FIRST LOOK: Karina's Restaurant Group Ready To Unveil Santa Gula Bar, Restaurant & Nightlife Destination In San Diego's Gaslamp

October 23, 2023

Dubbed Santa Gula, which translates to "holy gluttony" in Spanish, Karina's Group is nearly ready to unveil its latest bar and restaurant concept in the San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.

Founded in 1981 by Don Arnulfo Contreras and his wife María Inés Curiel, Karina's Mexican Seafood has expanded to seven locations spread around San Diego, as well as longtime restaurant Savoie Italian Eatery in Chula Vista. In 2016, the company partnered with Saffron Thai founder Su-Mei Yu to provide operational support at her historic Mission Hills restaurant and expanded the concept with a new location in La Jolla for a short time before being rebranded into now shuttered Karina's Cantina. In fall 2019, Gaslamp Quarter's 23-year-old Taka Sushi was acquired by Karina's Group. Then in late 2020, the company took over the 6,000-square-foot, two-story Gaslamp Quarter space that previously housed the short-lived Tocaya Organica and opened the most ambitious Karina Cantina restaurant to date.

Earlier this year, Karina's Group took over the 3,500 square-foot Gaslamp Quarter space last occupied by Mexican-Irish eatery The Patricios, and Dublin Square Irish Pub before that, to open a new culinary and entertainment concept named Santa Gula. Expect a multifaceted experience, amalgamating cuisine, music, and art, featuring vintage lighting, plush lounge seating, bookcases filled with curiosities, and art deco design elements. Renowned portrait and fashion photographer Greg Lotus's captivating artwork will don the walls, and the space will offer 80 seats, an inviting bar, a performance stage, and an outdoor dining area. Santa Gula will offer nightly live performances, including jazz, DJs, and a variety of other genres. 

From the menu, expect shareable plates inspired by flavors around the globe, as well asa full bar with inventive cocktails, beer and wine. From Shigoku Oysters with Kaluga Caviar to Crispy Oxtail Dumplings, Pork Belly Chicharron, and a 10 ounce Dry Aged New York Steak, the menu features a range of smaller plates that progress to larger dishes.

Santa Gula will grand open on November 3 at 554 Fourth Avenue in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter. For more information, follow Santa Gula on Instagram and check out the first photos below.