There are so many good places to eat in San Diego and I was so excited to hit up some old favorites and try new spots that have opened recently.
It has evolved so much in the last 10 years and has become a place where foodies unite. Everything from fish tacos, sushi, pasta, ramen, you name it, San Diego has it readily available.
We were surprised to hear about all the new restaurants that opened up since we left San Diego over a year ago.
Here are the restaurants that we ate during our vacation:
Ironside Fish & Oyster
Ironside Fish & Oyster is located in the heart of Little Italy. Rowell and I came here on Friday night with my brother and sister in law who had just flew in from out of town. We picked them up from the airport and headed right over here after checking in at their hotel. We arrived at around 10pm and the restaurant was happening! We didn’t have reservations so I was surprised that they were able to seat us right away.
We had some cocktails, wedge salad with pancetta, fresh oysters, fried oysters, calamari and a lobster roll.
The oysters were so fresh! It came with a side of horseradish that was very strong but still tasty.
The generous portion of fried oysters and calamari were lightly breaded and deep fried; great for sharing.
And the lobster roll, oh the lobster roll… It had big chunks of lobster meat in a crispy, buttery bread roll. It was heaven. They weren’t stingy with the lobster and I was happy about the pieces that would fall to the plate every time Rowell would take a bite.
Up for grabs, right?!
Il Fornaio – Coronado
We celebrated my daughter’s Christening at Il Fornaio with about 35 of our closest family and friends.
Our lunch was a pre-selected menu of steak, seafood, pasta, salad, and a vegetarian dish.
I had the Ahi Tuna salad and it was fresh and light. It was 2 small pieces of tuna and in my opinion needed a 3rd piece as it was pretty small for an entrée. Rowell got the 12 oz rib eye which came with veggies and roasted potatoes. We had tiramisu for dessert and that was really good!
The best part of this restaurant is the location. It is right beside the Coronado Ferry Landing and our private section had a separate door that walks right outside by the water. Our view was of the water and we watched people riding their speedboats and paddle boarding as we ate our lunch.
It’s a fantastic place for taking photos.
Smoking Goat – North Park
The Smoking Goat is our favorite French restaurant in San Diego.
Everything about this place is phenomenal! From the décor, to the staff, to their seasonal menu, to the wine list to the food!
We’ve been here so many times that I think we’ve tried 90% of the menu.The have a $40 dinner experience which includes an appetizer, entrée and dessert. That is an awesome deal for a place like this!
We ordered grilled octopus, burrata salad with heirloom tomatoes, seared scallops, duck confit, crème brulee and goat cheese cheesecake.
OMG let me tell you, this goat cheese cheesecake is to die for! It is so decadent that you could easily share this and be satisfied.
Located in North Park, this restaurant is a must try if you like French cuisine!
Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE SUSHI!
I mean I could eat sushi every single day. The hardest part of my pregnancy was the fact that I had to stay away from sushi. As soon as I gave birth, I made Rowell get sushi and bring it to the hospital. If it was my last meal on earth, I would request sushi.
You get the point.
Sushi Ota is the bomb diggity! So fresh. So authentic. I feel like I’m in Japan when I go there. I’ve never been to Japan, but Sushi Ota is what it must be like.
The service is excellent. The place is always packed. Like always! Our reservations were at 9pm on a Sunday and there were still people outside waiting to be seated. The sushi chefs are so fast and we quickly got our sushi soon after we ordered.
When the platter of sushi arrived at our table, I think I heard angels singing. It was so beautiful!
Our party of 6 ordered a bunch of sushi nigiris and each bite I took made me feel like I was in heaven.
There is not one bad thing I can say about this place except that I wish there was a location close to my house.
Stone Brewery located at Liberty Station near Point Loma is fairly new. It wasn’t open when we lived in San Diego so we wanted to try it for Sunday lunch with the family.
It’s a spacious restaurant with a very large outdoor garden seating area. We sat outside and I was pleasantly surprised to see all the families there with kids.
They brew craft beer on site and there’s a variety of selection; some are seasonal. The food was a little on the pricey side for lunch ($20-25 for an entrée) but it was quite good.
It’s a nice casual brewery/restaurant that is kid friendly so I would definitely go back.
Herb & Wood
This is a new restaurant by chef Brian Malarkey who is a Top Chef contestant who made it to the top 5 of season 3. Although he didn’t win (which is shocking to me), I think this man is a culinary genius!
Herb & Wood focuses on infusing herbs into their foods and cooking wood-fired dishes. We ordered 2 cocktails, both having different fresh herbs to create a unique cocktail. Mine had lavender and Rowell had rosemary. Both were surprisingly deliciously. I was afraid mine with taste like soap but the hint of lavender was so refreshing.
We ordered everything a la carte and we were happy we did because trying a bunch of dishes is the way to go here.
Our server was phenomenal. Probably the best service I’ve received.
Herb & Wood is an upscale, rustic restaurant perfect for a night on the town.
It’s different and not your traditional meal that you can expect at any restaurant. It is truly a unique, dining experience for those with an adventurous palette.
Salted Pepper Chicken Wings!
That is all you need to know! This place is located in Eastlake Chula Vista which is a bit of a drive if you’re not in that area but they do have another location in National City called Golden Chopsticks. Same type of salted pepper chicken wings.
I’m not sure why they call it salted pepper chicken wings because its actually fried chicken wings with lots and lots of garlic, green onion and red chili pepper flakes. IT IS SO GOOD!
There is none like it and we have tried to find it in the Bay Area to no avail.
I love this place and I wish we came here more when we lived in San Diego. Located near Little Italy, it’s a popular destination for everyone. Tourists and locals flock to this place for the best dessert in San Diego.
Extraordinary Desserts has everything from bread pudding, cakes, tortes, pies, cookies, everything! You can even buy large whole cakes to go if you want to go all out!
Along with coffees and teas, they also serve wine along with cheeses and sandwiches as well.
Our personal favorite is the bread pudding, but don’t ever get that to go. It will be a soggy hot mess when you get home.
Tacos el Gordo – Chula Vista
If you can only eat at one place in San Diego, eat here! Tacos el Gordo de Tijuana B.C.
It is authentic Tijuana style street tacos so don’t expect anything like what you’d get at Taco Bell. It’s smaller than a regular taco but the meat, oh the meat…just thinking about it is making me hungry!
They have 2 locations in Chula Vista; one on Palm Ave and the other on H St. (They also have locations in Vegas now.)
The taco’s are $2.25 each and we ordered 6 total to share between Rowell and I. We got carne asada (grilled beef) and adobada (spiced pork).
Honestly, we could have totally eaten 6 more!
I hope you enjoyed this post! Writing this post made me super hungry!
Where are your favorite San Diego eats? Let me know in the Comments section below.