While playing tourist guide through San Diego, one of my visiting foreign friends wanted to try an “American” pizza (as opposed to an Italian one, which she has already had in Italy). Sammy’s Wood Fired Pizza is in the heart of the famous Gaslamp district, so it was an easy lunch stop before we headed over to Old Town.

After we looked over the menu, no one wanted pizza; we opted for a salad, rolled tacos, and Ahi sliders instead. It is surprising how easily swayed from our original choice we can all be when it comes to food. It was also surprising how good the non-pizza food was at a place named as a pizza restaurant. Sammy’s was in the top five places named by Zagat eaters in San Diego, so the locals already know what we were about to found out; Sammy’s has something to please every kind of palate.

We chose the grilled shrimp salad with mixed greens, bell peppers, feta, roasted sunflower seeds, scallions, cilantro, grilled garlic shrimp, and a Balsamic basil dressing (which is made fresh daily); the rolled steak tacos with marinated steak, guacamole, pepper jack, scallions, cilantro, and served with salsa; and the Ahi sliders with ginger miso sauce and cucumbers. The service was very professional, but misunderstood the salad order, bringing out a grilled chicken balsamic salad (pictured) instead of the grilled shrimp salad we ordered. Our server apologized profusely for her mistake, but it did not bother us since we were sharing plates. The kitchen immediately made us the correct order and the manager offered us the Balsamic chicken salad gratis.

When the shrimp salad finally came, it was thoroughly enjoyed by my friend who said she loved the slightly sweet dressing and the slightly spicy shrimp. My other friend loved everything about her rolled steak tacos, from the salsa to the coleslaw that came with them; she said the steak was juicy, tender and perfectly balanced with the other ingredients in the tacos. My Ahi sliders came on delightfully soft slightly sweet rolls (think Hawaiian bread), with a slice of cucumber and the dressing. Although I found the sliders themselves tasty, they could have been hotter (they arrived barely warm); the fries on my order were also barely warm, so I suspect they may have made my order first as the kitchen waited for the other orders at my table to be completed.

We were all full from our meals and tried to have them take the mistaken salad order back, but they said it would be thrown out if we didn’t take it, so we bagged it to go. We ended up giving it away to some hungry people at Horton Plaza; some people in the park ate a very nice lunch that day.

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