Hottest Restaurants in San Diego

From a new, old-school Italian joint in Little Italy to an ice cream shop imported from Portland
February 20, 2018
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by Zagat Staff

From breakfast-focused restaurants to a donut hot spot, here's our updated list of the hottest restaurants in San Diego right now.

Cloak & Petal
Japanese · Little Italy · $$$

A giant cherry blossom tree sets the scene for high-end Japanese small plates and creative cocktails at this trendy space in Little Italy with edgy decor meant to look like an abandoned subway station in Tokyo.
Waterbar
Pacific Beach · $$

Diners head to this hip and spacious oceanfront outfit in Pacific Beach for New American seafood dishes and a variety of craft cocktails (including several options served in fish bowls).
Harumama Noodles and Buns
Little Italy · $$

Miniature terrariums dangle from the rafters of this industrial-chic spot in Little Italy plating updated takes on Asian favorites, including ramen, sushi, noodle bowls and cute steamed buns that look like cartoon animals.
Better Buzz Coffee Roasters
Hillcrest · $

Buzzy local chain brewing a bevy of coffee beverages, including cold brew, blended drinks and inventive signature options (plus grilled sandwiches and acai bowls) in quirky, colorful surrounds.
Salt & Straw
Little Italy · $

Fresh in from Portland, Oregon, this “farm-to-cone” ice creamery chain specializes in small-batch, handmade treats, using ingredients from family-owned farms and crafting creative flavors such as summer sweet corn with buttermilk or apricot-hops. The buzzy spaces are simple but homey, with a handful of seats inside and out.
K Sandwiches
Clairemont · $
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.2 · Service 4.0

This way- “affordable” Vietnamese bakery and sandwich shop is abuzz morning, noon and night with college crowds hungry for their “wide selection” of "awesome" banh mi and croissant sandwiches, fresh pastries and coffee drinks; there’s nothing to see in the way of decor, but the tidy dining area is perfectly sufficient for a "quick stop.
Shake Shack
Burger · University City · $

“Premium fast food” is the draw at this “widely syndicated” Danny Meyer chain, offering “mouthwatering” burgers, “rich shakes” and other “upgraded” eats (plus beer and wine) at a “manageable price” ; the La Jolla location at the UTC mall boasts a patio and local brews on tap.
Born & Raised
Little Italy · $$$$

A winning combo of timeless steakhouse classics and splashy decor lures diners to this sprawling Little Italy steakhouse by CH Projects (Craft & Commerce, Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar). The glamorous space features plush leather booths, a cocktail bar decked out with marble and brass accents and a rooftop patio bursting with greenery.
Nonna + Zucchero
Italian · Little Italy · $$$

Located in the heart of Little Italy, this warm and cozy option with front and back patios serves an all-day menu of old-school Italian eats complemented by a vast selection of wine by the glass or bottle.
Himitsu
Japanese · La Jolla · $$$

Chef Mitsu Aihara (ex Sushi Ota) presents high-end nigiri sushi, Japanese small plates and a daily omakase menu at this snug locale in La Jolla with eco-chic decor and seating for thirty guests.