If Balboa Park is the sure-thing place for entertaining out-of-town visitors, D.Z. Akin’s is the can’t-go-wrong mega-diner for finicky eaters. Many a picky uncle, cousin or mother-in-law has been appeased by the San Diego mainstay’s tomelike menu of nearly 200 (!) breakfasts, traditional deli-style dinners (including liverwurst, brisket, corned beef, and mmm, tongue), malt-shop desserts, hearty salads, cold-fish meals, and an encyclopedic list of high-quality hot and cold sandwiches.
The name stands for Debi and Zvika Akin, former Angelenos who brought their “delicatexcellence” (my word) to San Diego in January 1980. Though not a kosher restaurant, offerings such as “Jewish Penicillin” (chicken broth with noodles), matzoh ball soup and stuffed-kishka platters will please your inner mensch.
Expect to fill up or walk away with a to-go box; even the delectable Chicago-Style Hot Dog ($7.95) packs a comforting wallop. Located at 6930 Alvarado Road, just south of Interstate 8 near the 70th Street exit, finding the place couldn’t be easier, but unflagging popularity often makes parking competitive.
The array of booths is expansive, the vibe upbeat and folksy (check out the endless series of signed celebrity photos), and service is efficient, friendly and fast—though if you’re famished you can nosh on plump table pickles while waiting for your order.
D.Z. Akin’s offers takeout, catering and party-platter services. Better yet, check out their gift shop, counter deli and kaleidoscopic dessert display, known to mesmerize many an indecisive sweet tooth (hint: try the German Chocolate Ding Dong).