Where to Eat and Drink in San Diego by Neighborhood

These are the best restaurants in San Diego.

Tacos and berr at Puesto in La Jolla San Diego
Photo: Marion Botella/Courtesy of San Diego Tourism Authority

A trip to San Diego usually involves a beach, nightlife, museums, and perhaps a baseball game, bike ride, amusement park, or harbor cruise. There's much to see and do, but for some visitors, San Diego's food scene is the main attraction. Close to the ocean and the southern border, San Diego boasts a variety of places to enjoy fresh seafood and Mexican food. Restaurants featuring cuisines including Italian, Asian, American, and more are also abundant, as are craft breweries, cideries, and wineries. 

Every neighborhood offers a range of dining spots whether for hearty breakfasts, casual meals, or fine dining experiences. Chefs with notable credentials are settling in San Diego, creating new options for foodies and anyone who appreciates a great meal. Taking advantage of San Diego's ideal weather, many restaurants offer outdoor and rooftop dining.

While it's impossible to list all the outstanding eateries in San Diego, we've made a good effort at providing some ideas of where to find great food and drink in this exceptional dining destination. Whether you're a visitor or a (lucky) local exploring a new neighborhood, we hope our suggestions will lead you to some awesome eating adventures.

Related: 22 Fun Things to Do in San Diego With Kids

San Diego's U.S. Grant Hotel Grill
Courtesy of San Diego Tourism Authority

Downtown and Gaslamp District

Grant Grill at The US Grant hotel is an elegant fine-dining restaurant serving quality menu options and classic cocktails in a stunning art deco setting.

Rustic Root serves American cuisine with a modern touch and a menu of locally sourced meats, produce, and seafood along with craft cocktails. Dinner or weekend brunch on their rooftop with skyline views is a delight.

Provisional Kitchen Cafe & Mercantile at the Pendry San Diego is a casual eatery serving a great brunch as well as dinner. Their menu includes steak, seafood, pasta, and wood-fired pizza in a warm, stylish atmosphere.

Lumi by Michelin-starred Chef Akira Back and Huntress comprise RMD Group's dual concept, two-level restaurant and bar. Huntress, a contemporary steakhouse, offers dry-aged beef and a collection of Japanese whiskies. Lumi features Japanese fare, shared plates, sushi, and an extensive selection of sake, presented in an exciting rooftop setting with fire pits and DJ beats.

Fans of craft brews will want to visit Resident Brewing Co. inside The Local Eatery & Drinking Hole.

San Diego Little Italy's Juniper and Ivy
JTran Photos/Courtesy of San Diego Tourism Authority

Little Italy

Herb & Wood's extensive menu includes seafood, meat, salads, vegetables, pasta, wood-fired pizza, craft cocktails, and a dessert menu that might tempt you to start there first. Brunch is also a treat at this popular spot.

Civico 1845 serves traditional southern Italian dishes, and its expansive menu includes a great selection of cheeses and cured meats as well as a separate vegan menu. Lunch and dinner are served, and there's an outdoor patio for al fresco dining.

Ironside Fish & Oyster's menu of shellfish, finfish, chowders, small plates, big platters, lobster, cocktails, beer, and wine makes this a popular spot. Don’t forget to check out the weekday happy hours, too.

Juniper and Ivy's imaginative food is based on seasonal local ingredients and the creativity of its team of chefs. Set in a renovated warehouse, the atmosphere is relaxed and the dishes are tasty and beautifully presented.

Born & Raised is an upscale steakhouse with old-school black-and-white photos and views of Little Italy from an open-air rooftop bar. Most importantly, the restaurant — with impeccable steaks and delicious tableside tartare — has earned a Michelin recommendation. 

Little Italy Food Hall, located in the Piazza della Famiglia, is the place for beer, wine, and cocktails while you decide whether to dine on pizza, tacos, pasta, Asian dumplings, or lobster. You'll want Bobboi's Natural Gelato for dessert, so your next decision is which of their delicious flavors to choose.

Ballast Point brews an extensive selection of beers and offers dining on its patio, in private cabanas, or indoors where you can watch brewers at work.

La Jolla

A.R. Valentien at the Lodge at Torrey Pines serves regional cuisine overlooking the 18th hole of the Torrey Pines Golf Course and the California coast. The elegant craftsman-style dining room and exceptional service make it perfect for a special dinner.

Cody's offers a breakfast menu that includes French toast, blueberry pancakes, chilaquiles, crab cake Benedict, omelets, and more served on their ocean-view patio. Come for lunch and select a salad, burger, or a Maine lobster roll along with a local brew, sangria, or a refreshing lemon-thyme spritzer. 

Puesto serves authentic Mexican food in traditional Mexico City style with organic handmade tortillas, award-winning tacos, cocktails, mezcal, craft beers, and wines from Mexico's Valle de Guadalupe.

Westfield UTC is a shopping and dining destination with gardens, landscaped plazas, al fresco dining, and an extensive choice of restaurants including favorites like Din Tai Fung, Shake Shack, Sweetfin, Javier’s, Pacific Catch, The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar, and more.

Sandpiper Wood Fired Grill & Oysters, located just blocks from the beach, offers indoor dining, a dog-friendly patio, and a varied menu that includes fresh oysters, pasta, salads, and a wide selection of shareable plates.

Smoking Goat in San Diego
Haley Hill/Courtesy of Smoking Goat

North Park

Louisiana Purchase brings diners the best Creole and Cajun classics like gumbo, chargrilled oysters, crawfish, alligator, cajun fries, red beans and rice, and Southern flavors along with cocktails and unique shareable punches. Come for happy hour, dinner, or weekend brunch.

The Smoking Goat is an intimate French bistro-style spot with an enthusiastic following who love the baked brie and duck fat truffle fries served during happy hour. The dinner appetizers and entrees include seafood and steak with seasonal additions and an extensive wine list.

Shank and Bone serves traditional and modern Vietnamese dishes including a selection of pho, a rich broth with spices, herbs, and a choice of additions. Spring rolls, bowls, rice dishes, and banh mi sandwiches on baguettes are among their specialties.

Bivouac Ciderworks serves burgers, sandwiches, and snacks in a casual atmosphere. It's the place to learn about ciders and try a few if you're new to the growing cider trend.

Interior Farmer's Bottega in San Diego
Courtesy of Farmer's Bottega

Mission Hills

Farmers Bottega serves traditional Italian dishes with a focus on organic, seasonal, and locally sourced ingredients. The atmosphere is vintage, with the rustic feel of a farmhouse. It is open daily for brunch, dinner, and happy hour. 

Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill is the place for fresh local seafood, tacos, sandwiches, salads, soups, oysters, and sashimi — all straight from the nearby seas.

The Red Door's hand-crafted pastas include bucatini, pappardelle, gnocchi, and more, each with the perfect sauce. Add to that salads, flatbreads, seafood, and a tempting list of entrees.

Harley Gray Kitchen & Bar serves lunch and dinner, as well as weekend brunch. Weekly specials include Maine lobster Thursdays, Southern Fried Chicken on Tuesdays, Prime Rib Fridays, and bottomless Champagne on Saturdays.

Hot dog from Barrio Dog in San Diego
Courtesy of Barrio Dog

Barrio Logan

At ¡Salud Tacos!, come for the tacos and street food-style offerings at this popular dining spot, and enjoy brunch, veggie specials, and the "not tacos" menu that includes fries, ceviche, and nachos. Visit for happy hour specials on weekdays.

Barrio Dogg is open all day and serves high-quality 100 percent Angus beef organic hot dogs embellished with plenty of toppings. Side dishes, desserts, and local beers complete a hearty meal.

Thorn Barrio Logan, Border X Brewing, and Attitude Brewing serve a variety of their products for beer fans.

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