Fun Things To Do In San Diego

Best Restaurants in San Diego

Best Restaurants in San Diego

When you’re in San Diego, you’re never short of choice when it comes to eating out. This coastal city boasts a diverse array of eateries, but pinpointing the best restaurants can be tricky. San Diego has attracted some of the finest chefs from around the globe, each bringing unique tastes and concepts that contribute to a rich and evolving food landscape. To help you navigate through the city’s extensive choices, we’ve curated a list of the top restaurants in San Diego in each district to make your dining decisions easier.

Downtown San Diego

Fig Tree Cafe  

Fig Tree Café in downtown San Diego is a brunch lover’s dream, offering a taste of California’s rich culinary culture at prices that won’t break the bank. As you step inside, you’re greeted by a warm, welcoming atmosphere that complements the mouthwatering menu. From Breakfast Sushi to Fig Jam & Ricotta Cheese Stuffed French Toast, the café’s dishes are a delightful mix of creativity and tradition.

Beyond the food, Fig Tree Café is a haven for those who appreciate a good morning cocktail. Their brunch libations are as unique as they are delicious, with options like their signature Fig Tree Mule and Spicy Strawberry Margarita. The brunch menu caters to a range of tastes, including matcha and strawberry pancakes topped with green tea glaze and house-made whipped cream, as well as Braised Angus Beef Short Ribs Benedict for heartier appetites. Whether you’re indulging in a vegan Bloody Mary or enjoying a classic mimosa, this spot is a must-visit for a satisfying brunch experience in San Diego.

Address: 695 Sixth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

Callie 

Callie in East Village San Diego blends the rich flavors of the Mediterranean with fresh ingredients of Southern California. The restaurant offers a range of locally sourced ingredients from farmers and fishermen in the greater San Diego region, resulting in a menu that’s as diverse as it is delicious. The “Cuisine du Soleil” concept brings together light, bright, and bold flavors.

Start with their unique bread and spread options, featuring hummus and taramasalata, before exploring the raw and cured section with dishes like Japanese Kanpachi, served with green Israeli “hot sauce,” black lime, and avocado, or the 24-month Parma ham with house-cultured butter and toasted baguette. For heartier options, explore the pastas, such as duck and kurobuta sausage ragu, or the salads and veggies menu. When it comes to mains, Callie offers land and sea selections like the line-caught market fish with seasonal garnish, grilled lamb merguez dolmas, and chargrilled hanger steak. To complete the experience, consider indulging in their curated five-course family-style menu, where wine pairings can transform your evening into a memorable dining event, from dips to dessert.

Address: 1195 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

Herb & Wood

Located in downtown San Diego, Herb & Wood is the creation of celebrated Chef Brian Malarkey, offering a timeless, memorable dining experience. Known for its rustic, wood-fired dishes, the menu features Mediterranean flavors and an emphasis on seasonality and sustainability, with an array of freshly made pasta, wood-fired pizzas, and delectable entrees like Roasted Baja Shrimp, Roasted Oysters & Bone Marrow, and Venison Tartare. Complementing the cuisine, the handcrafted cocktail menu includes unique options such as vodka & pineapple and mezcal & banana, along with a curated selection of classic wine and beer, making Herb & Wood an ideal spot for a memorable evening out.

Address: 2210 Kettner Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101

Pacific Beach

JRDN

If you’re in the mood for oceanfront dining with a modern twist, JRDN in Pacific Beach at Tower 23 hotel is the place to be. With its prime location overlooking the sandy shores of Pacific Beach, this restaurant offers stunning views and a menu that complements its coastal setting. One moment you could be admiring the Pacific Ocean, and the next, enjoying a plate of Ahi Poke Nachos alongside a Chili Mango Margarita. JRDN is the perfect spot to soak up the sun, people-watch, and indulge in refined surf ‘n’ turf dishes, all while basking in a chic atmosphere that embodies San Diego’s laid-back yet stylish vibe.

Address: 723 Felspar St, San Diego, CA 92109

Costa Brava

Costa Brava in Pacific Beach is a local gem that brings the flavors of Spain to San Diego’s coastline. This Pacific Beach restaurant serves Spanish-style tapas and refreshing sangria in a rustic atmosphere that will make you feel like you’re in Barcelona.. Whether you’re in the mood for traditional dishes or innovative interpretations, Costa Brava has you covered with delicacies like paella and Lubina al Cava, a fresh sea bass cooked in cava with dates and figs, served on a bed of spinach sautéed with bacon. If you prefer a seafood medley, try the Zarzuela de Mariscos with prawns, fish, scallops, clams, and mussels in a rich marinara sauce. Don’t miss the happy hour deals, which are sure to keep you coming back for more.

Address: 1653 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

Old Town San Diego

Cafe Coyote

Cafe Coyote in Old Town San Diego has been a local favorite for over 30 years, earning the title of San Diego’s best Mexican restaurant an impressive 20 times in a row. This iconic spot is ideal for big groups, offering a lively and festive atmosphere in the heart of Old Town’s Historic Walking District. The friendly staff, delicious Mexican food, and legendary margaritas make it a must-visit.

Cafe Coyote’s menu has something for everyone, featuring dishes like the Surf n Turf Quesadilla, filled with chopped carne asada and shrimp, served with a chipotle cream sauce; the California Burrito, a hearty combination of french fries, carne asada, and cheese; and the classic Coyote Tacos, with options for shredded chicken, beef, or potato. With its vibrant setting and mouth watering offerings, Cafe Coyote is the perfect place to experience the best of San Diego’s Mexican cuisine.

Address: 2461 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110

Casa Guadalajara

Casa Guadalajara in Old Town San Diego is a vibrant and colorful restaurant known for its festive décor, lively Mariachis, lush patios, and signature “Birdbath Margaritas.” It’s a top choice for authentic Mexican cuisine and has consistently been recognized as a favorite spot in Old Town. Ideal for events such as weddings, quinceañeras, graduations, and birthdays, this popular destination offers both a great setting and fantastic food.

The extensive menu at Casa Guadalajara showcases traditional and contemporary Mexican dishes inspired by regional villages across Mexico. Signature offerings include award-winning seafood like Ensenada Fish Tacos, Tequila Lime Shrimp, and Chipotle Chile-inspired entrees. The restaurant takes pride in making everything fresh from scratch daily, including homemade salsas, sauces, and Cilantro Lime dressing. Guests can even watch flour tortillas being handmade on the grill, adding to the authentic experience.

Beyond the delicious food, Casa Guadalajara captures the spirit of Mexico with live performances by world-class Mariachis. Diners are serenaded as the musicians stroll through the dining rooms and patio, creating a lively and festive atmosphere to enhance the dining experience.

Address: 4105 Taylor St, San Diego, CA 92110

Sushi Tadokoro

Sushi Tadokoro in Old Town San Diego is a delightful surprise for sushi enthusiasts, offering Edo-mae-style sushi in a neighborhood best known for its historic charm. This hidden gem, tucked away in a modest strip mall, is a Michelin-starred restaurant known for its meticulous preparation and use of the finest local and seasonal ingredients. Each dish reflects hours of careful craftsmanship and traditional Japanese techniques that have been perfected over the years.

Guests are treated to an exceptional dining experience thanks to Chef/owner Takeaki Tadokoro and his talented team, including young chef Tatsuro Tsuchiya. The most popular option is the omakase, a curated selection of the best fish available. The changing menu might include creamy and meaty oysters from British Columbia or succulent scallops from Hokkaido. Other highlights could be the combination of California and Hokkaido sea urchin topped with ikura, or golden eye snapper with a delicate layer of kombu for a burst of umami. Sushi Tadokoro is a must-visit for anyone in San Diego seeking an unforgettable, authentic sushi experience. 

Address: 2244 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110

North Park

The Smoking Goat

Nestled in the heart of North Park, The Smoking Goat combines a rustic interior with a blend of French and modern California cuisine, making it an essential stop for food lovers exploring the area. Start your meal with classic appetizers like Escargots à la Bourguignonne or a rich French Onion Soup. For your main course, indulge in their signature Maple Leaf Duck Breast or the creamy Wild Mushroom Linguini. And be sure to save room for dessert—whether it’s the vanilla bean Crème Brulee or the Goat Cheese Cheesecake, you won’t be disappointed. The Smoking Goat is a local gem that delivers unforgettable flavors in a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

Address: 3408 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104, United States

Louisiana Purchase

Louisiana Purchase in North Park transports you straight to New Orleans with its moody black walls, rustic wood paneling, and lush jungle-like palms. This glamorous restaurant, complete with a terrace, serves Creole cuisine and creative cocktails that capture the essence of the Southern city. Executive Chef Quinnton Austin leads the kitchen, showcasing a rotating “Neighborhood Tastes” menu that features new and inventive dishes monthly alongside fan favorites like lemon pepper catfish, classic shrimp and grits, and gator bites. One standout creation is his savory Alligator Andouille Cheesecake.

The cocktail bar is just as enticing, with New Orleans-inspired potions like the Voodoo Carre and Praline Old Fashion. Don’t miss their signature ’80s-inspired Kool Aid Man cocktail, perfect for sharing with friends. Located on Louisiana Street, this intimate venue brings a sense of warmth, community, and fun, making it a must-visit for anyone seeking the flavors and spirit of New Orleans in San Diego. 

Address: 2305 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

Mission Beach

The Mission Cafe

The Mission Cafe in Mission Beach, originally a coffeehouse, has become a beloved destination for breakfast and lunch, serving unique Chino-Latino fare. Known for its brunch scene, the cafe attracts early crowds eager to try its signature Mission French toast, made with freshly baked cinnamon bread. Alongside this classic dish, they offer a variety of vegetarian and gluten-free options that are equally popular. The Avocado Toast, served on homemade toasted rosemary bread with smashed avocado, roasted beets, orange salad, and goat cheese, is a favorite. Other must-try dishes include the Baked Banana Caramel French Toast, Sweet Corn & Chili Tamales, and Soy Chorizo & Egg Scramble. The Mission Cafe’s concept focuses on simple, healthy, and tasty food with a whimsical twist, presented with artistic flair, all at a reasonable price.

Address: 3795 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109

Moray’s at Catamaran Resort & Hotel Restaurant

After a day exploring the countless activities Mission Beach has to offer, head to the Catamaran Resort & Hotel to refuel at their resident eatery. Relax in the outdoor lounge area with views of the bay, or step inside to the bar and take in the stunning saltwater aquarium filled with exotic tropical fish. Moray’s serves a delicious menu just steps away from the beach. For a lighter option, choose from flatbreads, shrimp ceviche, or fresh sushi rolls. If you’re in the mood for something grander, the Triple Oceana Seafood Tower is a must-try, featuring shrimp cocktail, ceviche, mussels, clams, king crab, and oysters on the half shell with various dipping sauces, along with assorted sashimi and poke, serving 4-6 people. This venue is ideal for a romantic dinner by the water, enjoying tropical cocktails by tiki torches, and dining with a spectacular view.

Address: 3999 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109

Hillcrest

The Great Maple

At Great Maple in Hillcrest, San Diego, you’re welcomed into a space that balances vintage style with modern flair. The atmosphere is perfect for any occasion, whether it’s a romantic dinner, a gathering with friends, or a weekend brunch. 

Great Maple’s goal is all about crafting comfort food from scratch using seasonal ingredients. Signature mains include Johnny’s Lolliwaffles—three waffles on a stick with salted caramel, lemon custard, raspberry coulis, and whipped cream—and silver dollar pancakes with unique toppings like Peanut Butter & Fried Banana, Fruity Pebbles, and chocolate bacon. Their California chorizo scramble melt is also a crowd-pleaser. The dessert menu at Great Maple is a treat not to be missed, featuring the famous maple bacon doughnuts and the indulgent lake poet chocolate cheesecake, among other delights. Whether you’re there for brunch, lunch, or dinner, you’re sure to leave feeling satisfied and eager to return.

Address: 1451 Washington St, San Diego, CA 92103

Babycakes

Tucked away in Hillcrest, Babycakes is a delightful bakery and café with the best sweet treats in the city. This cozy cafe is housed in a craftsman-style home with a spacious front and back patio for enjoying the California sunshine, while inside offers a welcoming atmosphere with antiques, comfortable couches, a brick fireplace, and open-beamed ceilings, all adding to its homey feel.

Babycakes serves up delectable dessert cocktails, cupcakes, and pastries for those with a sweet tooth, but their menu also includes savory dishes for a heartier option. The weekends are perfect for their brunch, where the Red Velvet Hot Cakes are a must-try. Stop by for a laid-back Monday night nightcap to unwind with friends. Babycakes’ unique blend of sweet treats and inviting atmosphere has made it a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Babycakes has a unique combination of sweet treats and a warm ambiance, making it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Address: 3766 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA  92103

La Jolla

Trilogy Sanctuary 

Trilogy Sanctuary in La Jolla is a holistic haven where you can nourish your body, mind, and soul. This unique space combines a yoga studio with aerial yoga classes, a spiritual healing center, a boutique, and restaurant. The rooftop café has a boho-chic decor and stunning ocean views. They serve an organic, vegan, and gluten-free menu, complete with smoothies and juice cleanses. Whether you’re in the mood for a yoga session, a nutritious meal, or a dose of spiritual rejuvenation, Trilogy Sanctuary offers a nice escape in the heart of San Diego’s La Jolla. 

Address: 7650 Girard Ave #400, La Jolla, CA 92037

Sandpiper Wood Fired Grill & Oysters

Sandpiper Wood Fired Grill & Oyster Bar in La Jolla Shores is a casual spot just blocks from the beach, offering a laid-back vibe and a welcoming setting. Known for its all-day happy hour from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, you can enjoy $4 off on wines by the glass, specialty cocktails, well drinks, and draft beer. Food specials include $4 Baja fish tacos and $8 prime rib sliders, with a signature offer of a free dozen oysters when you buy a bottle of Champagne. Whether you’re seated in the cozy indoor dining room, at the fresh oyster bar, or by the fireplace on the dog-friendly patio, you’ll find it’s easy to relax and savor the day. The menu features a variety of shareable items from a custom-designed wood-fired grill, a raw bar, and desserts crafted by Georges at the Cove pastry chef Aly Lyng. Sandpiper Wood Fired Grill & Oyster Bar is the perfect place to enjoy first-rate food and drinks if you’re in La Jolla.

Address: 2259 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla, CA 92037

The Marine Room 

The Marine Room offers an exquisite waterfront dining experience under the culinary guidance of executive chef Mike Minor. Known for his mastery in regional Mexican cuisine, Minor brings a touch of elegance to this La Jolla restaurant with a menu that blends locally sourced seafood and fine dining. The cocktail menu is a standout, featuring unique creations like the Kelp Martini and Whistle Pig Wagyu Old Fashioned. To start, indulge in delectable appetizers such as Japanese A5 Nigiri, Spanish Octopus, and premium caviar. The dinner menu features an array of seafood, including Baja California Swordfish and Local Bluefin Tuna, alongside hearty options like the 32oz Dry Aged Prime Tomahawk. With its breathtaking ocean views, The Marine Room provides an unforgettable dining experience.

Address: 2000 Spindrift Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037