JRDN Surf: Sky: Spirit Restaurant – Pacific Beach

JRDN is a trendy Pacific Beach restaurant that has earned accolades by reviewers such as Zagat, Discover San Diego, Gayot, Open Table, and others. The restaurant serves casual California cuisine with a sophisticated twist by day, and transforms into a chic steak and seafood restaurant by night. Diners will benefit from the eclectic culinary experiences of Chef DJ Tangalin who has worked alongside some of the best chefs in the country, including Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin, Daniel Patterson at Coi, and Iron Chef Jose Garces.

JRDN is one of the hippest restaurants in Pacific Beach, drawing in the neighborhood’s young professionals and savvy San Diego travelers. Sophisticated, trendy, and even romantic are accurate descriptors of the restaurant. Both the menu and the ambiance cater to adults.

JRDN Ambiance

The long restaurant runs parallel to the ocean and is divided almost equally between indoor and outdoor dining. The ultra-modern interior is done in neutrals and blues reflecting its beachy surroundings. A wall of floor-to-ceiling windows separates the indoor dining room from patio dining. Opposite the glass wall is a 70-foot “wave wall” that glows different colors at night. Concrete ceilings, wood and tile floors, light wood tables, and long blue-toned booths and chairs complete the look.

Located in Tower23 Hotel on the Pacific Beach boardwalk, the restaurant overlooks the beach and the Pacific Ocean. The oceanfront location affords diners the opportunity to see sunlight dancing on water at breakfast, brunch, and lunch, a dramatic sunset at dinner, or rolling waves under a bright moon at night. The expansive outdoor dining area runs the length of the restaurant with a half-wall topped by clear glass partitions that separate the patio from the boardwalk. JRDN is stylish, casual-chic.


Chef Tangalin’s passion for cooking drives him to choose the best fresh ingredients, which is reflected his simple philosophy, “I always try to remember that nature is the star of the dish, not the chef.”  He works his culinary magic with carefully sourced ingredients like humanely managed beef cuts from Schuyler Ranch, organic chicken from Mary’s Free-Range Chicken, seafood from local and sustainable sources, and fresh locally grown organic vegetables and other ingredients from Weiser Family Farms.

Every meal at JRDN begins with an amuse bouche like a Jack cheese cracker with pepper dew on top. If you aren’t familiar, amuse bouche is a small item not on the menu that the chef presents prior to the meal. The menu begins with raw bar selections, followed by starters, soups and salads, and suppers (main entrées). Guests can also choose from five butcher’s cuts including a 40-ounce Tomahawk certified Angus beef steak for two. Each cut comes with two sides, your choice of rub, and your choice of sauce.

It’s difficult to name favorites at JRDN with the Chef’s commitment to cooking what’s fresh at the moment. If it’s available, the Charred Octopus Panzanella with baby corn, chick peas, sourdough, Pedro Jimenez vinegar, and Kimchee ketchup dots is a hit. Follow it with Mary’s chicken with turnips, grilled rapini, cranberry mustardo, and celery root purée. Another option is to choose the Chef’s Whim – a six-course chef’s tasting menu available from Sunday through Wednesday.

You will 100% want to check out JRDN on the Tower23 Hotel website for their next Feast with Friends event. You may be able to catch a five-course Ocean-to-Table pop dinner, a champagne and appetizer event, a five-course meal by Chef Tangalin and another local top chef with a wine pairing, or some equally tantalizing event.

JRDN Details

JRDN is open from mid-morning to a few hours after the dinner hour, slightly later on Friday and Saturday nights. Weekend brunch is popular. Lots of local young professionals and beach-goers take advantage of Happy Hour, especially on Fridays; fun, energy, and noise are all elevated. Reservations are recommended for dinner, but not required. The restaurant is able to accommodate large parties. Valet park at Tower23 Hotel and have your parking ticket validated for three hours at JRDN; beyond that it’s $8 per hour. Street parking is a hassle and the city is quick to ticket and tow vehicles improperly parked. JRDN is ADA accessible, attire is casual, and there is outdoor seating and free Wi-Fi. The restaurant is not kid-friendly.

JRDN Neighborhood

Since JRDN restaurant is in the beachside Tower23 Hotel, a walk along the beach after breakfast, lunch, or dinner would be a relaxing and refreshing finish. Take the stairs in front of the restaurant to access the beach below. The iconic Crystal Pier is less than a block away where visitors can fish or pretend to fish. There’s a bait and tackle shop on the pier for the serious fisherman that also sells sodas, water, and candy. Crystal Pier is a great place to watch morning and evening surfers up close and take pictures. During winter, keep an eye out for passing whales and dolphins beyond the end of the pier. Of course, it’s always a good spot for a sunset too.

Bicycle Discovery on Felspar Street is a block from JRDN and a good place to rent bikes and ride along the boardwalk that connects Pacific and Mission Beaches. You can ride past the Wave House and Belmont Park in Mission Beach all the way to the jetty and Mission Bay channel separating Mission Beach from Ocean Beach. From the restaurant, it’s a short beach stroll in the opposite direction to Tourmaline Surf Park for a quieter, more relaxed vibe. If you opt for the boardwalk, there are several park benches overlooking the ocean along the way and at Palisades Park.

You can get cool souvenirs at Milton’s Shell and Gift Shop or Wahines on the boardwalk next to Crystal Pier. Make sure to walk along Garnet Avenue from the pier and explore an eclectic mix of shops, bars, and other beach-themed businesses. Don’t miss Skechers Factory Outlet and Pangaea Outpost. The Fabulous Rag Boutique has trendy women’s clothes, and Closet Signature has affordable casual wear.  All this and more is just a few blocks from Tower23. Feel free to explore the neighborhood; it’s an interesting and completely safe beach community.