Where to Eat in San Diego, California

Sun-dappled beaches and sandy-haired surfers take centre stage in California’s most southern city, but beyond the wave-pounded coastlines of La Jolla and the scenic Embarcadero, San Diego nurtures numerous neighbourhoods bristling with world-class dining opportunities, an exciting brew culture and a dynamic, inclusive art scene.

In partnership with

restaurant

Tuétano Taqueria

Having relocated to the Old Town Urban Market from San Ysidro, this small taco stall has been making headlines for its rich birria de res. Owner Priscilla Curiel takes time over her slow-cooked Tijuana-style beef stew, adding melted mozzarella, diced onion, coriander, a garlicky salsa and a chunky shank bone for you to scrape the melting marrow out of to complete the city-famous quesabirria taco. San Diego is packed with good Mexican pit stops: if the queues at Tuétano Taqueria are too long for your liking, scoop up huevos con chorizo with homemade flour tortillas at family-run Las Cuatro Milpas.

Address

143 W San Ysidro Blvd, San Ysidro, CA 92173

restaurant

White Rice

Visiting buzzy Liberty Public Market food hall? Make a beeline for prominent Filipino-American chef Phillip Esteban’s White Rice. Born and raised in the South Bay, Esteban launched his food stall last year in collaboration with chef Jan Tejada. This is a celebration of the city’s Filipino fare: feast on garlicky rice and egg-based silog bowls finished with the likes of crispy pork belly, longanisa sweet pork sausages, grilled chicken and mushroom and tofu sisig, all washed down with refreshing calamansi iced tea and rounded off with vivid ube pandesal sweet rolls. For every meal purchased, one will be donated to local groups in underprivileged communities. Seek out more top-notch Filipino plates at dressy Animae – from chef Tara Monsod – or stop by Mostra Coffee for a caffeine fix featuring single-origin Filipino beans, plus sippable takes on traditional Filipino desserts.

Address

2820 Historic Decatur Rd, CA 92106

restaurant

El Pescador Fish Market

Roll up at this airy seafood market with the sand from La Jolla Beach still in your hair and no one will bat an eyelid. Over 40 years old, the relaxed on-site restaurant is a local favourite for sunset family dinners served at convivial communal tables. The menu showcases a handful of San Diego classics: think fresh fish sourced daily from local fishermen, chargrilled and served to your liking – anything from lemon butter swordfish to teriyaki thresher shark. We recommend the renowned sea bass sandwich or the ever-popular shrimp tacos. Hungry for more? Swing by the Mariscos German Beyer food truck on San Ysidro’s Beyer Boulevard for tostadas spiked with an eye-watering house chilli sauce, or try the takeaway fish tacos at Mitch’s in Point Loma. The Mahi Mahi iteration is sublime.

Address

634 Pearl St, La Jolla, CA 92037

restaurant

Jeune et Jolie

Who said French food has to be heavy? At Jeune et Jolie, Cali cool replaces the cream in a Gallic-inspired menu shot through with global flavours. This chic Carlsbad spot, around a 30-minute drive outside of the city proper, is young and beautiful in both name and nature, and the crowd – drawn by photogenic interiors and a light, playful menu that makes the most of regional produce – matches the moniker. The open kitchen turns out a menu of big-hitters such as delicate ricotta gnudi, a light lamb tartare and amberjack crudo in a pear and yuzu dressing. Carlsbad is a gastronomic hotspot right now: make a night of it, starting out with a pre-prandial cocktail at Campfire.

Address

2659 State St, Carlsbad, CA 92008