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Rants & Raves

Fodors
A San Diego rarity - and a surprise in a section of town where the food leans toward the safe and touristy - Berta's serves wonderful Latin American dishes. The wine list showcases good Chilean wines, and the food manages to be tasty and health-conscious at the same time.

 

Frommer's Favorites
Berta's is a welcome change from the nacho-and-fajita joints that dominate Old Town dining, though it can attract as large a crowd on weekends. Housed in a charming cottage tucked away on a side street, Berta's faithfully recreates the sunny flavors of Central America, where slow cooking mellows the heat of chiles and other spices. Everyone starts with a basket of fresh flour tortillas and mild salsa verde, which usually vanishes before you're done contemplating such mouthwatering dishes as Guatemalan chilimal, a rich pork-and-vegetable casserole with chiles, tomatoes, cornmeal masa, coriander, and cloves. Try the Salvadoran pupusas (at lunch only)--dense corn-mash turnovers with melted cheese and black beans, their texture perfectly offset with crunchy cabbage salad and one of Berta's special salsas.

 

Yahoo Travel
This charming, intimate restaurant is often overlooked by the tourist hordes, but locals know to look for the candlelit porch with a half-dozen intimate tables.
The interior is small and simple, decorated lightly in colonial Spanish style, with tiny tables. Yet, most guests prefer to eat outside for the most romantic experience.
The menu offers South American cuisine. Enjoy thin-sliced Argentinean style beef or spicy, flavorful meat stews.

 

Naomi Wise, Food Editor and Restaurant Reviewer,
San Diego Reader

Berta’s is always a joyous adventure for the taste buds. I’ve driven through most of Latin America, and every few hundred miles tasted radical changes in the regional cuisines. Berta has chosen the best dishes from every country. It’s amazing that a chef can capture such a vast range of local flavor nuances so discerningly, so accurately, and so very deliciously.

 

San Diego Reader Best 2001 Winner
For anyone who wants to explore the culinary world south of Mexico, where the food can change drastically every few hundred miles, Berta's is a rewarding one-stop voyage of discovery. The menu features the greatest hits of three continents, from Spanish marinated lamb to earthy Guatemalan pork stew to an exuberant Brazilian seafood extravaganza. And this array is not remarkable merely for its variety, but also for the sensitivity of Berta's cooking to the style of each region -- most dishes are not only authentic, but terrifically good. The best of all of them are Berta's renditions of the delicacies of her Chilean homeland. Her empañadas -- fried packets filled with melted cheese or baked pockets with a savory ground-beef stuffing -- may be the tastiest snacks in all of San Diego. And the lightness and richness of her pastel de choclo (corn, chicken, and beef pie) makes it a world-class rendition of this ultimate comfort dish.

 

San Diego Reader
Sampling the whole range of little-known cuisines from Guatemala down to Patagonia, Berta's lengthy menu reads like a culinary "pick hits" list of each country's best flavors, typically rendered with expertise and verve. Some outstanding dishes include sweet-savory Chilean pastel de choclo (a casserole of beef, chicken, and corn pudding) from Berta's homeland, spicy ceviche and subtle seco de cordero (citrus-flavored lamb stew) from Peru, earthy Guatemalan chilemal (cilantro-laden pork stew), aromatic beef curry from Trinidad, and a sensuous vatapa (seafood in coconut sauce) from Brazil's African-influenced Bahia coast. Vegetarians will find many meat-and-fowl-free options.

 

Suzanne Smith and Jennifer Croshaw,
San Diego Union Tribune

While many of the Mexican restaurants play it safe and offer food on the mild side, Berta's goes for hot and spicy. Tapas are plentiful, with Spanish olives, Chilean empanadas and stuffed Guatemalan plaintains among the offerings. Entrees range from Guatemalan chile-infused pork casserole to Argentinean rib-eye, and Brazilian seafood to Peruvian chicken, all frequently served with a spicy sauce. Meatless dishes (sauces, too) include the Costa Rican Casado (black beans and rice with sauteed bananas), the Tallarines Vatapa (pasta with Brazilian peanut coconut sauce) and a mango-avocado salad, among others. Many of the entrees are surprisingly healthful, getting most of their flavor from spices instead of fat. The wine list offers an interesting mix of Latin American options. Service is good and the servers will patiently answer all questions about unique entrees.
Sit on the patio if the weather is nice.

 

SignOnSanDiego.com
Nestled in Old Town, Berta's Latin American offers diners a different option
from the dozen or so nearby Mexican restaurants

 

OpenList your local guide
Local diners call this restaurant an authentic American restaurant

 

Good Eats in San Diego
My wife was actually surprisingly spoiled for choice with the vegetarian items on offer

 

chefmoz Dining Guide
It was like having dinner in a friend's house, especially due to the friendly, personal, attentive-yet-unobtrusive service of Berta's daughter

 

Yelp Real People Real Reviews
Ever since I returned from Central America many years ago, I have loved Berta's.
Its a small-is restaurant amidst all of the tourist restaruants of Old Town...
but this place is special and I love taking friends of mine there, as almost no one I know has discovered it. The lamb is very good as are the plantains.

 

Yelp Real People Real Reviews
They specialize in South American cuisine so there is more emphasis on flavor than heat

 

San Diego Citybeat
The menu at Berta’s cherry-picks from the cuisines of Central and South Americas,
resulting in an extensive, varied and refreshingly burrito-free list of entrées.
Most specify the country of origin, making the experience part gustatory, part geographic.

 

MustDoTravel
Seafood, lamb, beef and vegetarian specialties abound at Berta's Latin American Cuisine,
located in a quaint frame house.

 

you see SD
Definitely a place to visit to impress someone on a special date or a special occasion

 

University of San Diego - Mathematics
South American fare served in a casual, cheerful setting.
Wide-ranging menu includes ample vegetarian choices

 

...I'm thinking
The trials and tribulations of knitting, molecular biology and oil.

I got to eat really good SoAm food. If you're ever down in Old Town,
I highly recommend Berta's.

 

American Educational Research Association
Housed in a charming, basic cottage tucked away on a side street,
Berta's faithfully recreates the sunny flavors of Central America

 

Epinions.com
Berta's, was very good and had some unusual south and central american dishes

 

DiningGuide.com
Healthy entrees get their flavor from fresh ingrediants and spices.
The restaurant offers a great wine and beer list.

 

123 World Search...Save...Relax
In crowded tourist-centric Old Town, this hidden gem is one of the neighborhood's best kept secrets

 

Greg's Guide - Comprehensive restaurant and dining guide to San Diego
This place is not pretentious or Rockin' Lobster, it's casual and down to earth.
Try the Peruvian Dark Beer (Cusqueno?)! It is full of sweetness and smoothness-
great for dessert

 

Greg's Guide to San Diego Restaurants
It's not like any other restaurant I've found in San Diego because
the food is quite different and very good.
The service when we were there was very friendly and helpful.


 

PleasantHolidays.com
Most guests prefer to eat outside for the most romantic experience.
The menu offers South American cuisine.
Enjoy thin-sliced Argentinean style beef or spicy, flavorful meat stews


 

AOL CityGuide
Putting two-thirds of the hemisphere's cuisine on one menu might seem difficult,
but the common features aid owner Berta Utreras in a cooking idiom that stretches from Tijuana to Tierra del Fuego.


 
Gayot.com The guide to the good life
The Chilean pastel del choclo, the Peruvian lamb stew and the Brazilian pasta are tops


 
Fragile Flower
we went to a place called Berta's in Old town last weekend for his birthday.....he loved it!!
We will most certainly go again!


 
VirtualTourist Forums
Have you eaten at berta's latin american in old town.
2 years ago we made a quick 1 day jaunt into san diego and ate there - fabulous.
We are going back again this time.


 
UnitedStates.biz
A far cry from the area's many touristy Mexican restaurants,
offering low-priced, authentic cooking from all over Latin America.


 
Letters to the Editor - SanDiegoReader
There is no doubt in my mind that Berta is one of the best cooks in San Diego


 
San Diego Vegetarian restaurants
Unusual Latin American dishes. Atmosphere: relaxed and there is outside dining.
One of the few restaurants in old town that has adequate parking


 
Fodor's Travel Guides
We ate at berta's latin american in old town.
It was great and it the only reason that we are going back to area


 
SanDiegoPet.com
There are actually quite a few animal-friendly places where you can bring your buddies


 
DMOZ
Authentic flavors in a cottage at the historic Old Town.


 

Videonary
Berta's is located in a quaint, little cottage in the heart of Old Town where you'll find
some of the finest Latin American cuisine this side of Guatemala

 

Old Town San Diego Art Festival
Free appetizer Peruvian Papas or Colombian Tostones with entrée

 

2001 Critics’ Choice Award Winner
San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles

 

1998 Zagat Award Winner
Recognized as one of the area’s top restaurants – rated "Excellent"

 

 

 
 
 


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Portugal

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