Naked Cafe is a restaurant that you could easily use to demonstrate San Diego stereotypes. Situated right next to the beach, you can smell the ocean breeze all throughout your meal, while the advertisements on the table try to sell you various flavors of kombucha. While I only frequent the beach around twice a year, I decided to try and access my inner Californian by reviewing a restaurant 10 yards away from one of San Diego’s most popular attractions.
Despite it being a Saturday morning, the restaurant was mostly empty when we arrived around 9 a.m. The restaurant was well-lit by natural light and despite the shack-like exterior, the restaurant appeared to be very clean and well-kept. After reviewing the menu and asking the waitress for her suggestions, we decided to order the Tailgate Tacos ($12), the Plate of Prosperity ($12) and the Yin and Yang with an added egg ($12.50).
The first item we tried was the Tailgate Tacos, per the waitress’s suggestion. The soy chorizo was almost firetruck red and appeared to be dripping juice onto the plate. The soy lacked the body and texture of actual pork, but was savory and well-seasoned. The corn tortilla was luckily thick enough to absorb the moisture, and had a very robust corn flavor that complemented the filling well. I didn’t end up eating the heaping side of beans with the taco as I didn’t think that the dish needed any more moisture, but I unconsciously continued snacking on them throughout the meal and with the other dishes.
The Plate of Prosperity at first glance simply looked like a giant mound of quinoa, and it didn’t prove to be much more. Although the egg whites and the spinach made for a light flavor combination, the entire experience was shadowed by the never-ending flowery quinoa. The soy sausage in the dish surprisingly replicated the texture of real sausage, but the “sausage” lacked any actual other flavor besides the bland soy. Ultimately, I felt that I needed another meaty substitute to supplement the egg whites and I found myself scooping beans from the Tailgate Tacos onto my plate. The side of homemade salsa added a nice kick to the dish and I ended up asking for second helpings.
The best dish, by far, was the Yin and Yang, a bed of crispy potatoes underneath a layer of beans, avocado, sour cream and jalapenos. The outer layer of the potatoes provided the perfect crispy coating to contrast the creaminess of the avocado and the sour cream. The flour tortilla was much thinner than the corn tortilla and the homemade salsa proved to be the ideal compliment to any dish on the menu. The sunny-side up egg atop the dish didn’t add a ton of flavor, but the added protein did make the dish more filling. By the end of the meal, we ran out of the lighter toppings and were left with a mixture of melted sour cream, beans and potatoes, but even those elements alone were delicious together.
While the quality of the food varied from dish to dish, all the meals were exceptionally healthy and the portions definitely justified the price. Whether you’re fresh off a morning beach run or simply fresh out of bed, I would definitely recommend Naked Cafe as a spot for a light meal to start off your weekend.