HOME > Chowhound > California >


Looking for Good Mid-to High End Restaurants in San Diego

This could be any type of food, just nothing too touristy please.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Tapenade in La Jolla is outstanding.

    1. I agree - I cut and pasted this from a recent response I sent to someone who asked for restaurants in San Diego. None of these are touristy:

      Sushi Ota or Ono Sushi are good for sushi - I also like Japengo's sushi, though the atmosphere is a little overbearing.

      For fine dining, I'd recommend Market, 1500 Ocean, Jack's La Jolla, Parallel 33, the Wine Sellar Brasserie, Tapenade, 910, and JRDN.

      For more "bistro" style dining - I'd suggest the Linkery, Jayne's Gastropub, Modus, Cafe Chloe, and Vagabond - but only if you like mussels. It's the only thing I've had there that I liked - but they were fantastic.

      For quick service cafes/bakeries - Bread and Cie, Extraordinary Desserts, Con Pane, the Pannikin, and Cafe Zinc are favorites of mine.

      I have links to most of these places on my blog at www.aliceqfoodie.com, or you can just Google the name and San Diego and come up with a website or address for most of them.

      Good luck and have fun!

      1. what part of SD county are you looking for? how far are you willing to drive/take a taxi?

        1. ill second ono, chloe, parallel, market and i hear only good things from others in the industry about 1500 ocean...

          1. Market-far and away our favorite place in the entire county. It's on Via de la Valle, about a mile east of I-5

            1. We went to market during Restaurant Week and loved it. We wrote about it at: http://whatwedig.com/?p=14. It was pretty awesome. I also second Tapenade, Chloe, Modus, Vagabond and Jayne's. A slightly different experience might be Wine Vault and Bistro in Mission Hills. Wine tasting dinners. You have to check their website for what they are offering on particular nights as it changes (www.winevaultbistro.com). And don't forget Kensington Grill and Dobson's which is a great old school place downtown with an amazing mussel bisque.


              4 Replies
              1. re: whatwedig

                With due respect to the nice couple who run the place, the "slightly different experience" at Wine Vault consists of very, very ordinary food and wine. That's why it's so cheap. If you're cool with this and a raucous atmosphere, check it out. When we went people were partying their booties off.

                For my money, Wine Sellar & Brasserie (beware the tacky decor) and Sushi Ota (beware the strip mall, make a reservation). I'll admit that I haven't been to many of the more upscale restaurants though, this being because eating at San Diego restaurants is like dodging landmines.

                1. re: mangiatore

                  Because all other posts were deleted here is just a list of upscale restaurants posted before which are on the same level as Wine Sellar & Brasserie to show that comments like "eating at San Diego restaurants is like dodging landmines." are unfounded.

                  Bertrand at Mr A
                  Georges at the Cove
                  Mille Fleur
                  AR Valentien
                  Winesellar Brasserie
                  California Cuisine
                  Marine Room
                  El Bizcocho
                  Jack’s La Jolla
                  J Taylor

                  1. re: honkman

                    There has been significant disagreement voiced among the SD chowhounds on all of those but Market, Tapenade, El Bizcocho, AR Valentien and Cavaillon.

                    1. re: mangiatore

                      'Significant disagreement' is not accurate for most of those places. 'Sporadic quibbling' is closer to the truth.

                      In addition to the 5 you list you can safely add Marine Room, Arterra, Nine-ten, and Jack's as places that rarely have anything negative posted about the food. And, IMO, all nine are much better than WS&B (as are at least several others).

                      And, again, EVERY city on Earth requires 'dodging landmines' when you're flying blind (how's that for a mixed metaphor?). And, again, you can find negative comments about any restaurant, anywhere.

              2. Nice review. How about posting in on Chowhound as a new thread?

                  1. I too recommend Market. I went a few weeks back during a week-night (prior to Restaurant Week) and found the food to be outstanding. Didn't have any wine as I was dining with non-drinkers, but everything about the place was great from its understated elegance to its well-executed menu. Market is my new favorite SD restaurant for fine-dining (finally displacing Pamplemousse)

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: SauceSupreme

                      I second that. Have been there three times in two months and it's my favorite, as well. Took a friend who owns two upscale restaurants in San Francisco and he agreed it would be a standount in SF, as well.

                      1. re: PGB

                        anyone have the website for Market?

                    2. Cafe Chloe is excellent.

                      1. I will agree with Tapenade.

                        The DH (Fiance) and I have sort of rediscovered California Cuisine in the last few months. I notice they do not receive much play on this board. The food is excellent, though not progressive. The atmosphere is reminds me, just a tiny bit, of Fios...oh sigh...remember Fios? I am waxing sentimental.

                        Now, we recently devoured a freakish amount of divine food at The Guild. Reveiw coming soon......


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Dagney

                          I strongly second California Cuisine. Great restaurant.