San Diego's Best Restaurants, Bars and Pubs

Full disclosure: Alternate post title was Views from the 6 (19).

Often times I struggle with the same things you do...

"Why is there no beer in the fridge?"

"Do I really need to workout? Going to the bar seems like a better idea..."


And then there's the ever present question:

"Where should we go to eat?"

This blog post is my attempt to answer that question for you, fellow San Diegans, or at least make it a bit easier to decide.

And I'm not trying to spend a ton of money. So if you're looking to save dat money so you can buy your mansion on the Cali coast, stick with me.

Oh, that reminds me of a joke...

Why do crabs never donate to charity?

Because they're shellfish. 🦀

Get it? Shellfish.

If you need further explanation, hit me up on twitter and I'll explain it to you. (And tell you some alternative punch-lines... lol. OK, here's a few: They're crabby. They're penny pinchers).

I digress.

The finest restaurants in America's Finest City:

Coasterra's Views from the 6 (19)

Coasterra's Views from the 6 (19)

Coasterra - Serial Entrepreneur and Restaurant Owner, David Cohn, whom I've met and had meetings with, great guy by the way. Their office is a warehouse of just really cool shit. His wife designed this sign, which I love.

WSC Editor Note: Damn typo of Cohn, what is this amateur hour? Step it up, people.

WSC Editor Note: Damn typo of Cohn, what is this amateur hour? Step it up, people.

The only thing I love more than the sign are their restaurants. And Coasterra tops the list.

With views of downtown San Diego, Coronado Island, and the Naval Training Center, there's no shortage of things to look at. Boats, buildings, beer. And the food is amazing.

Pro tip: skip the line, go to the lounge. The scenery is better, the food is cheaper and the waitresses wear less - you know if you're into that sort of thing.

C-Level (Island Prime) - Another Cohn Group restaurant. And it's bad ass. It's in the same location as two of the other Cohn restaurants (Coasterra and Island Prime). Similar to my "Coasterra lounge pro tip", you can save some coin by going to C-Level instead of it's big brother grown up version, Island Prime. 

The food is on point, I recommend the bacon and bleu-cheese burger, one of my favorites in all of SD. And the views?

Overlooking downtown San Diego from C-Level.

Overlooking downtown San Diego from C-Level.

Stunning....

Jimmy's Famous American Tavern - This restaurant is hidden near Shelter Island, on the coast of America's Cup Harbor. You'll see yachts, massive sailboats and it's dog friendly.

"I'll have the filet." - @aix_the_frenchie

"I'll have the filet." - @aix_the_frenchie

(Note: since I have a frenchie and he goes everywhere with me, I'll add in which of these places are Fido-friendly, with a little dog emoji next to each listing). 

🐶

Pacific Coast Grill (PCG) - This one can be pricey, but honestly it's worth it. Sadly a lot of the "critically acclaimed" Best Restaurants in San Diego with a view are complete shit. I won't name names, but they are all the ones that come up when you google "Best Restaurants in San Diego with a view." Damn marketers, always f-ing it up for the rest of us, with their SEO tricks. 

You won't find that kind of trash on WSC's list of top restaurants though, no siree Bob.

PCG is up in North County San Diego, but if you live down south, it's completely worth the drive. It's the biggest bang for your buck if you want great food (WSC recommends sushi + lobster guacamole), and the soothing sounds of ocean waves crashing all around you. Enjoy.

After the dog beach with your furry friend, go to Brigantine. 

After the dog beach with your furry friend, go to Brigantine. 

🐶 Brigantine - There are 4 locations, but I prefer the one in Del Mar, which overlooks Del Mar dog beach (Fido-friendly), and the Del Mar Racetrack/Fairgrounds. Taco Tuesday is an absolute steal, cheap and so good. They have grilled mahi-mahi, blackened swordfish, shrimp, and so much more. Craft beer on point, too. Do it!

 

Vessel Restaurant - Little known Vessel is the little-engine that could of this group. Amazing food, awesome craft beer selection, jaw dropping views... and so much potential. But the service is kind of slow. Expect to spend a couple hours there. And yes... it's lit.

Mister A's - I must admit, I've never been here, but have always wanted to try it. I've heard nothing but good things about it, but it is super expensive. It's in Banker's Hill, just West of Balboa Park, and features a 360 degree view. So you'll see downtown SD, Coronado, the Bay, the Pacific Ocean, Point Loma, and Balboa. 

The Bars, Lounges, and Pubs of San Diego (with a view):

WSC checking out an ASU game at Wonderland in OB. (Lots of initials in this caption)

WSC checking out an ASU game at Wonderland in OB. (Lots of initials in this caption)

Wonderland - Every time I say the name or think of this place, that damn John Mayer song pops into my head...

"Your Body is a Wonderland...."

Lucky for us, they'd never play that trash in Wonderland. Go there for good food (did someone say pretzel balls?), check out the game, and see the ocean. One of Ocean Beach's finest spots. (Bonus OB spot is Cohn's OB Warehouse.)

Tower 23 Hotel's Tower Deck and JRDN - This place is always a great time. JRDN is on the boardwalk, so you can soak up the sun and people watch. Tower Deck is nice if you want a laid back, fireplace at night over the Pacific, type of vibe.

🐶 Hotel Del Coronado - You simply cannot beat the views from the Del. And it's Fido-friendly. Bring your pooch and sit on the deck, just like Hollywood royalty has for the last 100 years. Bonus tip: At the way other end of Coronado is a dog beach with insane view of Point Loma and Sunset Cliffs.

Rare Form/Fairweather - The first and only Speakeasy (shhhhhhh...) to make the list. Rare Form is the spot to for the scene, and to be seen. It features dark wood, vintage lamps, and giant oil-framed paintings.

 

Love this place. 🙏

Love this place. 🙏

Sounds very prohibition-themed, like a speakeasy, right?

Not so fast my friends...

The speakeasy is upstairs, and it's an island-vibe. Strange yes, but kick-back there and watch the Padres play in Petco Park. #eastvillagerules

🐶 Catamaran Resort Moray's - Skip the fanciness of their upscale restaurant, and chill at their laid back, tropical themed patio. Catch the game here, bring your dog, and Mission Bay will provide the backdrop, especially at sunset. You're welcome. :)

🐶 Barefoot Bar & Grill at Paradise Point Resort, on Vacation Island - Nobody knows about this hidden gem. It's cheap, good, and the view of Mission Bay is unmatched. Bring Fido, too.

P.S. I want this place to remain a secret, so no link provided. Go find it. It will be like a choose your own adventure. And don't tell anyone. ;-)

QuartYard in San Diego's East Village

QuartYard in San Diego's East Village

🐶 Quartyard - Another East Village establishment sneaks in. Bring Fido. It's a fenced in dog park wrapped into an outdoor bar. Sick views, live music, giant Jenga and cornhole. Nuff' said.

🐶Amplified Ale Works - A kabob shop meets craft brewery and for the price, you cannot beat it. The Pacific Ocean sets the stage and on the roof-top deck you'll love the people watching. Dogs are welcome. Woof.

Campfire - This North County Carlsbad Village spot is amazing. The vibe is on fleek, the entire restaurant is covered in wood, and you'll become a bit nostalgic, having flashbacks of summer camp. From the same owner as Addison and Cucina Enoteca, and designed by the same people who did the new concepts at Craft & Commerce and Ironside Fish & Oyster.

Just don't try toasting marshmallows or build your own fire at your table with nothing but sticks.... that tends to be frowned upon. But do get their Smores dessert. You're welcome.

Let me know if I missed anything. What are your favorite places in San Diego? Leave a comment below.

Oh - and before I forget, I started a spreadsheet listing all the new places in San Diego I want to try. It's interactive, so feel free to add to it, leave comments and feedback, etc:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1fO--znQhpNjnlkPBvQndhYYcjpKUIwUCT0V5LLwVnNQ/edit#gid=0