The 10 Best Restaurants In San Diego

Pier Cafe on the Embarcadero at Seaport Village, Marina District, San Diego, California, USA
Pier Cafe on the Embarcadero at Seaport Village, Marina District, San Diego, California, USA | © Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo
Talitha Duncan-Todd

Restaurants line the streets of San Diego, one of America’s liveliest cities, and there is no shortage of great eats here. We find the 10 best restaurants in the city to try while you’re here.

1. Cucina Urbana

San Diego, CA, USA. 7th Mar, 2017. SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 7, 2017 - Joe Magnanelli, executive chef at CUCINA urbana in Bankers Hill grinds up pork shoulder for a sausage breakfast sandwich. Credit: K.C. Alfred/San Diego Union-Tribune/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live N
© ZUMA Press Inc / Alamy Stock Photo

Cucina Urbana

Culinary delight meets aesthetic bliss at San Diego’s Cucina Urbana, where dining and design form the ultimate union. The first of its kind in San Diego, the California-inspired Italian kitchen and wine shop opened its doors in 2009. Chef Joe Magnanelli’s whimsical expression of Italian classics coupled with the use of the freshest local produce, and organic and sustainable products comprise a diverse menu. Whether dining traditionally or ‘family style’, guests have become hooked on favorites such as stuffed fried squash blossoms, ricotta gnudi, braised black cod and veal piccata.

505 Laurel St, San Diego, CA, USA, +1 619-239-2222

2. Werewolf

Bar, Pub, Restaurant, Wine, Beer, American, Cocktails

Werewolf has seating for dining at a mix of booths and high top tables. Some walls are hung with TVs, others with framed portraits; a back wall that glitters gold was assembled by a score of spent bullet shells. Two signature burgers from their other bars’ menus have carried over here, in addition to a couple of favourite appetizers. The rest of the food options, from sandwiches to salads, are new and the full menu of scratch-made comfort food is offered at lunch and dinner.

3. Island Prime and C Level

Island Prime Restaurant, Shelter Island, San Diego, California, USA
© Richard Cummins / Alamy Stock Photo

Island Prime and C Level

Resting on stilts atop San Diego Bay overlooking the city skyline and Coronado, there’s nowhere better than Island Prime and C Level to enjoy a quintessential San Diego dining experience. Enjoy breathtaking views of the San Diego Bay and downtown skyline as they showcase their freshest, local ingredients. Try favorites such as their Lobster Bisque, 8oz Filet Mignon or Pan Roasted Gold Spotted Bass featuring locally sourced Weiser Farms potatoes. C Level offers outdoor, waterfront dining with a more casual menu and ambience.

880 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA, USA, +1 619-298-6802

4. Embargo Grill

Restaurant, American, Seafood, Caribbean

Embargo Grill is a not-so-new restaurant in the Point Loma area. It has been on the radar of lots of eaters lately. With the lift on Cuban trade, locals’ interests are a bit more curious about this exotic cuisine. All the sandwiches are served fresh from the grill. The grill recommends newbies start with their best seller, the Cubano, layered with house-roasted pulled pork, ham, Swiss cheese and pickles. Along with traditional meals, there’s also an option to go the healthy route with their signature Embargo Grill entrée.

5. True Food Kitchen

Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, Vegan, Fast Food, Cocktails

True Food Kitchen is an innovative new restaurant developed in partnership with Fox Restaurant Concepts and best-selling author Dr. Andrew Weil. Now open for brunch, lunch and dinner at The Fashion Valley Mall, True Food Kitchen offers a globally inspired, seasonal menu that will appeal to people of all ages seeking a more balanced lifestyle. True Food Kitchen celebrates the simple, pure flavours of quality local and regional ingredients with a menu that tastes great while nourishing your mind, body and spirit.

Homestyle Hawaiian

Homestyle Hawaiian proudly offers top-notch food catering services for all occasions. In the restaurant you can enjoy their delectable Hawaiian food including yakitori style poke, vegetarian chow, and pork roast. Try the Teri Chicken with charbroiled chicken glazed with HH’s signature Teriyaki Sauce or Katsu Chicken for a Japanese-style, deep-fried Panko-crusted chicken with a side of HH’s signature Katsu Sauce. All of their meals and sides are cooked fresh for an authentic taste.

7524 Mesa College Dr, San Diego, CA, USA, +1 858-571-5828

6. Great Maple

Restaurant, Bistro, American

Great Maple is all about appreciation for seasonal produce, responsible seafood and farm fresh American meals. And all served in a room created for relaxed drinking and conversation. Great Maple is a European bistro in America and chic restaurant with a swanky 1950s vibe. Enjoy the great signature cocktails after your meal in the evening buzz.

7. The Smoking Goat

Restaurant, French, American

The creative French-American bistro serving goat meatballs and braised short ribs draws a dedicated following to this casually elegant neighbourhood spot in North Park. The reasonable prices, including select bottles of wine offered at half-price on Wednesdays, and warm service helps to make it worth the trek from further afield. The Smoking Goat has an upscale farmhouse vibe with exposed-brick walls and a seasonal menu. The chef uses local, sustainable and organic ingredients.

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