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Diners' Choice: Lively restaurants in San Diego

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OpenTable
Updated 05 April 2024

Looking for restaurants that have the most vibrant bar scenes in San Diego? You’re in the right place. Each month, OpenTable analyses nearly 2 million global diner reviews from the past four months. We sort the results by location and category to help you discover new favourite restaurants. It's a great partnership: you book, eat, and review. We listen...and deliver the results for all to benefit. Enjoy!


A photo of La Bamba Room restaurant
4.9
4.9 (42)
$30 and under
Mexican
Barrio Logan
About the restaurant
La Bamba boasts 2,000-square-foot, vintage lighting and orange crushed velvet swivel chairs from Becerra’s grandmother’s home, a menu banking on the south-of-the-border classics that defined his childhood, and custom speakers whispering jazzy, soulful, sometimes reggae sweet nothings.

La Bamba Room, whose namesake is partially inspired by a 1987 musical drama, will mostly play vinyl with assistance from a custom-made jukebox and a DJ booth made from salvaged pieces from grandma’s home bar.

“La Bamba Room is… An ode to my family… A love letter to my childhood… It’s a shot straight from my heart, Like a bullet out of a gun!” -Ernie “Pio” Becerra III

Top review
Michaelvip
Dined on 22 Mar 2024
This place is amazing! The food was delicious and the drinks were incredible. The drink menu is extensive and fun to explore. The glossary that helps tell the establishments story was really cool too.
A photo of Common Stock restaurant
4.8
4.8 (30)
$30 and under
American
Hillcrest
About the restaurant
Common Stock is a casually sophisticated neighborhood restaurant + cocktail bar, where approachable nostalgic plates are prepared from scratch with obsessively sourced ingredients.
Top review
Karin
Dined 4 days ago
The service staff was very welcoming and friendly. You did not just get one staff member, many of them checking in with us and brought us stuff. The food was great, I really enjoyed the Chicken and waffles, the chicken was to die for. Great frys too! The only negative was the bathrooms could use more servicing.
A photo of Dolce restaurant
4.7
4.7 (678)
$30 and under
Californian
Rancho Santa Fe
About the restaurant
Dolce is a high quality, inviting atmosphere and the perfect Ranch neighborhood hideaway. Intimate and lively, Dolce offers delicious local, rustic wine-country inspired cuisine, fine wine and occasions for joyful gatherings.


Top review
cathycreates
Dined 1 day ago
Always a great time and great food and cocktails. We celebrated a birthday there - it’s our “go to” place!
A photo of Guadalajara Mexican Grill restaurant
4.6
4.6 (30)
$30 and under
Mexican
Temecula
About the restaurant
OUR STORY:
Founded in 1986 the Solano family opened Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant in Lake Elsinore, California. Eleven years later in 1997, we opened our second location Guadalajara Mexican Grill and Cantina in Temecula, California. At Guadalajara’s, we take real pride in providing the freshest ingredients to ensure high-quality Mexican food. We pride ourselves in having generous portions, a festive environment, and the best margaritas in town!

Top review
crystal
Dined 3 days ago
Food was excellent as well as the portions. Service was pleasant and the Sunday DJ Cafe made the atmosphere fun.
A photo of BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse - Temecula restaurant
4.6
4.6 (51)
$30 and under
American
Temecula
About the restaurant
Time counts at BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse. Since our humble beginnings back in 1978, we've continued to refine our brewhouse experience to make BJ's a place where you can make the most of any meal. We want BJ's to be a place where the moment you leave is the moment you plan on coming back. We pride ourselves in our craft and attention to detail. Our guests come here for our award-winning handcrafted beer. They come here for the Southern California twist we've put on the Chicago-style deep dish pizza. And they come here for our Pizookies®, our world-renowned dessert. But above all we know people come here to make their good times better. So in many ways we haven't just crafted a brand, but a mindset. And our guests are the reason for this. And it's because of them we're continually striving to make sure every moment they choose to spend with us counts. Welcome to BJ's, a restaurant with a Brewhouse soul.
Top review
HollyDawn
Dined on 15 Mar 2024
Loved that we could book a reservation. We were seated right away. Food was excellent and so was the service. It was very loud though. We weren’t in the main dining area. Next time we will ask to be seated in main dining area.
A photo of Miss B's Coconut Club restaurant
4.6
4.6 (99)
$30 and under
Caribbean
Mission Beach
About the restaurant
What you’ll find here is classic, Caribbean-inspired American food with tiki flair. Cubano Roasted Pork, Jerk Chicken and Coconut Shrimp are in synch with the mambo rhythm of your appetite, and our house-ground burger is one like you won’t find anywhere in town. Jumbo Coconut Shrimp and a list of Street Cart items will have you coming back to try them all, whether you order something “to go” from our walk-up counter, stay to eat on our spacious outdoor patio, or take a seat inside.

Coconut Club’s décor evokes a celebration of Mission Beach’s nautical and maritime past, which takes form as an inspired interpretation of a 30’s-style sailor tiki club. Rum is the star here, and has a leading role in our creative list of grownup cocktails, which includes shareable, tiki-inspired punches and bowls to drum up conversations and generate a buzz. Coconut Club is also a purveyor of fuel that fires the craft beer frenzy, with 20 local and microbrew tap handles.

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on 1 Apr 2024
Cute place with fun drinks and great food. I had the Cubano with fries and it was excellent.
A photo of BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse - Mission Valley restaurant
4.6
4.6 (36)
$30 and under
American
Mission Valley
About the restaurant
Time counts at BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse. Since our humble beginnings back in 1978, we've continued to refine our brewhouse experience to make BJ's a place where you can make the most of any meal. We want BJ's to be a place where the moment you leave is the moment you plan on coming back. We pride ourselves in our craft and attention to detail. Our guests come here for our award-winning handcrafted beer. They come here for the Southern California twist we've put on the Chicago-style deep dish pizza. And they come here for our Pizookies®, our world-renowned dessert. But above all we know people come here to make their good times better. So in many ways we haven't just crafted a brand, but a mindset. And our guests are the reason for this. And it's because of them we're continually striving to make sure every moment they choose to spend with us counts. Welcome to BJ's, a restaurant with a Brewhouse soul.
Top review
Premonsdaydinpvip
Dined on 31 Mar 2024
Our server was amazing! The pizookie desserts were our favorite!
A photo of The Shop - Rancho Bernardo restaurant
4.6
4.6 (229)
$30 and under
Pizzeria
Poway / Rancho Bernardo
About the restaurant
The Shop: Pizza + Cocktails is a family owned and operated restaurant located in San Diego's Rancho Bernardo Center.

We specialize in west coast deep-dish and traditional crust pizza, served with a range of fresh salads, appetizers, sandwiches, and pastas -- all made from scratch.

Enjoy our warm, welcoming atmosphere on our expansive outdoor patio.

Our full bar features a range of hand-crafted signature cocktails, limited production wines, and local beers... and an insanely awesome (and growing) selections of hard-to-find liquors, especially whiskeys.

Table sizes on our outdoor patio are limited. For parties of 6 or more people, please contact us directly so we can plan accordingly to accommodate you comfortably. See you soon!

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on 17 Mar 2024
Wonderful food and service! Way too loud inside for a party more than four to hear each other. My folks are older and it proved very difficult for them to hear the conversations. What a shame!
A photo of Smokin J's BBQ - Gaslamp restaurant
4.6
4.6 (18)
$30 and under
Barbecue
Downtown
About the restaurant
Grab your partner and hitch up that wagon, Smokin J's BBQ is now open in the Gaslamp Quarter! Located 5 minutes from the Convention Center, and a mere 10 minutes from Petco Park or the Rady Shell by foot, we are your new favorite spot for slow-smoked brisket, pulled pork, ribs, and craft beer. Smokin J's BBQ won Reader Magazine's poll for Best BBQ in San Diego in 2022 and at our spot in the Gaslamp Quarter we strive to create a warm and inviting atmosphere perfect for date nights, family outings, Sunday football, weekend brunch, or for anytime you want eat a great meal with great people. Open for lunch, dinner, and breakfast on the weekends, we offer plenty of indoor seating, a spacious bar, and patio seating.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on 14 Apr 2024
Great accidental find. Great atmosphere, loved the food “tv dinners”. Prime rib was outstanding. We will be back and bring friends.
A photo of Bay Park Fish Company restaurant
4.4
4.4 (303)
$30 and under
Seafood
Bay Park
About the restaurant
WE ARE OPEN!

Founded by two fishing buddies in 2005, Bay Park Fish Company has become a local hot spot for the freshest seafood in San Diego. Our menu features the freshest of locally sourced seafood. We are proud to be located in this quaint little neighborhood in San Diego & proud to support local fishermen.

For limited capacity dine-in, and take-out! We are excited to invite you back in! The health and safety of our staff and customers is our top priority. Please be assured that we are implementing all necessary health & safety measures as outlined in the published COVID-19 Restaurant Operating Protocol. Face covering is required to enter the restaurant at this time. You are permitted to remove your face covering once you are seated, and for the duration of time you are at the table.
Please be patient and understanding with our staff, we are all putting forth our best efforts to provide the best experience under this new normal!

Top review
ValerieP
Dined on 6 Apr 2024
Great food and service. It is really noisy. We had the sashimi salad, the clam chowder and the Brussel sprouts. The surf and turf burrito is a favorite
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