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The Best Bars for Foodies in San Diego

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.

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The OpenTable Team
13 Restaurants
Updated 26 February 2020
Restaurants:Born & Raised, Sugar Factory American Brasserie - Theatre Box, UNION Kitchen & Tap
Price Range:$$ - $$$$
Cuisines:Steakhouse, American, Contemporary American
Neighborhoods:Little Italy, Downtown / Gaslamp, Encinitas
A photo of Born & Raised restaurant

Born & Raised

$$$$
Steakhouse
Little Italy
4.6
4113 reviews
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.

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

A photo of Sugar Factory American Brasserie - Theatre Box restaurant

Sugar Factory American Brasserie - Theatre Box

$$$$
American
Downtown / Gaslamp
3.5
2401 reviews
Located in the heart of the Gaslamp District in a space formerly occupied by an old movie theatre, Sugar Factory American Brasserie may be a dessert lover's dream come to life, the confectionery counter meets restaurant/bar offers a little something for everyone. One of the many standouts includes the Sugar Factory Signature Drink, a 36-ounce "goblet" of alcohol infused liquid confections like the Fuzzy Peach Penguin Mango (aka the Tongue Twister), or The Drake, a Virginia Black Whiskey infused sweet tea and peach puree concoction with Sour Patch peaches and strawberry lemonade cotton candy. Not an alcohol drinker or dining with the kids? No problem! The drinks are also available alcohol free. The Couture Pops and decadent fondues are what they are most known for, and the dinner menu includes standard brasserie classics with a special twist, like the Grilled New York Steak Strip & Eggs, The Sugar Factory Eggs Benedict, or The Waffle Breakfast Burger.

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


Takeout available
View Takeout Menu
A photo of UNION Kitchen & Tap restaurant

UNION Kitchen & Tap

$$$$
Contemporary American
Encinitas
4.5
890 reviews
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.

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

A photo of Raised by Wolves restaurant

Raised by Wolves

$$$$
Bar / Lounge / Bottle Service
La Jolla
4.8
1738 reviews
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.

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

A photo of Kairoa Brewing Company restaurant

Kairoa Brewing Company

$$$$
Brewery
University Heights
4.5
103 reviews
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.

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

A photo of Le Papagayo Encinitas restaurant

Le Papagayo Encinitas

$$$$
American
Encinitas
4.6
1818 reviews
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.

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

A photo of Beaumont's restaurant

Beaumont's

$$$$
Contemporary American
La Jolla
4.6
734 reviews
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.

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

A photo of Tahona Bar restaurant

Tahona Bar

$$$$
Mexican
Old Town
4.4
386 reviews
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.

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

A photo of Dobson's Bar & Restaurant restaurant

Dobson's Bar & Restaurant

$$$$
Californian
Downtown / Gaslamp
4.4
1126 reviews
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.

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

A photo of Manhattan of La Jolla restaurant

Manhattan of La Jolla

$$$$
Italian
La Jolla
4.7
1271 reviews
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.

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


Takeout available
View Takeout Menu
A photo of Jeune et Jolie restaurant

Jeune et Jolie

$$$$
Contemporary French
Carlsbad
4.9
2518 reviews
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.

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

A photo of King & Queen Cantina - San Diego restaurant

King & Queen Cantina - San Diego

$$$$
Mexican
Little Italy
4.4
793 reviews
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.

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

A photo of Gravity Heights restaurant

Gravity Heights

$$$$
American
Sorrento Mesa
4.7
869 reviews
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.

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

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