Not far from the walls of Petco Park is Basic Urban Kitchen and Bar, a casual restaurant and bar famous for a pizza with mashed potatoes and bacon. I first found out about this “mashed” pizza through a friend, who found out through a friend, who found out through another friend. Everyone seemed to know about this magical pizza at Basic but me. When I happened to be down in San Diego for a baseball game, I knew exactly where I was going first.
Basic is pretty hard to miss. It’s located in the East Village of San Diego in a beautiful old brick warehouse that dates back to 1912. When I walked inside, I felt like I had traveled backed in time. Though modern, the design worked well with the historic touches of the building.
The dining area was spacious and simple with industrial touches. The open dining room had concrete floors, heavy industrial style tables and chairs, tall wooden ceilings, exposed brick walls, and exposed air conditioning.
The vaulted wooden ceilings and tall brick walls made the dining room appear larger than it was. It also gave the modern design a somewhat rustic feeling.
Large windows, almost as tall as the ceilings, allowed lots of natural light into the restaurant. I could see the interior of the restaurant being quite dim at night.
The large spinning ceiling fan was the highlight of the design. This fan, which was more form over function, had to be one of the largest fans I have ever seen. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.
What I enjoyed the most about Basic was the vibe. The place felt laid back and casual. Nothing too fancy or pretentious, even in the evening. No need to worry about getting dressed up, unless you choose. The friendly servers and bartenders made each guest felt welcome. Some people were on a date, others were meeting up with friends, while others were grabbing a drink before the baseball game. The restaurant can get quite busy on game days.
Basic Urban Kitchen and Bar Menu
The menu at Basic Urban Kitchen and Bar was pretty simple. Your food options are gourmet pizzas and one salad.
As for the pizzas, you have the option of designing your own pie with red or white sauce and a large assortment of of toppings. If designing your own pizzas seems to complicated, you can order one of the classic pies.
Specials on cocktails, wines, and beers are available daily during happy hour from 4:00PM to 7:00PM.
I heard many great things about the Mashed Pizza ($14.50 small/$23 large) before my visit. This unique pizza consisted of white sauce, mozzarella, mashed potatoes, and bacon.
When I think of mashed potatoes, I think of rustic comfort foods, not pizza. While the combination seemed strange to me at first, I quickly realized whoever invented this pizza was a creative genius.
When the pizza arrived at my table, I was blown away with how massive this thing was. I ordered the small size, yet sitting in front of me was a pizza that could feed a small army. I can only imagine how many people a large pizza could feed.
If you love New York style pizza, odds are you will enjoy the thin crust of this pizza. The crust was light and airy while thick enough to keep it from falling apart from the weight of the ingredients and sauce. Each bite was crunchy and salty. Cooking the pizza inside a hot brick oven ensured a charred and smoky bottom crust.
On their own, the white sauce, mozzarella cheese, mashed potatoes, and bacon seemed simple. What made this pizza special was the combination of these ingredients.
The white sauce was rich, salty, and garlicky. The sauce will be overpowering if you don’t like garlic, . As I am a big fan of anything with garlic, I couldn’t get enough of the white sauce. Mixing in with the sauce was a thick layer of greasy mozzarella. The mixture of the white sauce and gooey cheese was amazing.
The most unique part of the pizza had to be the mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes on their own didn’t seem to add much flavor to the dish. So why mashed potatoes? The potatoes changed the complexity of the pizza, especially when paired with bacon. The gritty and buttery soft chunks of potatoes added an interesting texture and creaminess to each bite. The potatoes are a great example how something simple can still be creative when executed well.
The bacon was where all the flavor was. Each bite of the bacon added wonderful smoky and salty flavors to the rich and garlicky pizza. Not only did the bacon add tons of the flavor, it added an extra crispy and crunchy texture to each slice. The only problem with the bacon was there was not enough. For such a large pizza, I could have used more bacon. More bacon is never a bad thing.
Each ingredient seemed to compliment the other without overpowering each other. The crunchy texture of the crust and bacon worked well with the rich sauce, buttery potatoes, and melted cheese. Who knew that a pizza with mashed potatoes could be so delicious.
For such a great location in downtown San Diego, I was surprised how friendly and unpretentious the service was. All the servers seemed to have a smile on their face and seemed happy to help each guest.
There was no wait for a table, even on a busy day. Food and drinks arrived quickly and correctly.
With great food and great service, no complaints here.
The Mashed Pizza at Basic Urban Kitchen and Bar was one of the most unique and delicious pizzas I have ever had. It shows you how something so simple can be elevated when executed perfectly.
I do wish there were more craft beers on tap, but with great food, service, and vibe, there’s no reason not to stop by for a pizza and drink.
- Mashed Pizza was amazing
- Casual and cool vibe
- Friendly service
- The bar needs more craft beers
- The pizza could have used more bacon