As you may know, this blog is brand spanking new which means that I actually have a lot of catching up to do in terms of restaurant reviews. I’ll be playing catch up with reviews of: Hillcrest Farmer’s Market, VeggieGrill, Cafe Gratitude, Donut Friend, Nomad Donuts, City Tacos, Plant Power Fast Food, Moncai Vegan, Choice Juicery, Eclipse Chocolate Bar & Bistro, Pie Pie My Darling and Alinea… just to name a few. Admittedly, the following recap will be of a dining experience a few weeks old however it has left such an impression on me that I HAVE to tell you about it! *Spoiler alert* It has easily earned a spot in being one of my favorite plantbased/vegan restaurant in San Diego so far and for that reason, I will award it a * in the title. From now on, restaurant review titles with *’s will indicate its spot on my list of favorites. Allow me to introduce you to Donna Jean.
- Atmosphere/Ambiance – SO cute! It’s located in the San Diego neighborhood called Banker’s Hills and is sandwiched between Evolution Fast Food (a vegan fast food joint) and Extraordinary Desserts… a stellar location! We visited after a hike on a gorgeous sunny day, and sat outside in the patio. It was a charming setting that is totally date worthy. There are twinkle lights strung throughout, and we were surrounded by butterflies and gardens of flowers, and fruits/vegetables. Some of the tables had umbrellas to shade you from the sun, and I also noticed heat lamps as well for those colder mornings/nights. We (Alex and I) came for their Sunday brunch menu, and in particular, I came for Chef Roy’s famous Hot Shrooms which he graciously allowed me to order (even though it wasn’t part of the brunch menu).
- Cleanliness – Nothing to report here! All was quite tidy.
- Service – The staff were friendly. The host allowed us to choose our table, and a waitress soon followed behind to welcome us in. Our meals came out in a timely fashion, starting with coffee and mimosas. In particular, the most memorable part was when Chef Roy personally came to our table to introduce himself, and thank us for dining with him. I cannot tell you how much experiences like this make me gush!
- Food – We ordered the pancakes, skillet mac n cheese, and the hot shrooms. Personally, I loved it all but Alex felt the pancakes were a little too dense/thick for his preference (I disagree). We both loved the mac n cheese, which is the one thing that I really do miss since going plantbased two years ago. I’ve tried making it myself and ordering from others but it’s never quite there. This one hit the spot though! The star of the show was definitely the Nashville Hot Shrooms; they are totally worth the hype! Like seriously, they.are.DELICIOUS. and I’ve never had a plantbased meal quite like it! You MUST order them (but only if you like spicy food)! Overall, all of the dishes were well seasoned (we didn’t even touch the salt/pepper shakers), full of flavor, and beautifully plated as well. Donna Jean is the place to go for comfort food and is without a doubt appreciated by all, nevermind one’s dietary preferences.
- Would we go back? We both say absolutely. Let’s throw in an extra Hell Ya! Please do yourself a favor and add this restaurant to your San Diego TODO list.