The food scene in San Diego, California, has been growing rapidly in the past few years. From authentic Mexican food to five-star dining, the city’s culinary smorgasbord has evolved to suit the needs and wants of locals and visitors alike. Here are 15 restaurants that you have to eat at in San Diego, in no particular order.
15. A.R. Valentien
A.R. Valentien may be on the pricier side, but with golf course views and an amazing menu, it’s worth dropping the extra cash. Duck two ways, scallop crudo, artichoke and prosciutto pizza, and coconut lime cake with blueberry compote. That’s just a few of the options off of this New American menu.
Plumeria is a vegetarian restaurant that won’t break the bank and will even satisfy meat eaters. The Asian inspired dishes include eggplant with steamed tofu, pumpkin curry, Tom Yum soup, spicy noodles, and mango with sticky rice. The food and the atmosphere will have you coming back again and again.
Market’s upscale cuisine features items like miso glazed black cod, lobster gazpacho, yellowtail tartar with crab, prime rib tenderloin, and blue cheese soufflé. The creativity is apparent in every one of the chef’s swanky, yet satisfying dishes. The food isn’t the only impeccable aspect of Market; the service includes a great wait staff and valet.
12. Blind Lady Ale House
If you like beer and pizza, Blind Lady Ale House is the place for you. Their craft beer menu features some of your go-to favorites as well as others that are lesser known and ever evolving. The pizza menu will blow your mind with toppings such as eggs and bacon, asparagus and lobster, summer squash, or spicy salami. The truffle oil and parmesan fries are a definite must-try as well.
11. Carnitas’ Snack Shack
Not only is Carnitas’ Snack Shack really affordable, it’s also really good. What started out as a counter-service spot turned into a great restaurant because of high demand and loyal customers. Locals will tell you their pork is the best in the area. The menu includes tacos, sandwiches, burgers, watermelon salad, and guacamole.
10. Bistro Sixty
Bistro Sixty has a cozy, casual vibe, with an eclectic and drool-worthy menu. Dishes include shrimp and goat cheese flatbread, poached pear salad, maple rosemary salmon, lobster mac-n-cheese, and filet mignon with veal demi-glaze. Bistro Sixty also offers a great selection of wines along with an amazing staff who can help you properly pair it with your meal.
9. Café Chloe
Café Chloe is a French restaurant in the East Village that transports you to Paris with its atmosphere and awesome food. Did I mention that it’s affordable? They serve brunch as well as dinner and the menus include a mushroom tart, pancakes with smoked bacon, lavender lemonade, oysters, pistachio bread pudding, seared fois gras, sorbet mimosas, apple cinnamon crêpes, and lemon poppyseed macaroons. Bon appétit!
Searsucker’s upscale dining experience is everything you could want; home-style food with a modern and impressive twist. The menu boasts duck fat fries, biscuits and gravy with sage and sausage, mussels with beer sauce, brown butter cake, green eggs and ham, eggs benedict with crab, and corn off the cob with chorizo.
Taco Tuesdays are about to get real. Puesto serves Mexican street food, with a menu that features many different kinds of tacos; including tuna, shrimp, filet mignon, lobster, lamb, and crab with guacamole. The list is endless. Also, Puesto’s tacos are made with all-natural meat, sustainable seafood, and local organic greens, so there’s really no reason not to eat them.
8. Bankers Hill
Near Balboa Park, Bankers Hill’s dinner menu showcases a roasted red beet salad, a fig bruschetta, and cumin-garlic chicken meatballs, among other delicious options. Then there’s bourbon spiced apple French toast and a smoked beef brisket hash among the options on the brunch menu. As for drinks during happy hour? Names like Painkiller, Fig Poppa, and Beast of Bourbon are sure to be crowd pleasers.
5. Bread & Cie
Bread & Cie is a bakery that you can’t miss out on. Aside from great coffee, they offer customers an abundance of baked goods such as cinnamon croissants, chocolate raspberry tortes, macaroons, and red velvet cupcakes. Not to worry, they also ace the savory stuff as well with paninis like brie and honey, or turkey and pesto, along with quiches, homemade soup, and rosemary bread.
4. The Marine Room
The Marine Room is a great place to indulge in some high-end food. It’s pricey but it’s worth it, with dishes like lobster bisque, caramelized organic tofu, elderflower pot de crème, pistachio coated prawns, rack of lamb, and tiger eye ahi tuna. They even have butter with volcano salt! The restaurant’s ocean view is famous for being one of the best views in the whole city.
3. CUCINA urbana
Affordable Italian food in a rustic yet stylish environment, that’s what you’ll find at CUCINA urbana. The restaurant boasts amazing service, and the menu has something for everyone. There’s meatball pizza, mushroom and truffle oil pizza, rabbit ravioli, risotto carbonara with pancetta, grilled octopus, pine nut pasta, and stuffed squash blossoms.
Addison is as fancy, and as delicious, as they come. The menu is set, and the food is paired with the perfect wine. Some dishes that have been featured include wild salmon with seaweed, charred octopus, fig salad, king crab with avocado and curry, coffee roasted duck breast, escargot, Kobe beef short rib, veal with black truffle, and a mint ice cream sandwich.
1. George’s at the Cove
The only problem with George’s at the Cove is that you’ll want everything off the menu. With dishes like roasted free-range chicken breast, chimichurri marinated skirt steak, grilled Atlantic salmon, and red wine braised short ribs, it’s impossible to decide. And the restaurant’s view of the ocean is just as good as the food.