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Credit: Kimberly Motos
Credit: Kimberly Motos

8 Unique San Diego Dining Experiences That’ll Knock Your Socks Off

Add These SD Spots to Your Culinary Bucket List

You can’t judge a bite by its cover because sometimes, it’s even better than you could have imagined. Bring your appetite but set aside any expectations: we’re taking you on a journey through seven super unique San Diego dining experiences that surpass any preconceived notions. The city’s dining scene is constantly evolving to wow any food blogger or local in need of a little something new with exciting experiences popping up so often, it’s enough to give anyone whiplash (though a good kind). Fear not, for we know the latest and greatestdig into a new kind of dish at one of these uniquely imagined hotspots!


The Marine Room

Credit: James Tran

Waterfront dining gets a whole new meaning at The Marine Room in La Jolla Shores. From June to August, this renowned oceanfront restaurant presents its famous High Tide Dinner Series, where guests get a front-row seat to high tide waves crashing against floor-to-ceiling windows illuminated by a full moon. Choose between an early seating at 4:30 p.m. with an a la carte menu or a later seating at 7:30 p.m. featuring a four-course prix fixe menu. If small bites are more your vibe, the newly unveiled Lounge at The Marine Room offers a casual cocktail and small plates experience. Indulge in signature dishes like the lobster crêpe and Baja California swordfish, perfectly paired with the new Kelp Martini—a blend of locally sourced kelp, Grey Goose Vodka, Lillet Blanc and olive juice. The Lounge showcases whimsical small plates crafted with locally-sourced ingredients, such as Moroccan lamb lollipops, dry-aged bluefin tuna carpaccio and more. These High Tide dinners will take place on select Mondays and Tuesdays in June, July and August, and don’t miss the chance to make a reservation on a night with a full moon for an extra special experience.

Location: La Jolla


The Seventh House

This is the sign you’ve been looking for. North Park’s The Seventh House is a whimsical lounge that renders a highly decorated, delicious dining experience, featuring brunch and dinner with a side of divination. Take a seat in your green velvet booth surrounded by super-sized tarot card paintings, lush greenery and glass chandeliersan environment that pairs perfectly with its famous fountain champagne towers. Don’t leave everything up to fate: The Seventh House’s huge array of dining options will require careful consideration on your part! If you’ve stopped in for their famed brunch, try the savory smoked salmon Benedict or sweet vanilla bean French toast. As if that weren’t enough, give your future self something to look forward to by requesting a tarot card reading right at your table, starting every evening at 6 p.m. 

Location: North Park



Credit: James Tran

Enter the mother of all speakeasy dining experiences at the aptly named Mothership. Immerse yourself in an other-worldly experience right in your own backyard at South Park’s intergalactic-themed tiki bar, where you’ll be seated underneath the stars and in-between craters of an ecosystem once untappeduntil their top-notch crew came aboard. This space-themed restaurant and bar’s rum-based cocktails are inspired by our earthly tropical vacations and their creamy coconut mixes and floral garnishes. Pair them with a few tapas-style plates to make the most of your experience! Reservations are recommended, and every table is limited to a 90-minute stay on the AASC Mothershipthis one isn’t your typical vacation, but it’s the furthest from an earthly one you’ll ever get.

Location: South Park



Captain’s Quarters

Credit: Kimberly Motos

We found where all the rum’s goneand we aren’t even mad at it. Grab your first mate (the one with the best navigational skills) and dock at Captain’s Quarters, Pacific Beach’s brand new nautical-themed speakeasy. Located right next to the beloved tiki-themed Grass Skirt and brain-child of the same SDCM’s Matt Spencer, guests can expect much of the same top-notch hospitality and qualityjust nautically imagined. The interior has been carefully constructed to sail guests away in comfortable quarters as they navigate through a menu of imaginative and gin-based cocktails and bites from the galley. Order grilled prawns and halloumi fries for the table as you sip on your gin-forward Captain’s Orders: a mix of genever, sloe gin, grenadine, lemon and bitters. 

Location: Pacific Beach



Unique San Diego Dining Experiences
Credit: Arlene Ibarra

You know what they say: absinthe makes the heart grow fonder, and that would make Wormwood the perfect date-night destination. Chances are, you’ve already heard the inescapable buzz of this charming University Heights absinthe bar, serving high-end plates and desserts as the perfect accompaniment to a palate’s journey. Forever misunderstood, absinthe was banned in 1912 in European countries and the US but has since been reintroducedhesitantly. Break the stigma and experience absinthe with a side of fabulous French delicacies like the duck confit or Wagyu tartare as you sip on a refreshing Secret Garden: a mix of gin, lemon, grapefruit, lavender and La Clandestine Absinthe. We’ve all felt misunderstoodbut absinthe remains in good spirits. 

Location: North Park



Market on 8th

Unique San Diego Dining Experiences
Credit: Market on 8th

Make room on your calendars for a little time at the marketbut not just any market. Chula Vista’s Market on 8th brings a new-age twist to the traditional market space, bringing flavors from all over the globe. Catch live music every weekday as you sip on a beer from Novo Brazil Brewing Co. and peruse your options. Market on 8th houses everything from Weapon Ramen and Smitty’s BBQ to Serbesa Filipino Kitchen and EWA88Poke. If you like what you see, you may have found your next big gathering’s meeting point because they hold private events as well! Market on 8th is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m, but make sure to check the websitehours of operation for specific vendors vary.

Location: National City


The Blank Table

Blank Table San Diego

Ever sat down at a blank table? You might want to consider itone leaves room for limitless possibilities. The Blank Table is a secret pop-up dinner series that curates one-of-a-kind experiences based on the element of surprise; tickets are bought without knowing the dinner’s location, food, drink pairings or anything of the sort. Each guest gets a text message the day of the event with the location, and it’s never what you’d expect. The location is always in an unnamed, unassuming spot to keep the surprises rolling from arrival to the reveal of the fixed five-course menu and accompanying cocktails. Expect the unexpected, but come ready for incredible cuisine and a wonderful sense of community.

Location: TBD




Credit: James Tran

Chef’s choice is always the right choice. Named after the Japanese word meaning experience and care, Kinme is an immersive omakase experience inspired by the multi-course Japanese dinner (known as kaiseki). Guests will enjoy a 10-course meal in an intimate setting, receiving carefully arranged dishes sourced straight from Tokyo’s very own Toyosu wholesale fish market. Included in the seasonal menu is a mix of raw and cooked plates, featuring daily-shifting sashimi and nigiri and coveted Miyazaki A5 Wagyu beef, to name a few. The menu will be changed monthly, but the sake, wine and whiskey selection will remain the sameas well as the traditional matcha service finale. Book your night for elevated bites at this brand-new spot before the buzz gets everyone else’s attention! Reservations are required.

Location: Banker’s Hill

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Jaclyn is a sunshine chasing San Diego native with an extensive writing background. When she isn’t word-smithing, you can find her playing beach volleyball, skating the boardwalk, or on a rooftop enjoying a drink in the sunshine with her pals.

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