Best San Diego Restaurants: North Park's The Smoking Goat

French-American fare at One of the Best San Diego Restaurants

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View into the Dining Room
(Image credit: Stacy Bostrom Photography)

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting North Park, you know it’s no stranger to eclectic shops, swanky wine bars and fabulous eateries, which makes The Smoking Goat, one of the best San Diego restaurants in North Park, a perfect fit.

This dining establishment takes comfort food to a whole new level, which I like to call “comfort food with class.” This award-winning, French-American bistro is tucked away in the up-and-coming North Park neighborhood.

The ambiance makes you feel like you’re dining in your own home, which is what Executive Chef Owner Fred Piehl was going for. The rustic farm feel, and even the name The Smoking Goat, is an ode to his grandmother, who owned a goat farm in New Mexico.

Although Chef Fred was born and raised on U.S. soil, his cooking abilities are French inspired, as he attended culinary school in Paris, the city of love and lights in France.  He has brought the richest flavors of French cuisine to your table; every dish is prepared with the most fresh and savory ingredients.

As we entered The Smoking Goat, I was immediately taken back by how comfortable I felt from the start. This quaint and lovely restaurant was something out of a Norman Rockwell painting – warm, friendly and family oriented. It’s the kind of place you take your mother for her birthday or when you want to impress a date.

Ross, the manager, was pleasant and the first to greet every guest. My friend, her daughter and I were all seated inside the restaurant and frankly, there’s no bad seat in the house. The bar area boasts a great happy hour, and the outdoor patio is warm with a view of passersby. It’s also exceptionally beautiful at night. Our server, Lisa, was pleasant and quite knowledgeable about the menu. You can tell she genuinely enjoys working here.

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Tasty Duckfat Truffle fries
(Image credit: Stacy Bostrom Photography)

We started off with a bang with their famous Duckfat Truffle Fries, a three-cheese plate and the mac and cheese. Other specialty appetizers on the menu included Escargot Au Gratin, Duck Liver Pate and Goat Meatballs.

If that doesn’t scream delicacy, I don’t know what will. For dinner, my guests ordered the California Ribeye steak and the Red Wine Braised Short Ribs, and I opted for the Maine Scallops.

The scallops were perfectly seared and accompanied with a rich and creamy asparagus risotto. The short ribs were a melt-in-your-mouth delight and the rib eye was cooked to perfection.

For dessert, we shared the crème brulee, bananas Foster and a decadent chocolate mousse that Chef Fred literally whipped up that day as a special.

My friends and I had a wonderful time at The Smoking Goat. But what makes this place standout from the rest is the one-of-a-kind service. The delicious food was a bonus. The Smoking Goat is truly worth exploring for an extraordinary dining experience in the up-and-coming neighborhood of North Park.

By: Marci Pascua

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