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Diners' Choice: Best Food restaurants in East County

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OpenTable
Updated June 05, 2024

Looking for restaurants with the best overall cuisine in East County? You’re in the right place. Each month, OpenTable analyzes nearly 2 million global diner reviews from the past four months. We sort the results by location and category to help you discover new favorite restaurants. It's a great partnership: you reserve, eat, and review. We listen...and deliver the results for all to benefit. Enjoy!

A photo of Lemon Grove Bistro restaurant
5.0
5 (52)
$30 and under
American
Lemon Grove
About the restaurant
In addition to offering comforting American favorites, our menu provides a selection of flavors inspired by our chef’s culinary experiences, ranging from classic Spanish fare to Italian favorites. Our menu changes seasonally to feature the freshest ingredients and provide an exciting dining experience throughout the year.

The Lemon Grove Bistro is in a historic mission-style building in the heart of Lemon Grove. Since 1912, it’s been a place where locals meet and build connections, whether they were picking up their mail at the Sonka General Store in 1944 or ordering custom cakes at the Grove Pastry Shop in 2012.

Come for the food. Stay to experience the inviting ambiance of the historic building and its new garden. Let’s build community--together.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on May 30, 2024
Food and drinks are outstanding! Will definitely come back!
A photo of Banbu Sushi Bar & Grill restaurant
4.8
4.8 (343)
$31 to $50
Seafood
La Mesa
About the restaurant
Here at Banbu Sushi Bar & Grill we are committed to providing our customers with an excellent dining experience. Each dish on our menu is prepared using only the freshest and highest quality ingredients. Banbu Sushi Bar & Grill is unique with its classic Japanese design, fused with a modern bistro look combined with earth tones and lighting to create a visual atmosphere one can't forget!
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on Jun 7, 2024
Entire experience was fantastic! Will definitely go again.
A photo of Antica Trattoria restaurant
4.8
4.8 (2309)
$30 and under
Contemporary Italian
La Mesa
About the restaurant
Antica Trattoria is a warm restaurant with an old-fashioned sense of hospitality that quickly became a gathering place for dinners in Lake Murray and the rest of San Diego when it opened in 2001. For Executive Chef and Owner Francesco Basile, good cuisine is about honest flavors, fresh ingredients, and simplicity. That's the kind of food he grew up eating by the seaside in Sicily and it's what he learned in culinary school in Italy.

Why eat ordinary when you can eat extraordinary?

About reservations: We have a 15-minute grace period. Please call us if you will be running later than 15 minutes. If a later time slot is available, you may be able to switch your reservation.

We may contact you, so please ensure your email and phone number are up to date. Your table will be reserved for 1 hour 30 minutes for parties of up to 4 guests; 2 hours for parties of 5 to 8 guests; and 2 hours 30 minutes for parties of 9+. We cannot guarantee special request for tables.
Top review
GaryI
Dined 2 days ago
We dined on the patio, which was very nice. All the food was delicious, although the Sea Bass was a bit overcooked. Antica always serves large portions with great ambiance.
A photo of Grove Steakhouse at Viejas Casino restaurant
4.7
4.7 (1697)
$31 to $50
Steakhouse
Alpine
About the restaurant
The Grove Steakhouse has been awarded the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Award. Resplendent with luxurious décor and a warm, inviting atmosphere, The Grove offers classic and contemporary cuisine for the definitive gourmet experience. Relax in calming ambience while you’re pampered by our world-class service. Our attention to detail and gourmet selections will make your dining experience a pleasure long remembered. Experience an exciting new menu, which includes an array of tantalizing entrées and desserts that are sure to satisfy and inspire you to return again and again.
Top review
Tyronevip
Dined 1 day ago
Everything was great. Service, food, everything. We love The Grove. Taylor was wonderful as always.
A photo of Brigantine La Mesa restaurant
4.8
4.8 (4050)
$30 and under
Seafood
La Mesa
About the restaurant
A San Diego tradition since 1969, the Brigantine has received many accolades in our 40+ year history: "BEST SEAFOOD", "BEST CASUAL SEAFOOD", "BEST HAPPY HOUR", and even "BEST SWORDFISH IN THE WORLD", according to USA Today - just to name a few.



Well-known for our signature Clam Chowder, Grilled Swordfish, and Crème Brûlée, the Brigantine is a favorite among locals for consistently fresh seafood, succulent steaks and grilled meats.



With an updated nautical decor, the busy Oyster bar is hands-down the local favorite. Lush flowering foliage outdoors creates an elegant dining experience on one of two charming patios.



The La Mesa Brigantine serves dinner 7 nights a week, lunch Monday-Saturday, and brunch every Sunday.



Join us for our signature Happy Hour.
Top review
MaryKvip
Dined 3 days ago
This is the 2nd time I've eaten there in the past 2 weeks. And the food and service continues to be superb. My friends ordered the mahi mahi and I had the swordfish. They had the highest praise for their meals. The server was excellent and we got our table by the window.
A photo of Terra American Bistro restaurant
4.7
4.7 (1528)
$30 and under
Contemporary American
La Mesa
About the restaurant
After a 3 Year hiatus on Opentable....they're back!!

Terra American Bistro and Chef Jeff Rossman have been binging the Farm To Table-Modern American Bistro experience to San Diegans for over 25 years now. Having relocated from Hillcrest to the East College area close to SDSU 11 years ago, the rotating menu features local fish procured from Tommy The Fishmonger @ Tunaville and local farm fresh produce from the bounty of San Diego County. Featured menu items include 12 Hour Braised Short Rib, Grilled Flat Iron Steak Chimichurri, Roasted Salmon with Herb oil, Terra's Wagyu Burgers, Nashville Chicken Sandwich and the famous Banana Bread Pudding with Jim Beam Butterscotch! The team’s ambition at Terra is to create a relaxed and casual atmosphere to enjoy great food, local craft beer & wine. Terra has many awards for best neighborhood joint: it's where the locals go!!
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 1 day ago
The Seafood Ravioli was truly amazing. It wasn’t a dish you consume, it was a dish you experience. The tomato soup of the day was incredibly fresh. The Salty and Peppery Calamari was perfectly prepared. The house-infused habanero hibiscus margarita was spicy yet refreshing. Overall it was a delightful meal.
A photo of Giardino Neighborhood Cucina restaurant
4.8
4.8 (1013)
$30 and under
Italian
Lemon Grove
About the restaurant
Located in the middle of Lemon Grove’s charming downtown area, Giardino is a welcoming and casual Italian inspired cucina where the neighborhood gathers for fresh and flavorful classic dishes found throughout Italy.

Giardino offers an Italian-inspired menu of seasonally-driven dishes that use timeless Italian techniques and fresh ingredients. Guests will find items such as fresh seafood, pastas, pizzas and salads, as well as a variety of elements made in-house.
Top review
RUBYFvip
Dined on Jun 8, 2024
Our food, drinks, and service were incredible. I would definitely return.
A photo of Farmer's Table - La Mesa restaurant
4.6
4.6 (1972)
$30 and under
Farm-to-table
La Mesa
About the restaurant
Excited to announce that we officially have four locations open in San Diego including Bay Park, Little Italy, La Mesa, and Chula Vista. As a family run operation we believe every good neighborhood deserves an eatery where locals and visitors can enjoy “honest food done right”. Here at Farmers Table, we specialize in farm-to-fork cuisine that focuses on bringing locally sourced organic ingredients together to be savored in an inviting family-friendly atmosphere, where adults and children can enjoy many different food options that are just right for them. If you are looking for a magical brunch this week, come stop by for an unforgettable night.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on May 18, 2024
A great dining experience, the server was amazing and the food was great
A photo of El Torito - La Mesa restaurant
4.4
4.4 (396)
$30 and under
Mexican
La Mesa
About the restaurant
The authority in great Mexican food for more than 65 years. Offering a memorable experience to make each guest feel like family.
Top review
NicoleSlayvip
Dined 4 days ago
Always excellent food and drinks. Never disappointed.
A photo of Casa Gabriela restaurant
4.6
4.6 (630)
$30 and under
Mexican
La Mesa
About the restaurant
Chef Gabriela Lopez brings her elevated Mexican cuisine to Downtown La Mesa. Using her grandmother's recipes from Guadalajara crossed with her cosmopolitan upbringing in Tijuana, Chef Gabriela's menu features authentic hand-crafted dishes and imaginative takes on classic dishes. All of Baja California is represented along with influences from other regions in Mexico.

The spacious outdoor garden, cozy loft, and private dining areas are the perfect places to enjoy tequila and mezcal based cocktails, family celebrations, or brunch with friends.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined today
Absolutely love the patio! It’s perfect in any weather. The frozen mango margarita is delicious and I regretted not having a second ! I had enchiladas sirloin ranchero for dinner and that is my new favorite dish at Casa Gabriela’s. It has just enough sauce and meat inside, topped with a nice sprinkle of cheese and onions.
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