9 Fall Openings in San Diego to Get Excited About

From Riviera Maya-inspired cuisine to sand-brewed Turkish coffee and more.

Communal | Photo by Jasmine Fitzwilliam/Let's Frolic Together
Communal | Photo by Jasmine Fitzwilliam/Let's Frolic Together

It’s hard to believe, but we checked the calendar and yes, summer’s just about over. Not that it means all that much to us here in America’s Finest City—our practically perfect weather ensures that we can always get out and enjoy new things to see, eat, drink, and do. So as you prepare for (light) sweater weather, bookmark these establishments that are slated to arrive on our shores before the year ends. From Riviera Maya-inspired Mexican cuisine to Cajun soul food, a new boutique hotel, and more, here are nine fall openings that we can’t shut up about:

salmon tostada
Photo courtesy of Camino Riviera

Little Italy
Opening date: Late August 2021
Rising from the ashes of the beloved El Camino in Little Italy, SDCM, the folks that brought us Kettner Exchange and The Waverly, Camino Riviera celebrates the spirit of the Yucatán coast. Owner Matt Spencer and El Camino’s owner have teamed up on the design, providing a sensory experience that evokes the beauty of Tulum, while paying homage to the original location. Executive Chef Brian Redzikowski’s menu explores Riviera Maya favorites like grilled Alaskan king crab tacos, oak-grilled prawns, and Spanish octopus. Beverage Directors Leigh Lecap and Eric Johnson created a similarly inspired cocktail menu, which, according to Lecap, “are laced with the flavors of the Yucatán...cochinita pibil, papadzules, and various moles like pipián and mole blanco served as flavor guides and inspiration”.
How to book: Sign up for email news and updates on their website.

Sabre Springs
Opening date: August 28, 2021
Join Empress Family of Restaurants (Death by Tequila, Wokou Ramen & Yakitori, California Native) for the grand opening celebration of their latest concept, Crafted Culture. The all-day restaurant occupies an indoor-outdoor amenity space at Kilroy Sabre Springs, catering to the campus’ office tenants as well as the North County community. Executive Chef Chris Carriker, whose 20-year culinary career includes a championship showing on Food Network’s Chopped and a stint at Executive Chef Michael Mina’s International Smoke, has kept the new menu under wraps, but the grand opening celebration, from 4 pm–close on August 28, includes live music performances, local craft beer and cocktails, tray-passed appetizers, and a Hawaiian pig roast. All complimentary, with no RSVP required!
How to book: Reservation details will be on their website.

Bohemian Alchemist interior
Photo courtesy of Bohemian Alchemist

Del Mar
Opening date: Early September 2021
Sarah Jaeger’s new coffee shop, Bohemian Alchemist, isn’t your typical coffeehouse. Boasting the first and only sand brewing system approved by San Diego’s health department, the base of their drinks is Turkish coffee, a smoother, silkier counterpart to traditional espresso. If you’re not familiar with sand brewing, a cezve (Turkish coffee pot) is placed on very hot sand, which heats your coffee, tea, or hot chocolate to barely boiling, producing a rich taste and pleasantly thick mouthfeel. French press, pour over, and cold brew options are also available, along with coffee and tea blends, herbal beverages, and seasonal iced teas. The space itself is inspiring—a low Turkish seating area with a colorful silky tent roof, handmade Art Nouveau tables, antique and eclectic pieces repurposed to serve as counters and shelves are inviting and serene. And since coffee and tea just beg for a sweet treat, you’ll want one of their lovingly baked cream scones, muffins, shortbread cookies, fruit tarts, caramel apple hand pies, and more.
How to book: Seating is on a first-come basis. Sign up for email news and updates online.

mini donuts
Photo courtesy of The Mini Donut Compant

Liberty Station
Opening date: September 2021
Why eat one donut when you can eat two or three without the guilt? The Mini Donut Company, with their two-bite treasures, lets you do just that. They’ll open their first brick-and-mortar shop in the Liberty Public Market, with signature sugared, glazed, and sprinkled offerings, plus special editions that add Captain Crunch, Oreo, Fruity Pebbles, Reese’s Pieces, and more, available for pickup by preorder.
How to book: Order online for pickup. Seating will be on a first-come basis.

Photo by Jasmine Fitzwilliam/Let's Frolic Together

Opening date: October 1, 2021
Communal, a creative-minded café and shop known for its locations in North and South Park San Diego is landing in Oceanside, with a full craft coffee and drink menu, seasonal food offerings, creatively designed spaces, fresh flowers, and curated goods. In a shared space anchoring the Tremont Collective, there’s a private patio, as well as an event space that’s available to rent for private parties. Another event space will become home to Communal’s curated classes in calligraphy, flower arranging, macrame, and other crafty options.
How to book: Seating will be on a first-come basis. Check their website or Instagram for updates.

Cormorant exterior
Photo courtesy of Cormorant Boutique Hotel

La Jolla
Opening date: Early fall 2021
Formerly the La Jolla Inn, the Cormorant Boutique Hotel has undergone an extensive, three-year renovation that brings a mid-century modern aesthetic to the heart of La Jolla. Twenty-six nautical-inspired guestrooms, each with a balcony and expansive views of the Pacific Ocean, a new rooftop terrace bar, Birdseye, featuring craft cocktails and small plates, and Prospect Market, an upscale grab-and-go marketplace, have everything you need for out-of-town guests or a luxurious staycation for yourself.
How to book: Sign up for email news and updates online.

Opening date: Late August 2021
This fast-casual Asian-fusion café is one of two concepts opening at Seaport Village this fall. This local-family-owned spot is centered around barbecue-topped rice bowls and tasty bao buns, complemented by a program of craft Asian beers and boba teas.
How to book: Seating will be on a first-come basis. Follow them on Instagram for news and updates.

Opening date: September 2021
The other concept that’s opening in Seaport Village that has our mouths watering with anticipation is famed Long Beach eatery Louisiana Charlie’s. They’re bringing New Orleans soul food to San Diego with signature Cajun and Creole dishes—think jambalaya, gumbo, and po boy sandwiches, plus fresh seafood offerings like oysters, crab legs, and shrimp.
How to book: Seating will be on a first-come basis. Join their email list for updates and news, or check the Seaport Village website.

Pacific Catch
Pacific Catch

University City
Opening date: September 27, 2021
Northern California’s beloved Pacific Catch is set to open in the Westfield UTC Mall, offering two destination patios, an open-air cocktail bar, intimate booths, and communal tables for larger parties. Pacific Catch provides both wild-caught and sustainably raised seafood, and is a member of both the Seafood Watch and James Beard Smart Catch programs. The menu includes poke, sushi, ceviche, grilled fish, burgers, and tacos, plus plenty of libations like tiki drinks, various margaritas, “twisted classics”, beer, wine, hard kombucha, and sake.
How to book: Reservations can be made online once the restaurant is closer to opening.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Mary Beth Abate is a San Diego-based freelance writer by way of Chicago and Los Angeles. Her hobbies include yoga, pickling and fermenting stuff, reading cookbooks and drinking fabulous gin. Keep up with her experiments @MaryBeth_Abate.