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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 (5712)
$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
AaronP
Dined 1 day ago
Jason out waiter made the night so much fun! Our bartender upstairs (didn't get her name) was fantastic as well! Both of them gave us an experience we will never forget!!
A photo of Cloak + Petal restaurant
4.5
4.5 (835)
$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
Josh
Dined on Feb 14, 2024
First time I have been there and it was a wonderful experience. Servers were great and the food was excellent. I recommend the Tokyo Gangster and Shinobi roll.
A photo of UNION Kitchen & Tap restaurant
4.6
4.6 (1012)
$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
LeucadiaFoodies
Dined 5 days ago
Great execution of bar/tap room eating experience, with a menu far better than basic pub grub. It is a fun lively atmosphere. Would be enhance if the volume of the music was turned down slightly.
A photo of Raised by Wolves restaurant
4.6
4.6 (2545)
$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
JoseT
Dined 1 day ago
My favorite bar. Arguably, the best bar in San Diego County
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
AndyEvip
Dined on Mar 8, 2020
Food was amazing and customer service was outstanding. Will definitely come back again.
A photo of Le Papagayo Encinitas restaurant
4.3
4.3 (2140)
$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
Sandi
Dined 1 day ago
Delicious food and great service. Perfect/Blend was performing and they were absolutely wonderful. What a fun evening.
A photo of Beaumont's restaurant
4.7
4.7 (864)
$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
MitchJ
Dined on Feb 15, 2024
We enjoyed our dining experience at the Beaumont. Wonderful environment, amazing food and in the company of the most beautiful woman in world, my wife. Perfect night, thank you!
A photo of Tahona Bar restaurant
4.6
4.6 (553)
$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
OpenTable Diner
Dined 3 days ago
It was our first date and we loved everything! Could not have had a better experience!
A photo of Dobson's Bar & Restaurant restaurant
4.6
4.6 (1371)
$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
AmyB
Dined 1 day ago
Love the tradition of going to Dobson's before the theater. The mussel bisque is amazing and brings back so many memories of meals here. Great service, delicious wine and fabulous salads. We really enjoyed our meal before heading over to the Balboa Theater. We'll be back ;-)
A photo of Manhattan of La Jolla restaurant
4.7
4.7 (1595)
$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
OpenTable Dinervip
Dined 3 days ago
Very good service, as always. Husband had the veal chop Milanese which was delicious. I had veal piccata. I requested light sauce on the piccata but it was heavy and not hot enough as was pasta. But, still enjoyable and will continue to go back!
A photo of Jeune et Jolie restaurant
4.9
4.9 (3592)
$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
SusanGee
Dined 2 days ago
Outstanding service and food - loved the ambiance too
A photo of King & Queen Cantina - San Diego restaurant
4.5
4.5 (1110)
$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
DavidG
Dined on Feb 11, 2024
Amazing ambiance. Would recommend. Can’t wait to go back
A photo of Gravity Heights restaurant
4.8
4.8 (1105)
$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
Merge56
Dined 6 days ago
Good food,nice ambience. Definitely will go back for more. Lots of parking.
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