Restaurants in San Diego

From big-ticket restaurants to the independent, chef-driven bistros of downtown, San Diego boasts a burgeoning food scene. Local institutions like Addison and El Indio lineup against an almost endless stream of newcomers and pop-up food vendors. In the case of upscale and popular restaurants, reservations are recommended.

The restaurants below have been divided into three different categories:
Expensive (over US$80)
Moderate (US$40 to US$80)
Cheap (under US$40)

The prices quoted here are for an average three-course meal and for a bottle of house wine or cheapest equivalent; they do not include tax or tip. Restaurant prices are subject to a state tax of 8.75%, which is added to the bill at the end. A service charge is not typically added, so it is assumed that diners will tip 15-20% of the total bill.

George's at the Cove

Price: Expensive

Spectacular coastal scenery and terrific contemporary Californian haute cuisine. The combination is likely to make any visit to this La Jolla standout a memorable experience. The elegant fine dining restaurant is located on the main floor, and the menu is seasonal with a strong emphasis on fresh ingredients and a creative approach to regional cuisine. Upstairs, the rooftop Ocean Terrace offer a more casual menu and breathtaking views of La Jolla Cove.

Address: 1250 Prospect Street, La Jolla, San Diego, California, United States
Telephone: +1 858 454 4244.

The Marine Room

Price: Expensive
Cuisine: International

Right on the beach at La Jolla Shores, The Marine Room blends an incredible location with expertly prepared French, Mediterranean and Californian cuisine. Famous for the dramatic pounding surf right outside its windows, the restaurant also deserves its reputation for culinary excellence. During the winter, the restaurant hosts special 'High Tide Breakfasts', with the waves crashing against the windows.

Address: 2000 Spindrift Drive, La Jolla, San Diego, California, United States
Telephone: +1 855 923 8057.

Mille Fleurs

Price: Expensive
Cuisine: French

Ensconced in the highly exclusive enclave of Rancho Santa Fe, Mille Fleurs is one of the San Diego region's very best French restaurants, boasting haute cuisine, elegant décor, top-notch service and an intimate hacienda setting. An exclusive culinary experience.

Address: 6009 Paseo Delicias, Rancho Santa Fe, San Diego, California, United States
Telephone: +1 858 756 3085.

El Agave Tequileria

Price: Moderate
Cuisine: Mexican

There are many good Mexican restaurants in San Diego, and among the very best is El Agave Tequileria in Old Town. This Mexican nouvelle cuisine restaurant serves a wide range of authentic dishes from various Mexican regions while also giving many of them a modern twist. In addition to the top-notch food on offer, El Agave has an impressive tequila selection; more than 100 brands are served by the shot.

Address: 2304 San Diego Avenue, Old Town, San Diego, California, United States
Telephone: +1 619 220 0692.

The Fish Market

Price: Moderate
Cuisine: Seafood

The Fish Market and its upstairs, the more upscale Top of the Market, are a fish lover's paradise. The casual, busy and bustling downstairs offers an enormous selection of totally fresh seafood, while the Top of the Market is more formal and serves fish and seafood dishes in more elegant surroundings. Both levels offer remarkable views of the harbour and the Coronado Bridge. Downstairs there is a retail seafood market and a sushi bar.

Address: 750 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, California, United States
Telephone: +1 619 232 3474.

The 3rd Corner

Price: Moderate
Cuisine: French-California

Funky Ocean Beach is the unlikely setting for this chic bistro with a spectacular wine list and French-California small dishes like baked Humboldt fog goat cheese, sublime steamed mussels and perfect duck confit. Cases of imported wines divide several intimate dining areas; choose a bottle for sampling for a surprisingly low corkage fee. Local chefs are known to gather here for late-night confabs.

Address: 2265 Bacon Street, San Diego, California, United States
Telephone: +1 619 223 2700.

El Indio

Price: Cheap
Cuisine: Seafood

A San Diego culinary institution since the 1940s, El Indio in Little Italy/Middletown not far from the airport is probably San Diego's most famous Mexican restaurant. It is rumoured that three US presidents have ordered food from El Indio to be sent to Washington DC. Abundant portions of fresh, high-quality Sonora-style Mexican food await visitors to this popular restaurant and take-out stand. The vegetarian menu is highly recommended.

Address: 3695 India Street, San Diego, California, United States
Telephone: +1 619 299 0333.

Café 222

Price: Cheap
Cuisine: Breakfast

Pumpkin and wholegrain waffles, peanut butter French toast and other bountiful breakfasts draw crowds of downtown residents and office workers to this offbeat cafe with a tiny dining room and a few sidewalk tables. The wait for a table is eased by coffee and conversation. The owner is a seasoned restaurant critic and consultant who knows her stuff and nourishes a loyal clientele.

Address: 222 Island Avenue, San Diego, California, United States
Telephone: +1 619 239 9902.

Hash House a Go Go

Price: Cheap

Hash House a Go Go in Hillcrest lives up to its mission statement of keeping the fun in food and maintaining a level of excitement and entertainment during the dining experience. Huge portions of innovative and utterly delicious versions of classic American dishes and a friendly, bustling atmosphere ensure that visitors take enjoyment both from the food and the ambience. Long queues on weekends are proof of the enduring charm of this modern-day diner.

Address: 3628 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, California, United States
Telephone: +1 619 298 4646.
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