Cocina De Barrio Owner To Bring Esca Blu Modern Italian Restaurant To San Diego's Hillcrest

March 17, 2023

The chef/owner behind San Diego's popular Cocina de Barrio Mexican restaurants is planning to open a new modern Italian concept  in Hillcrest named Esca Blu. 

In November 2019, Chef Jose J. Flores teamed up with Swami's Cafe founder Jaime Osuna to open the first Cocina de Barrio restaurant in San Diego's Hillcrest community. In its nearly two year tenure, the all-day eatery has received rave reviews for its menu of Oaxacan-style Mexican cuisine. A second Cocina de Barrio opened last year in the space that previously housed a Swami's Cafe on West Point Loma Boulevard in the Midway area of Point Loma. The company is also working on the opening of a North County location. 

Chef Flores is in the process of taking over the space currently occupied by La Taverna on Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest, which sits less than 300 feet from Cocina de Barrio, for the opening of Esca Blu. Expect a menu of modern Italian cuisine including inventive appetizers and shareable plates, fresh made pasta, Neapolitan pizza and Italian entrees, as well as beer and wine. 

Esca Blu is anticipated to open as early as this summer at 3650 Fifth Avenue in San Diego's Hillcrest community.