montes Alpha and Santa Ema to name a couple.

Whether or not you wish to wander Old Town San Diego, this place is worth a trip in itself.

By the way, I love Mexican food ... just not last night. :)

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