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The Best Bars for Foodies in San Diego

A photo of Red logo
by The OpenTable Team
Updated January 11, 2024

Known as America's Finest City, San Diego nightlife has everything from near-perfect weather and beaches to diverse neighborhoods and cultural institutions. Most associate the California town for its Gaslamp District, but Downtown San Diego is just the beginning. From local craft breweries to upscale cocktail bars, clubs and lounges, the San Diego bar scene has something for every taste and budget. But where are locals and tourists alike going for the best bar scene that San Diego has to offer? Welcome to our Tastemaker List. We've collected data from thousands of restaurants to find the top spots among Open Table's most seasoned diners, foodies and cocktail enthusiasts. From Little Italy over to North San Diego, the ocean-side bar scene mixes trends and sophistication with a Southern California flair. Whether you feel in the mood for a prime steak paired with a robust red or prefer a hoppy IPA and fresh fish tacos, book a table today at one of San Diego's world-class bars.

A photo of Born & Raised restaurant
4.6
4.6 (5740)
$50 and over
Steakhouse
Little Italy

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
Located in San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood, Born & Raised takes the elevated steakhouse and cocktail lounge experience to new heights. With 250 seats spread across two levels and a rooftop bar to boot, Born & Raised marries traditional steakhouse fare and the opulence of Rat Pack era fine dining with a decidedly modern edge. This is Rat Pack worthy dining and cocktailing with 21st century flair. Enjoy classic steakhouse heavy weights like the Tournedos Rossini topped with foie gras, or the 22 ounce dry aged bone in New York strip. In the mood for a little made to order beef tartare or shrimp Louis? Diners in the walnut paneled, art deco themed main dining room can also enjoy tableside cart service in leather booths with green marbled table tops. Diners can also order a classic Manhattan or Martini shaken (or stirred) at the table, naturally.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 1 day ago
We were referred by a friend, which can go either way. However, the service was friendly and attentive; the food was excellent: I ordered fillet mignon with roasted mushrooms and hubby ordered bone in ribeye with the Mac n cheese! This was enough to share and stuff ourselves full! The meat was tender, melt in your mouth excellence. The alcoholic beverages were on point. Since it was my birthday, I got a celebratory macaroon for free! Yum! Large enough to share as well. Although place was noisy, it’s because they are super busy. I recommend you make a reservation in advance. The restrooms are fun and classy interesting. I appreciated the escort. Overall I give this place a “I’ll be back, 5-star rating”!
A photo of Cloak + Petal restaurant
4.5
4.5 (837)
$31 to $50
Sushi
Little Italy

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
Tapas and craft cocktails may not be the first things to come to mind when doing Japanese, but that's exactly what diners will find at San Diego's Cloak + Petal. Located in Little Italy, the space is both modern and intimate with an aesthetic that manages to balance industrial and edgy with delicate, zen-like accents in true Japanese fashion (bonus: actual cherry blossom trees). The stated goal of Cloak + Petal is to be a "social dining experience," and diners can enjoy a large selection of sushi and sashimi small plates while sipping on cocktails made with everything from gin infused with ingredients like sansho spice, cardamom, and clove to citrus, coconut, and Italian Torino. The extensive menu includes gluten-free and vegan substitution options.
Top review
MarioS
Dined 1 day ago
Food was very good. Enjoyed the ribs and the Shibuya Nights roll. We were seated near the front windows. View was okay but the piped music was quite loud. Back of the house would have been preferred.
A photo of UNION Kitchen & Tap restaurant
4.6
4.6 (1007)
$30 and under
American
Encinitas

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
San Diego is known for its craft beer scene, and UNION Kitchen & Tap in Encinitas offers diners a rotating selection of brews for every palette, from pilsners and lagers to IPAs and specialty beers like the Elysian Punkuccino Coffee Pumpkin Ale. The spacious bar and dining area has a rustic yet open and airy beach vibe that offers everything from breakfast and brunch to taco Tuesday specials, happy hour, and late night (kitchen open until midnight). The menu options range from a Pickled Beet Poke to artisan cheeseboards and wild mushroom flatbread. There's also a football menu that caters to the crowds filing in for a big game.
Top review
juliet
Dined 1 day ago
Our server Dylan was wonderful. Thank you. We had gumbo with extra blackened shrimp. It was very good. Bloody Mary delicious too.
A photo of Raised by Wolves restaurant
4.7
4.7 (2559)
$30 and under
Bar / Lounge / Bottle Service
La Jolla

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
Fans of low key and off the beaten path cocktail experiences will enjoy Raised by Wolves, a "hidden" classic cocktail bar tucked away in the wide open space of the Westfield UTC Mall. Once safely inside, patrons will enjoy a cozy, old world cocktail lounge experience with a tasteful touch of decadence all rolled into one. The restaurant encourages reservations, but also accommodates walk-in customers for that post mall shopping tipple. The vibe and decor may call back to the hey day of dark and swanky cocktail lounges for the suit and pearls clad gentleman and ladies, but the drinks have a decidedly modern and cheeky twist. To wit: the Snoop Noggy Nog, and Vegan Egg Nog made with cashew and almond milk, because this is still Southern California after all.
Top review
JoeSDfan7
Dined 3 days ago
Nice ambience for drinks and chat, and a lounge like atmosphere, loved the decor in the low light theme.
A photo of Kairoa Brewing Company restaurant
4.5
4.5 (103)
$30 and under
Brewery
University Heights

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
Kairoa Brewing Company brings a little taste and flair of New Zealand to San Diego. The bar keeps it simple with a selection of local and Kiwi craft beers, which includes a rotating guest beer menu, like the Juneshine Blood Orange Mint Kombucha or the Noble Aleworks Naughty Sauce Golden Coffee Stout. There's also a wine and food menu which includes shared plate options like petit lobster skewers and blue pilsner mussels. But this being San Diego, a spiced lamb street taco can also be found on the menu.
Top review
TypSD
Dined on Mar 8, 2020
Great food, great service. We sat at the rooftop on a beautiful, sunny day. It was really nice and thoroughly enjoyed our time. We took our 4 year old daughter. It’s very family and dog friendly.
A photo of Le Papagayo Encinitas restaurant
4.3
4.3 (2142)
$30 and under
American
Encinitas

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
Latin and Mediterranean fusion is what's on tap at Le Papagayo in Leucadia in North County. With live music several nights a week and a cozy, rustic vibe with indoor and outdoor seating, the restaurant has an extensive breakfast, lunch, dinner, and happy hour menu that includes a wine list, 13 taps, and of course homemade sangria and house margaritas.
Top review
CorieSvip
Dined 2 days ago
Great service and love the patio.
A photo of Beaumont's restaurant
4.7
4.7 (852)
$30 and under
Contemporary American
La Jolla

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
Beaumont's Eatery in La Jolla has a little something for everyone. A 2019's Diner's Choice winner, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, happy hour specials, and includes a kid's and dessert menu. Diners can also enjoy wine and cheeky cocktails like the Up All Night or Don't You Judge Me. Chicken lovers should make it a point to stop by for Fried Chicken Tuesdays. Live local bands play at the bar every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night.
Top review
Sammmomvip
Dined on Feb 24, 2024
Bruch is superb with many interesting options. Eggs Benedict sold ala carte so you can mix and match a variety of selections. Coast/french toast is decadent. Friendly and casual.
A photo of Tahona Bar restaurant
4.6
4.6 (556)
$30 and under
Mexican
Old Town

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
Mezcal lovers will feel right at home at Tahona, whose stated mission is to enlighten diners and cocktail enthusiasts about Oaxacan cuisine and culture with a focus on its most famous and iconic spirit. Along with basics like Carne Asada and Market Fish Tacos, the food menu includes fresh takes like a Pulpo (octopus) ceviche, a Mole flight, and Churro S'Mores and Mexican bread pudding for dessert. Mezcal is also available by the flight, or through private tastings available by appointment. Forget Spring Break and make a reservation at Tahona for a taste of the real thing instead.
Top review
TimMvip
Dined 2 days ago
A pleasant surprise. Everything was very good. There was a mixup on our soup order - we had ordered the Green Pozole and the dish they brought out was not Pozole - we weren't sure though and just thought it was a different type of Pozole. Later when we looked at the menu we realized that we had gotten the Chicken Tortilla Soup by mistake. It was good, but would have liked to have tried the Pozole. Had the seasonal guacamole which was very good, chips were fresh. Carne Asada Norteno taco was fabulous. Queso birria taco was very good., Ahi Tostada was great as well. We will return.
A photo of Dobson's Bar & Restaurant restaurant
4.6
4.6 (1341)
$30 and under
Californian
Downtown

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
Diners are encouraged to make a reservation at this hidden hot spot in the center of the Gaslamp District in Downtown San Diego. With a mixture of old world charm and modern sophistication, Dobson's is the perfect spot for a hearty lunch, dinner, or drinks at the bar. Diners can enjoy a raw bar, classics like the Dobson's Bar Room Burger, Croque Monsieur Sandwich, Steamed Mediterranean Black Mussels, or an entree of the Cheese Ravioli and Pomodoro Sauce Gratine. Daily drink specials on select house wines and craft beers are also available.
Top review
AnnaB
Dined 5 days ago
Outstanding! We had the Chilean sea bass and the surf and turf along with escargot. The escargot was good but the entrees were amazing! And we were so impressed with the service. Glad we went
A photo of Manhattan of La Jolla restaurant
4.7
4.7 (1589)
$31 to $50
Italian
La Jolla

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
Manhattan of La Jolla serves up fine Italian dining reminiscent of a New York City bistro on the shores of La Jolla. Along with a classic Italian dinner menu complete with homemade pastas and family recipes, diners can enjoy live music and entertainment, as well as imported coffees, dessert, and coffee infused cocktails for a little taste of the old country.
Top review
StephanieS
Dined 3 days ago
For us the most important thing is the quiet and the quality of the food - they were great!
A photo of Jeune et Jolie restaurant
4.9
4.9 (3608)
$50 and over
Contemporary French
Carlsbad

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
French charm and chic meets Southern California chill vibes at this stylish Carlsbad eatery. A hearty drinks menu includes an extensive wine, spirits, and custom cocktails list and after dinner liquers. The menu consists of French classics like oysters from the raw bar, to bouillabasse and steak frites to a carte blanche tasting menu.
Top review
LoriL
Dined 2 days ago
Exquisite and sublime four course meal with extraordinary service!!!
A photo of King & Queen Cantina - San Diego restaurant
4.5
4.5 (1112)
$30 and under
Mexican
Little Italy

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
King & Queen Cantina gives Little Italy diner a little Latin flair in the heart of Downtwon San Diego. With a happy hour special seven days a week and classic crowd pleasers like Huevos Rancheros to a Pork Belly Benedict for breakfast and a Pinches Tacos menu and numerous seafood options for dinner, diners are advised to come hungry and leave room for the Deep Fried Ice Cream or Churros cart for dessert. The drinks menu runs the gamut from San Diego's beloved craft beers to signature cocktails like the Mexican Mule or the Una Lady.
Top review
StevenC
Dined 5 days ago
The is good considering it is a bar. This place is for the under 30 crowd. That is not a bad thing just not the right place for me since 30 was awhile ago.
A photo of Gravity Heights restaurant
4.8
4.8 (1108)
$30 and under
American
Sorrento Mesa

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
Bites and brews is the name of the game at Gravity Heights. The menu includes a mash up of wood fired pizzas, tacos, burgers, and "munchies" like Crispy Octopus, Duck Liver "Banh Mi" Crostini, and Roasted Bone Marrow for the culinarily adventurous. The beer menu consists of a healthy mix of craft beers, flights, and brewer's specials.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 1 day ago
Great vibe. Excellent bartender and service at the bar
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