Essential Guide on Where to Eat, Where to Go, and What to Do

Where to eat in San Diego

Our hand-selected list of recommended restaurants|breweries|bars

We think of food as an integral part of the travel experience. It's the #1 asked question from our guests - where is a good place to eat? - and we are happy to oblige in answering that question. Below is our most recommended places to eat, drink, and enjoy.


Asian Food

Best Dumplings: Dumpling Inn

Casual Chinese food with a great bar. Chinese favorites like chow fun, salt and pepper chicken wings and fried rice are really great. If the line is too long, you can skip the line and sit at the bar for the full menu. Note: Shanghai Saloon is the bar located inside Dumpling Inn. You can order from the full menu at the bar and enjoy their signature cocktails.

Best Japanese: Taisho

Specialty yakitori place with barely 10 seats. You must put your name down outside and wait until you are invited in by the wait staff. However, the wait is well worth it as you will get expertly grilled morsels of meat and veggies brushed with house sauces. Highly recommend if you want to experience an authentic yakitori experience.

Best Korean: Buga Korean BBQ

Translated to mean, "The Rich House", this KBBQ place is qualify over quantity. Unlike AYCE KBBQ places, you will have to be selective about what you order, but you should order beef marinated short ribs in any case. Their side dishes are also excellent.

Best Dessert: Bing Haus

Thai rolled ice cream, soft serves with unique flavors. Try ice cream in a fish cone!

Please reload

Fine Dining

Top "Chefy" Restaurant: Juniper & Ivy

If you are in the mood for splurging, this place is it! Top Chef Richard Blais's restaurant with an inventive menu. Everything is top-notch. Dessert dishes are especially memorable. Make a reservation ahead on the weekends.

Top Trendy: Herb & Wood

Brian Malarkey's restaurant, and also was the buzz of town when it opened in 2016. Cool vibes and great food. Reservations recommended.

Top Seafood: The Marine Room

Fancy seafood / French restaurant. The key feature is the floor-to-ceiling glass wall that waves crash against at tide. Even when you go when the waves are calm, it's still a cool view.

Top French: The Smoking Goat

Modern French & American menu. The food here could be best described as "indulgent". If you want to treat yourself out to a great meal, definitely make a reservation here and check out their meat dishes. 

Please reload

>Read our Restaurant Review

Italian Food

Best Modern Italian & Happy Hour: Barbusa

Modern Italian cuisine. The appetizer menu is great and so are the pastas. There is also a raw bar for seafood. Great Happy Hour menu, and they have it everyday. For dinner (especially on the weekend), reservations are recommended.

Best Pasta: Cucina Sorella/Urbana

It's a group of family restaurants. In San Diego, they have a couple of locations (Banker's Hill, Kensington). The pasta is really what shines here - handmade and really fresh. There will be a line on the weekend, so either call ahead for reservations or sit at the bar to skip the line. I've tried both locations and they are equally great. The one in Kensington (Sorella) has a more family feel to it.

Please reload

>Read our Restaurant Review

Mexican Food

Best Street Tacos: Los Reyes

If you are craving just simple tacos with meat, onion, and cilantro, this is the place. Located in residential Golden Hill, this neighborhood joint is no frills, just good food. Also, tacos are super affordable, and they serve Mexican breakfast. Don't forget to try San Diego specialty, Carne Asada Fries. 

Best Ambiance: El Camino

Located in Little Italy, this place is always so lively with an assortment of merriments. They have a great happy hour menu, but people come here for the fun vibes. Stop by for a drink or two.

Please reload



Best Speak Easy: Noble Experiment

This is one of the coolest speakeasies in San Diego. Such a cool vibe and AMAZING cocktails. You MUST have a reservation to get in. We have been turned away many times trying to do a walk in. If you can get a spot, it is so worth trying it out. They have a rotating menu of the bartender's picks, so if you aren't sure what to get, go for one of their recommendations. You can't go wrong with that.

Best Spirits: The Whiskey House

Even if you are not a whiskey drinker, you would be impressed by their 2000+ selection of whiskeys from around the world. Their whiskey menu is a tome. They have pretty good whiskey based cocktails, but this is a place to go for tasting. The bartenders are knowledgeable about the whiskeys they carry and can guide you through tasting different selections. Their food menu is great as well and they have a great happy hour deal. 

Best Handcrafted Cocktails: The Lion's Share

This is a full restaurant, but what's memorable is their bar. Their cocktails are really high quality. The decor of this place is also pretty unique and instagrammable. Federal Buffalo Stamp (their take on Old Fashioned), Cucumber Gimlet, No Esposa are all great options. Their Happy Hour is a fantastic deal and their food is really on point.

Please reload

Travel More. Stay URBN.

A Collection of Beautifully Designed Travelhomes in URBN Hotspots around the Globe.


Best Stout: Fall Brewing

This is such a quintessential North Park brewery that just embodies everything that is great about the neighborhood. The theme of this brewery is punk, but there is nothing punkish about their beers. Must-try favorites are: 2AM Bike Ride on nitro, Customized Yellow Merc IPA, Jinxremover. Their light beers are pretty good too.

Best Saison: Modern Times

I would describe their beers as "classy" and "sophisticated". One of my absolute favorite breweries with high quality beers. They release new beers often but my go-tos are: Lomaland (saison), Fruitlands (gose), and Orderville (Hazy IPA). There are 2 locations: Point Loma (brewery) and North Park (tasting room). 

Best Neighborhood Brew: Border X Brewing

Located in Barrio Logan, this brewery reps the neighborhood it is in. They have solid beers and on many evenings, they have live bands. In the back of the brewery, they have a taco takeout place with a backyard where you can chill and enjoy. Beers to try are: Blood Saison, Gran Jefe, and Horchata Golden Stout. The taco place in the back (Tury's) makes authentic street tacos and has a great Taco Tuesday deal. 

Best Variety: Ballast Point

This brewery doesn't need a recommendation and is well known enough outside of San Diego, but visiting their Miramar location is worth the trip. In addition to their well known IPAs (Scuplin and Grapefruit Sculpin), some other beers to try are: Watermelon Dorado IPA, and California Kolsch. Their food menu at the Miramar location is also pretty impressive.

Please reload



© 2019 URBNCompass LLC