Nothing caps a day at the beach quite like a cold brew or glass of local California wine, paired with an exceptional meal. And thanks to award-winning chefs, an explosion of world-class breweries, and a thriving local wine region, San Diego delivers on all three. Here’s the lowdown on what to eat and drink after a day of lounging by the sea or enjoying a fun-packed afternoon exploring everything San Diego has to offer.
San Diego is hailed as one of the Best New Foodie Cities in America by Thrillist Travel, touting that the region is surrounded by farms and ocean and restaurateurs offer abundant high-quality ingredients to produce fantastic, environmentally responsible dishes. Called one of “America’s best cities for foodies,” by Travel & Leisure magazine, San Diego’s culinary scene is a burgeoning, vibrant mix of locally inspired flavors, from delightfully simple to sophisticated and artful. The city’s proximity to the ocean and Mexico has greatly influenced both the local cuisine and culture. From fish tacos to groundbreaking Cali-Baja fine dining, San Diego’s gastronomic scene sits at the intersection of two culinary styles: California cuisine, distinguished for its devotion to fresh local ingredients and farm-to-table roots, and Mexico’s Baja Med cuisine, a food revolution that combines traditional Mexican ingredients with those of the Mediterranean. From tacos to the best burgers in San Diego, bring your curiosity and a hearty appetite.
San Diego’s craft brew scene has garnered respect from around the globe. With more than 140 breweries and a collection of distinctive distilleries throughout the county, along with a wealth of local talent, San Diego has earned props as one of “One of the World’s Top Beer Cities,” according to Beer Connoisseur. Pioneer brewers like Karl Strauss Brewing, Ballast Point and Stone Brewing Co. put San Diego on the craft beer map. A trip to a brewery, or a beer tour, is a must for any beer connoisseur, but you’ll also find plenty of taps pouring local suds at restaurants and bars all over town, so you can enjoy a West Coast IPA or smooth saison whenever the thirst strikes.
Wine drinkers have cause to rejoice too, with more than 100 dynamic wineries located in all corners of the county and ample opportunities to sip local varieties at restaurants, 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.