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. Azucar

    $ | Ocean Beach | Cuban

    For a taste of Cuba in San Diego, head to this colorful Ocean Beach bakery where owner Vivian Hernandez Jackson combines her Cuban heritage...Read More

  • 2. Hodad's

    $ | Ocean Beach | Burger

    Surfers with big appetites chow down on huge, messy burgers, fries, onion rings, and shakes at this funky, hippie-beach joint adorned with beat...Read More

  • 3. The Little Lion

    $$ | Ocean Beach | American

    Amid surf shacks and hippie beach bars, this restaurant perched on stunning Sunset Cliffs feels like a hidden European bistro. The sisters who...Read More

  • 4. 3rd Corner Wine Shop and Bistro

    $$ | Ocean Beach | Wine Bar

    Enthusiasts from around the world laud this combined wine shop, bar, and cozy California bistro. Available from lunch until after midnight Tuesday...Read More

  • 5. Pizza Port

    $ | Ocean Beach | Pizza

    Rows of picnic tables, surfboard decor, and beer-brewing on-site have made this funky, friendly brewpub a block from the beach a locals’ favorite...Read More

  • 6. Raglan Public House

    $ | Ocean Beach | Burger

    Inspired by the grass-fed burgers they sampled in New Zealand, the founders of this convivial eatery set out to replicate those same high-quality...Read More

  • 7. Shades

    $ | Ocean Beach | American

    With great views of the shore, surfers and the Ocean Beach pier, this pet-friendly casual dining spot welcomes hungry beachgoers with generous...Read More

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