San Diego is one of those up and coming foodie communities that is just beginning to really eke out a name for itself in the culinary scene. As the tides come and go along the shores of this seaside city so does the fame and popularity of the local dining establishments. So what may be the hottest, trendiest place today may not be pulling in the see and be seen crowd tomorrow.
Baci Ristorante has been called San Diego’s best Italian restaurant but it’s the ambience that really gets the rave reviews. Baci Ristorante features a little bit of old world Italian charm with a touch of classic elegance and a warm friendly environment that makes you feel right at home. The food is northern Italian in influence with fresh pasta, veal, and fresh seafood. Executive Chef Domenico Alioto also creates daily specials designed to take advantage of the freshest ingredients available. Not a newcomer to the restaurant scene, Baci Ristorante has been a stable in San Diego for about 30 years and will probably continue to garner raves. 1955 West Morena Boulevard San Diego, CA 92110 – (619) 275-2094
There may be no better view in all of San Diego than from Bertrand at Mister A’s. The restaurant touts its views and wrap around balcony as though it’s the only reason to visit and they’re certainly selling themselves short, the food at Bertrand at Mister A’s is definitely worthy of a little credit. Modern American cuisine is the theme but there are layers of French and Mediterranean influences throughout. The menu is seasonal and designed to take advantage of the current harvests. Bertrand at Mister A’s was once considered a special occasion restaurant but a more casual atmosphere is currently the standard so don’t save it for a special day but enjoy it anytime you like. 2550 5th Avenue #406 San Diego, CA 92103 – (619) 239-1377
The famed The Grand Del Mar resort is home to this five star restaurant and it’s no wonder the two are paired together. Both signify elegance and an exclusive sense of decadence. Addison restaurant is actually named after the resort’s architect, Addison Mizner and brings Chef William Bradley’s artisanal approach to the region. The theme of the food is distinctly French but there is a contemporary flair that brings today’s latest trend, fresh local ingredients, to the forefront. The atmosphere at Addison is European and elegant with large arched windows and phenomenal views of the golf course beyond. As you enter the dining area you can’t help but notice the center of the room is occupied by the wine collection, take a cue from the restaurant and make a bottle of their extraordinary wine the center of your meal. 5200 Grand Del Mar Way San Diego, CA 92130 – (858) 314-1900
The Oceanaire Seafood Room in San Diego brings you the freshest seafood from around the world, flown in each and every day. Menus are created daily to highlight the fresh catch and meals are designed around the fish with it as the highlight, meaning recipes are simple and complement the meat perfectly. Many ingredients are local and seasonal as the freshest fish simply can’t be served with canned or frozen ingredients. Seasoned wine stewards are on hand at Oceanaire to help you select the perfect wine for your meal and can even help you plan a meal around a wine if you wish. For those who love oysters, sidle up to the raw bar at Oceanaire for fresh oysters as well as lobsters, crab and clams. At the raw bar you can order your favorite or let the staff create a sampling of the day’s best.
For fish so fresh you can eat it raw, try Sushi Ota. Not the fanciest of restaurants in town but one so good it’s become a bona fide hotspot. It’s everything great sushi should be, the food is fresh and amazing, the atmosphere is low key, and the service is fast and friendly. Remember it’s a verified hotspot so you’ll be wise to make reservations or be prepared to wait in line. 4529 Mission Bay Drive San Diego, WA 92109 – (858) 270-5670
Confidential Restaurant & Loft is so small it’s more bar than restaurant, until you taste the food. This award winning restaurant is small and intimate with a distinctly contemporary feel. The cuisine focuses on tapas and small plates which is perfect for sharing. Don’t expect to be uncomfortably full when you leave but be certain that you’ll be tasting some incredible little dishes that you’ll be craving in the near future. Do take advantage of the bar scene too as it is part of the charm of this trendy San Diego restaurant. 901 4th Avenue San Diego, CA 92101 – (619) 696-8888
If you’ve been to the Red Pearl Kitchen in Huntington Beach you won’t be decided by its sister restaurant in the Gas Lamp District of San Diego. This is another restaurant that has discovered contemporary dining with a vibrant bar scene is all the rage. The cuisine at Red Pearl Kitchen focuses on authentic Chinese and East Asian recipes with a fusion sensibility. Another hot spot with smaller servings, lots of alcohol, higher prices and loads of local ambiance. 440 J Street San Diego, CA 92101 – (619) 231-1100
The Marble Room somehow manages to combine the old fashioned luxury of a 1950’s supper club with the modern elegance of a contemporary restaurant. Its quality food that people love served in a warm and happening environment. You’ll get your money’s worth here and be delighted with the food and service. If the weather is right (and when isn’t it in San Diego) then have a cocktail or two on the terrace and enjoy people watching in the Gas Lamp District. Make sure to ask about the name, The Marble Room, it comes with a risqué and interesting tale. 535 5th Avenue San Diego, CA 92101 – (619) 702-5595