Dog Friendly Dining at OB's Shades

By Jennifer Cunningham | WDSD Restaurant Reporter

Eight years ago, David Martin and his wife, Jennifer, bought a little breakfast shop with a big view overlooking Ocean Beach and its extraordinary pier.   Then known as Cecil’s, the place only served breakfast. The Martins quickly upgraded the breakfast menu, added lunch and dinner, and changed the name to Shades. A true mom and pop establishment, it offers a unique and innovative menu of recipes created exclusively in-house. The Martins do love the neighborhood, its residents and their dogs, and while many San Diego restaurants offer dog-friendly outdoor dining, Shade’s throws in a special Fido menu, and serves furry friends alongside their owners.


For breakfast, try specialties like cinnamon bread pudding, bruschetta with scrambled eggs, tamales with eggs, and corned beef hash. There are various yummy omelets, as well as eggs Benedict, which can be ordered in variations made with smoked salmon, calamari and filet mignon. All cost less than $11, which is a deal, but even better is the Sunrise Breakfast special, which charges early risers just $4.99 for two eggs with bacon, ham, or sausage, a choice of fruit, home fries or refried beans, and toast, English muffin or tortillas.

The rest of the menu is equally creative, and features a variety of sandwiches, panini, burgers, pizzas, soups and salads. The excellent BBQ pork sandwich piles pulled pork and hickory barbeque sauce inside a French baguette. Rich and smooth, the Southern Belle sandwich encases a creamy salad of chicken, grapes and pecans in a multi-grain roll. Jalapeno jelly spices the “Poise Panini,” a sourdough sandwich filled with maple glazed ham, smoked Gouda, and Cheddar. Sandwiches, burgers and panini range in price from $6.95-9.95, and can be garnished with a choice of roasted potatoes, cous cous, sweet potato fries, french fries or onion rings for an additional dollar.

Locals instantly recognize that the pizzas are named for the streets of Ocean Beach, commencing with Abbott and going on to Bacon (topped with garlic mashed potatoes, Cheddar cheese, sour cream and, as the name requires, bacon chunks), Cable and Niagara. Others on the list are the Security (which blends five cheeses with a sundried tomato cream.) True to its name, the Virtue pizza features healthy ingredients like grilled chicken breast, zucchini, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and roasted yellow peppers. The homemade hummus that substitutes for creams and mayo on sandwiches and other dishes has a light and tasty effect.

The wide variety of salads is highlighted by the Pesto Cous Cous of Portobello mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, zucchini and artichoke hearts. Truly wonderful, the Wonder Salad combines baby greens, salmon, shrimp, artichoke hearts, capers, lemon wedges and an orange dressing that at Shades tastes as bright as sunshine.

The dinner menu includes pastas and various entrees, many mouthwatering, at prices ranging from $12.95 to $19.95. Chicken with artichoke hearts, St. Louis-style hickory-smoked ribs, crab-stuffed flounder and a 10oz filet mignon are among favorites. The large portions are prefaced by a choice of the day’s soup or a small salad and are accompanied by two side dishes drawn from a list that ranges from grilled asparagus, sautéed green beans and spinach to a baked sweet potato (a really tasty alternative to a plain old baked Idaho), grilled squash, wild rice, mashed potatoes, pesto-flavored cous cous, onion rings and frijoles refritos. Shades gives repeat guests plenty of options by putting favorite soups through a nightly rotation that features tasty brews like Jamaican Black Bean, lobster bisque and New England clam chowder. For dessert – for those diners who still have room – Shades offers sweet satisfactions like New York cheese cake, hot fudge sundaes, a brownie that weights a full half-pound (how much will you weigh after eating one?) and spicy-sweet, cinnamon-Amaretto bread pudding.

Shades enhances the beautiful sunset view with happy hour cocktail deals like half-price Martinis, along with such oversized Martinis as the Voltaire (the restaurant never lets you forget you’re in OB), which shakes up Grand Marnier with amaretto, Barton vodka and orange, pineapple and lime juices. The unique list also includes six “light” Martinis, each of which weighs in at less than 120 calories. The Moana Margatini, made with tequila, triple sec and citrus juices is tasty and refreshing, and if you want a cocktail that captures the neighborhood, try the Dog Beach (vanilla vodka, Kahlua, half & half and cola). Tuesday happy hours also feature half-priced bottles of wines.



5083 Santa Monica Ave., San Diego



Open Daily 6:30a.m.-9p.m. (10p.m. during summer months)

Happy Hour Daily 4:00-6:00p.m.

Shades Oceanfront Bistro on Urbanspoon


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We cover great San Diego County restaurants large and small -- from tasty taco stands to fancy fine dining palaces. If you would like to have one of our fearless reporters cover a favorite dining spot or food and wine event shoot us a short e-mail. or call 619 315 6074


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