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Discover the Best New Restaurants in San Diego

San Diego’s delightful dining scene reveals a number of enduring characteristics. Among them are a focus on regional and SoCal Mexican fare and homegrown California cuisine with a focus on seafood and local produce. These are joined by global flavors from top-notch Italian to eclectic Asian fusion. All blend perfectly with glorious, sunshiney venues where outdoor dining is the norm all year round. The scene is also a dynamic one, with the opening of exciting new restaurants a frequent occurrence. So where do the smartest, most expert diners go to discover the best new restaurants in San Diego? This is the Tastemaker 20. We gathered data covering thousands of restaurants to find the top 20 new restaurants among OpenTable's savviest diners. From Old Town to downtown, the Gaslamp to Little Italy, these newcomers are making their mark in San Diego. They're certain to become firm favorites over the years, but why wait? We suggest booking a table at one of the best new restaurants in San Diego today.

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The OpenTable Team
11 Restaurants
Updated 04 November 2019
Restaurants:Tahona Bar, Cesarina, North Italia - Fashion Valley
Price Range:$$ - $$
Cuisines:Mexican, Italian
Neighborhoods:Old Town, Ocean Beach, Mission Valley
A photo of Tahona Bar restaurant

Tahona Bar

$$$$
Mexican
Old Town
4.4
386 reviews
Oaxacan cuisine and mezcals are the specialties of Tahona Bar, a new restaurant in San Diego’s Old Town. The restaurant’s relative newness (it opened in late 2018) along with its modern-leaning approach to authentic regional cuisine, somehow merge nicely with its Old Town surroundings. Chef Adrian Villareal Mora’s breakfast, happy hour and dinner menus showcase dishes originating in Oaxaca. Among them are a guacamole topped with chapulines (a spicy-tangy preparation of ground grasshoppers), aguachile, barbacoa and three house moles. Tahona’s tacos – market fish, shrimp and squash blossom – are always a hit, available individually and as a trio. Mezcal pairings are available, as is a mezcal tasting experience.

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 Cesarina restaurant

Cesarina

$$$$
Italian
Ocean Beach
4.9
3117 reviews
It’s celebrated as one of the best new restaurants in San Diego, but Cesarina’s early-2019 opening wasn’t technically its debut. The Italian trattoria started as a pop-up at local farmers markets, offering pasta and sauces made by hand by a trio from Naples and Rome. At the bricks-and-mortar restaurant, diners get a glimpse of the kitchen' pastificio, the non-stop hub at the heart of an operation dedicated to the art of fresh pasta-making from scratch. Cesarina’s identical lunch and dinner menus present a mix-and-match selection of 11 pastas, eight sauces and nine toppings. Among those are fresh burrata, octopus meatballs and cured pork cheek. Dozens more pasta dishes feature as well, along with salads and antipasti.

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 North Italia - Fashion Valley restaurant

North Italia - Fashion Valley

$$$$
Italian
Mission Valley
4.7
1558 reviews
North Italia opened in Fashion Valley in the fall of 2018 and proved so popular that a second location has since launched in Carmel Valley. A substantial part of the modern Italian eatery’s success must be attributed to executive chef Rich Sweeney, a participant on TV’s Top Chef. His from-scratch menus highlight pastas made daily in house, plus pizzas and other produce-forward creations. Expect beloved classics like spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parmesan and arancini. There are also some original creations such as black Mediterranean mussels with spicy salumi, and a squid ink mafaldine with calamari and white shrimp. North Italia’s venue is a major part of its appeal as well. It’s sleek, modern, filled with light and boasts a spacious shaded patio.

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 Little Frenchie restaurant

Little Frenchie

$$$$
French
Coronado
4.6
616 reviews
The charming, Parisian-inspired bistro Little Frenchie opened in May 2019 in the heart of Coronado Island. Its menus – morning, all-day and happy hour – stick exclusively with classic French bistro cuisine. Expect escargots, French onion soup, steak frites and a salad Nicoise. However, many of chef Matt Sramek’s choice ingredients are homegrown, imparting a taste of California to an all-French menu. Consider the cheese plates, offered in American, French and chef’s selection versions, each a curated offering from Little Frenchie’s comprehensive collection of Californian and imported French cheeses. The wine list has a similar provenance, with Belgian and French beers as a fine alternative.

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 Javier's - La Jolla restaurant

Javier's - La Jolla

$$$$
Mexican
La Jolla
4.7
2161 reviews
One of the best new restaurants in San Diego for upscale Mexican cuisine is Javier’s in La Jolla. It opened in January 2019 as the fifth in a popular regional chain. Javier’s menus feature old family recipes from diverse regions of Mexico, transformed into remarkable high cuisine with a contemporary touch and the highest quality ingredients. Seafood is 100-percent sustainable and in season, while the prime, corn-fed Angus beef used for Javier’s steaks comes from Nebraska. Some exemplary dishes include Angus short ribs braised in chile negro sauce, Michoacan-style pork carnitas and Dungeness crab enchiladas. Vegan and vegetarian items are available as well.

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 Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse - San Diego restaurant

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse - San Diego

$$$$
Steakhouse
Downtown / Gaslamp
4.5
1716 reviews
In late 2018, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse opened its latest new restaurant in San Diego. It claims astriking two-story space on the waterfront attached to the InterContinental Hotel downtown. The national chain of more than 50 award-winning steakhouses specializes in fresh seafood as well as hand-cut prime steaks. Along with classic American steakhouse fare are some globally inspired dishes. Examples include charred octopus with gigante beans, tomatoes and olives, and tuna tartare with sweet soy ponzu, avocado and wakame salad. Over a dozen steaks range from 8-ounce filets mignon to a 32-ounce 45-day dry-aged rib eye. Steak aficionados might also consider wagyu steaks from Australia, Japan and Texas.

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 Blanco Cocina + Cantina – Fashion Valley restaurant

Blanco Cocina + Cantina – Fashion Valley

$$$$
Mexican
Mission Valley
4.7
383 reviews
September 2018 marked the opening of Blanco Tacos + Tequila in Fashion Valley. It immediately became a go-to spot for tacos (eight in all), burritos, fajitas, enchiladas and a killer guacamole topped with roasted poblano peppers, Anaheim chiles, caramelized onion and cotija cheese. Also popular are various Mexican pizzas, which include a short rib machaca version and another topped with smoked bacon, French fries and over-easy eggs. Hand-crafted cocktails, including a range of imaginative margaritas, are just as much a draw to the hip, modern, mural-adorned space. Don’t miss the blackberry clementine margarita made with white tequila and hibiscus sea salt.

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
A New Zealand brewpub in University Heights became one of the best new restaurants in San Diego when it opened in early 2019. Kairoa Brewing Company takes inspiration from its founders’ New Zealand homeland in its cuisine, brews, venue and vibe. New Zealand specialties share space on the menu with more familiar comfort food classics. The former include shrimp butties, pork sausage rolls , a kiwi burger topped with marinated beets, and smoked chook wings with a choice of seasonings. Other tempting options include lamb street tacos, octopus karaage and beer-battered fish and chips.

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 Queenstown Public House restaurant

Queenstown Public House

$$$$
Organic
Little Italy
4.7
258 reviews
Inside a quirky Craftsman cottage in Little Italy is Queenstown Public House, one of the best new restaurants in San Diego. It offers New Zealand pub fare, a type of cuisine that blends the casual and creative, and comfort food with exotic ingredients. Adding to its appeal are great craft beers and a dog-friendly patio. The dinner menu (lunch and brunch are available too) includes a dozen sandwiches and burgers and a family-style section. Entrees include a Wellington meatloaf, parlor pot pie and New Zealand cioppino. Reflecting some global flavors are the Bombay chicken sandwich, Ahi Nicoise salad and a wild boar burger with mozzarella, roasted peppers and pesto aioli.

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
Gravity Heights, a brewpub in Sorrento Mesa, takes its brews seriously but puts as much focus on top-quality cuisine. Prior to its early 2019 opening, the founders also invested substantially in its 12,000-square-foot venue. Most notably they added an enormous shady oak tree to the center of a beer garden. The outdoor space and light-filled dining room are both ideal settings in which to indulge in “elevated pub fare.” Burgers, wood-fired pizzas and munchies including bacon-wrapped dates, brisket-topped fries and duck liver bahn mi crostini make up Gravity Heights’ menu. Don’t miss chef Ryan’s signature fried chicken, which comes in classic and spicy Korean versions.

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 Seréa restaurant

Seréa

$$$$
Seafood
Coronado
4.6
1190 reviews
The upscale, oceanfront Seréa is one of the best new restaurants in San Diego, having opened in the summer of 2019. Yet its home, the iconic Hotel Del Coronado, claims a long and rich heritage dating to 1888. Seréa brings a contemporary dining concept to this historic venue. Executive chef Jojo Ruiz’s creates menus around local, sustainable seafood and whole fish. His elegant preparations showcase the beauty of these ingredients while revealing a Mediterranean coastal influence. Some highlights include halibut ceviche, char-grilled octopus, glazed California black cod and wood-grilled spot prawns. Non-seafood items like Spanish-style mixed mushrooms, wood-roasted cauliflower and grilled lamb ribs round out the offerings.

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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