Banzai Bar is a little hidden amongst the other businesses off of Midway Drive near Valley View Casino Center, aka, Sport’s Arena. Their bright colorful neon sign might pull you in though. They opened in September and it’s part of the same family of restaurants including Werewolf and The Waterfront Bar & Grill, San Diego’s oldest tavern. They serve Hawaiian influenced fare.
I missed the narrow alleyway that leads to the parking lot in the back. Michael flagged me down and helped guide me in.
Once inside you will find a dimly lit restaurant bar with numerous tv’s and an exuberant bartender. :p
Dive bar, yes, but you won’t find your typical low quality bar food here . They hope to kick it up a notch and deliver a complete experience with a great atmosphere coupled with tasty food and beverages. Chicken wings are found on pretty much any bar menu and we had to give them a try. I do enjoy my chicken wings and these met my standard. I liked how they weren’t overly greasy and the meat broke off from the bone with ease.
Tater tots have clawed their way back into relevancy in recent time. Rightfully so, these fried potato pillows of joy deserve their shine. This version was a little too crispy for me with not enough fluffy potato goodness, but tasty nonetheless.
One of the definite recommendations were the poke tacos. I love me some poke. Admittedly, I was a little skeptical with poke at a dive bar. But when you come in with lower expectations, you leave room for a great turnaround impression. And that’s what happened. The taco shells were great as they perfectly crumbled away with each bite. The wasabi hits you just about when you start to forget about it being there. And the poke was of good quality and came nicely flavored.
The sprouts were my least favorite item of the meal. They didn’t have enough seasoning and some of them were charred a little too much for my liking.
Luckily we had a great juicy burger to move us forward. The bun was soft like a King’s Hawaiian bun. And each bite melted in your mouth. I did enjoy this, yes I did. Apparently, The Waterfront has a solid burger they have been serving over there for many years and this closely mirrors it.
I don’t often go out to eat in that area, but I’m sure locals are happy to have it around. There’s a good mix of Asian flavors and regular classic American fare. That usually is a recipe yielding a happy group of people with different tastes or moods. If you dig a small quaint neighborhood bar, this might tickle your fancy. As I walked in, right away I could spot locals throughout. I like that feeling.
Hope you all have a great end of 2016! You have a few weeks to make this year harder to top. 🙂
3048 Midway Dr
San Diego, CA 92110