Looking for the best restaurants in San Diego? I’ve got you covered! San Diego has taken the restaurant industry by storm with its cutting-edge eateries opening on a monthly basis. Because of that, it can be hard to choose the San Diego Restaurants worth visiting. In this “Best Restaurants in San Diego Ultimate Guide”, I am going to break them all down for you by neighborhood so you can plan your meals properly in America’s Finest City. Enjoy!
Little Italy San Diego
Nolita Hall ($$)
Inspired by modern drinking emporiums in Europe’s legendary beer cities. Nolita Hall has an indoor/outdoor feel and the newly improved outdoor seating area is the most Instagram friendly. Furthermore, it’s perfect for a Sunday football game (they have two huge TVs) or to grab drinks with friends. Finally, the food is great too, I had the Basic B**tch Pizza and it was delicious!
Craft & Commerce ($$)
This spot has been on the hotspot list since 2009 and it’s come to be a Little Italy staple. Craft & Commerce is a chic eatery known for its unique decor (a taxidermy lion greets you as you walk in) and delicious cocktails and food. Make sure to get the shishito peppers! Finally, there is a tiki-inspired speakeasy in the back of the restaurant called False Idol that is a great way to kick off your evening.
Born & Raised ($$$$)
This iconic steakhouse takes you back into the Gatsby era with its chic design and high-class meat selection. It’s the perfect place for an indulgent and celebratory meal since it is very pricey. But the interior alone will have you coming back for more! Finally, check out the rooftop at night for a beautiful view of the twinkling San Diego skyline.
Davanti Enoteca ($$)
A family-owned Italian restaurant that is known for their incredible Foccacia bread (trust me it’s divine). They also serve shareable pizzas and classic Italian meals. Don’t forget to get an Aperol spritz to round out the meal!
Herb and Wood ($$$)
Celebrity chef Brian Malarkey is behind the deliciousness at Herb and Wood. They’re known for their rustic wood-fired dishes and craft cocktails. They offer brunch on Sundays from 10 am -3 pm (the dutch pancake is delicious). Finally, dinner entrees are served a la carte making it ideal for a family-style dinner.
Serving Mexican cuisine Javiers was put on the map by their infamous waterfront location in Newport Beach. They now have a few locations with one in La Jolla. This spot has amazing enchiladas, a chic atmosphere, and delicious cocktails (get the Paloma). It’s perfect for date night!
The Med at La Valencia ($$$)
Major Amalfi Coast vibes in the heart of La Jolla. The Med inside the iconic La Valencia Hotel is the perfect spot for California coastal cuisine. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Their brunch menu is my favorite and you simply can not miss out on the legendary cinnamon roll pictured above.
Herringbone La Jolla ($$$)
California coastal cuisine is the best way to describe Herringbone. They are well known for their high-quality seafood and meats. Lastly, the restaurant is set in a beautiful courtyard and makes for a perfect ambiance.
- Happy hour is 4-6pm Friday-Sunday and all night on Thursday
George’s at the Cove ($$$)
If you’re looking for a special occasion dinner, George’s at the Cove is the way to go. This restaurant overlooks the cove (which is hard to come by) and serves up exquisite American cuisine. They offer a course tasting menu as well. Finally, the best time to experience George’s is at sunset.
Raised by Wolves ($$$) (bar only)
Opulence and old-world charm is the name of the game at Raised by Wolves. This cocktail bar is a “speak-easy” theme (you enter the bar through a spinning chair) and is perfect for a prequel-to-date night. They don’t actually serve food but the ambiance makes up for that!
Downtown San Diego + Bankers Hill
Seneca is the newest hot spot in Downtown San Diego. Serving authentic Italian dishes with retro decor and the best part is? It’s located on a rooftop overlooking the San Diego waterfront. They serve table-side mozzarella and the “cacio e pepe” is life-changing.
Cowboy Star ($$$$)
If you’re a big fan of steak, then Cowboy Star is where it’s at for you. They are known for having the best quality meats in an intimate setting near the East Village.
La Puerta ($$)
This local jaunt downtown Mexican restaurant serves the best flautas you will ever have. They have a great night scene as well including DJs on the weekends.
Portside Pier ($-$$$)
Portside Pier is located downtown on the harbor in San Diego. There are multiple eateries that range from casual to fine dining to choose from. I highly suggest Miguel’s and make sure to order the white queso!
- Brigantine: fine seafood
- Miguel’s: upscale mexican restaurant
- Ketch Grill + Taps: casual lunch spot with a brewery up top
- Topsail: cocktails and small seafood plates
- Portside Coffee
Cucina Urbana ($$)
An oldie but a goodie! Cucina Urbana serves contemporary Italian dishes in a romantic setting. It’s perfect for date night.
The Neighborhood was completely re-designed in 2021 and Consortium Holdings never disappoints! This chic retro gastropub is known for its diverse beer selection and comfort food. We had the pierogies, burger, and blooming onion and would recommend it all! Try to get here for an early dinner because this spot is happening at night. Finally, they have two speakeasies in the back, Noble Experiment, and Youngblood.
North Park + South Park San Diego
A staple in North Park! If you love ramen, then Underbelly is your spot! Serving Japanese comfort dishes in a casual environment.
Fortunate Son ($$)
Being from New York I have a hard time finding good Chinese food restaurants. Well, Fortunate Son is my new go-to now! Their menu is simple and you can dine in or take out but whatever you do, get the crab rangoon.
Buona Forchetta ($$)
Most notably the most popular Italian restaurant in San Diego. Buona Forchetta has three locations but the original is located in South Park. It’s family-owned and they have strived to keep the Italian experience when dining authentic.
This vegan local spot is great for date night or a catch-up meal with friends. Serving a full vegan menu, craft beers, and delicious cocktails.
North County San Diego
The Waverly ($$)
The prettiest restaurant in all of North County the Waverly is best known for their daytime-inspired meals (rice bowls, salads). The decor is so chic some would say the vibes are immaculate! Finally, they have a great brunch menu.
Campfire chic is what I like to call the theme of this restaurant. Serving wood-fired American dishes. Make sure to get the smores for dessert. They bring you your own mini campfire to roast them and they’re so delicious!
Jeune et Jolie ($$$)
This french imaginative restaurant earned a Michelin star last year (the only one on this list that has one). Serving French cuisine coupled with aesthetic decor this place is nothing but elegance. Make a reservation!
Don’t miss my “A Local’s Guide to Coronado” for the best restaurants on Coronado island.
New + Noteworthy San Diego Restaurants
Callie gets its name from the Greek term “the most beautiful”. This hot new restaurant is located in the East Village and opened in 2021. Chef Travis Swikard is originally from San Diego and fell in love with the flavors from Greece, Italy, etc. So all of the dishes are inspired by Mediterranean cuisine. You need a reservation for this place!
Wolfies Carousel ($$)
The newest kid on the block in Little Italy this bar and eatery is widely known for its rotating carousel bar. This is only the 2nd rotating bar in the entire country and because of that, it’s become extremely hard to get a reservation.
Swagyu Chop Shop & Burger ($$)
Located in Pacific Beach this wagyu beef butcher shop and burger spot is the hottest kid on the block!
Rare Society ($$$)
This Trust Restaurant Group new restaurant is styled after the signature Rat Pack so expect all the vintage vibes. Owner Brad Wise has really made a name for himself in the San Diego restaurant scene. They’re known for their wood fire boiler, sustainable seafood, and classic cocktails. It opened in October 2021 so make a reservation!
That’s all she wrote folks! Thank you for reading my “San Diego Restaurants Guide for 2022” and I hope you enjoy all this city has to offer. Do you have a favorite restaurant that should be added to this list? Let me know below! For more video coverage of these restaurants head to my SD Restaurant Highlight on Instagram.
If you’re new to San Diego you can’t miss my Ultimate Guide to San Diego blog post. Finally, if you’re looking for cute coffee shops check out the Best Coffee Shops in San Diego. Enjoy America’s Finest City friends!
pin this post for later