From sandwich shops 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!
Must-order: Firebird sandwich — a potato roll with spicy fried chicken thigh, Cool Ranch spread, crispy onions and pickles
Insider tip: Like the original Little Italy location, this new restaurant features a bocce court, but also look for a kid-friendly sandbox.
Must-order: Crispy rock shrimp served with gochujang and Japanese-style aïoli
Insider tip: Try a selection of small plates and sides, which start at $7.
Must-order: Turkish latte and a chocolate croissant
Insider tip: The on-site bakery creates from-scratch pastries such as croissants, muffins and cookies.
Must-order: Affogato served with your choice of gelato
Insider tip: Wood-fired pizzas are only available at the Cardiff and Kensington locations.
Must-order: The Shortie, a bowl filled with braised short rib, roasted baby potatoes, blistered cherry tomatoes, green beans, crispy onions, blue cheese and a maple bourbon glaze
Insider tip: Bring your dog — more than half of the restaurant is a canine-friendly patio.
Must-order: Forbidden Rice bowl featuring black pearl and red Japonica rice, snap peas, bok choy, broccoli, carrots, onions, toasted sesame and red chile
Insider tip: Mix and match one, two or three grains for your own customized dish.
Must-order: El Zarape nachos — your choice of protein served with avocado, sour cream, beans, fresh salsa and cheese
Insider tip: Counting carbs? Any burrito can be served up as a bowl filled with romaine lettuce, salsa fresca, avocado and queso fresco.
Must-order: Seasonal sandwiches like chef Judy’s Korean chicken meatball topped with pickled Asian mushrooms, kimchi aïoli, jalapeños, kale-carrot-scallion slaw
Must-order: Turketta sandwich stuffed with smoked turkey breast, avocado, arugula, bacon, aged white cheddar, Moto spread, apricot mostarda
Insider tip: Addicted to the eatery’s habanero pickles? Buy a jar to take home.
Must-order: Chicken-fried chicken — hammered and fried boneless chicken served with Creole sausage gravy and red-skin mashed potatoes
Insider tip: Looking for gluten-free options? There's gluten-free fried chicken here.
Must-order: Black pepper and thyme gelato (only available to go by the pint)
Insider tip: Grab day-old pastries like cookies and brownies at a discount.
Must-order: Lamb sliders topped with arugula and bacon on a brioche bun
Insider tip: Bar By Red Door shares a kitchen and cooking staff with The Red Door Restaurant, its sibling eatery.