For casually elegant dining with a dazzling view, this restaurant with friendly staff is hard to beat. Inspired by contemporary French-Mediterranean cuisine, the seasonal menu of American dishes is the star here. Unusual for San Diego, there is a dress code here that asks diners to leave shorts and casual wear at home.
Presided over by chef Deborah Scott, the scrumptious New American cuisine at Island Prime includes fresh seafood, prime steaks, mouth-watering “Deborah’s Compositions,” as well as fine wines. The C Level bar (with a happy hour) offers appetizers and more filling fare.
Ancient Mexican and Spanish spices and traditions make for a unique Mexican dining experience (see El Agave Tequileria). Shrimp, sea bass, and the filet mignon prepared with goat’s cheese and a dark tequila sauce are heavenly. Mole, the distinctive blending of spices, garlic, and sometimes even
chocolate, is a specialty. There are some 150 tequila selections here as well.
Guests can dine on exciting, romantic global cuisine derived from French classics at this restaurant. If you’re not that hungry and would like to enjoy the sunset, opt for the hors d’oeuvres in the lounge.
Don’t be fooled by the modest exterior: this is possibly San Diego’s most cherished restaurant for an authentic Japanese experience and all things sushi, as proven by the many Japanese patrons. The restaurant is also famous for its sea urchin dishes.
Classic Italian cuisine is presented in this subtly modern restaurant with Old World charm. The menu includes creative specials, as well as traditional dishes. The tuxedo-clad waiters, who have been there for years, deliver excellent service.
Hand-painted ceilings, glass sculptures, and whimsical artwork adorn this atmospheric restaurant. A large terrace overlooks the gardens of Balboa Park. A variety of margaritas and drinks from around South America complement an excellent cuisine best described as Latin and Italian fusion.
At this Little Italy favorite, the red-checkered table-cloths, dim lights, and hundreds of Chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling haven’t changed in decades. Enter through the Italian deli in front to get to the authentic dishes on offer.
Views of La Jolla Cove loom from every table of this casually upscale restaurant. Mouth-melting seafood, selections from the oyster bar, and comfort-food sides pair with wines from the highly praised cellar. Live jazz plays nightly on the upper level patio.
San Diego’s best Chinese restaurants are found in Kearny Mesa. The Asian community packs into this large dining room to enjoy lunchtime dim sum and fresh, simple but exquisitely prepared seafood dishes at dinner.
Excellent service and elegant offerings at this impressive spot.
A charming French restaurant (see Mille Fleurs) with top service and a great wine list.
Delicious French cuisine here creates the ingredients for romance.
2910 Cañon St • 619 222 5888 • $$
A casually elegant venue that’s not too pricey in Point Loma.
425 Island Ave • 619 239 2423 • $$
Authentic Italian dishes are served in this modern, elegant restaurant.
9550 Waples St, Suite 115 • 858 450 9557 • $$$
A delightful brasserie with excellent wine tasting.
1201 1st St, Coronado • 619 435 4300 • $$
Mexican nouvelle cuisine in a chic setting. Seafood is the specialty here.
Haute cuisine, candlelight, and soft music arouse the senses (see The Marine Room).
1250 Prospect St • 858 454 4244 • $$$
The most popular place to propose in San Diego.
932 Orange Ave • 619 435 0454 • $$
Specialties like osso bucco can melt hearts at this slice of Northern Italy.