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World Travel Guide > Guides > North America > United States of America > California > San Diego

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Restaurants in San Diego

From big-ticket restaurants to the independent, chef-driven bistros of downtown, San Diego boasts a burgeoning food scene. Local institutions like Addison and El Indio lineup against an almost endless stream of newcomers and pop-up food vendors. In the case of upscale and popular restaurants, reservations are recommended.

The restaurants below have been divided into three different categories:
Expensive (over US$80)
Moderate (US$40 to US$80)
Cheap (under US$40)

The prices quoted here are for an average three-course meal and for a bottle of house wine or cheapest equivalent; they do not include tax or tip. Restaurant prices are subject to a state tax of 8.75%, which is added to the bill at the end. A service charge is not typically added, so it is assumed that diners will tip 15-20% of the total bill.

Expensive

George's at the Cove

Cuisine:

Spectacular coastal scenery and terrific contemporary Californian haute cuisine. The combination is likely to make any visit to this La Jolla standout a memorable experience. The elegant fine dining restaurant is located on the main floor, and the menu is seasonal with a strong emphasis on fresh ingredients and a creative approach to regional cuisine. Upstairs, the rooftop Ocean Terrace offer a more casual menu and breathtaking views of La Jolla Cove.

Address: La Jolla, 1250 Prospect Street, San Diego,
Telephone: +1 858 454 4244.
Website: http://www.georgesatthecove.com

Mille Fleurs

Cuisine: French

Ensconced in the highly exclusive enclave of Rancho Santa Fe, Mille Fleurs is one of the San Diego region's very best French restaurants, boasting haute cuisine, elegant décor, top-notch service and an intimate hacienda setting. An exclusive culinary experience.

Address: Rancho Santa Fe, 6009 Paseo Delicias, San Diego,
Telephone: +1 858 756 3085.
Website: http://www.millefleurs.com

The Marine Room

Cuisine: International

Right on the beach at La Jolla Shores, The Marine Room blends an incredible location with expertly prepared French, Mediterranean and Californian cuisine. Famous for the dramatic pounding surf right outside its windows, the restaurant also deserves its reputation for culinary excellence. During the winter, the restaurant hosts special 'High Tide Breakfasts', with the waves crashing against the windows.

Address: La Jolla, 2000 Spindrift Drive, San Diego,
Telephone: +1 855 923 8057.
Website: http://www.marineroom.com

Moderate

El Agave Tequileria

Cuisine: Mexican

There are many good Mexican restaurants in San Diego, and among the very best is El Agave Tequileria in Old Town. This Mexican nouvelle cuisine restaurant serves a wide range of authentic dishes from various Mexican regions while also giving many of them a modern twist. In addition to the top-notch food on offer, El Agave has an impressive tequila selection; more than 100 brands are served by the shot.

Address: Old Town, 2304 San Diego Avenue, San Diego,
Telephone: +1 619 220 0692.
Website: http://www.elagave.com

The 3rd Corner

Cuisine: French-California

Funky Ocean Beach is the unlikely setting for this chic bistro with a spectacular wine list and French-California small dishes like baked Humboldt fog goat cheese, sublime steamed mussels and perfect duck confit. Cases of imported wines divide several intimate dining areas; choose a bottle for sampling for a surprisingly low corkage fee. Local chefs are known to gather here for late-night confabs.

Address: , 2265 Bacon Street, San Diego,
Telephone: +1 619 223 2700.
Website: http://www.the3rdcorner.com

The Fish Market

Cuisine: Seafood

The Fish Market and its upstairs, the more upscale Top of the Market, are a fish lover's paradise. The casual, busy and bustling downstairs offers an enormous selection of totally fresh seafood, while the Top of the Market is more formal and serves fish and seafood dishes in more elegant surroundings. Both levels offer remarkable views of the harbour and the Coronado Bridge. Downstairs there is a retail seafood market and a sushi bar.

Address: , 750 North Harbor Drive, San Diego,
Telephone: +1 619 232 3474.
Website: http://www.thefishmarket.com

Cheap

Café 222

Cuisine: Breakfast

Pumpkin and wholegrain waffles, peanut butter French toast and other bountiful breakfasts draw crowds of downtown residents and office workers to this offbeat cafe with a tiny dining room and a few sidewalk tables. The wait for a table is eased by coffee and conversation. The owner is a seasoned restaurant critic and consultant who knows her stuff and nourishes a loyal clientele.

Address: , 222 Island Avenue, San Diego,
Telephone: +1 619 239 9902.
Website: http://www.cafe222.com

El Indio

Cuisine: Seafood

A San Diego culinary institution since the 1940s, El Indio in Little Italy/Middletown not far from the airport is probably San Diego's most famous Mexican restaurant. It is rumoured that three US presidents have ordered food from El Indio to be sent to Washington DC. Abundant portions of fresh, high-quality Sonora-style Mexican food await visitors to this popular restaurant and take-out stand. The vegetarian menu is highly recommended.

Address: , 3695 India Street, San Diego,
Telephone: +1 619 299 0333.
Website: http://www.el-indio.com

Hash House a Go Go

Cuisine:

Hash House a Go Go in Hillcrest lives up to its mission statement of keeping the fun in food and maintaining a level of excitement and entertainment during the dining experience. Huge portions of innovative and utterly delicious versions of classic American dishes and a friendly, bustling atmosphere ensure that visitors take enjoyment both from the food and the ambience. Long queues on weekends are proof of the enduring charm of this modern-day diner.

Address: , 3628 Fifth Avenue, San Diego,
Telephone: +1 619 298 4646.
Website: http://www.hashhouseagogo.com

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La Valencia

Beauty, elegance, and charm live inside the pink stucco walls of this property, known locally as La V. Stunning views of La Jolla Cove and the ocean act as backdrops in the richly appointed La Sala room (where martinis and tapas are served in the evening) and many of the 100-plus original guest rooms and 15 villas, each boasting a whirlpool tub, king-size bed, and personalised butler service. The hotel's exclusive =Sky Room , with just a dozen or so tables and a small bar, is one of the most elegant restaurants in San Diego. The sidewalk level Whaling Bar is a La Jolla institution where local nabobs mingle over steaks and martinis.

Gaslamp Plaza Suites

The Gaslamp Plaza Suites is a European-style, San Diego hotel built in 1913, with many elements of the original décor intact such as the sculpted Corinthian marble, Australian gumwood carpentry, hand-cut mosaic tiles and bronze and brass embellishments which can be seen throughout the hotel. The location is as central as it could get - in the heart of the Gaslamp District. Complimentary continental breakfast is served daily on the rooftop terrace overlooking the beautiful Downtown area of the city.

Sofia Hotel

One of the oldest hotels in San Diego's Downtown has been transformed into a chic boutique inn with 212 rooms that have the feel of urban studios with efficient Wi-Fi and access to Currant, one of lower downtown's most happening cafes. Some rooms are dark and noisy - ask to see a few before unpacking.

Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

Set smack at the foot of Fifth Avenue, across the street from the San Diego Convention Center at the edge of the Gaslamp Quarter, the 12-story Hard Rock attracts awe-struck sightseers ogling The Rock Shop (collectable Hard Rock gear), Nobu (chef Nobu Matsuhisa's entree into the SoCal dining scene), Maryjane's diner-style coffee shop and the Sweetwater Saloon - a sidewalk bar by day and happening dance club at night. Guests in the 420 rooms and suites are greeted with their choice of music drifting from speakers on the flat screen HDTVs. Red leather chairs and low white couches, swirly patterned rugs and square showerheads in the ceilings set a fun-loving mood, enhanced by Sleep Like a Rock beds.

Tower 23

Named for the lifeguard tower it faces, this ultra-hip Pacific Beach hotel has 44 slick rooms with rain showers, Egyptian cotton bedding, LCD screen TVs and H2O toiletries. Some suites overlook the boardwalk and beach and have private balconies. Wi-Fi is available throughout the property - checking your e-mail from a cafe table by the sand is just about as SoCal techie as you can get. The hotel's JRDN restaurant serves the freshest regional seafood and produce in a casual setting.

Town and Country Resort

The resort features 1,000 guestrooms, four swimming pools and whirlpool, five restaurants and three lounges, in addition to 16 hectares (40 acres) of beautifully landscaped grounds. There is also a spa, salon and fitness centre. The 27-hole Riverwalk Golf Club and Mission Valley Regional Conference Center are adjacent. Premier shopping is also available nearby.