Why San Diego is the Top Foodie Holiday Destination for 2020
America’s Finest City San Diego is well known for its incredible beaches and craft brew scene but, now it is also ranking high among foodies. San Diego snagged the No. 5 spot on ‘Top U.S. Destinations for Food Lovers’ list released recently by Yelp. According to the list, San Diego’s current lineup of top-notch restaurants makes the city a draw among food enthusiasts. A couple of standout dishes include the Pork Belly Benedict at Werewolf in downtown San Diego, the Kimchi Dumpling Hot Soup at Tasty Pot in Kearny Mesa, and the Hot Chicken at Common Stock in Hillcrest. Its data team put together the list by comparing cities’ new restaurants and looking at ratings and reviews by users. Other factors that contributed to the rankings included cuisine diversity and the percentage of food photos tied to a city, which, according to Yelp, reveal where Yelpers love to eat right now. The rankings were on the basis of a number of new restaurant openings, restaurant ratings, reviews and diversity of cuisine.
San Diego’s booming dining scene is a big draw for food lovers. San Diego was recently in the focus ranked among the 14 Top Destinations by Forbes Travel Guide. The list emphasized the cities experiencing a shift currently and said a major highlight for San Diego was its rise as an emerging foodie city with an entry of new eateries and significant culinary talents (Claudette Zepeda Wilkins, Brian Malarkey, Richard Blais) heading up local hotspots. Forbes Travel guide revealed that the top destinations don’t just boast fun music festivals and a decent number of restaurant openings. Put together by the Forbes Travel Guide editors, the city has to be experiencing a shift in the way it looks and feels, it reads. San Diego joins Vietnam, Istanbul, Singapore and other places from around the world on this year’s list. San Diego has seen the entry of many new places recently, some fronted by celebrity chefs.
The best part of exploring a new destination? Most of the time, it’s the food. From distinctive cultural fare to hometown dishes you won’t find anywhere else in the world, a large part of getting to know a city is indulging in its cuisine. Pleasing food critics and locals alike, standout foodie cities in America are constantly changing their menus and adding new eateries, making them worth a trip for the meals alone. San Diego is a city known for innovation and that extends to its restaurant scene. With many top rated restaurants, and affluence of farmers markets and plenty of unique eateries, there is no dearth of creative options in the City neighborhoods.
San Diego has the maximum number of small farms in the US and the growing seasons are quite long and the produce is definitely better. San Diego is a city where the restaurants are finally doing justice to the local farms. San Diego is known for its for diversity, accessibility and quality. The Old Town neighborhood is filled with some of the city’s most popular culinary and dining experiences. San Diego profits from being fairly close to plentiful produce, warranting that the food here is fresher than fresh. And with some of the most creative chefs in America, it has the recipe for a winning foodie destination.
San Diego’s dramatic rise as a craft beer capital has added an exhilarating component to the community. There are more than 150 breweries, brewpubs and tasting rooms scattered across the county. Local pioneers lead the charge, anchoring a beer scene with everything from backyard and nano breweries to world famous mega craft brewing companies regularly serving up gold medal brews. Navigating San Diego’s dynamic craft beer breweries and tasting haunts is an ideal way to explore the city’s diverse neighborhoods and get a taste of local craft beer culture.
The dependable sunny weather, miles of glorious coastline, booming nightlife and mouthwatering Mexican cuisine attract travelers to San Diego all through the year. Then there are the beaches for those who want to soak up the sun, catch a wave or take a leisurely seaside stroll. There’s also the country’s favorite zoo and vibrant nightlife near the historic Gaslamp Quarter.
With the US and Mexico border sitting just a few miles south of downtown, it should come as no surprise that San Diego is home to a delicious array of excellent Mexican food. Big and small Mexican eateries can be found everywhere you go, be it the well-off areas or the strip malls of the highway. Do make sure to find the time and try the San Diego-bred California burrito, which is stuffed with all the usual fillings plus a healthy helping of French fries.
You should also consider indulging in some carne asada fries, which are topped with carne asada strips, cheese, salsa and beans. And of course, you must sample the fish tacos. While the California burrito, carne asada fries and fish tacos are staples, they are hybrids. Mole, pan dulce (or sweet bread) found at Panchita’s Bakery and chamangos, smoothie or sorbet mixed with mangos and chamoy, (found at Tocumbo Ice Cream) are more authentic to Mexico.
San Diego is now also well known for the craft beer scene. The city boasts more than 130 breweries and counting. Top craft breweries, such as Karl Strauss, Stone Brewing and Ballast Point, all call San Diego home. The annual beer week which is held in November is a good time to plan your visit to get a complete look at San Diego’s love for the brew.
San Diego’s close proximity to the ocean makes seafood a very important part of its culinary character. For the best atmosphere, seek out places closest to the water, such as Point Loma Seafood’s, Mitch’s Seafood (also in Point Loma) and Oscar’s Mexican Seafood in Pacific Beach.
Liberty Public Market in Point Loma is an excellent place to get a complete taste of San Diego’s Mexican, seafood and craft beer combo and sample the brunch at the popular Breakfast Republic. There are guided food tours for those who want a complete picture of the city’s extensive dining scene.
Foodie culture isn’t limited to restaurants. And many who claim to be foodies don’t really deserve the label. Authentic foodies, according to experts, not only crave new and different flavors but also savor the exploratory experience of eating, learning and discovering food.
San Diego is hailed as one of the Best New Foodie Cities in America, touting that the region is surrounded by farms and ocean and restaurateurs offer abundant high-quality ingredients to produce fantastic, environmentally responsible dishes. Travel & Leisure magazine has tagged San Diego as one of the best cities for foodies in America. San Diego’s culinary scene is a burgeoning, vibrant mix of locally inspired flavors, from delightfully simple to sophisticated and artful.
San Diego’s closeness to Mexico and the ocean has significantly influenced the local culture and the cuisine. From tacos to the best burgers in San Diego, bring your curiosity and a hearty appetite.
Whether it’s the Cali Baja fine dining or the fish tacos San Diego’s culinary scene is influenced by two distinct culinary styles. California cuisine, famous for its farm to table roots and dedication to fresh local ingredients and Mexico’s Baja Med cuisine, a food uprising that syndicates traditional Mexican ingredients with those of the Mediterranean.
With more than 140 breweries and a collection of distinctive distilleries throughout the county, along with a wealth of local talent, San Diego has been named as one of the top beer cities of the world by Beer Connoisseur. Pioneer brewers like Karl Strauss Brewing, Ballast Point and Stone Brewing Co. put San Diego on the craft beer map.
For any beer connoisseur, a beer tour or a trip to a brewery is a must. There are many restaurants and bars across town that serve local suds and you must try the West Coast IPA whenever the thirst strikes.
San Diego also has more than 100 active wineries located all over the county. Wine drinkers can have plenty of chances to sip local varieties at restaurants and wine bars and urban tasting rooms in the city. In San Diego’s wine region, you won’t find busloads of tourists or over the top estates, but rather small owner driven boutique wineries that offer friendly tours and tastings in intimate settings that reflect the laid back San Diego lifestyle.