A former rubber band factory, this cavernous space bounced back as a striking open-air dining room with vaulted ceilings, flickering gas lamps and enough potted plants to fill a greenhouse. Seasonal Mediterranean-inspired dishes are roasted in a wood-fired oven such as oysters and bone marrow, Baja shrimp, and baby carrots served with a cashew sesame dukkah sauce. During the daytime, hit up their casual, adjacent cafe Herb & Eatery for grab-and-go bites.
While beach towns are often regarded more for their surf, sun and coastal things to do than savvy dining, San Diego proves to be the exception. From stylish dining rooms to casual beachside eats, the best restaurants in San Diego are exploding with creativity and bonafide kitchen chops.
While it may have once sat in the shadows of L.A.'s flashy dining scene, San Diego has attracted several big name chefs in recent years, including Richard Blais, Brian Malarkey and Claudette Zepeda of Top Chef fame. Now, San Diego stands firmly on its own culinary reputation and dinner reservations are recommended in bustling areas such as Little Italy, La Jolla and the Gaslamp Quarter.
If a signature dish does exists here, though, it would be Baja-style fish tacos paired with local craft beer (likely a hoppy IPA). Check out the city's many craft breweries between meals, and a gloriously sunny climate means dining al fresco or in chic, open-air spaces can happen year-round. So if you’re headed to San Diego, make sure to bring your beach towel and your appetite.