San Diego is a foodie heaven, full stop. The city combines the best of California cuisine, coastal flavors, and Mexican food in one beautiful place. Regarding melting pots, San Diego surely brings the world to your plate.
With so many options for great food in the city, you might miss the best bite you’ve ever had. Don’t let FOMO ruin your foodie tour of San Diego; we’ve got the best gathered here.
Join us as we check out the best that the San Diego food scene has to offer.
Let’s dive in!
About the San Diego Foodie Scene
Real foodies know the secrets behind great food destinations. Perfect weather, a wide range of cultural influences, and walkability all factor in. On the Pacific coast, San Diego has everything you could ask for. Average temperatures in the mid-70s year-round encourage an outdoor culture vital to great food cities.
The region is also known for excellent produce, the freshest seafood, and hot talent worldwide. Chefs flock to the area to work with the best ingredients, but homestyle joints ensure things don’t get too fancy.
Mexican, Italian, Asian, American, and Cali-Baja cuisines are just some of what you’ll encounter in “America’s finest city.”
We’re about to take a virtual foodie tour of seven of the best places to eat in San Diego.
Pro Tip: We made deciding where to stay in San Diego easy by ranking Every San Diego RV Park.
#1 Barrio Donas
There’s no better way to start a San Diego foodie tour than breakfast. Barrio Donas opened in the Clairmont neighborhood in 2019, providing a Mexican-American spin on donuts.
Their menu has traditional Mexican baked goods with flavors like arroz con leche (rice pudding filled), gansito (based on a classic Mexican snack), and hibiscus. They also offer vegan options including the sugar-coated pan dulce, a Nutella-filled bigote.
With a new location in the National City neighborhood, you’ve got some options for your morning pastry. Besides donuts, they have a strong torta game that you can’t miss.
They’re open every day of the week, so you can enjoy their tasty offerings no matter when you’re in the city.
#2 Liberty Public Market
If you want a little bit of everything in one place, the Liberty Public Market is a must-see. Located in the San Diego arts district, vendors offer foodies a taste of the region’s best offerings. A variety of prepared foods and beverages are available to purchase.
The highlight of the market is fresh ingredients. You’ll find produce, pasta, bread, desserts, meats, and seafood. Location is important here because the market is nearby several food, shopping, and arts experiences.
Since 2016, vendors at Liberty Public Market have seen tremendous growth. The market is open seven days a week, and we’re sure you’ll love what you find.
You can even grab something to go and enjoy a walk around the neighborhood.
Chef William Bradley’s Addison is the only restaurant in southern California with three Michelin stars. In the restaurant world, this rating is the highest mark of quality. So you know you’ll be in good hands throughout the meal.
You’ll also have to trust Chef Bradley because the restaurant only features a seasonal nine-course tasting menu. However, this may not be your place if you’re used to large portions and substitutions. But, at $355 per person, the experience isn’t something you’ll soon forget.
Reservations are booked months in advance, so if fine dining is your thing, plan ahead. The bar and lounge area is open to walk-ins, but reservations are required to eat.
Addison is open for dinner every day of the week.
#4 Bite San Diego Walking Tour
A walking foodie outing in a city with nearly perfect weather sounds like the ideal way to spend the day. Since 2010, the Bite San Diego tours have led visitors and locals to the best foodie locations. After a career leading food excursions around the globe, founder Beck Bamberger decided to focus on her hometown.
Group and private tours are available through Bite’s website and offer various opportunities. The options are North Park, Liberty Station, Downtown, Coronado, and La Jolla. Walking tours run on weekends and will vary depending on the specific locations.
Pro Tip: While on your California road trip make sure to check out these 7 Awesome Roadside Attractions in California.
#5 Mr. A’s
In 1965, John Alessio opened Mr. A’s restaurant in the historic Manchester Building. Since then, the restaurant’s fine dining aesthetic has made Mr. A’s a draw for the more refined foodie crowd in San Diego. After renovations they did between 2021 and 2022, the restaurant has a new lease on life. The gorgeous dining rooms and views are unmatched.
Inspired by the French culinary tradition, the restaurant offers brunch, lunch, and dinner with a Mediterranean flair. Additionally, fancy cocktails complement the meticulously designed menus. Chef Stephanie Voitzwinkler packs the muti-course dinner menu with unique offerings.
They’re open for dinner hours Monday through Thursday and offer lunch and brunch service on Friday through Sunday. Mr. A’s also enforces a strict business casual dress code throughout the day.
#6 San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival
San Diego is home to one of the year’s most anticipated foodie and wine events. The San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival won the 2019 USA Today 10 Best readers’ choice award. The festival brings celebrated chefs, television personalities, mixologists, and vendors together for one fabulous weekend each year.
The festival includes wine tastings, food sampling, talks, and a fiesta, which draws huge crowds each year. In fact, it’s one of the best events to see and be seen annually. Held in various locations around San Diego, the festival also showcases the area’s beauty.
Check their website for updated information about festival dates. Tickets are also available online for individual events and the whole shebang.
#7 Juniper and Ivy
Chef Anthony Wells’ menu at Juniper and Ivy showcases the bounty of southern California. Seasonal ingredients drive the ever-changing menu; only the best make it to your plate. The dining room is light and rustic, with an open kitchen allowing you to enjoy the show.
A deep and well-stocked wine cellar with an incredible selection will surely complement every meal. One of Open Table’s best restaurants for a big night out in San Diego, Juniper and Ivy meets our criteria for a fancy foodie dining experience. Spotlighting local seafood and produce, the chef takes every opportunity to showcase the ingredients.
They’re open for dinner service every day of the week. Front-of-house staff highly recommend reservations. They’re regularly booked out several months in advance, so plan accordingly.
A Foodie Heaven
Whether you love walking and snacking or sitting down to a Michelin-starred meal, San Diego has something for every kind of foodie. You’ll love “America’s finest city” for its wide-ranging and complex food offerings. Our list gives you enough options for several trips to California’s shining star, from breakfast to a late dinner.
Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA
To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).
You should give it a try!
As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.
Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers who love to score the best site!
We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below: