Juniper and Ivy/ Cece Canton
Bottega Americano
Table No. 10
ComĂşn Kitchen and Tavern
Don Chido
Panama 66
Sara Norris
Sara Norris
Cork and Craft
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1. Juniper & Ivy Restaurant 2228 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101

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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2. Bottega Americano 1195 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

This East Village European market/Italian eatery offers pasta, wood-fired pizzas, anti-pastas, and seafood dishes. There are also five interactive food bars, so you can see all the action happening in the kitchen, or grab-and-go from the market.

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3. Table No. 10 369 10th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

Chef Jason Gethin’s offers up gourmet American-style fare at Table No. 10 in the East Village, right next to Petco Park. Their kobe beef brisket is better than any hot dog you’ll get in the park, and you can’t leave without having a cocktail (or two). The bar serves their own house-made tonics and sodas, as well as a cocktail menu that features some unique ingredients like duck fat and the sharable Flux Capacitor made with gin, rosewater, violet liquor, lemon, honey, maraschino, lavender, and dry ice.

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4. ComĂşn Kitchen & Tavern 935 J St, San Diego, CA 92101

Común Chef Chad White’s baja-inspired menu changes with the seasons, and features dishes made with only the freshest local and sustainable ingredients. Pour yourself a cold one from the self-serve beer station and take a seat at the chef’s table in front of the open kitchen to get a gander at White whipping up tostadas topped with octopus or smoked shark and family-style plates to share.

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5. Tidal 1404 Vacation Rd, San Diego, CA 92109

The bay view from the patio at this upscale yet laid-back restaurant located within Paradise Point Resort in Mission Bay is beautiful any time of day, but you get the best return on your investment during sunset. The cuisine matches the atmosphere with refined seafood dishes like wood-roasted arctic char and Baja prawns with house-made Longanisa sausage, though the land options are just as impressive. With plentiful parking and easy access to the sand (and fire pits), you can easily turn a dinner or happy hour visit into multiple hours of fun and relaxation.

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6. Don Chido 527 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

This Gaslamp Mexican spot offers meats cooked on a Santa Maria wood-fired grill, fresh made tortillas, and tequila. The menu is full of Mexican favorites and the bar serves more than 100 tequilas, and a specialty margarita called the El Churro, made with cinnamon infused tequila, Licor 43, lemon, lime, agave, and cinnamon sugar.

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7. Panama 66 1460 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101

​Located in the San Diego Museum of Art Sculpture Garden at Balboa Park, this outdoor spot opened by four beer veterans offers a selection of rotating local craft beers on tap, cocktails and hot and cold lunch foods. The 150-seat space hosts people on communal tables, and if you want to take advantage of the sculpture garden scenery, the bar provides free blankets to sit on.

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8. Ironside Fish & Oyster 1654 India St, San Diego, CA 92101

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. Draft 3105 Ocean Front Walk, San Diego, CA 92109

This Pacific Beach spot has approximately 70 beers on tap and over 50 bottles of beer, making Draft a great place to kick back on your way home from the beach. While you're sipping, try some snacks from the menu, which is comprised of sharing plates, like mustard dusted pretzel bites; grilled items, like the bison burger with poblano pepper and cumin mayonnaise; greens, like the seared ahi salad; and sweets, like key lime pie. Draft’s boardwalk patio is a picturesque spot to grab a breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner bite with an oceanfront view, but if you want to catch the game, you’ll want to head inside to watch on one of the flat-screens.

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10. Parq 615 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101

Chef Errol LeBlanc, winner of Food Network’s “Chef Wanted with Anne Burrel”, runs the kitchen at this restaurant-nightclub combo. His menu is full of hits like lacquered pork belly, grilled octopus, and sous vide rack of lamb. When you’re ready to get your groove on, take a walk through the cavernous stone tunnel, lit by flickering chandeliers, into Parq’s 20,000sqft nightclub.

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11. The Cork and Craft 16990 Via Tazon Suite 123, San Diego, CA 92127

A restaurant, winery, and brewery all in one, The Cork & Craft is a food and drink trifecta in San Diego. Modern plates imbued with French technique are masterfully created in the large open kitchen, providing a behind-the-scenes view to guests curious as to how their tater tot poutine and braised short ribs are made. Pair the dishes with wine and beer from Abnormal, and you've struck a winning combo.