San Diego, California – Hash House a Go Go

Restaurant: Hash House a Go Go
Cuisine: American/Comfort Food
Last visited: October 3, 2010
Location: San Diego, California (Hillcrest)
Address: 3628 5th Ave
Price Range: $10-20, 20-30USD

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 4.5 (based on items I tried)
Service: 4
Ambiance: 5
Overall: 6 (It’ s a must try)
Additional comments:

  • Since 2000
  • Started in San Diego
  • Locations in Las Vegas
  • American comfort food with twists
  • MASSIVE portions
  • “Best Brunch” in San Diego
  • Famous for breakfast/brunch
  • Featured on Food Network
  • Featured on Martha Stewart
  • Award winning restaurant
  • Very popular to locals & tourists
  • MUST TRY, San Diego staple!
  • Casual/Comfortable/Affordable
  • Family friendly/Group friendly
  • Breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner
  • Reservations recommended

Hours of operation:

  • Breakfast & Lunch Weekdays 7:30am-2:00pm
  • Dinner Monday-Thursday 5:30pm-9:00pm
  • Breakfast & Lunch Weekend 7:30am-2:30pm
  • Dinner Friday & Saturday 5:30pm-9:30pm
  • Closed Monday nights

**Recommendations: Andy’s Sage Fried Chicken & Bacon Waffle Tower and the Indiana Crispy Hand Hammered Pork Tenderloin was the biggest thing I’ve seen ever… actually everything was.

Hash House a Go Go has quite the resume and the awards keep coming in year after year. It’s been named “Fodor’s Choice Best Places in the world” by Fodor’s Magazine and “36 Hours in San Diego Must Have Dinner” by New York Times. It’s constantly awarded as best breakfast and brunch in San Diego and it’s an all time favourite for locals and tourist alike. See the full list of Hash House a Go Go awards here.

If it’s good enough for Martha Stewart, it’s good enough for me! It’s been featured on Martha Stewart, Food Network’s Man vs. Food, Travel Channel, Rachael Ray Show, Dr. Phil Show, FOX, NBC, MSNBC, CBS & NPR, and pretty much any mainstream media mogul you can think of.

After attending my first NFL game we celebrated the Chargers win by hitting up Extraordinary Desserts, and then 2 hours later we had dinner at Hash House a Go Go – talk about a celebration and a TRIPLE win for that matter!

The atmosphere is casual and almost like a contemporary diner or what they like to call a “farm house”. It’s a must try, especially if you’re visiting San Diego. I’m from Vancouver, BC and we have nothing like this here. Everything from the portions to the execution and even some of the food like the chicken waffles was a first for me.

There’s 3 location in Las Vegas, but it started in San Diego and it’s a San Diego institution and tradition. Hash House a Go Go is world famous for breakfast and brunch, but they also serve lunch and dinner. The only pancake I’ve seen bigger than the one here is from Grizzly Manor Cafe.

They also have a bar for individual dining, but I strongly suggest going with a group unless you can literally eat 10-15 pounds of food in one seating… or if you want leftovers enough for 3 meals. I’ve had MASSIVE meals like the pork chop from Shoal Creek Saloon, the chicken fried steak at Shady Grove, the massive grilled New York Strip Steak at Jack Allen’s Kitchen or the massive Texas-Sized Donut from Round Rock Donuts ALL from Texas, but the portions at Hash House a Go Go were even bigger than all of those… except maybe the Round Rock Donut.

I hope this gives you an idea of how MASSIVE the portions are… it’s not just big plates. It was the biggest portions of food I’ve ever seen in real life. I ordered the “famous” stuff, but the menu is pretty big and I would need to go with a football team or sumo wrestlers to attack the whole menu… one main is enough for 3 people. I asked the server why my water didn’t come in a bucket and she responded with “hey! We have some class” lol.

The food is classic American comfort food with twists. The twists aren’t necessarily gourmet, but they’re just visually shocking presentations (partly because it’s pretty nice and partly because it’s just so big). The quality is also good, it’s made fresh and in house, and the prices are incredibly affordable for what you get. The value is definitely there an it’s really one of the most fun and unique dining experiences I’ve had. It’s not like I’m crazy for big portions, but how can you not get excited when your ravioli comes out the size of a jumbo slice of pizza. Big portions, generally great tasting food, and affordable prices… an equation for success!

On the table:

Complimentary Biscuits – 6/6

  • Served with an ice cream scoop of butter.
  • I thought the biscuits at Urban Solace were delicious enough and these were even better! Well the flavour was better, but the texture of the famous cheese biscuits at Urban Solace were better.

  • These homemade biscuits are massive! Seriously one is enough for three people. They drizzle it with honey butter and it’s delicious! It’s sweet and savoury and the honey is real honey! There’s a mini pool of honey butter at the bottom of the basket and I was dipping my biscuit right into it!

  • It’s served warm with a crispy exterior and the top was almost candied from the warm honey butter. The inside is soft, buttery, crumbly and almost like a scone. They’re savoury and slightly tangy so I bet they’re made with buttermilk although they’re more crumbly than fluffy but not dry at all. These are amazing AND free!

Sweet Onion King Rings – 4/6

  • Sweet onion king rings with a chipotle ranch. Don’t be mad when we run out! $9USD
  • These may not look big, but trust me, they are! Of course they are. They’re very popular too.
  • They’re incredibly crispy and crunchy onion rings that are slightly sweet with intense seasoning.
  • The chipotle ranch tastes like chipotle yogurt dip, but I like the Cactus Club one better. It was quite cooling and tangy with a slight spice, but overall it was too salty especially with the seasoning already on the rings.

Criss Cross Fries – 4/6

  • Side order, I’m not sure the price. Probably around $6USD?
  • The waffle fries are great! It’s the only relatively normal sized thing we had. I’m surprised they didn’t slice the potatoes lengthwise for even bigger pieces.
  • I think they’re made from red potatoes because they have a creamy texture and they’re nice and crispy and well seasoned on the outside.

Tried and True Andy’s Polenta – 3/6

  • Tried & true Andy’s polenta with melted brie cheese, fresh asparagus and sundried tomato pesto $12USD

  • It was an entire wedge of deep fried brie and two slices of deep fried polenta toast. They were all the same size so I didn’t know which was which. Paula Deen would be proud.

  • It was a very creamy buttery and rich polenta that was very crispy but also quite salty. You used the ooey gooey melted deep fried brie as a spread on the polenta.
  • The sundried tomato pesto was tangy and ultra creamy, but not cheesy. It was made with probably a pound of butter and a gallon of cream and it was a bit too salty as well.
  • Overall it was a heart attack waiting to happen, but it was pretty good, just too salty.

Crispy Big O’ Ravioli – 2/6

  • Crispy big O’ ravioli stuffed with prosciutto, goat cheese, house roasted tomato and topped with chipotle sour cream $13USD
  • It was served on top of a giant wedge of watermelon. The presentation was not only big, but also very high with a foot long fresh Rosemary branch (not twig) sticking out the top.
  • Each ravioli was the size of a jumbo slice of pizza and this “appetizer” was enough as a main.

  • Each piece was stuffed with probably a full package of goat’s cheese and 150 grams of prosciutto.
  • It was very tangy and smoky with the fire roasted cherry tomatoes, and it was a bit too salty again especially with the several slices of prosciutto. I just felt like I was eating plain goat’s cheese and there was just an overwhelming amount of stuffing that I wanted some ravioli actually with the stuffing.
  • I wish they blended the stuffing together or mixed it a bit because the execution for the filling was just too separate, although I could see exactly how much of each ingredient i was getting.
  • The ravioli skin is deep fried and very crispy, but it becomes unnoticed and its just a plain pasta sheet so it’s a bit bland.

Famous Meatloaf – 4/6

  • Stuffed with roasted red peppers, fresh spinach & mozzarella cheese all crowned with our signature cream sauce $17USD
  • This looks small, but it wasn’t at all. The meatloaf was the size of a Porterhouse Steak if not bigger.

  • Meatloaf 3/6
    • The meatloaf is award winning and I thought it was good, but not that good. It tastes like a mixture or ground pork, chicken and turkey rather than beef and it was very soft and tender. I could taste some smoky cumin and some dried herbs.
    • I wouldn’t say it was stuffed, but the roasted red peppers, fresh spinach and mozzarella cheese were sandwiched between 2 big meatloaf slices. It was also drizzled with a white sauce that tasted like a tangy chicken fried steak cream sauce. I loved the deep fried leeks they topped it off with.
  • Mashed Potatoes– 5/6
    • The mashed potatoes were excellent. It was a chunky mashed potato and it I think it was red skin potatoes because it was very creamy in texture and not grainy or starchy. They were very buttery and flavourful and almost like a patty with crispy charred parts that had a ton of flavour.

**Andy’s Sage Fried Chicken & Bacon Waffle Tower – 6/6

  • Drizzled with hot maple reduction & fried leeks $18USD
  • Chicken & Waffles! Finally I get to try this famous classic Southern “delicacy”. The version here is definitely a gourmet take on it and it’s not to be missed!
  • This is perhaps the most famous thing here and it’s a combination of sweet and savoury as well as breakfast and dinner. I obviously love the idea of sweet ans savoury, hence my Pork Chop with Apple and Rosemary Crumble recipe for the Maple Leaf Prime Pork contest.
  • This entree is super hearty and enough for a family of 4. They offer variations of this dish on every menu throughout the day.

Sage Fried Chicken6/6

  • This was awesome! It was my favourite thing of the night.
  • It tasted like chicken battered with super crunchy Frosted Flakes cereal! I thought the crispiest fried chicken was the one at Boonie’s Southern Soul Restaurant in Langley, but this one was way crunchier! I loved this!
  • It was massive pieces of moist chicken with a sweet crunchy cereal batter that had a nuttiness from being deep fried. It was covered with maple syrup so it was almost candied too. It tastes along the lines of caramelized chicken, honey fried chicken or pecan crusted chicken.

Bacon Waffle Tower6/6

  • Each waffle is the size of a sandwich.
  • These bacon stuffed waffles are your traditional good old classic waffles. They’re nice and fluffy and eggy in flavour. They’re stuffed with 2-4 slices of bacon each depending on how the cook feels. It’s big thick pieces of salty bacon and it’s all covered in sweet maple syrup.
  • I loved the sweet and savoury combination and the bacon helped ease the waffles into the savoury chicken idea. The maple syrup on the chicken also helped ease the idea of sweet meets savoury.

Indiana Crispy Hand Hammered Pork Tenderloin – n/a

  • With smoked mozzarella cheese, caramelized onions, spinach, bar b’ que cream served with horseradish mashed potatoes $27USD
  • Yes, I did it again. I took a picture of some random guy’s dinner. This was HUGE, even bigger than anything we ordered so I have to take a photo. The corn was probably a foot long. I sure wanted to order it, but I had to set my priorities straight and try everything “famous” first.

Needless to say, we didn’t finish everything. Although we made quite the dent and of course we took the rest to go. Hopefully this shows the portion size a bit.


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