Best Restaurants in San Diego
San Diego was named as one of America’s “Top Foodie Cities” by Travel + Leisure readers, and it’s no surprise, coming from the place that taught the country the virtue of fish tacos. But if you’re looking for top-notch cuisine in this SoCal City, today, you’ll find a lot more than fish and tortillas. These San Diego restaurants are just a few that should really be on your must-experience list.
Walk into Bang Bang and you might think you’ve just stepped into some kind of futuristic “Beam me up, Scotty,” type of travel machine that’s dumped you right into a Tokyo subway tunnel. It’s not just your brain playing tricks on you, there are actual recorded subway sounds playing. That’s your first clue that this restaurant is going to be something decidedly different.
If you like the unconventional, along with delicious sushi and Asian fusion delights, Bang Bang is sure to fit the bill. Although you may want to avoid ordering the Bang Mi if you plan to meet that important potential client to prevent sounding like you’re rudely hitting on the waitress. Of course, you won’t be, it’s simply a sandwich filled with homemade chicken liver pate, Vietnamese banana leaf-steamed ham, grilled jidori chicken, jalapeno and peppers.
The menu offers a number of other surprises too, like raw fish and ice cream – together. While the ahi poke seaweed salad may sound disgusting, somehow the chef found a way to make it work.
Be particularly mindful about downing too many sake bombs, as going back the way you came, which required a steep ascent up a long stairway is not as easy on the return trip when you’ve had a few too many. Despite the name, you probably don’t want to go out with a “bang.” Instead, try the Bangwich for dessert, an ice cream sandwich made with banana-bacon cookies.
Official website: http://bangbangsd.com/
Skip the usual pizza chain and try something different by heading to URBN when you’re craving a pie. Set within a vast industrial-themed 5,000-square-foot area with brick walls, original cement flooring and exposed beams, it serves up authentic New Haven-style thin crust pizza. Recognized as “Best Pizza in San Diego” by locals in a contest sponsored by NBC’s Golden Local, you’ll have a wide array of delectable coal-fired pies to choose from. Savor craft pizzas like the “Fresh Clam,” a white parmesan, garlic delight or the meat lovers “Sausage and Peppers” with gorgonzola-stuffed cherry peppers and fresh mozzarella.
At the huge Z-shaped, steel-topped bar, or at your table, you can sip specialty cocktails, nearly 20 different wines by the glass, 12 drafts by the pint or 35 bottled brews.
Official website: http://www.urbnnorthpark.com/
In the spring of 2015, the Cannonball made waves with its reopening that followed a yearlong renovation to become the largest oceanfront rooftop restaurant/bar in San Diego. A glass elevator whisks visitors up to the eatery that overlooks the Mission Beach Boardwalk in Belmont Park, providing a pool-like setting and jaw-dropping views of the Pacific.
While it is a popular tourist destination, locals love it too, sipping on crafty cocktails and dining on sushi around the fire pit. The Raw Bar features oysters on the half shell while main dishes are Asian-inspired with a unique Baha twist, including everything from bone-in ribeye and grilled skirt steak to lamp lollipops and pan seared scallops.
Official Website: http://www.cannonballsd.com/
The Donut Bar is a popular place to go with those in need of a very late night sugar fix, as well as those who just want to enjoy a little morning decadence. While it’s not the only one to serve candy-, cookie and cereal-topped donuts in the country, it’s probably one of the few, if not the only donut eatery, that serves both donuts and beer.
After becoming a hit with favorites like the Pop Tart-stuffed donut and Chocolate Twix, the Donut Bar decided to extend its hours on Fridays and Saturdays to appeal to the donut and beer crowd. Originally open only in the morning until selling out, it now reopens at 5 p.m. with fresh donuts and some 20 beers to choose from. There’s even a signature donut porter from Resident Brewing and beer floats, made with Mission Brewery Hard Root Beer, soft-serve ice cream and a donut on top.
Owner and chef Santiago Campa says the IPAs go well with donuts as the bitter flavor of the beer versus the sweetness of the donut “really complements one another.”
Official Website: https://www.donutbar.com/