Stone World Bistro & Gardens: Gargoyles and Growlers

Brewery Logo San Diego

Stone Bistro built an arrogant oasis in an Escondido industrial zone.

When we took a right up Citracado Parkway into an industrial area of Escondido, we were skeptical that this could be the location of a revered beer lover’s oasis, but that’s exactly what we found. Stone Brewing co-founders Greg Koch and Steve Wagner carved out a wood and stone sanctuary called Stone World Bistro & Gardens with some of the best beer in Southern California, market-driven food, and lush gardens. The setting is the opposite of satanic, but the logo is still a winged Devil-like creature hoisting a pint of beer.


Brewery San Diego

The spectacular main dining room features concrete floors, wrought-iron railings, natural wood, stonework and plants.

Floor to ceiling windows provide full views of the beer tanks in the on-site brewery. If you have time, Stone offers tours.

Brewery San Diego

Racks in the dining room showcase the full range of Stone brews, along with corresponding tap handles.

Since there were no transportation costs, beer was ridiculously cheap.

Craft Beer San Diego

The $4 flight was a great way to sample four of Stone’s signature brews: Arrogant Bastard Ale, hoppy IPA, Smoked Porter and Pale Ale. We also ordered a half-glass of Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers, which arrived warm with some nice kick.

Fish San Diego

Spicy Almond Crusted Tilapia ($16.50) elevated a delicate but mild white fish into a fairly flavorful entrée. The chef lined the tilapia with lime-flavored almonds and pan-roasted it. The accompaniments: honey butter sauce, smoky green beans, mushrooms, and cooling barley & quinoa tabouleh.

Hamburger San Diego

There was too much happening with the Grilled Buffalo Burger ($14.50). The patty itself was juicy, with a nice char, and probably didn’t need the tamarind & ginger marinade, Golden Gourmet mushrooms soaked in Arrogant Bastard Ale or roasted garlic mayo. No complaints about the buttery garlic mashed potatoes or Winchester Farms smoked Gouda ($1.50).

Stone seemed to have plenty of space, but still outsourced desserts to several local bakeries.

Dessert San Diego

The Stone Smoked Porter Cheesecake ($8.50) was pretty good, courtesy of San Diego’s Amore Cheesecakes.

I could have done without the layers of cream and dark chocolate, since they diverted focus from the beer flavoring. Overall, there was too much happening on the plate, with milk chocolate shavings, crushed pecans and milk chocolate sauce.

It’s well worth a diversion to Stone for the setting and beer. The food wasn’t spectacular, but it was solid, and Stone’s brain trust is ambitious, with a seasonal and local focus that’s at the forefront of Southern California cuisine.

Stone World Bistro & Gardens: Gargoyles and Growlers

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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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