Indeed, there really isn’t much that separates Nos. 1 and 2 on the list. Both neighborhoods are led by a trio of marquee restaurants helmed by top chefs. In both Little Italy and La Jolla, it would have been easy to go another two or three restaurants deep without much, if any, dropoff in the level of excellence. In both neighborhoods, there is a vast array of additional eateries that, in another part of town, might have won notice here in their own right.
There are really only two things that separate Little Italy and La Jolla. First is the sheer star power of Blais, Plascencia, and Malarkey (and no, despite the proximity of Little Italy to Downtown, that is not a law firm). Second, though, is the walkability factor. A Little Italy resident can get from one side of the neighborhood to the other on foot, grazing, hitting a gastropub, brewery, or bar on the way.