There are many reasons to visit San Diego, California. Nicknamed America’s Finest City, the sunny skies, warm weather, and beautiful beaches certainly validate that claim. But that’s not all. There’s the world-famous San Diego Zoo, the historically significant USS Midway Museum, plenty of whale-watching opportunities, and a thrilling nightlife scene.
There’s also the food and wine. San Diego is considered a top destination for foodies and those who enjoy great wines. The only problem is fitting in all the top bars and restaurants during your visit!
While you probably won’t be able to get it all done in one trip, knowing where to go is key to getting as much done as possible. With this in mind, let’s dive into the best places to go when seeking the best food and wine in San Diego:
Old Town Tacos
You have to work hard to make it through a trip to San Diego without eating tacos. While there are dozens of excellent taco joints across the city, the very best locations can be found in Old Town. Given the neighborhood’s historical significance, visitors can get their fill of tacos before taking walking tours past buildings that are almost two centuries old. When it comes to specific restaurants, you can’t go wrong with Casa de Reyes, Miguel’s Cocina, or Tuetano Taqueria.
Little Italy Wine Tasting
When it comes to great wines, it’s hard to beat those that come from vineyards in California and Italy. It’s therefore no surprise that some of the best wine-tasting experiences south of Napa Valley can be found in San Diego’s Little Italy. With Little Italy wine tasting tours happening daily, visitors can soak in the sights and sounds of the neighborhood as they sample chianti. Conclude the evening with dinner at one of the many fine restaurants in the area, such as Barbusa or Nonna + Zucchero.
The most lively neighborhood in San Diego is, without a doubt, the Gaslamp Quarter. Situated downtown, the Gaslamp is jam packed with bars, clubs, cocktail lounges, performance venues, and restaurants. Name your fare – Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mexican, or Fusion – and you can find it in the Gaslamp Quarter. Centrally located, the Gaslamp is home to several highly-rated historic hotels and boutique accommodations, making it an ideal basecamp during your visit to San Diego.
San Diego is not historically known as a brewery town. That designation belongs to cities like Milwaukee and St. Louis. However, San Diego has become a craft brewery mecca in recent years, with many microbreweries popping up across the map. Most of these breweries offer tours and beer tastings, making them ideal pitstops for those who wish to wet their whistle while visiting America’s Finest City. You may end up with a new favorite beer upon returning home!
San Diego Seafood
It’s no surprise you can find fantastic seafood across San Diego, given its oceanside location. From fish tacos to fresh oysters to out-of-this-world sushi and everything in between, seafood lovers will find themselves overwhelmed with options when visiting San Diego. We recommend the Fish Market in Seaport Village for those seeking traditional options, but you really can’t go wrong so long as the place looks clean and has decent reviews.
Sometimes – especially after a long night of barhopping – all you want is a hearty homestyle meal commonly served at your corner greasy spoon. If that’s what you’re after, then head to Brian’s 24, Maryjane’s, or Richard Walker’s Pancake House. While some of these traditionally 24-hour diners have limited their hours of operation in recent years, they tend to open early in the morning.
San Diego – also known as America’s Finest City – has plenty for visitors to see and do. The city also has plenty to eat and drink. Those planning a trip someplace warm this winter should consider booking airfare to San Diego. Between the fun activities, delicious food, and noteworthy wine, you’re all but guaranteed to have a great time.
Alex Farina is a freelance writer from Ohio. He enjoys writing about design, fashion, nature, and technology.