The Top Restaurants in San Diego, CA
The country’s best tacos….mouthwatering, freshly caught seafood…world-class chefs….combine that with incredible weather and spectacular views, and it’s clear that San Diego really is America’s Finest City. Binge on breakfast in pacific beach, nosh on noodles in Normal Heights, and munch on tacos in Mission Hills – everyone is sure to find something to love in San Diego.
When it comes to tourists and new residents in the area, you can’t deny that the weather is incredibly appealing. San Diego is one of the most pleasant weather areas of the country, with mountains and beachside coming together for a beautiful vista nearly every day of the year. That’s why outdoor dining is huge in San Diego! We’ve outlined some of our favorite beach restaurants, outdoor dining spots, and restaurants with a view in our blogs.
We’ve mentioned beautiful beaches and fish tacos, there’s only one thing missing – a great beer to go along with it. San Diego has been called the “Craft Beer Capital of America” – they have more licensed craft breweries than any other city in the US. In addition to some of their nationally recognized breweries, there are tons of delicious microbrewery options to check off your list as well. In fact, the double IPA (it has a higher ABV and more syrupy texture than your regular IPA) was created in San Diego and is known by some as the San Diego Pale Ale. Read about all of these breweries and more in our microbrewery coverage.
Finally, we get that San Diego brings lots of young folks, in college or fresh out, looking to make their start in one of America’s most beautiful cities. That’s why we’ve focused on some more affordable spots in the San Diego area, with our list of Budget-Friendly restaurants. We’ve also uncovered some of the City’s best-hidden gems, which typically don’t have budget-breaking menus. For the inside scoop on the San Diego food scene, check out this page to find some of our all-time favorite restaurants all over San Diego!
1. Full Moon Sushi & Kitchen Bar
926 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Full Moon is among the best sushi restaurants in San Diego. The third quarter sushi specialty roll was delicious, a combination of mixed crab, shrimp tempura, Serrano, spicy tuna, and cucumber. Another recommendation is the Eclipse Roll. Other options like their filet mignon and crispy rice are also delish, but the sushi was unforgettable. It was all full of flavor and worth every penny. The ambiance is chic, and their service is exemplary. Full Moon may give off a luxurious vibe, but it is affordable. The setup is lounge-like, and we got to enjoy our selection of drinks as we ate. This spot is definitely worth another visit.
2. Balboa’s Tap House
4421 Genesee Ave, San Diego, CA 92117
Balboa’s Tap House is a nice place to hang out with a group of friends. They have plenty of seating, and they have a large assortment of menu items for big appetites. We recommend the fried zucchini or the chicken wings, all of which come with some great fries! They also offer outdoor seating that you can enjoy if the weather is permitting. Their service is consistent, and it’s a great place to watch your favorite sports team, too!
3. Harry’s Coffee Shop
7545 Girard Ave., La Jolla, CA 92037
Considered the best diner in San Diego according to San Diego Magazine, stepping into Harry’s Coffee Shop is like stepping back in time because of the classic diner aesthetic. It also happens to be the oldest family-owned restaurant in La Jolla. The menu covers all that classic diner food, but the breakfast really stands out. The California Carne Asada Breakfast Burrito comes with a heaping amount of well-seasoned carne asada, scrambled eggs, American cheese, hash browns, onions, tomatoes, and guacamole all wrapped in a giant flour tortilla. The corned beef hash and eggs is also a winner that combines classic corn beef hash with eggs and hash browns. Don’t forget to try something sweet too like their delicious pancakes.
4. Farmer’s Table Bay Park
3057 Clairemont Dr, San Diego, CA 92117
Farmer’s Table is found in Bay Park, providing you with access to an all-day Italian menu. The stunning interior features wood details. The patterned tile bar churns out great cocktails and there’s a comprehensive beer menu. Patio seating is ideal to soak up the beautiful San Diego weather. The farm-to-table menu focuses on fresh ingredients all throughout the area. It’s the perfect place for date night, though you can also check out the brunch menu on the weekend. Rustic foods such as wild boar sausage and wood-fired roast chicken make this place a hit.
5. Nine-Ten Restaurant and Bar
910 Prospect St. La Jolla, CA 92037
Looking for a finer dining experience? Then 9 out of 10 chances you are going to love the Nine-Ten restaurant! To start off, their wine list is one of their best features, and better yet, stop in on a Wednesday to take part in the discounted wine specials. Run by Jason Knibb who has worked in the restaurant industry in many countries, this restaurant will deliver the best upscale dining experience with three and four-course meals. The owner has Jamaican roots and the menu reflects that. They’re serving up some mouthwatering Jamaican jerk pork, port braised short ribs, and more. Check out Nine-Ten for some of the best fine dining in La Jolla.
6. De Luca’s Pizza
3226 Thorn St, North Park
Whether you’re in the mood for pizza fired up in a brick oven or other classic Italian entrees and seafood, De Luca’s Pizza has it all. For the pizza lovers, crusts, sauces, and doughs are all made fresh. The menu at De Luca’s includes all your classic pies like pepperoni, sausage, mushroom pizzas, and specialty pizzas with toppings like spinach and artichoke hearts. Yum! Other options include calzones, pastas, sandwiches and more tasty items.
2725 State St, Carlsbad, CA 92008
With a hip and fun environment, good service, and delicious food, you’re in for a treat when you dine at Campfire in Carlsbad. This spot was created around the spirit of a campfire, meaning sitting around drinking and eating and enjoying some great company. Start off with one of their cocktails like the “almost home” with tequila, grilled green apple, bay laurel, honey and meyer lemon. For appetizers, go for the wagyu skewers or the oysters. For dinner, they have veggie and meat options to keep any diner happy. And last but not least, it’s a no-brainer that you have to get s’mores for dessert, you are at Campfire afterall!
8. Rakiraki Ramen & Tsukemen
4646 Convoy St #102-A, San Diego, CA 92111
Rakiraki has a wide variety of authentic Japanese dishes and something they are certainly known for is their ramen . It’s also a cozy and stylish place, elevating any dining experience you have there. You can watch the chef prepare your plate while you enjoy a nice cold beer. The presentation with every plate is exceptional. They were named among the top ten hidden spots in the city. The original Hakata Tonkotsu includes broth, handcrafted noodles, bean sprouts, and soy sauce pickled egg, among other ingredients. Other meals like curry, sushi rolls, and salads are also fan favorites.
9. El Azteca Taco Shop
8306 Parkway Dr (at Jackson Dr) La Mesa, CA 91942
Open since 1959, El Azteca serves up San Diego’s best California burrito. Served on a big homemade flour tortilla stuffed with steak, rice, beans, sour cream and guacamole along with lots of Pico de Gallo. Other burrito options include shrimp and chicken that are just as tasty. El Azteca is serving up all of your favorite classic Mexican dishes, this is a spot you’ll want to check out.
10. The Nolen
453 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
For a swanky pregame or celebratory drinks after a win, The Nolen is the perfect spot. It has an incredible rooftop with views of the whole city including Petco Park! The cocktail list is great, with fun drinks like Bee’s Knees and Mary Pickford. They also have some tasty snacks to share like hot artichoke dip and tater tots. But if you’re a little more hungry and want a meal instead of apps, you can always get something more filling like chili glazed meatballs or carnitas tacos.