Where to Eat Thanksgiving Dinner in San Diego This Year

From La Jolla to Encinitas, here are 15 of San Diego’s best restaurants to get your Turkey Day fix.

Herb & Sea
Photo by James Tran, courtesy of Herb & Sea
Photo by James Tran, courtesy of Herb & Sea

Whether you plan on spending Thanksgiving Day gathered around the dining room table feasting on an amazing meal, crowded around the television watching football, or at a restaurant’s lavish banquet, San Diego's restaurants are stepping up with a slate of spectacular Thanksgiving feasts in all sizes and price ranges, plus plenty of at-home meal options to please even the pickiest diners. Whatever option you choose, it’s the perfect time to pause for a moment of gratitude for all our loved ones and to reflect on the good things we’ve experienced this year. From La Jolla to Little Italy and Encinitas, here are our picks for a Thanksgiving to remember:

Sandpiper Wood Fired Grill & Oysters
Photo courtesy of Sandpiper Wood Fired Grill and Oysters

Sandpiper

La Jolla
$$$$

Sandpiper Wood Fired Grill & Oysters, the La Jolla Shores sister restaurant to Trey Foshee’s Georges at the Cove, will be serving an á la carte Thanksgiving dinner featuring two delectable entrées—Slow-Roasted Turkey Breast or Slow-Roasted Prime Rib, served with gravy and cranberry sauce. Sides include all the classics: cornbread and house-made Sausage Stuffing, Smoked Turkey Collard Greens, Candied Yams, Sharp Cheddar Baked Mac and Cheese, and Parker House rolls, and Aly’s Pecan Pie for dessert. Sandpiper’s regular menu of wood-fired entrees and raw and cooked seafood will also be available, in case you want a non-traditional feast. Sandpiper is also offering a limited number of Thanksgiving meals to-go that serve four people, including Slow-Roasted Turkey Breast with gravy, cranberry sauce, cornbread, house-made Sausage Stuffing, Smoked Turkey Collard Greens, Candied yams, Sharp Cheddar Baked Macaroni and Cheese, and Parker House rolls. Slow-Roasted Prime Rib and Aly’s Brown Butter Apple Crumb Pie can be added at an additional cost. Call to order at 858-228-5655 by Tuesday, November 22 for pickup on Thanksgiving Day.
Cost: Dine-in Thanksgiving a la carte items range from $8-$50. Take out dinner costs $115, prime rib option is $50 and Aly’s brown butter apple crumb pie is $38.
How to book: Reservations can be made online.

Animae
Photo by James Tran, courtesy of Animae

Animae

Downtown
$$$$

Animae’s executive chef, Tara Monsod, offers an unconventional prix-fixe, three-course family-style Thanksgiving menu that includes starters like Animae’s signature Caviar Shrimp Toast and Tuna Crispy Rice or new dishes like Mantao with sweet soy, chives, and sesame. Second course indulgences showcase options like Filet Mignon with ginger scallion oil, A5 potatoes, and Chinese sausage jam, or Branzino Cha Ca with rice noodles, nuoc cham, and dill turmeric, plus family-style sides of Roasted Caulini, with sesame, cilantro, and szechuan cashew crumble, and Chili Vinaigrette Brussel Sprouts. Dessert options feature a Chocolate Taiyaki Mousse Bar or Pear and Hojicha Roll Cake. View the menu online. Seatings are available from 3–7 pm on Thanksgiving Day.
Cost: $130 per person

Available for Reservations

Duck Dive

Pacific Beach
$$$$

Celebrate Turkey Day at the beach and let Duck Dive take care of the cooking. The Traditional Turkey Dinner Plate comes with all your favorites, including juicy turkey, savory stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberries, green beans, and a delicious slice of pumpkin pie, all for an affordable $25. They’ll be open from 10 am–10 pm, and the turkey dinner will be available while supplies last. They are also having a canned food drive to benefit the San Diego Food Bank, so bring in a can of (unexpired) food and get a DD Jameson Irish Coffee to sip with your dinner.
Cost: $25
How to book: Seating is available on a first-come basis.

ARLO

Mission Valley
$$$$

This Thanksgiving, ARLO will be serving up chef Josh Mouzakes’ inventive, three-course prix-fixe menu. Festive dishes include a Bleu Cheese Gougére amuse with a champagne splash; Roasted Baby Beet Salad (baby kale, port geleé, pistachio, English cucumber) or Bay Scallops (green beans, winter truffle, forest mushrooms, sherry cream sauce); and Turkey Breast and Prosciutto (smoked potato, cornbread stuffing raviolo, cranberry heart of palm purée) or Turkey Thigh (sweet potato brûlée, roasted root vegetables, pomegranate gravy). Cap off the feast with ARLO Apple or Pecan Pie. In addition to the traditional three-course menu, a three-course menu of ARLO favorites will also be available. View the full menu online.
Cost: $65 for the either three-course Thanksgiving menu.

Available for Reservations

Mister A's

Bankers Hill
$$$$

Celebrate Thanksgiving while you enjoy stunning views of the city at the beautifully renovated Mr. A’s. Their fine dining prix-fixe menu offers more options than most, including robust classics like Classic Lobster Bisque, Baked Oysters Rockefeller, Roasted Organic Diestel Farm Turkey and Slow-Roasted Brandt Farm Prime Rib, along with chef Stephane Voitzwinkler’s creative interpretations of flavors of the season, like Butternut Squash Agnolotti and Superior Farm Lamb Chops with garlic rosemary jus. End your meal on a sweet note with enticing desserts such as Pumpkin Crème Brûlée and Warm French Apple Tart. See the full menu online.
Cost: $95 per person. Upgrades and optional dishes run +$10.50-11.50.

Available for Reservations
Callie
Photo by Kelly Wood, courtesy of Callie

Callie

East Village
$$$$

Chef Travis Swikard and his team share the best of everyone’s holiday favorites while putting their own take on the classics. The four-course, family-style Thanksgiving Feast showcases dishes like homemade Pumpkin Caramelle Pasta, free-range Diestel Farm Turkey with Tuscan sage sausage and brown butter cranberry sauce, Braised Moroccan Lamb Shank, Slow-Baked Salmon, and Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse as a sweet finish. A two-course menu will be available for children ten and under. Check out the entire menu online.
Cost: $90 per person, $40 for children ten and under.
How to book: Reservations can be made via Tock.

Mille Fleurs

Rancho Santa Fe
$$$$

French fine dining gets a Californian twist at Mille Fleurs, one of North County’s best and most popular restaurants. Executive chef Michael Moritz has curated a three-course prix-fixe menu that mixes traditional holiday flavors with the classics that are mainstays of their regular menu. Open with Duck Confit Presse with roasted apple and parsnip puree, Veal Agnolotti and Sweetbreads in Madeira truffle sauce or upgrade to Maine Lobster Salad for an additional charge. Main courses range from Fresh-Roasted Organic Diestel Farm Turkey with traditional accompaniments and gravy, to Mille Fleurs’ Traditional Wienerschnitzel with gratin dauphinois and lemon caper sauce. Executive pastry chef “Papa” Moussa brings dessert home with a trio of seasonally inspired selections to choose from, such as Pumpkin Crème Brûlée, Chocolate Pecan Profiteroles, and Apple Strudel. The menu includes a number of gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options, and there’s a three-course children's menu as well.
Cost: $89.50 per person. $39.50 for children 12 and under. Upgrades and optional dishes run +$10-15.

Available for Reservations
Slater's 50/50
Photo courtesy of Slater’s 50/50

Slater's 50/50

Liberty Station
$$$$

Taste an entire Thanksgiving dinner in every bite with Slater's 50/50’s Thanksgiving Burger, a one-third-pound turkey patty topped sky-high with brioche stuffing, turkey gravy, cranberry sauce, and garlic-sage aioli on a honey wheat bun. Wash it down with a Pumpkin Pie Milkshake made from vanilla ice cream, pumpkin puree, graham cracker crust, a mound of whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel, and a mini slice of fresh pumpkin pie on top. If shakes aren’t your thing, there’s 100 rotating taps with beer from all over the world to rock your Thanksgiving. Both items are available now through November 30.
Cost: $17.99 for the burger, $12.99 for the shake.
How to book: Indoor and outdoor tables are available on a first-come basis. Order pickup online.

Cafe Gratitude
Photo courtesy of Cafe Gratitude

Cafe Gratitude

Little Italy
$$$$

Take the stress out of cooking by serving up vegan Thanksgiving side dishes from Cafe Gratitude, including Roasted Cranberry Butternut Squash and Garnet Yam Purée, Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes with Garlic Confit, Truffled Porcini Gravy, Roasted Maple Miso Brussels Sprouts, Pear and Cranberry Chutney, French Lentil and Butternut Squash Loaves, and Autumn Kale Salad with Persimmon and Pomegranate. You’ll have dessert covered too with their Pumpkin Pie, Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie, and Baked Apple Pie. Pies are ten inches and sides serve four to six people.
Cost: Sides range in price from $20-$40, pies are $40.
How to book: Pre-order online by November 20 for pickup on November 23.

Herb and Sea
Photo by Kimberly Motos for Herb & Sea

Herb and Sea

Encinitas
$$$$

Herb and Sea is celebrating Thanksgiving with their coastal Californian riff on a classic Thanksgiving menu. The three-course dinner will feature starters such as Kuri Squash Soup, spiced pepitas, and crème fraiche, or Steelhead Crudo atop saffron vinegar, grapefruit, capers, and red amaranth. Enjoy main options like traditional Turkey Confit with mashed potatoes and cranberry orange chutney or Veggie Paella. Each meal is served with a variety of sides, including Sourdough Herb Stuffing and Parker House rolls and herb honey butter. Sweet finishes from executive pastry chef Laura Warren include a Pumpkin Tart with candied pepitas and cream cheese ice cream, or an Apple Crumble Pie alongside salted caramel ice cream.
Cost: $87 per person, $38 for children.

Available for Reservations
Cardellino
Photo courtesy of Cardellino

Cardellino

Mission Hills
$$$$

Chef Brad Wise does the cooking for you with Cardellino’s Take Out Thanksgiving Feast, featuring both classic holiday dishes and some of his family favorites. Expect a huge spread, including an 18-20 pound Heritage Turkey (raw, but with chef’s foolproof roasting instructions), a Roasted Squash Salad, Smashed Red Skin Potatoes, Molasses Stewed Yams, Green Bean and Wild Mushroom Casserole, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Apples, Italian Sausage Stuffing, Herb Gravy, and Parker House rolls. If you still have room, there’s Apple Cranberry Crisp and Cookie Butter Ice Cream for dessert, plus Pumpkin Spice Latte Bread and a bag of Trust whole bean coffee for breakfast the next morning. An optional wine pairing or large-format Festive Punch are also available.
Cost: $475 for eight people, with leftovers. Optional wine pairing is $150, Festive Punch is $75
How to book: Order via Tock for pick up on Wednesday, November 23 between 11 am–2 pm.

Ranch 45
Photo courtesy of Ranch 45

Ranch 45

Solana Beach
$$$$

Why spend the day in the kitchen when you can choose your own menu with Ranch 45’s completely a la carte take home Thanksgiving dinner that includes choices like Herb Crusted Prime Rib, Smoked Beef Tenderloin, Whole Grilled Brandt Tomahawk, Olive Oil Smashed Potatoes, Roasted Root Vegetables, Honey and Thyme Roasted Rainbow Carrots, Mac and Cheese, Green Bean Almondine and Gravy, and for dessert, an Assorted Cookie Box and Pumpkin, Pecan, or Apple Crisp Pie.
Cost: Ranges from $14–$175 per item.
How to book: Pre-order your Thanksgiving meal online by November 20 for pickup on November 23.

Valentina
Photo by Kimberly Motos, courtesy of Valentina

Valentina

Leucadia
$$$$

Even if jetting off to Paris isn’t in your plans yet, you can still pretend you’re sitting in a chic European bistro at Valentina. They’ll be offering their regular menu, along with chef Jonathon’s prix-fixe Thanksgiving menu from 12-7pm, featuring a Turkey Plate, Mashed Potatoes, Butternut Squash Soup, and classic Thanksgiving sides and desserts.
Cost: $65 per person for the Thanksgiving Plate, other costs vary.

Available for Reservations

Bleu Bohème

Kensington
$$$$

Joyeux Action de Grâces! Kensington’s favorite French bistro will serve a three-course prix-fixe menu and a special pumpkin cocktail for Thanksgiving Day. Starters include Soupe de Citrouille, a pumpkin hominy soup with crispy parsnips and chive crème fraiche, and Pâté et Terrine du Chef, with duck pâté and pork terrine, pickled vegetables, olives and Dijon mustard. Entrees feature Dindon Préparé Deux Façons, or Diestel Family Ranch turkey prepared two ways—breast roasted with herbs, and legs and thighs prepared confit-style, served with fresh root vegetables, Pommes Purée, savory Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding, and White Wine Gravy. Your choice of four decadent desserts, including Warm Brioche Bread Pudding with caramelized apples, raisins, and white chocolate, conclude the meal. View the full menu online.
Cost: $74.95 per person, $28.95 for children 12 and under.

Available for Reservations

Vistal

Downtown
$$$$

Take in stunning views of the San Diego Bay from Vistal, the InterContinental Hotel San Diego’s signature restaurant, where they’ll be offering an elevated Thanksgiving buffet for both hotel guests and visitors. It includes all the classic Thanksgiving favorites, a full carving station featuring Cherry Smoked Turkey with garden sage gravy, and ChateauBriand smothered in peppercorn demi-glace, a sophisticated cold seafood display, Vegan Ravioli, Black Kale and Roasted Kabocha Squash Salad with blood orange vinaigrette, antipasti, crudité, and more. Finish your meal with classic Thanksgiving desserts like Apple Crumble, Pumpkin Pie, and Pecan Pie.
Cost: $85 for adults, $35 for children 12 and under.

Available for Reservations
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.