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The Best Restaurants in San Diego
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The Best Restaurants in San Diego

On the hunt for delicious cuisine? Read on to discover San Diego's best restaurants. From tacos to farm-to-fork, you'll love it all.

Jessica Bradford

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5 min read

May 20, 2021

Wondering where you can go with your beau to eat the best food in San Diego? Thankfully in America’s Finest City—one of the best weekend getaways from L.A.—there are plenty of hot spot dining options to take your S.O. Whether it’s oceanfront views, prime entertainment, or international cuisine that you’re craving, this locale has you covered. It’s time to take things up a notch and try the best restaurants in San Diego now. 

The best places to eat fresh food in san diego

Ah, isn't this simply divine? We can't wait to take a bite. Photo courtesy of The Duck Dive.

The Duck Dive

Duck Dive's proximity to the beach, paired with fresh food and a laid-back atmosphere, makes it one of the best places to eat in San Diego. Brunch is the restaurant’s most popular attraction, drawing crowds from across the county, and the delicious ahi poke dish is one of Duck Dive’s most beloved lunch and dinner items. Enjoy the delectable combination of fresh yellowfin tuna, olive oil, jalapeño, avocado, and chili sauce, served with crispy wonton strips.

Tajima

Though San Diego boasts plenty of delicious places to eat ramen, Tajima has been satisfying the city’s growing hunger for authentic Japanese cuisine and ramen since 2001. All six locations offer a variety of tasty ramen dishes made from scratch, as well as appetizers and rice bowls. The broth for Tajima’s ramen takes approximately 12 hours to brew, resulting in a rich and creamy taste you won’t find anywhere else.

Excuse us while we drool over these scrumptious tacos. What's your favorite? Photo courtesy of City Tacos.

City Tacos

City Tacos, home to some of the best Mexican food in San Diego, welcomes guests to savor a unique twist on classic taco selections. The beloved taqueria has seven locations across San Diego and boasts innovative recipes such as the house favorite Mexicali taco—featuring grilled arrachera steak, onions, poblano peppers, and mashed potatoes over melted asadero cheese, all topped with crema fresca. The menu features options for every palate, with paleo and vegetarian options available. Pair any dish with a refreshing agua fresca or a Mexican soda.

Which grilled cheese will you choose? Photo courtesy of Grater Grilled Cheese.

Grater Grilled Cheese

Dedicated to making the world a grater place—one grilled cheese at a time—Grater Grilled Cheese is home to decadent, gourmet grilled cheese creations. The fast-casual San Diego eatery is the best restaurant to pick up a quick and savory meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Each sandwich features the brand’s signature ‘basic 5’ cheese base, a combination of five cheese slices, melted in with fun ingredients. Popular creations include the lobster grilled cheese, Texas BBQ, and the Philly cheese grilled cheese which includes seasoned sirloin steak, roasted red peppers, and grilled onions.

Farmer’s Bottega

Nestled in the heart of Mission Hills, Farmer’s Bottega boasts a rustic ambiance and farm-to-fork dining. Indulge in sweet or savory dishes for brunch or dinner. Signature menu items include the lemon poppy pancakes, oxtail ravioli, and short rib lasagna featuring bechamel, parmesan, arugula, and roasted tomatoes. This San Diego restaurant is open to indoor and outdoor dining, so enhance your experience and enjoy the breeze on the spacious back patio.

The best seafood restaurants in san diego

Mmm, oysters for the win. When do you plan on heading to Waterbar for a feast? Photo courtesy of Waterbar.

Waterbar 

Waterbar’s unparalleled ocean views make it a true dining gem in Pacific Beach and one of the best seafood restaurants in San Diego. Equipped with an ocean-view patio as well as limited capacity indoor dining with shore-facing, floor-to-ceiling windows, this coastal chic eatery is best known for its seafood offerings. From clam chowder—an iconic California dish—and shrimp and whitefish ceviche to seasonal watermelon salad and UK fish ‘n’ chips, Waterbar aims to curb all seafood cravings while lending a coastal dining experience suited to San Diego’s stunning scenery.

Fish Shop

Fish Shop's three locations—Pacific Beach, Encinitas, and Point Loma—all allow guests to create their own customizable dishes by selecting a choice of fresh fish, marinade or seasoning, and cooking style. The possibilities are endless; diners can create tacos, salads, plates, or sandwiches. Guests can also choose from favorites like scallops or coconut shrimp. Each location is both family and dog-friendly!

Is there anything more satisfying than the Keto bowl? Photo courtesy of Mavericks Beach Club.

Mavericks Beach Club

San Diego’s one-stop spot is Mavericks Beach Club in Pacific Beach. The multi-level entertainment complex features over 38 TVs, along with daily entertainment including comedy shows, trivia nights, doggy events, and more. The menu at Mavericks is filled with some of San Diego’s best seafood entrees like the citrus shrimp bowl or mahi mahi tostados. The best part? Mavericks pays homage to California’s largest surf break, capturing and celebrating California’s infectious beach and surf culture. It’s the perfect place to chill after a day spent splashing around San Diego.

Operacaffe

Situated in Downtown San Diego, the Gaslamp Quarter’s staple Italian restaurant Operacaffe is beloved for the best crave-worthy entrée specialties, such as ravioli aragosta, featuring homemade pasta stuffed with ricotta cheese and spinach, and bathed in a light pink sauce with artichokes and lobster meat. If ravioli isn’t your meal, sample the Tortelli di Granchio—homemade jumbo tortellini stuffed with Alaskan king crab and shrimp in a buttery thyme, rosemary, sage, and shallot sauce cooked with a touch of cream.

The popular eatery also offers an array of freshly baked cookies. Treat yourself to mini tarts with your choice of filling (jam, custard, nuts, chocolate, or fruit), as well as chocolate-dipped cookies made with your choice of almond paste or shortbread, among other baked creations.

On the hunt for a scrumptious feast? Look no further. This delicious bowl awaits ya. Photo courtesy of El Cruce +241.

El Cruce +241

Baja-inspired kitchen, tap-room and wine bar, El Cruce +241 is located along Chula Vista’s historic Third Avenue and offers the quintessential Baja experience without having to cross the border. The Baja-inspired menu features an array of fresh seafood dishes including ceviche campechano, oysters sourced directly from Baja, and heartier options such as birria tacos, duck tacos, and steak.

The best barbecue in san diego

Smokey and The Brisket 

La Mesa’s new barbecue addition, Smokey and The Brisket, serves up some of San Diego’s most fantastic barbecue. Expect next-level slabs of ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and chicken specialties, slow-cooked in the on-site smoker, and prepared with top-notch spices and smoking techniques. Flatbread selections bring the same caliber of quality, touting handcrafted dough and innovative toppings that fuse the worlds of barbecue and Italian cuisine. To experience the combination of two fares, try the smoked meat lovers’ and roasted veggie flatbreads. Guests can start their engines with smoked chicken wings or brussels sprouts with bacon and mission figs. 

Craving a burger? You know exactly where you to go. Photo courtesy of The Original 40 Brewing Company.

The Original 40 Brewing Company

Situated along University Avenue in North Park, The Original 40 Brewing Company is housed in an expansive and thoughtfully adorned space. The eatery is indicative of the neighborhood’s eclectic and modern charm, and features a patio perfect for an alfresco lunch. The Original 40’s crave-worthy menu items are what make it one of the staples of San Diego’s dining scene. Be sure to savor the grilled vegetable board and baby back adobo ribs, followed by the OG burger and house-made fries. You just might learn how to BBQ like a California pitmaster!

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