San Diego Restaurants

San Diego is an up-and-coming culinary destination, thanks to its stunning Pacific Ocean setting, proximity to Mexico, diverse population, and the area’s extraordinary farming community. Increasingly the city’s veteran top chefs are being joined by a new generation of talented chefs and restaurateurs who are adding stylish restaurants with innovative food and drink programs to the dining scene at a record pace. Yes, visitors still are drawn to the San Diego Zoo and miles of beaches, but now they come for memorable dining experiences as well.

The city’s culinary scene got a significant boost when San Diego emerged as one of the world’s top craft beer destinations, with artisan breweries and gastropubs now in almost every neighborhood. San Diego also was on the cutting edge of the farm-to-table, Slow Food movement. Local sourcing is possible for everything from seafood to just-picked produce from a host of nationally recognized producers like Chino Farms and Carlsbad Aquafarm. The city’s ethnically diverse neighborhoods with their modest eateries offering affordable authentic international cuisines add spice to the dining mix.

San Diego’s distinct neighborhoods have their own dining personalities with friendly restaurants and bistros catering to every craving in this sun-blessed city. The trendy Gaslamp Quarter delights visitors looking for a broad range of innovative and international dining and nightlife, while bustling Little Italy offers a mix of affordable Italian fare and posh new eateries. Modern restaurants and cafés thrive in East Village, amid the luxury condos near PETCO Park.

The Uptown neighborhoods centered on Hillcrest—an urbane district with San Francisco flavor—are a mix of bars and independent restaurants, many of which specialize in ethnic cuisine. North Park, in particular, has a happening restaurant and craft beer scene, with just about every kind of cuisine you can think of, and laid-back prices to boot. And scenic La Jolla offers some of the best fine dining in the city with dramatic water views as an added bonus.

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  • 1. Blind Lady Ale House

    $$ | Normal Heights | Pizza

    There's almost no combination on earth as satisfying as pizza and beer—which just happen to be Blind Lady's specialties. The old-world-style...Read More

  • 2. Buona Forchetta

    $ | South Park | Italian

    A golden-domed pizza oven, named Sofia after the owner’s daughter, delivers authentic Neapolitan-style pizza to fans who often line up for patio...Read More

  • 3. Hodad's

    $ | Ocean Beach | Burger

    Surfers with big appetites, and fans of Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, chow down on huge, messy burgers, fries, onion rings,...Read More

  • 4. Liberty Public Market

    $ | Liberty Station | International

    The city's former Naval Training Center is home to more than 30 vendors so even the pickiest of diners will be pleased. Options include tacos...Read More

  • 5. The Cottage

    $ | American

    A cozy beach cottage sets the stage for American comfort food with a California twist at this La Jolla staple. The restaurant serves lunch and...Read More

  • 6. The Crack Shack

    $ | Little Italy | American

    Next to his successful fine-dining restaurant, Juniper and Ivy, celebrity chef Richard Blais has opened this more casual eatery complete with...Read More

  • 7. Blackmarket Bakery SD

    $ | University Heights | Bakery

    Employing the motto "If your grandmother wouldn't bake with it, we won't either," Blackmarket Bakery emphasizes that all its creations are made...Read More

  • 8. Blue Water Seafood

    $ | Ocean Beach | Seafood

    Portions and prices are on point at this OB seafood hole-in-the-wall where dining is a three-step process—choose your fish, pick your marinade...Read More

  • 9. Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill

    $ | Mission Hills | Seafood

    Blame a television segment by Guy Fieri on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” for the long lines of fans from around the globe. But it’s the fresh...Read More

  • 10. Con Pane Rustic Breads & Cafe

    $ | Point Loma | Café

    The scent of fresh-baked bread whets the appetite of customers at this Liberty Station bakery and café seeking rustic scones or raisin brioche...Read More

  • 11. Craveology

    $ | Balboa Park | American

    Enjoy views of the Bea Evenson Fountain from the patio of this quick lunch option outside the Fleet Science Center. The menu offers everything...Read More

  • 12. Hash House A Go Go

    $$ | Hillcrest | American

    Big caloric portions and long lines are hallmarks of this Southern-accented comfort food destination where hungry regulars from near and far...Read More

  • 13. Kono's Café

    $ | Pacific Beach | American

    Surfers, bicyclists, and sun worshippers visiting or living in Pacific Beach line up at the counter of this casual seaside café for hearty breakfasts...Read More

  • 14. Little Italy Food Hall

    $ | Little Italy | Fusion

    A recently opened, chic update on the food court, Food Hall brings together a half dozen different innovative food counters to offer quick bites...Read More

  • 15. Michele Coulon Dessertier

    $ | Café

    The desserts are magnificent at this small, charming shop in the heart of La Jolla, where dessertier Michele Coulon confects wonders, using...Read More

  • 16. Nomad Donuts

    $ | North Park | Café

    The doughnuts at Nomad are big, fluffy, colorful, and would make Homer Simpson drool. Its rotating menu of internationally inspired doughnut...Read More

  • 17. Ortega's Bistro

    $$ | Hillcrest | Mexican

    Seafood lovers have long flocked to Puerto Nuevo, the “lobster village” just south of San Diego in Baja California, Mexico. When a family that...Read More

  • 18. Pacific Beach Fish Shop

    $ | Pacific Beach | Seafood

    Also known as the Fish Shop, this is a favorite among locals. Peruse the customizable menu that lets diners select a type of fish, marinade...Read More

  • 19. Piatti La Jolla

    $ | Italian

    Blocks from the beach in La Jolla Shores, this comfortably modern dining room and shaded patio hits all the right notes—affordable, polished...Read More

  • 20. Point Loma Seafoods

    $ | Point Loma | Seafood

    When fishing boats unload their catch on-site, a seafood restaurant and market earns the right to boast that they offer “the freshest thing...Read More

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