New & Hot Places

Hottest Restaurants in San Diego

From big-name chefs to adventurous concepts from newbies, here's our updated list of the hottest restaurants in San Diego right now. It's one heck of a culinary to-do list!

Breakfast Republic

NewBreakfastLiberty Station
These bright and quirky locales specialize in inventive breakfast fare like s’mores French toast, Vietnamese chicken wing bowls (plus specialty cocktails, beer flights and kombucha on tap) served until mid afternoon at the North Park location and into the evening at Liberty Station.

Must-order: Month-long specials like Breakfast Bone Marrow and banana bread pancakes

Insider tip: Unlike the North Park location that closes at 3 PM, this place extends its operating hours until 8 PM serving breakfast like pancakes, French toast and more for dinner.

Ceviche House

SeafoodNorth Park
This cozy, colorful shop in North Park specializes in inspired spins on ceviche made with local produce and sustainable seafood presented in tostada, lettuce wrap or bowl form.

Must-order: Salmon carpaccio served with extra virgin olive oil, oregano, rosemary, roasted garlic, red onions and avocado

Insider tip: Indoor seating is tight and includes one table for two people and bar seating along the wall for eight.

Mess Hall

New AmericanLiberty Station
Executive chef Tim Kolanko (ex Stake Chophouse & Bar) presents a daily changing menu of New American dishes featuring ingredients sourced directly from market vendors at this buzzy spot with an open kitchen and standalone cocktail bar inside Liberty Public Market.

Must-order: Rabbit meatballs

Insider tip: The restaurant features a weekly Sunday roast, a family-style three-course meal for $29.73 per person.


SushiKearny Mesa
Signature sushi burritos and customizable poke bowls are served amid bright and modern decor at this fast-casual counter in Kearny Mesa that also offers cold-brew coffee, sake, wine and craft beer.

Must-order: Maui Sunrise (chicken karaage, fried ginger, butter lettuce, ginger avocado, kale, red bell pepper, lotus chips, shiso tempura flakes, sweet chile soy sauce)

Insider tip: Parking near the restaurant is notoriously tight so be prepared to walk a few blocks.

Herb & Wood

NewNew AmericanLittle Italy
Chefs Shane McIntyre (ex Searsucker) and Brian Malarkey (Searsucker, Herringbone) present rustic wood-fired fare, plus pizza, housemade pastas and old-school cocktails at this upscale locale on the northern edge of Little Italy. Chic artwork and plush furnishings fill the expansive space that encompasses a cozy lounge, indoor-outdoor patio and an elegant dining room.

Must-order: Grilled Iberico pork “Secreto” with apple mostarda, pancetta and chile flakes

Insider tip: Ask for the off-the-menu Parker House rolls, brushed with chives, parsley, oregano and rosemary honey butter.​

cucina SORELLA

Handmade pasta and an assortment of creative small plates are served at this cozy Kensington locale by restaurateur Tracy Borkum (CUCINA urbana and CUCINA enoteca). The casual yet elegant space is accented with floral wallpaper, and also houses a retail boutique stocked with home decor items.

Must-order: Torchino pasta with seafood sausage

Insider tip: Happy hour is every day, 4–6 PM, in the bar area featuring $5 spicy sausage “dogs,” grilled meatballs and more.

Carnitas' Snack Shack - Embarcadero

"A pork-lover's dream come true", these "trendy" destinations specialize in "amazing", "original" porcine eats from "delish" carnitas and tacos to a "life-changing BLT" all made with "quality", "local" ingredients and backed by a "good selection of craft beers" and a full bar at the Embarcadero location; though lines can get “crazy”, the "fun, outdoor" settings (plus some indoor tables at the Del Mar outpost) compensate and "you can't beat the value."

Must-order: Triple Threat pork sandwich

Insider tip: Aside from being the only location of the local chain to serve fish tacos, it also features a weekend brunch, 9–11 AM.


NewItalianLittle Italy
Modern Sicilian fare like handmade pasta and raw seafood specialties are served at this buzzy Little Italy spot with a dedicated crudo bar. The cozy, contemporary space features Pop Art, exposed-brick walls and a salumi display.

Must-order: Osso bucco ravioli

Insider tip: ​The restaurant currently serves lunch and dinner, but look for weekend brunch to come soon.

North Park Beer Company

NewNorth Park
This roomy brewery and taproom located in North Park specializes in San Diego-style ales and lagers served in a stately, soaring space lit with street lamps.

Must-order: Cream ale

Insider tip: Mastiff Sausage Company teams up with the brewery by serving housemade sausages and brats.

Coin Haus

NewLa Mesa
Retro arcade games and dozens of self-serve taps pouring beer, wine and more are the star attractions at this spacious La Mesa hangout with warehouse-style decor and a sidewalk patio.

Must-order: Bitter Bros. Black Sheep (Nitro)

Insider tip: To activate the beer tap, press the special Coin Haus wristband against the bar’s logo posted on every machine. 

Tribute Pizza

NewPizzaNorth Park
Started as a pop-up, this North Park pizzeria offers an array of wood-fired specialty pies inspired by great global pizzaioli from Brooklyn, NY to Naples, Italy, and serves them alongside salads, small plates, and beer and wine. The lofty, light-filled space has an open, exhibition-style kitchen, and once served as the neighborhood post office.

Must-order: Al pastor pizza, the shop's tribute to the al pastor taco

Insider tip: It's only open for dinner 5–11 PM and closed on Mondays.

Isola Pizza Bar

NewPizzaLa Jolla
These refined, modern locales in Little Italy and La Jolla serve Neapolitan-style pizzas and small plates baked in a cherry red wood-fired pizza oven, complemented by a thoughtful selection of Italian wines.

Must-order: Funghi pizza

Insider tip: Unlike the original Little Italy location that only has an oven and one rotating pasta dish, this new spot now boasts a full kitchen and several housemade pastas on the menu.

Red Card Cafe

NewGastropubBay Ho
This modern gastropub serves an eclectic menu of New American standards with an emphasis on globally influenced street food. The airy, indoor-outdoor space features industrial-chic decor elements like a polished concrete bar and sepia-toned European football prints.

Must-order: Cuban sandwich

Insider tip: It's now open for brunch on the weekends beginning at 9 AM.

Bing Haus

NewCoffee ShopKearny Mesa
Thai-style rolled ice cream, soft-serve and coffee drinks made with locally roasted beans are what it's about at this Kearny Mesa dessert specialist with chic, minimalist decor.

Must-order: Cookie 'n' cream Thai ice cream rolls

Insider tip: Expect at least 30 minutes for your order to be completed.

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