SoCal's capital of sun and surf is fast becoming a haven for foodies.
San Diego's reputation has a laid-back surfer town full of fish taco joints has served it well, but during the past five years, it has quietly emerged as a cutting-edge farm-to-table destination for serious food lovers. The new San Diego is one of innovative restaurants and passionate chefs who are capitalizing on California's abundant organic, sustainable crops.
This artsy enclave just north of Balboa Park is the city's hottest culinary zone. On the 30th of every month, establishments around 30th Street offer food and drink specials. For more information, visit 30thstreet.org.
With more than 300 restaurants, nightclubs, bars, and shops, this area offers a hip yet historic sampling of San Diego.
The oldest business district in San Diego has reinvented itself from a 1920s fishing port into a nexus of restaurants and funky bars, plus the year-round Little Italy Mercato farmers' market.
Located just north of the city, upscale La Jolla is known for fine dining, luxury shopping, and lavish lodging.
El Take it Easy
This gastro-cantina fuses all things local with Mexican-style heat. 3926 30th St., 619/291-1859 or eltakeiteasy.com.
Vin de Syrah
At cocktail time, this swanky wine bar is sublime-both for quaff and a light snack. 901 5th Ave., 619/234-4166 or syrahwineparlor.com.
Craft & Commerce
This Little Italy spot specializes in comfort food with a twist. Think hot dogs topped with toasted sesame seeds and yuzu kosho mayo (pictured). 675 W. Beech St., 619/269-2202 or craft-commerce.com.
Nine-Ten has a loyal following and a reputation for fresh, seasonal fare. 910 Prospect St., 858/964-5400 or nine-ten.com.
This wide, mile-long stretch of sand is home to San Diego's only 24-hour dog beach, and a municipal pier open for fishing.
La Jolla Cove
Located within the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve, this small, protected spot is full of marine life.
Formerly Torrey Pines City Beach, this two-mile stretch sits at the base of 300-foot cliffs. The safest access is from the beaches to the north and south.
The world-famous San Diego Zoo is home to more than 4,000 animals, including giant pandas. The city is also home to Sea World, America's first aquatic animal park. Window shop along Prospect Street in La Jolla, or hike among rare pine trees in Torrey Pines State Reserve. In July, head to Imperial Beach Pier for the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition. Every Saturday—rain or shine—Date Street in Little Italy plays host to the Little Italy Mercato farmers' market (pictured at left).