Kettner Exchange San Diego, CA

The heart of every city usually is found in its downtown district and San Diego California is no exception. Downtown San Diego offers activities for people of all ages. During the day families can enjoy the famous San Diego Zoo, a baseball game in Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres or a walk along Sea Port Village. At night the area transforms itself into a paradise for adults, with trendy restaurants and posh rooftop bars. Its the go-to neighborhood for anyone looking for a fun night out. I recently visited Kettner Exchange to celebrate my birthday and absolutely loved it. Many times whenever you visit a trendy restaurant the food is either so-so or plain bad. It makes you think that nice design, ambiance and exclusivity can’t go together with good food. Well, I am happy to say Kettner Exchange is trendy, fun and the food is outstanding.


The restaurant that opened six months ago is named after William Kettner, a congressman in the early 1900’s who was credited with bringing the Navy to San Diego, thus making San Diego one of the largest and most influential cities in the US.

This exclusive restaurant in the heart of downtown, steps away from Little Italy and other great restaurants such as Juniper & Ivy,  is the place to be on Saturday nights. You can either enjoy a nice dinner or go straight to the rooftop for some drinks.


The menu concept is designed to share all the plates among your party, this way you can try more dishes. We started out with some drinks, I ordered the PD Collins that’s prepared with gin, cocchi rosa, lemon, blood orange, cinnamon, peach bitters and soda. Although the drink was pretty strong I loved the mix of flavors!

For dinner we ordered a handful of dishes to share. We started off with the Alaskan King Crab Salad with green papaya, the Octopus Ceviche and the Big- Eye Tuna “Pizza”. This last one is the most popular dish in the restaurant, and now that I have tried it I can see why. Its prepared with red onion, ponzu and truffle oil, my absolute favorite!

Big- Eye Tuna
Big- Eye Tuna “Pizza”

We also got the Big- Eye Tuna Tacos and the Spicy Shrimp. The waiter mentioned the A8 Waygu Ribeye was to die for. A8 degree is higher in quality and very few restaurants in the US serve such outstanding meat. To be honest I wasn’t very familiar with this grading system so I did some research. It turns out grade A refers to the highest yield percentage, determined by an estimated cutability percentage. The score is determined in terms of beef marbling, color and texture among other things. The highest score which ranges from 8-12 means the beef is excellent.

The flavor and texture of the Waygu was outstanding, you don’t even have to chew it because it melts in your mouth. We enjoyed this dish so much that we go ordered more.

For dessert the waiter brought a dish with caramel pudding that tasted just like Werther’s Original candy. Although it was very rich I would definitely recommend it especially if you are a dessert lover.

If you would like to eat at one of the hottest restaurants in San Diego according to Eater and one of the top 100 new restaurants in the US according to Open Table, you can’t miss Kettner Exchange. I promise you will have a blast and enjoy a delicious dining experience.