Japanese cuisine reigns supreme in San Diego with newcomers Gaijin, Underbelly and Katsuya by Starck paying tribute to the noodle house and robata grill. Celebrity chef Brian Malarkey, of Top Chef fame, has expanded empire with Gabardine (Seafood), Gingham (American) and Herringbone (Californian). This year’s Top Newcomer is Carnitas’ Snack Shack, purveying porcine pleasures, followed by Snooze, serving up American breakfast standards, burger joint Slater’s 50/50 and Wang’s North Park offering “interesting takes” on Chinese classics.
Sushi Ota takes honors for Top Food in the area, earning an impressive 29 out of 30 points! Other winners in this year’s survey include Bertrand at Mister A’s (Decor), Addison (Service), Anthony’s Fish (Most Popular) and In-N-Out (Most Popular Chain).
To complement the city’s inventive eats, craft beer connoisseurs countrywide flock to San Diego to tour and sample the suds at Green Flash, Stone and Port breweries. Nightlife newcomers Barleymash and Uptown Tavern keep these labels on tap, as do favorites like Blind Lady Ale House and Monkey Paw, which brew their own too.
Recent entries like The Propagandist and Seven Grand signify a craft cocktail trend, while high scorers like Prohibition, Vin de Syrah and Noble Experiment - which won the Nightlife Survey’s top honors for Atmosphere, Decor and Service - feature cleverly hidden entrances befitting the modern speakeasy. Other notable nightlife arrivals include American Comedy Co., which attracts nationally know stand-up acts, and Block No. 16 Union & Spirits, which challenges Fluxx and Voyeur for best Las Vegas imitation.
San Diego knows SoCal style, with chic boutiques like La Jolla’s Pomegranate or the new Solana Beach branch of Gerhard, as well as standbys like Frock You and Hunt & Gather for vintage looks. Active locals stock up on work-out wear at high scorers Lululemon and Movin Shoes Running Center, while surfers favor custom boards from Bessell Surfboards and lessons at PB Surf Shop.
When it comes to attractions, visitors and locals alike flock to the San Diego Zoo which sweeps the survey, winning for Popularity, Appeal, Facilities and Service. Following the Zoo, San Diego’s Most Popular attractions include Balboa Park, SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo Safari Park and Old Town Historic Park.
To check out all of this year’s top rated places in San Diego, pick up your copy of the guide here!