Searsucker
Thrillist
Cucina Urbana
Whisknladle
Thrillist
Pizza Port Solana Beach
Kevin Alexander
Phil's BBQ
Sara Norris
CeCe Canton
Zack Benson
Sara Norris
Thrillist
Sara Norris
The Rabbit Hole
Thrillist
Sara Norris
Fairweather
Natalie Holtz
Natalie Holtz
Natalie Holtz
Natalie Holtz
Natalie Holtz
Natalie Holtz
Natalie Holtz
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1. El Zarape Restaurant 4642 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92116 (University Heights)

This University Heights restaurant is tiny, but serves delicious, authentic Mexican food. They're praised for their fish tacos, and have an extensive variety of burritos on their menu.

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2. PB Fish Shop 1775 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

PB Fish Shop serves up the fish of your choice in a variety of ways: fried, in tacos, on a platter, etc. And it's dog-friendly!

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3. South Beach Bar & Grille 5059 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107 (Ocean Beach)

Rumor has it that the best fish tacos in San Diego can be found at South Beach Bar and Grille, just a stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean in Ocean Beach. Mahi tacos are served with cheese, red cabbage, salsa fresca, and white sauce, piled high on a soft flour tortilla (though corn tortillas are available upon request). The fish is so soft and moist it nearly melts in your mouth, and the teriyaki and pineapple marinade lend a tangy taste that will make your lips pucker. For the taco-averse, you can choose from a variety of fried seafood, like lobster, wahoo, shark, calamari, and shrimp, as well as burgers, chicken, and vegetarian options. Enjoy your dish and watch the sun set as you sip on a drink from the bar that offers 22 tequilas and more than 40 beers.

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4. Blue Water Seafood Market and Grill 3667 India St, San Diego, CA 92103 (Mission Hills)

Famous for their fish tacos, Blue Water Seafood in San Diego offers in-house dining, as well as a large selection of fresh fish and shellfish available for cooking at home. The vast majority of fish/seafood taco options at this always-busy shop ring in under $5, and unlike most places, you also get to choose your preparation (lemon butter, lemon-garlic butter, bourbon butter, teriyaki, chipotle, blackened, or bronzed).

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5. The Blind Burro 639 J St, San Diego, CA 92101 (Gaslamp Quarter)

The crew at The Blind Burro treats diners to South-of-the-Border street food, including a grilled flour tortilla topped with cheese, tomatoes, and guac (it's like a Mexican pizza!). The space accommodates plenty of red-upholstered chairs and tables, and potted succulents that reference this restaurant's extensive tequila selection.

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6. Pizza Port Solana Beach 135 n hwy 101 Solana Beach, San Diego, CA 92075 (Solana Beach)

Pizza Port Solana Beach is a seaside brew and pizza joint of the highest order. You have to appreciate a place that describes their pizza as 'anti-wimpy,' and make both their own in-house craft beer and, wait for it, root beer. Dreams do come true.

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7. Phil's BBQ 9816 Mission Gorge Rd, Santee, CA 92071

Phil's BBQ serves baby back and beefy ribs, mesquite grilled BBQ chicken, and sandwiches like the pulled pork BBQ Broham, alongside a choice selection of 20 mostly local drafts. If you are craving some really good BBQ, you need to stop by Phil's.

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8. Ironside Fish & Oyster 1654 India St, San Diego, CA 92101 (Little Italy)

With a gorgeous interior, a fresh and delicious seafood menu, and a cocktail program that's almost as imaginative as its interior, Ironside Fish & Oyster proves to be another sterling example in a growing collection of successes from Consortium Holdings (Soda & Swine, Polite Provisions).

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9. Juniper & Ivy Restaurant 2228 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101 (Little Italy)

Top Chef: All Stars winner Richard Blais is behind Juniper & Ivy, a Little Italy restaurant that's making moves to put the San Diego dining scene on the same level as New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The refined menu is nothing if not creative, and dishes like lobster congee with beef sausage, wagyu short rib with Gruyere-rye bread pudding, and vindaloo-rubbed filet carpaccio prove that Blais' cooking inspiration isn't limited to one cuisine. That said, one of the best things on the menu is also the simplest: the buttermilk drop biscuit with smoked butter.

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10. Searsucker 611 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101 (Gaslamp Quarter)

Created by Top Chef finalist Brian Malarkey, Searsucker is a 7,000 square-foot restaurant whose classic American fare is crafted from locally-obtained ingredients. The beer on tap is local too, and there's also a fine wine list and an assortment of signature cocktails on the drinks menu.

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11. CUCINA urbana 505 Laurel St, San Diego, CA 92101 (Bankers Hill)

CUCINA urbana, a pizza and wine bar right off Balboa Park, is reliable for a long list of Italian classics: from short rib parpardelle to spicy shrimp Puttanesca tangled in angel hair pasta. The best time to come to the rustic-chic space, though, is during happy hour, for cheap cocktails and discounted pizzas. Doughy, sugar-powdered zeppole will leave you wanting more.

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12. Whisknladle 1044 Wall St, La Jolla, CA 92037 (La Jolla)

Built around the need for a restaurant using farm-fresh ingredients and cooking from scratch, Whisknladle delivers delicious apps and entrees alongside a creative cocktail list.

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13. El Dorado 1030 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101 (East Village)

El Dorado Cocktail Lounge is perhaps as infamous for its cocktails as it is for its rustic aesthetic. Celebrating Western saloons from days of yore, El Dorado bedecks its deep burgundy walls with vintage cowboy scenes in wooden frames and draws your attention to a massive taxidermied white buffalo head (who goes by Otis) suspended above the dance floor. Signature cocktails include the Fetch Me a Cot and the Basic Bitch, but for something even more unusual (but equally delicious), opt for one of El Dorado’s seasonal cocktails.

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14. Noble Experiment 777 G St, San Diego, CA 92101 (Gaslamp Quarter)

Noble Experiment calls itself a speakeasy, but it's not much of a secret. The popular drinking den inside Gaslamp Quarter's Neighborhood is so popular that you won't be able to get in without reserving a spot a few days in advance. Trust us though, it's worth it. What looks like a stack of kegs by the restaurant's bathroom is a door that'll lead you to a bar that's best described as vampire's lair meets French catacombs. Order from a simple menu of handcrafted cocktails or take a chance with the Dealer's Choice -- a bartender will concoct something for you based on your personal tastes, and they almost always nail it. Don't let the wall of gilded skulls freak you out, it's all part of the charm.

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15. Polite Provisions 4693 30th St, San Diego, CA 92116 (Normal Heights)

Operating in an apothecary-themed space, this north San Diego bar calls itself a manufacturer of local tonics, elixirs, and cures. Polite Provision makes inventive cocktails from its stock of more than 50 bitters and spirits like bourbon, mezcal, and single-malt Scotch. Draft beers rotate through the 46 taps, and if you want to fuel up, order a round of mac & cheese, crispy polenta, and other appetizers from neighbor Soda & Swine (a smart move, if you ask us).

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16. The Rabbit Hole 3377 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92166 (Normal Heights)

From the guys behind Bootlegger, Wonderland in OB, and The Local in PB, The Rabbit Hole in Normal Heights is essentially a sports bar that has some underground fantasy rabbit hole-like (a-ha!) design elements, including a custom painted mural by local artist Sean Dietrich. There are 24 beers (and wines!) on tap, plus a full bar. In the spirit of everything bunny they’ve got going on over there, you should probably order the El Conejo (jalapeño-infused tequila, Cointreau, agave nectar, house-made sweet & sour, fresh lemon & lime juice, and blueberry puree). They also have a food menu that is mostly comfort food, with plates like the Jack-A-Loaf, which is, of course, a bacon-wrapped rabbit meatloaf.

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17. Rancho Valencia 5921 Valencia Circle, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92014 (Rancho Santa Fe)

Resort and spa featuring villas & suites and fine dining (Veladora, The Pony Room).

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18. Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens - Liberty Station 2816 Historic Decatur Rd #116‎, San Diego, CA 92106 (Point Loma)

At Stone Brewing's Liberty Station location, you can expect great beer and bocce ball courts in a massive outdoor space.

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19. Fairweather 795 J St, San Diego, CA 92101 (East Village)

Located above Rare Form, Fairweather isn't perched very high for a rooftop bar, but it does offer a killer view of Petco Park. Cozy dotted blue sofas and fruit displays offer bright bursts of color amidst white marble benches and a mosaic-tile bar backdrop. You can take your pick from over a dozen specialty cocktails, like the honey-and-lime flavored King Bee or the sugary Oh Captain My Captain, and if you get peckish, just head downstairs for a grilled cheese or hummus plate.

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