San Diego

The Best Steakhouses in San Diego

steak, steakhouse
<strong>Stake Chophouse &amp; Bar I</strong>&nbsp;Courtesy of Valerie Kon

While San Diego may be better known for its burritos, there are some great fine dining options that have more kinds of meat than carnitas. The city has a good mix of steakhouses as different as the neighborhoods they can be found in. Whether you're going for a big slab of meat after a round of 18 holes, or a romantic date night, these are the top cuts in San Diego.

Stake Chophouse &amp; Bar


Stake is the newest (and priciest) steakhouse, but it's a modern dining experience that puts the old boy’s club of steakhouses past to shame. Not only do you get to choose the cut (rib eye, NY strip, tenderloin, etc.), you also get to choose what to cut it with. When the meat is served, you’re presented with a box of knives to choose from. It's another place with the elusive wagyu available, but the Brooklyn bacon steak is among the best bacon in San Diego. It’s not a great place to go for a public breakup, although what steakhouse is?


Gaslamp Quarter

Greystone specializes in exotic meats, like buffalo tenderloin, elk chop, and wild boar sausage. It's one of the few restaurants in San Diego that serves Japanese wagyu beef, the world’s priciest meat, renowned for its luscious texture produced by loads of natural fat. Consult Greystone's in-house master mixologist and sommelier for the perfect drink pairing with those hard-to-find cuts.

Donovan's Steakhouse, steak
Courtesy of Donovan's

Donovan's Steakhouse

La Jolla (&amp; others)

The prime USDA steaks (you're getting the cut-it-with-a-butter-knife tender filet mignon) at Donovan’s are flash-fried at 1,600 degrees, sealing in all the juices. While the steakhouse made a name for itself at a mall, it's far, far beyond food court fare, and is now known as one of the most elegant restaurants in the city, bronze statues and mahogany paneling included. Head to the La Jolla location for an insane view of the shores.

Island Prime, surf and turf, lobster, steak
Courtesy of Island Prime

Island Prime

Harbor Island

Sitting on stilts overlooking Downtown San Diego, Island Prime has breathtaking views with a side of steak. The California-inspired menu competes for attention with the stunning bay views on Harbor Island. It specializes in seafood, and any steak, like the filet mignon (pictured), can be accompanied by a cold-water lobster tail. For an upscale twist on fried food, try the dill pilsner onion rings.

steak, buttered steak
Courtesy of Cowboy Star

Cowboy Star Restaurant &amp; Butcher Shop

East Village

The cowboy-chic decor at Cowboy Star, with its exposed beams, cowboy boot stockings over the fireplace, and cowskin upholstery, make for an old-timey Western bar feel. Watch from the open kitchen as new chef de cuisine Chris Osborne whips up locally sourced ingredients into delectable plates. The hand-cut steak is delicious on its own, and the sides (smashed fingerling potatoes, and wilted spinach with beef jus) are never over-sauced. Instead, they perfectly complement the meat, direct from Cowboy Star's attached butcher shop. Stop by on the second Sunday of every month for Fried Chicken Supper Sunday.

West Steak &amp; Seafood


West Steak & Seafood chefs take the whole farm-to-table movement seriously. The three-acre farm where restaurant staff source produce for its seasonally changing sides and herbs is just miles away from the restaurant. The long list of steaks includes beef tenderloin and USDA-certified Angus beef, cut from any part of the cow you feel like.

Argyle Steakhouse, steak
Courtesy of Argyle Steakhouse

Argyle Steakhouse


Argyle Steakhouse overlooks the 18th hole at the Aviara Golf Club at the Park Hyatt, making it one of the classiest places for aprés golf. The steaks are antibiotic- and hormone-free, and seared to perfection. Pair the 18oz rib eye steak, cut from the center of the prime rib, with one of the 150 wines on the list.

Red Tracton's

Del Mar

Red Tracton’s steakhouse has been a local favorite for decades. The East Coast-style supper club dishes up premium rib eyes, filet mignon, and lamb chops; add two jumbo blackened shrimp for a classic surf-and-turf meal after a day at the racetracks. It’s great people-watching during race season, but it’s good meat-eatin' year round.

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Ellen Wright is a freelancer at Thrillist who hates when people tell her about saving the environment by eating vegan. She talks about how good meat tastes on Twitter: @PacificPolished.

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