There is certainly no shortage of fantastic places to eat and fun activities to do while visiting San Diego. With so many amazing options, one could spend hours trying to plan the ideal itinerary. But who has time for that?
That’s where we come in! We put together this comprehensive “Local’s Guide” to take the stress out of planning your next trip to San Diego and introduce you to some local gems you might not stumble upon with an average Google search. So sit back, pop a bottle of bubbles, and check out some of our favorites!
Restaurants North County:
810 N Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024
Much like us, Valentina loves their bubbles. Their wine list offers over 120 different bottles from producers ranging from the mountains of Napa Valley to the rolling hills of the Rhône- their list even includes a few of our bubbles!
Named after owner Mario Guerra’s young daughter, Valentina is a tastefully decorated bistro with dishes inspired by the cuisines of Mexico, Spain, Italy and France. With custom mural wall art and lemons sourced from Guerra’s family estate adorning every table, it’s easy to see how Valentina quickly became a local’s favorite.
Shiloh’s personal favorites: Oysters, Chicken Paillard, Paella de Mariscos
Jeune et Jolie:
2659 State St. Carlsbad, CA 92008
Recently awarded a Michelin Star in 2021, Jeune et Jolie is a French cuisine-inspired restaurant offering a 4-course menu in which guests make their own selections, or for a more casual evening, an à la carte offering is available for walk-in guests at their bar and lounge.
Their “celebrate the moment” attitude is exemplified by their chic decor and impeccable presentation of each dish. Make reservations for the garden patio under the string lights! And don't miss the Fruits de Mer if you're a seafood lover!
2005 San Elijo Ave, Cardiff, CA 92007
The perfect stop off for a breezy afternoon spritz. Part of the nationally acclaimed restaurant group SDCM, The Waverly is an all day cafe serving progressive American cuisine with a European influence.
Inspired by his impressive culinary experiences and accolades, Executive Chef Brian Redzikowski has perfected both a daytime and nighttime menu guaranteed to satisfy every palate.
The Waverly embraces the laid back aura of Cardiff with beautifully presented plates and dazzling cocktails, tied together by custom, original artwork by Australian Artist, Jai Vasicek.
222 North Pacific Street, Oceanside, CA 92056
Valle sources only the freshest and finest ingredients from California, and fuses together favorites from Baja Mexico’s Guadalupe Valley wine region.
Valle features wooden fixtures and natural elements designed to enhance its space and create a welcoming and warm atmosphere for guests to unwind, dine, and drink (fine) Guadalupe wine.
Go for the seafood straight from local fishermen, stay for the gorgeous Pacific Ocean views and inviting atmosphere.
L’Auberge Del Mar, 1540 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA 92014
Nestled inside Hotel L’Auberge Del Mar, Adelaide gives dramatic ocean views that are paired with a refined and elevated approach to coastal California dining that is both ocean-forward and rooted in the earth.
Each dish is carefully and creatively designed to bring together flavors not commonly thought would pair well, leaving you surprised and satisfied.
Call for reservations on the patio to take full advantage of the ocean views!
Restaurants Down South:
Wolf in the Woods:
1920 Fort Stockton Dr, San Diego, CA 92103
Wolf in the Woods is inspired by classic and modern New Mexican aesthetics, blending Native American, European, and Hispanic cultures for a style unique to them.
They have passionately curated both old and new world-inspired wines (including our bubbles!), tapas, small plates, and cheese boards. Make sure to make a reservation as this cozy little spot is tiny!
Shiloh’s personal favorites: Pate, steak tartare, and salmon
Born & Raised:
1909 India St, San Diego, CA 92101
For all the meat lovers out there, boy do we have a spot for you. A popular choice in Little Italy, Born and Raised hosts a menu filled with impeccable steak cuts.
Reserve a table downstairs to transport yourself to the Roaring 20’s with a dimly lit decor of rich, dark wood adorned with brass accents. Enjoy dinner with a show with table-side preparation of a variety of menu options and classic cocktails.
No reservation or looking for something more casual? Head upstairs to the indoor/outdoor patio with panoramic views of the city and equally eye-catching decor.
Brielle’s Personal Favorites: The bread, french onion soup, Beef Wellington (feeds two!), profiterol for dessert (off menu)
Ironside Fish & Oyster:
1654 India St, San Diego, CA 92101
Once occupied by a metal fabricator, this fully rehabbed warehouse mixes nautical touches with mixed metals, frosted bulbs, and subway tiling.
We always take advantage of the $1 oysters (a perfect pairing with their fantastic bubbles menu) during weekday happy hour, and usually linger for the impressive cocktail menu, or should we say book, lined with classics, spirit-forward choices, sparkling tipples, amaro, absinthe, and rum, plus 11 categories of whiskey.
Executive Chef Jason McLeod is one of the few chefs in San Diego who comes from a Michelin Starred background and has curated a menu of locally caught seafood sure to leave you satiated.
1030-G Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037
Born in Tokyo with inspiration from the sushi bars of Ginza and the Southern California lifestyle, Himitsu introduces Japanese culture, design & hospitality to San Diego.
Chef Mitsu Aihara presents a menu of traditional sushi and nigiri along with Japanese style tapas using the highest quality products and ingredients. A carefully curated sake list is accompanied by select natural wines, grower champagnes and essential Japanese craft beers.
A reservation is a must, especially if you want an up close and personal view of Chef Mitsu Aihara and his team in action at the sushi bar (which we highly recommend). Otherwise, the semi-covered patio is also an excellent choice.
4764 Convoy St suite A, San Diego, CA 92111
If you’re looking for dinner and a show, look no further.
Hidden Fish is San Diego’s first timed omakase experience. Omakase, which translates to “I’ll leave it up to you,” is a Japanese tradition of dining where the chef creates an elaborate tasting menu for guests to enjoy.
With only a 12-seat sushi bar, be sure to make reservations for either the fifty-minute experience, where you enjoy 12 pieces of nigiri, or the 90-minute experience, where you enjoy 18. All masterfully prepared by Chef Hong right in front of you.
An à la carte menu of hand rolls, nigiri and specialty nigiri is available for those still hungry at the end of their meal.
1195 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Relatively new to the San Diego restaurant scene, Chef Travis Swikard expertly blends the flavors of Greece, Spain, Italy, Morocco, and the Middle East at this East Village hot spot.
Callie puts the farmers, fisherman, and ingredients of the greater San Diego region at the forefront, and blends them with a Mediterranean palette. At Callie, the two come together to create light, bright, and bold flavors. Not only will their food blow you away, but the very intentional wine list is sure to please even the pickiest oenophile.
The space was intentionally designed with a nod to Swikard’s childhood growing up in San Diego, frequenting the beach and skateboarding with friends.
Balboa Park for museums- Balboa boasts an impressive 17 museums. Take your pick here or just meander through the grounds and gardens.
Hotel Del Coronado for bike riding and lunch- Hotel del Coronado debuted as an architectural masterpiece, acclaimed for its spectacular seaside setting and world-famous weather. Rent a bike nearby, and check out one of the many eateries.
Moonlight Beach for beach day- This wide, sandy beach offers swimming, surfing and fishing. Facilities include volleyball and tennis courts, recreational equipment rentals and a snack bar.
La Jolla Cove for seals and walks- Take a simple stroll along La Jolla and enjoy the seals playing and basking in the sun! The coves are some of the coast's most beautiful.
Belmont Park for rides- For the kids and kids at heart, San Diego's Premier Beachfront Amusement Park, features historic Giant Dipper roller coaster, historic Plunge swimming pool, plus restaurants, shops & more!
The Zoo- The San Diego Zoo (one of the best in the world) houses 4000 animals of more than 650 species and subspecies on 100 acres of Balboa Park.
Carlsbad Lagoon for boating or SUP- There is no shortage of rentals here! Grab a sandwich and have a day filled with waterfront activities.