A beautiful Southern California coastal city with temperate weather, San Diego has a thriving culinary scene representing a wide range of cuisine. Diners have numerous options to choose from, whether they require a cosy eatery or a coastal restaurants with incredible views. Here are our favourite restaurants in San Diego.
Bertrand at Mister A’s
Restaurant, North American, $$$
Owned by restaurateur Bertrand Hug, the eponymous Bertrand at Mister A’s is an award-winning fine-dining restaurant featuring modern American cuisine imbued with French and Mediterranean flavours as well as an extensive wine list and signature cocktails. Whether in the casual yet elegant interior or outside on a balcony complete with stunning views of San Diego, diners can feast upon seasonal lunch, dinner and brunch dishes. Between the incredible view, delectable fare and attentive service, it is one culinary experience not to be missed.
San Diego is known for its large and rapidly growing craft brewing community, with Blind Lady Ale House being an outstanding highlight. Named one of ‘America’s 100 Best Beer Bars’ several years running, this simultaneously lively and laid-back venue features a custom designed direct draw system, which serves the 26 draft beers on tap, faster and fresher. BLAH also offers a menu of house-made sausages and other meat specialties, Neapolitan-style pizza and numerous other tasty edibles made with local seasonal products and special imported Italian ingredients. Within a rustic interior, complete with a large collection of vintage beer cans, visitors can savour mouth-watering highlights, such as the chorizo pizza.
Restaurant, North American, South American, European, $$$
Paying homage to the famous New York City borough, Brooklyn Girl Eatery is a warm and inviting restaurant and oyster bar featuring farm-to-table American fare located in Mission Hills. Established in 2011 by Michael McGeath and his wife Victoria, who is from Brooklyn, the restaurant’s culinary team procures the freshest sustainable ingredients available from local sources. Within a lofty and light-filled interior, guests have a delicious array of dishes at their fingertips, which can change daily and have included Colorado lamb sirloin with risotto, fava beans, English peas and a vegetable lasagne with squash, spinach, mushrooms, basil-parsley pesto, goat’s cheese, and ricotta. With gluten-free options available as well as craft beer and wine, this tasty neighbourhood restaurant will satisfy all appetites.
Established in 2009 by Tracy Borkum in the heart of Banker’s Hill, Cucina Urbana is a casual dining house specialising in mouth-watering Italian cuisine influenced by Californian flavours. Proudly offering affordablility, the restaurant features a diverse menu of dishes all made with local and seasonal ingredients. A modern rustic interior complete with sustainable and reclaimed materials relaxes diners as they feast upon enticing dishes. An extensive wine list plus handcrafted cocktails round out the menu at this friendly eatery.
Offering guests a taste of San Diego, George’s California Modern features locally sourced ingredients in its regional American cuisine. Upon entering this establishment, discerning diners will find a beautifully decorated interior with contemporary wool art by Dutch artist Claudy Jongstra. Inside the kitchen, executive chef and partner Trey Foshee and the culinary team create amazing dishes for his à la carte and tasting menus that will appeal to both meat-eaters and vegans. Notable entrées include California lamb with pear, harissa yogurt, almond, cous cous and roasted salisfy or the vegetable paella with sofrito, Chino Farms vegetables and saffron aioli. For those wishing to end their meal with something sweet, handmade doughnuts with several dipping sauces cannot be beaten.
Hanna’s Gourmet was originally a catering company that received so much acclaim that the owner decided to open a café, offering the general public a chance to sample the delicious cuisine. Open for lunch and dinner from Wednesday to Saturday as well as a weekend brunch, the menus change frequently. If visiting for brunch, try the delicious eggs à la Marrakech baked in ground lamb infused with cinnamon, red pepper, and tomato sauce, topped with feta and mint.
Described as a ‘left coast cookery’ and serving creative New American cuisine, this Little Italy venue has Executive Chef and partner Richard Blais at the helm and features a frequently changing menu. Within a modern and inviting space complete with exposed beams and colourful art guests can feast upon a host of delectable treats from snacks and raw dishes to plates both small and large.
Founded in 2011 by Juan Montes de Oca, Oscar’s Mexican Seafood specialises in Mexican cuisine with an emphasis on seafood. Popular with tourists and locals alike, this eatery now has a total of three locations in which diners can savour tacos, ceviche and fish stew. Dishes loved by locals include the battered fish taco served with cabbage, onion, tomato and cilantro; New York steak taco topped with a mixture of cabbage, onion, tomato and cheese; and the fisherman’s torta with spicy shrimp and scallops. Open every day, this budget-friendly eatery only accepts cash.
Located in the heart of University Heights, Plumeria features vegetarian and vegan Thai cuisine. Serving lunch and dinner seven days a week, this modern space has a beautiful floral patterned wall, creating a calming environments. Procuring the best ingredients, which often include organic fare, the team has created a vast and flavourful menu offering everything from starters, greens and entrées to house specialties and desserts. For a full and satisfying meal, guests may start with crispy tofu in a peanut sauce followed by the spicy basil pumpkin, stir fried vegetables and pumpkin with basil and tofu.
A late-night venue, Starlite features slow-cooked food and handcrafted cocktails plus a Sunday brunch, all within a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere. Featuring an award-winning architectural modern design, complete with a stainless steel chandelier alongside natural elements, such as walnut panelling, the interior has a distinct swanky vibe sure to impress. The cuisine is equally impressive with a creative menu that changes frequently to reflect the freshest ingredients procured locally. Some delectable highlights include the organic fried cauliflower served with curry aioli and pan-roasted jidori chicken with whole-wheat cavatelli, merquez sausage, radicchio and orange pan jus. For a tantalising drink, try the velvet diablo, which is Azunia blanco tequila, ginger beer, house-made falernum, crème de cassis and lime.