San Diego
1. Garibaldi
Downtown
$$$$

Perched atop the luxurious InterContinental San Diego, Garibaldi’s speakeasy-style rooftop bar and Sardinian-influenced restaurant feels like the perfect Mediterranean escape. Local seafood is the star here, starting with Pesce Freddo #1 or #2, chilled seafood served with three sauces, or Tonno Pinsa, confit tuna with preserved lemon bianca, calabrian chili, pistachio, and bottarga flatbread. If you love our local uni, dig into a bowl of Bucatini and Bottarga with uni, Sorrento lemon, sea beans, and pangrattato. Pair it with a vibrant cocktail like the Sardinian Old Fashioned made with Longbranch Bourbon, Mirto liqueur, and bergamot bitters or something from the curated selections of Italian beer and regional wines.
How to book: Walk-ins are accepted if seating is available.

2. Cannonball
Mission Beach
$$$$

Cannonball’s bar has a stellar view of the beach and some of the best people watching in San Diego with the crowds that populate Ocean Front Walk. Sushi rolls, sashimi, oysters, and crab legs dominate the menu, or chow down on a big Cannonball Burrito with shrimp tempura, crab, tuna, avocado, cream cheese, cucumber, cilantro, green onions, and spicy mayo in a sesame soy wrap. The beverage menu features a handful of classic cocktails with beach-inspired ingredients, like the Mission Beach Mai Tai with white rum, pineapple, orange juice, and dark rum, local draft beers, seltzers, plenty of wine by the glass or bottle, as well as sake and Japanese whisky.
How to book: Rooftop seats are available on a first-come basis.

3. Harbor Fish & Chips
Oceanside
$$$$

You don’t have to look at the menu to know what’s the best-selling menu item at Harbor Fish & Chips, a family-owned mainstay that’s served Oceanside since 1969. Long, battered spears of flaky white fish and a big pile of hot, salty fries make a tempting meal, but they can also be nestled into warm tortillas and topped Baja-style with cabbage, pico, and crema. This is where you’ll want to indulge in all your fried fish fantasies, but if you prefer, they also offer grilled options simply seasoned with butter, a house herb blend, or garlic. Visit Tuesday through Friday for a buck off fish tacos, grilled plates, and samplers.
How to book: Indoor and harborside patio seating is on a first-come basis.

4. Pacific Coast Grill
Cardiff
$$$$

Floor-to-ceiling windows give everyone a view of the beach and sunset, but try to snag a coveted seat on the upper patio for the most eye-popping vistas. More than a dozen different margaritas, all made with fresh juices and premium liquors, will get the party started, along with shareable sushi rolls, seasonal oysters with exotic passion fruit mignonette, hot rock sashimi ahi, filet mignon, and surf and turf. Entrees are accompanied by thoughtfully prepared sides: Miso Glazed Chilean Seabass is perched on a bed of soba noodles, shiitake mushrooms, bok choy, kale, and Thai chile broth, while their seafood pasta combines lobster, shrimp, scallop, and mahi with smoked tomato sauce, Thai basil, and a shower of parmesan.
How to book: Walk-ins are accepted if seating is available.

5. Jake’s Del Mar
Del Mar
$$$$

The violet hour couldn’t be any more stunning than at Jake’s Del Mar, from the sun-bleached wood beams and soft-focus lighting to the sounds of crashing surf on the beach mere steps from your table. Gussied-up entrees make date night special—Togarashi Spice Crusted Ahi includes a sidecar of a sushi rice cake, French beans, umami-rich oyster and shitake mushrooms, soy butter, and crunchy pickled green papaya; or opt for Maine lobster, scallops, shrimp, and fresh fish poached in a savory saffron tomato broth, atop a crisp risotto cake. Whatever you select, don’t pass on Jake’s famous Hula Pie with macadamia nut ice cream piled high on a chocolate cookie crust and dripping hot fudge, either as a dessert or whizzed into a nutty, thick shake and topped with a float of Selvarey chocolate rum.
How to book: Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 858-755-2002. Walk-ins are accepted if seating is available.

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