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Diners' Choice: Californian restaurants in San Diego

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OpenTable
Updated July 05, 2024

Looking for restaurants with the best overall Californian cuisine in San Diego? You’re in the right place. Each month OpenTable analyzes more than 400,000 new diner reviews. We sort the results by category to help you discover new favorites. It's a great partnership: you reserve, eat, and review. We listen...and deliver the results for all to benefit. Enjoy!


A photo of Paradisaea restaurant
4.7
4.7 (501)
$50 and over
Californian
La Jolla
About the restaurant
A celebration of food, cocktails, art, and warm hospitality. Housed in the historic Piano Building, in the heart of the vibrant community of Bird Rock, Paradisaea is a destination restaurant and bar, that San Diegans frequent for crave-able, accessible fare, executed at the highest level.


Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 1 day ago
Really nice dinner experience. Excellent service, amazing food and wonderful ambiance.
A photo of Herb & Wood restaurant
4.8
4.8 (6200)
$31 to $50
Californian
Little Italy
About the restaurant
A timeless, sought-after dining escape, celebrated Chef Brian Malarkey opened Herb & Wood to instant acclaim over four years ago. In that time, the restaurant has become an icon, a dining destination that has helped to propel San Diego's culinary reputation to new heights. By focusing on rustic, wood-fired dishes, Chef Malarkey's menu elevates humble ingredients such as carrots, beets, and chicken, incorporating Mediterranean flavors and a California ethos of seasonality and sustainability.

Top review
Earl
Dined 3 days ago
The food was great -- oysters/bone marrow and baba ganoush appetizers were great. Our favorite was NY strip steak -- expensive, but worth it if you like a good steak, and everyone at the table could eat a little of it, because it was pretty big. Caulilini was probably our second favorite entree. And oxtail gnocchi and the chicken were also good. Liked all 6 foods we tasted. It's really loud and lively, so if you want something more tranquil, it's probably not the right place for you. But if you want something trendy, lively, airy (a portion of the seating is in a semi-covered outside area) environment, it's great. It gives you some energy.
A photo of NINE-TEN restaurant
4.6
4.6 (2851)
$31 to $50
Californian
La Jolla
About the restaurant
Led by award-winning, nationally-recognized chef Jason Knibb, NINE-TEN offers the perfect combination of sophistication and casual elegance and an ideal location along lively Prospect Street in the Village of La Jolla. Recognized with MICHELIN distinction, NINE-TEN’s globally-inspired, locally-sourced cuisine features the best of the harvest from local artisans where products are selected daily for the restaurant’s seasonal menus. Dine indoors or al fresco on our sidewalk patio or back terrace with peek views of the Pacific Ocean. Heaters and blankets are available during the colder weather. Private dining rooms are also available for groups of 8 or more. Breakfast is served Wednesday through Friday, 7 am to 11 am. Brunch is served Saturday & Sunday, 7 am to 2 pm. Lunch is served Wednesday through Friday, 11:30 am to 2 pm. And dinner service is available Wednesday through Sunday, 5 pm to 9 pm. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Top review
ThomasB
Dined 4 days ago
This is a world class restaurant and very reliable. The Cacci e Pepe is not the classic Roman dish but it is delicious and enough for a light dinner. The salads are fresh and inventive. Duck breast is superb. A reasonable wine list by the glass. The servers are very responsive and knoledgeable,
A photo of Grant Grill restaurant
4.7
4.7 (1584)
$31 to $50
Californian
Downtown
About the restaurant
A remarkable epicurean experience awaits you at Grant Grill and Lounge. From the iconic, chic setting to our fresh California cuisine and innovative libations, Grant Grill and Lounge carries a tradition of excellence rich in history (since 1951) and history-in-the-making. Breakfast, lunch and dinner menus highlight the best ingredients of the season with a fresh approach to classics. From the bar, proprietary beverage creations are offered alongside an impressive menu of wine, beer and cocktails.
Top review
Reviewervip
Dined 3 days ago
Always have outstanding service here - never disappoints! The quality of the food is also world class. Everything to perfection. But please consider increasing the portion size a tiny bit (it detracts from the value). Overall. A great experience!
A photo of World Famous restaurant
4.6
4.6 (921)
$30 and under
Californian
Pacific Beach
About the restaurant
Specializing in surfside dining featuring Southern California Coastal cuisine, market fresh pacific seafood, hand carved prime rib, & grilled to order steaks. Menus are written daily and inspired by sustainable California harvests.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 3 days ago
One of our favorite spots! On the boardwalk for great ppl watching overlooking the beach and ocean with crashing waves. Great food, ambiance and service! We recommend to all!
A photo of Bronze Bird restaurant
4.6
4.6 (121)
$30 and under
Californian
Downtown
About the restaurant
Bronze Bird Food Wine & Spirits is a casual San Diego imbibery for the craft connoisseur, located in The Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter. Enjoy tasty takes on So Cal comfort fare with an impressive variety of shareable creations offered alongside entrée-driven dishes.
Top review
Foodies
Dined on Jul 7, 2024
Amazing night at this restaurant. Even more impressive knowing the chefs are under 30 years old! We had the gnocchi alla vodka sauce and were blown away. Not at all what we expected and so delicious. The sauce was perfect and dynamic. The gnocchi perfection in texture. The Caesar salad with chicken was fresh and flavorful. The poke tower was amazing. Two of us split these choices and then got the lava cake for desert. It was quiet and peaceful with tables spaced perfectly in the restaurant. Baseball playing on TV at bar. We will be back.
A photo of insideOUT restaurant
4.7
4.7 (1988)
$31 to $50
Californian
Hillcrest
About the restaurant
insideOUT is Hillcrest's elevated restaurant and lounge and San Diego's only urban oasis! We are an 18+ venue.

The menu is curated by Executive Chef Johnny Duran and is updated seasonally to reflect his creative approach to California-Mediterranean inspired fare, using the freshest ingredients provided by our local purveyors.

insideOUT is known for its elevated seasonal experiences. We also provide customized private event planning with venue buy-out options. More information listed on our website.

Top review
Ange
Dined 2 days ago
Amazing first time for us and our couple friends! Beautiful atmosphere and GORGEOUS boys on Pride Day!! Noise was a bit much as we couldn’t really hold a conversation, but at the same time quite expected given the occasion. Nice work! We’ll be back during holiday season!!
A photo of Barrel & Board Social restaurant
4.6
4.6 (314)
$31 to $50
Californian
Hillcrest
About the restaurant
A New Woman-Forward Intimate Cocktail & Food Experience is Here!
Welcome to Hillcrest’s chicest spot for craft cocktails, barrel-aged potables, and chef-inspired shareable boards. An upscale LGBTQ+ bar, restaurant & event space brought to you by the Mo’s Universe Group!
Named San Diego's Top 10 Hottest Cocktail spots by EATER, as well as Open Table's Top 10 DINERS CHOICE Winner!

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 6 days ago
Wonderful experience for a business networking dinner. Everyone loved it! Staff was amazing and food delicious.
A photo of Brockton Villa restaurant
4.5
4.5 (2715)
$30 and under
Californian
La Jolla
About the restaurant
Great Food * Epic SunsetsBrockton Villa is a beautiful historic home converted into a restaurant located directly across from the ocean. Our seaside location offers a spectacular view of the world-famous La Jolla Cove, and has become a favorite "show off" spot for locals and visitors alike. We are known for our breakfasts, including our famous Coast Toast. Our chef creates many other wonderful dishes seasonally for lunch and our dinner service.Our house is the perfect place for you to host your next party. Whether it be a wedding reception, rehearsal dinner, baptism, bridal shower, baby shower, or any special occasion.

Brockton Villa loves families! Please don't forget to include your little ones in your reservation count!

Top review
RobinP
Dined 4 days ago
Brockton Villa never disappoints!! Love the Coast toast, the steamed eggs, the Cafe Moto coffee. The servers are all friendly, attentive, & kind. It’s always a treat to go there — if you like breakfast, try it!
A photo of La Gran Terraza - University of San Diego restaurant
4.4
4.4 (1101)
$30 and under
Californian
Mission Valley
About the restaurant
The Grand Dining Room is open for lunch Monday - Friday from 11:30am-1:30pm.

La Gran Terraza is a California bistro featuring farm-to-table lunch and dinner. The Grand Dining Room and terrace have fantastic views of Tecolote Canyon and Mission Bay. OTooles offers small bites, nightly happy hour, a cozy fireplace, local craft beers and an excellent wine list.
Visit our website for a calendar of special events.

Top review
Terry
Dined on Jul 12, 2024
We had the occasion to try lunch. This was our first time here so we were not sure what to expect. Service from check in to lunch was very good. All Tables were set with linens and we had a beautiful view overlooking Tecalote canyon. For starters They brought out bread with a hummus spread, which lacked flavor. We started with a lavender drink which was quite good. My wife ordered zatar chicken with cous cous which was a little lack luster. I had the Duck with grilled broccoli and mashed potatoes. The presentation was nice. The vegetables were good but the duck again seemingly lacked that rich flavor usually found in Duck. Perhaps it was an off day with USD being on summer schedule. Next time we will try the Steak Frites or Wagyu beef to see how they stand up.
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