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Part V in a series

By the East County Eaters

Week 5: Mediterraneo Italian Bar & Bistro and The Brigantine Seafood & Oyster Bar

April 17, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--For this week’s series, our Eaters returned to savor happy hour specials at two local favorites: Mediterraneo Italian Bar & Bistro in Alpine and The Brigantine on Mt. Helix.  The first offers divine Italian food in a European-style ambience, the second specializes in seafood served up amid a nautical theme.  Both are delightful and unexpected “finds” for newcomers in East County—so it’s no wonder that each of these restaurants are popular gathering spots for locals in the know.


Mediterraneo Italian Bar & Bistro: A fabulous find in Alpine

1347 Tavern Road, Alpine;  (619)445-9902

Happy hour: 4-6:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays

The Mediterraneo has new owners who bring extensive restaurant ownership and culinary expertise.   There’s a new menu specializing in Italian cuisine—and an extensive happy hour menu to savor. 

Besides affordable drink specials including $5 house wines and $3 domestic draft beer,  there are discounts on foods including  tasty yet healthy choices such as pear salad and grilled chicken penne,as wlel as  twists on classic Italian favorites such as the lasagnetta.  Meat eaters can relish New York strip steak with green peppercorn sauce or standard bar favorites such as meatballs and crostini, bistro burgers and fried calamari.

There are daily specials too – and these are offered all day Mondays and starting at 2 p.m. on weekends.  From $3 Friday Fireball shots to Monday’s Meatball & Crostini  plus a draft beer for $11, there’s plenty to satisfy every taste.

Plus the Bistro has lots of fun events, such as a Halloween party and theme parties in the bar the last weekend of every month.  There’s also a spaghetti and meatball feast for $9.75 on Wednesdays from 2 to 7 p.m. and half off bottles of wine every Monday and Tuesday.

Not on happy hour, but there are also amazing desserts, too!

Besides an upscale bar with European flair, there’s also a full restaurant, outdoor patio nestled among pines, and a cozy back room that’s a great place to savor a sunset with a nice glass of wine and some fabulous food, or as they say in Italy, delizioso!

The Brigantine Seafood & Oyster Bar

9350 Fuerte Drive, La Mesa; (619)465-1935

Happy hour is 4-7 p.m. , except on Mondays when it’s 4-close

Where else in East County can you get an array of seafood specialties in a wood-paneled bar complete with fire pit, lighthouse model and a ship’s prow?  The ambience feels like Coronado and the seafood is as fresh as any oceanfront establishment.   On a foggy day, when clouds shroud the freeway far below, perching at tables near the window even give the illusion of looking out to sea.

But the real attraction here is the seafood—such as pepper vodka oyster shooters ($2.75) and sucking down oysters on the half shell ($1.50 each), or for a bit more, clam chowder or a shrimp cocktail. House wines are $5, well drinks and draft beers are a dollar off, plus on “thirsty Thursdays” you can get $2 off specialty cocktails, too. 

Other tasty options include the Brig fish taco with cheese on a corn tortilla or a spicy fish taco (Olé!), as well as Caesar salad and spinach salad for those who are health conscious. 

The Brigantine started locally and is now a chain with six locations, all in San Diego County.  It’s not hard to see why it’s become a favorite watering hole for people across our region as well as here in East County.  Of course, you can always linger past happy hour and enjoy a full seafood dinner, too, in the adjacent restaurant which has daily specials, a full range of seafood as well as steaks and other entrees –you can even treat yourself to whole Maine lobster for a special occasion to savor.

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