Banzai Bar – Loma Portal

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

Grilled Ginger Wings: char grilled garlic-ginger-soy wings, side dojo sauce

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.

Parm Garlic Tots

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.

Crunchy Poke Tacos: poke, cucumber, pickled carrot, crispy garlic, wasabi cream, cilantro

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.

Brussels Sprouts

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.

Banzai Burger: 1/3 lb., house sauce, grilled onions

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.

Final Thoughts

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. 🙂

*Please note that were invited to try Banzai Bar and our meal was complimentary.  However, our opinions remain our own.


Banzai Bar
3048 Midway Dr
San Diego, CA 92110

Banzai Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

About Darren

Fooood! I love it if you can't tell already. I love everything about it. The taste, the smell, the look, the feel, the satisfaction, the gratification, and ultimately: the fun! I've been in San Diego for about 10 years now and it amazes me that there are still places to uncover. Traveling, eating, and taking pictures of food has always been a hobby of mine. So naturally Michael and I thought it made sense to share what we found with all of you. I tend to side with the savory but never shy away from a knock out dessert. If you have a place you think we haven't tried let us know! We're always on the lookout...

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