San Diego
1. Hoxton Manor
North Park

The buzz: Southeast Asian flavors from the folks behind Oceanside’s Dija Mara.
The food: Traditional tastes of Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Thailand abound at this brand new addition to the North Park food scene. Start with a Sri Lankan coconut roti and smoky eggplant to dip, an imperial roll stuffed with wood ear mushrooms and duck confit; peanut, tamarind, and lemongrass-laced oyster mushrooms; or ribeye Phuket au poivre. Larger plates include a palm sugar-glazed brisket or Hanoi-style fried black cod in turmeric and summery herbs of dill, lovage, and dandelion. Cocktails add zing with complimentary flavors as well, think lychee, mango, lime, Thai basil, and chili, or a refreshing “gintail”—they make a mean Singapore Sling.
The cost: Starters and shareables run $13-18, entrees are $25-37. Cocktails are $11-13, drafts cost $8-9.

2. VAGA Restaurant and Bar
Encinitas

The buzz: Chef Claudette Zepeda puts her stamp on a beautiful new resort restaurant.
The food: San Diegans can once again enjoy the cuisine of Executive Chef Claudette Zepeda at VAGA Restaurant and Bar at
Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas. The restaurant sits atop the Encinitas bluffs and boasts expansive ocean and sunset views. In the dramatic open kitchen, Chef Zepeda fuses diverse cultures with local ingredients in dishes such as heirloom bean soup, brisket buns, and Baja sea bass on a seasonal menu. The beverage program, led by Alexander Gregg, features rotating signature cocktails, local microbrews, and a dynamic wine list incorporating natural wines utilizing grapes from low-intervention/biodynamic vineyards.
The cost: Signature cocktails are $11-18, drafts, bottled beer and wine by the glass run $7-19. Starters and shared plates cost $8-25, entrees are $30-75.
How to book: Reservations are recommended and can be made online via SevenRooms. Walk-ins are accepted if seating is available.

4. Ember & Rye
Carlsbad

The buzz: Playful takes on old favorites give this steakhouse a modern twist.
The food: Richard Blais, founding chef of
Juniper and Ivy in Little Italy, as well as the Crack Shack empire, continues to delight San Diegans with his latest venture, Ember & Rye at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa in Carlsbad. The newly-imagined steakhouse specializes in brawny aged steaks and fresh seafood in a classic California setting, while also offering unexpected, whimsical takes like a lobster knuckle sandwich, white chocolate-dipped radishes, Scotch eggs with maple, and caviar service, complete with little fish-shaped blini.
The cost: Snacks are $7-35, entrees run $29-230, cocktails go for $18-50, beer is $8-16, and wines by the glass are $12-28.