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. A.R. Valentien

    $$$$ | La Jolla | American

    Champions of in-season, fresh-today produce, the chefs at this cozy room in the luxurious, Craftsman-style Lodge at Torrey Pines have made A...Read More

  • 2. George's at the Cove

    $$$$ | American

    La Jolla's ocean-view destination restaurant includes three distinct levels: California Modern on the bottom floor, the Level2 bar in the middle...Read More

  • 3. 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

  • 4. Bistro du Marché

    $$$ | French

    Bringing Paris to La Jolla, acclaimed chef Jean Michel Diot unveils bistronomie cuisine, a culinary concept that blends bistro favorites with...Read More

  • 5. Brockton Villa

    $$ | American

    One of the few restaurants with a view that's also worth eating at, Brockton Villa is tucked in an historic cottage on a hillside above La Jolla...Read More

  • 6. Cody's La Jolla

    $ | American

    This cozy dining spot in a converted house a block from beautiful La Jolla Cove and Park serves up ocean views and tasty contemporary American...Read More

  • 7. El Pescador Fish Market

    $ | Seafood

    This bustling fish market and café in the heart of La Jolla Village has been popular with locals for its super-fresh fish for more than 30 years...Read More

  • 8. Galaxy Taco

    $$ | La Jolla | Mexican

    This casual eatery focuses on high-quality Mexican food like tacos—fish, chicken, mushroom, steak, and avocado—made from non-GMO heirloom corn...Read More

  • 9. George's at the Cove

    $$ | American

    This restaurant complex may be one of the best-known spots in La Jolla for its incredible views of La Jolla Cove. Although the main restaurant...Read More

  • 10. Herringbone

    $$$ | La Jolla | Seafood

    If the food doesn’t get you, the setting certainly will with its brick courtyard reminiscent of a shipping yard with crates of blowfish, antique...Read More

  • 11. 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

  • 12. NINE-TEN

    $$$ | American

    Accolades continue to roll in for executive chef Jason Knibb—winner of an award of excellence by Wine Spectator in 2018—whose seasonal menus...Read More

  • 13. Osteria Romantica

    $ | Italian

    Two guys who grew up in Italy founded this cozy La Jolla Shores eatery in 2004 to bring authentic Italian food to residents and visitors of...Read More

  • 14. Shorehouse Kitchen

    $ | American

    This casual indoor-outdoor eatery in Lo Jolla Shores has a sprawling outdoor patio perfect for leisurely lunches with friends and family. Surfers...Read More

  • 15. The Cheese Shop

    $ | American

    Located in the heart of La Jolla Shores, this is a great place to grab a quick lunch or picnic provisions. The sandwiches are excellent, and...Read More

  • 16. The Cottage

    $ | La Jolla | 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

  • 17. The Hake

    $$$ | La Jolla | International

    A 2016 renovation has brought on a new chef, menu, and ocean view at this restaurant situated in pedestrian-friendly La Jolla Village. The clean...Read More

  • 18. The Marine Room

    $$$$ | American

    It’s hard to dine closer to the Pacific than at this venerable La Jolla Shores mainstay. Two-story-tall windows capture beachgoers, kayakers...Read More

  • 19. Trilogy Sanctuary

    $ | La Jolla | Vegetarian

    Perched on a rooftop in La Jolla, this cafe features mindful menu of bowls, tacos, and other creative entrées that are all 100% organic, vegan...Read More

  • 20. Whisknladle

    $$$ | American

    This hip eatery has won national acclaim for its combination of casual comfort and a menu of ever-changing local fare. In nice weather, request...Read More

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