Dig in at San Diego’s Hottest New Restaurants for 2023
With its unique and ever-evolving culinary scene, San Diego is an epic foodie destination that has it all. Whether in the mood for fresh fish tacos and craft beer or inventive cocktails and tapas, you can find it in America’s Finest City. We’ve rounded up a list of eight new restaurants that have recently popped up in San Diego, and don’t worry—we’ve checked them out ahead of time to make sure they’re worth the trip (trust us, they are). From fresh seafood and upscale burgers to mimosa brunches and everything in between, San Diego’s got you covered with these tasty new spots.
Bahia Resort Hotel has been around since the 1950s and has been enjoyed by both locals and visitors ever since. It’s most loved for its picturesque location right on Mission Bay, lush tropical gardens, junior Olympic size swimming pool, sightseeing cruises on the Bahia Belle sternwheeler, and water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding. But just when we thought this resort couldn’t get any better, they’ve taken it up a notch with a brand-new waterfront restaurant! Enter Dockside 1953—Bahia’s stunning, new nautical-inspired restaurant with bay views, ‘50s-inspired classic cocktails and the freshest seafood in town. Enjoy a Bahia Mai Tai or Cucumber-Rosemary Collins out on the patio that boasts fire pits, palm trees and sailboat views. And if you love a deal (who doesn’t?!), go during happy hour for 25% off drinks and apps between 2 and 4 p.m. If you’re there on a Thursday, stay for the live music that starts at 5 p.m. This is a great date-night spot as well, so reserve your table for two ahead of time because this place gets packed on weekend evenings.
Location: Mission Bay
Did someone say omakase? If you’re looking for a complete and immersive dining experience, grab up to nine of your friends and run, don’t walk to Kinme Omakase (but make a reservation first or it’ll be awkward when you get there). Tucked away in the Banker’s Hill neighborhood, you’ll find this quiet, intimate dining room with a large wooden bar and friendly staff ready to take your taste buds on a journey. You’ll experience an exclusive, 10-course tasting menu that changes monthly with fish straight from Tokyo and fresh, local produce. It’s the perfect experience to brag about at your next dinner party.
Location: Banker’s Hill
Bun & Patti
More of a burger joint kinda person? We hear you. Bun & Patti is the newest Little Italy hot spot for juicy burgers with quality ingredients on Kettner Blvd. When you walk inside, you’ll see black tiled walls, round white tables and red light signage, which combine to create a laid-back yet cool and modern vibe. The truffle fries and thick slabs of bacon are mouthwateringly delicious, and you have to order the Smokeshow Burger. This 14-day dry-aged patty and brioche bun comes served on a plate covered by a glass dome filled with smoke (you know, like on those fancy whiskey drinks), giving it a delicious, smoky flavor you’ll never forget.
Location: Little Italy
Leave of Absence
There’s nothing like a rooftop rendezvous in San Diego. And with the chance to eat by the pool, there’s nothing like this rooftop bar in San Diego. Leave of Absence, located poolside at the Kimpton Alma Hotel, is making a name for itself with its wood-fired pizzas, mezzes with flatbread and fancy cocktails. The Raspado—with mezcal, jamaica and lime—tastes great with the sun on your face and the San Diego breeze in your hair. The white pizza with four cheeses and cracked pepper is melt-in-your-mouth good, and they even have a breakfast pizza if you skipped the most important meal of the day. Aptly named Leave of Absence, this place feels like the ultimate vacation. So put your phones on do not disturb and set your status to away–you’re gonna want to stay all day.
Need to escape to another reality? South Park’s new intergalactic speakeasy is out of this world. You can search the address in your maps, but you won’t find your typical bar entrance when you arrive. See that large non-descript door that says authorized personnel only? You’re in the right place. Entering feels like being inside a spaceship on another planet. Mothership is completely decked out with lights and space decor that’s so hard to put into words, you’re just going to have to see for yourself. The speakeasy’s bites are inspired by “Interplanetary Fusion,” blending cultures and flavors in a unique and delicious way. The cocktail menu is stacked with tiki-themed drinks bearing cool names like the Self-Destruct Sequence and the Astro Zombie. And they’re all so beautifully presented, you won’t even want to drink them (at least not without taking a photo first).
Location: South Park
Prince Street Pizza
Long enjoyed by those in LA, New York and Miami, Prince Street Pizza has graced us with its presence in the Gaslamp Quarter of Downtown San Diego. They say their family motto is “if you can put it on pasta, you can put it on pizza,” and that’s just what they do. Our favorite is the Naughty Pie, complete with spicy vodka sauce, spicy pepperoni, fresh mozzarella, ricotta and honey. They’ve got gluten-free crust as well if that’s your jam, and their Vegan Square is incredible. Located in the heart of Gaslamp, it’s the perfect late-night snack after a night on the town–they’re open ‘til 3 a.m. on Saturday nights, and we all know how much better pizza tastes at that hour!
Location: Gaslamp Quarter
Mabel’s Gone Fishing
Another new San Diego favorite is Mabel’s Gone Fishing, offering Iberian-inspired seafood with a San Diego flair in the middle of the action on 30th St in North Park. They’re known for their gin cocktails and seafood tapas (we suggest ordering one of everything). As you enjoy fresh mussels, swordfish schnitzel or their specialty potatoes in this dimly lit, chic location, you’ll be transported to the coast of Spain. And don’t even get us started on the cocktails. The drink selection is gin-focused, and we love the espresso gin and tonic and the Sirene Dion (a yummy, citrusy spritz). Plus, they’ve got a lovely list of natural Spanish wines for all you non-gin-drinkers. This swanky spot recently received Michelin Guide recognition, so you’ll want to make those reservations ASAP.
Location: North Park
Molly’s Mission Beach
View this post on Instagram
Brunch with the girls just got a whole lot yummier. Head into Molly’s Mission Beach where you’ll find a chic interior with macrame, suspended plants and an adorable pink-lit sign that says, “Here for the mimosas” (which, by the way, come in 10 delicious flavors—we suggest a flight). Head to the counter and you’ll see a glass case filled with the most beautiful pastries, which are made fresh in-house every day. Then, head upstairs past the wall of boho mirrors to find the gorgeous rooftop patio with cute couches, umbrella-covered tables, string lights, more plants and another full-service bar. It’s the perfect place to sit on a sunny morning and enjoy some waffles, mimosas and iced coffee with your gals.
Location: Mission Beach