DOWNTOWN/LITTLE ITALY. General rule: a “pub” is the same thing as a “public house.” Exception to the rule: Queenstown Public House, which pairs its drinks with thoughtful dishes in a historic building restored with cutting edge design. Months ago, I discovered Queenstown while strolling through Little Italy. It was not yet open, but the exterior was stunning, the interior intriguing, and the owner slipped a menu into my hand.
Queenstown has since opened for business, so I drove back downtown to follow up on a great first impression. I started with a side of Fresh Corn Medley. The dish – white corn, red and green bell pepper, and yellow onion – exceeded my expectations. The corn had a vibrant color and sweet crunch. Does anything scream summer like fresh corn that is in season? So far, we are off to an excellent start.
My friend ordered the Quinoa Salad, which provides a mix of red and black quinoa over a base of bright, green spinach. The “salad” is further infused with white wine and garlic, faro, chopped carrots, celery, pear, sunflower seeds, parsley, asparagus, and feta. And if you order the salad without the feta, it becomes vegan!
Note: My photo shows the salad with feta cheese. But because my friend was eager and kind enough to eat all the feta, I was able to try – and love – the salad. The dressing is light and allows the quinoa and various nuts and seeds to take center stage and deliver a substantial salad.
Next, I tried the TJ Burger, which features a house-made black bean patty that is normally served with fresh jalapeno, corn, cilantro, hot sauce, and crumbled blue cheese on a toasted focaccia bun. However, Queenstown confirmed that the burger is vegan if ordered without the blue cheese.
This black bean burger is substantial in size and delivers a tantalizing combination of sweet and spicy flavors. Hungry vegans rejoice! Although the competition should be chronicled in a separate blog post, Queenstown just might have my new favorite vegan burger.
Located in a historic Victorian house — the former office for California Assembly members — Queenstown Public House offers its patrons a special ambiance created by designer Michael Soriano. Mr. Soriano’s portfolio includes San Diego spots like The Pearl Hotel and Vin de Syrah. To see more of his impressive work:
As you step from the sidewalk into the Queenstown dining experience, a hostess podium stands at the threshold of the dog friendly front patio. There are dog biscuits to welcome the pooches, a tricycle to welcome the toddlers, and a rocking chair to welcome the rest of us.
Whether eating inside or outside, you can’t go wrong. The inside boasts beautiful wood floors, an impressive bar, and intimate seating with unique décor — a sheep hanging from the ceiling? Why not!
The outdoor patio area is equally fun. It feels like you’re sitting on the porch of an old southern house. The patio is equipped with a covering to keep you cool during warm weather and with space heaters to keep you warm when it is cold! Thank you Queenstown for thinking of everything!
1557 Columbia Street
San Diego, CA 92101