Esca Blu All-Day Italian Restaurant Closes In San Diego's Hillcrest After Only Six Months In Business

December 19, 2023

After only six months in business, Cocina de Barrio's modern Italian offshoot Esca Blu has already closed in San Diego's Hillcrest.

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 three year tenure, the all-day eatery has received rave reviews for its menu of Oaxacan-style Mexican cuisine. A second Cocina de Barrio opened in late 2021 in the space that previously housed a Swami's Cafe on West Point Loma Boulevard in the Midway area of Point Loma. The company also opened a third area location of Cocina De Barrio in Encinitas.

Earlier this year, Chef Flores took over the space previously occupied by La Taverna on Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest, which sits less than 300 feet from the first Cocina de Barrio, for the opening of Esca Blu. Opened in early June, Esca Blu offered a menu of modern Italian cuisine including daily brunch options, as well as a full bar. 

After only six months in operation, Esca Blu unceremoniously shuttered recently without explanation. We reached out to ownership and they confirmed the team has decided to devote their time to Cocina de Barrio locations. They currently do not have a definitive plan for the space. It may reopen as Esca Blu once Chef Jose finds time to invest in it or they may change concepts.