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Chef Phillip Esteban CH Projects Craft & Commerce Underbelly

Chef Phillip Esteban


Chef Phillip Esteban’s Top 5 S.D. Hangouts

By Meg McGuire

Photo by Kim Marcelo


Phillip Esteban's favorite San Diego haunts.

“I’ve been so fortunate to have the opportunity to grow and expand my perspective through travel,” explains Phillip Esteban, CH Projects’ (Craft & Commerce, Underbelly and more) new chef of research and development. “The most important lesson I’ve learned—that I hope to bring to CH Projects—is the importance of self-enrichment. I want to create an environment that continues to foster leadership, knowledge, technique and character through team opportunities like farm tours and volunteering.” Here, the San Diego native, who’s held posts at NYC’s Momofuku Ssäm Bar and Marea, let’s us in on his favorite haunts in town. 

“I’ve been a huge fan of Great Maple (1451 Washington St., San Diego, 619.255.2282) since they opened. You can’t go wrong with the beignets, maple bacon donuts, scramble melts and popovers.”

“I love Moniker General’s (2860 Sims Road, San Diego, 619.255.8772) minimalist design and aesthetics.”

Mostra Coffee’s (12225 World Trade Drive, San Diego, 858.304.0061) Choco-Nana is my all-time favorite. It’s a banana milk cold brew, but there’s no actual chocolate [in the coffee]. The roast characteristics lend a perceived cocoa flavor.”

Pigment (3801 30th St., San Diego, 619.501.6318) has a little bit of everything for everyone. You can [even] get crafty by potting someone a succulent.” 

“The well-versed staff at Polite Provisions (4696 30th St., San Diego, 619.677.3784) is extremely knowledgable. They have gotten to know me and my style of poison so I usually do a dealer’s choice.”