Connect with us
ADVERTISEMENT

Home Architecture

Best hotel restaurants in San Diego for dining

ADVERTISEMENT

Thanks to Mustangs & Burros

Home to 70 miles of coastline, more than 30 beaches, and nearly 270 sunny days a year, San Diego remains one of the country’s top travel destinations — and it’s got the hotel scene to prove it. Whether it’s the seaside boutique bungalow or the sprawling inland resort, these properties undoubtedly boast impressive amenities and beautiful design, but it’s their great dining experiences that are destinations in their own right, appealing to discerning foodies from across the county and nation . . Whether you’re looking for a splurge, a stay-in, or a night out on the town, these hotel restaurants have it all, from a rooftop Roman trattoria to oceanside cooking.

ADVERTISEMENT
JRDN at Tower 23
Thanks to JRDN

Pacific beach
This hip beachfront hotel offers incredible ocean views, neo-modernist interiors, a cool coastal vibe, and a prime location on Pacific Beach among several of San Diego’s best neighborhoods. And then there’s the award-winning restaurant JRDN, where Chef Stephen Gage serves seasonal California cuisine with a focus on all things local. Try seafood-forward versions of familiar orders like ahi tuna nachos (with avocado, mango, and sriracha) or the Lobster BLT (topped with tarragon aioli on a brioche bun) and pair them with one of the suggestions from wine director Chris Delaney (whose list earns itself a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence). Save room for dessert and watch the sunset here – it’s one of the most desirable views in the area.

Mustangs & Burros at Estancia
Thanks to Mustangs & Burros

La Jola
Located between La Jolla and Del Mar, this hacienda-style resort occupies 10 acres of pristine gardens and offers plenty of memorable touches along the way (think adobe fireplaces, spa bungalows, and a saltwater pool). When hunger strikes, head to Mustangs & Burros for Baja-inspired fare with a California twist, which takes the form of elevated plates like veggie tostadas, pork belly tacos, and chicken almond mole. Agave spirits rule the cocktail menu, and those looking for something neat will appreciate the restaurant’s lineup of flights and tequilas. The wine list also sheds light on Mexico, with some selections from Valle de Guadalupe. Enjoy it after dinner on the open-air patio, or come in early – happy hour takes place here Monday through Thursday at 4pm.

Lionfish at Pendry San Diego
Thanks to Lionfish

Gas lamp district
While there are now Pendry hotels nationwide, this location was the first and instantly made waves with an effortlessly cool aesthetic, seamlessly blending world-class luxury with SoCal sensibilities. You could say the same about the Lionfish restaurant on the lobby level: an award-winning space with inviting circular banquets, custom chandeliers and maritime details. Chef and James Beard Smart Catch leader JoJo Ruiz serves contemporary coastal cuisine with an emphasis on hyper-fresh and seasonal ingredients; a classic example is the togarashi-spiced shrimp and scallops, roasted Big Glory Bay salmon (complete with corn-butter sabayon and popped popcorn) or, for a real showstopper, the Bad Bunny: an edible, sculpted bunny composed of beluga- caviar, cream cheese and blinis. Pair it with some of the team’s recommended bubbles, then move on to darker drams like the Dante’s Peak: a smoky fusion of activated charcoal, tequila, mezcal, and peach bitters.

Mediterranean room in La Valencia
Photo by Robert Benson

La Jola
Since opening in 1926, this historic La Jolla hotel has been recognized as a coastal retreat for those seeking peace, tranquility and epic ocean views. Stars like Ginger Rogers and David Niven were regulars in their day. Within these flamingo-pink walls, guests will encounter an 11-story Spanish-tiled tower that encompasses rooms, villas, suites, and at the lobby level, the restaurant that unites them all: the Mediterranean Room. It reopened in 2022 as part of the property’s 95th anniversary milestone celebration. Here, Chef Fabian Aceves serves a menu of California-Mediterranean dishes complemented by locally grown ingredients. Try the Shawarma Spiced Octopus (with garbanzo beans and black garlic) or the 18-ounce Bone-In Ribeye (with radish butter, shitake, and colima salt). Every table here is good and there are choices even when it comes to outside. For example, on Patio Sol to enjoy the bustle of Prospect Street, or on Oceanview Terrace to admire La Jolla’s iconic coastline.

ADVERTISEMENT
Adelaide at L'Auberge Del Mar
Thanks to Adelaide

From sea
Located in the heart of Del Mar, this award-winning resort is known for its ocean views, all-out amenities (from pool and tennis courts to a full-service spa), and destination-worthy dining. In Adelaide, chef Nick Green takes inspiration from both local produce and the restaurant’s seaside location, featuring some of California’s most prized vegetables, meats and seafood on its menus. Experience it in orders like the Hamachi crudo (with fennel, raisins and local olive oil) or the 1855 Steak Tartare (with green garlic Caesar salad, salted egg yolk and pitted lavash) – each of which will find a good combination in the restaurants of the restaurant. wine list with a targeted selection of regional and international bottles. After dinner, linger on the poolside deck to watch the Pacific Ocean and enjoy one of the cocktails, namely the Bill Daly Sour: a frothy combination of barrel-aged gin, lemon, and egg white.

The Westgate Hotel
Thanks to Westgate Hotel

Gas lamp district
Custom-built in 1970 as a timely recreation of France’s famous Palace of Versailles, this Gaslamp Quarter hotel exudes European luxury (and is full of lavish finds, including a desk from Versailles itself). Find ornate details throughout, from Baccarat crystal chandeliers to marble bathrooms – a lavishness that also graces the first-floor Westgate Room restaurant. Here, chef Fabrice Hardel serves French-inspired dishes with an eye for local ingredients, with orders such as Baja shrimp with togarashi crust or scallops from a day boat. Don’t skip dessert though, as the pastry team excel at their daily orders of French favorites like macarons and chocolate mousse. And for something low-key, head to the newly opened Veranda, the hotel’s al fresco spot with modern American fare and live music four nights a week.

Serẽa in Hotel in Hotel Coronado
Thanks to Serẽa

Coronado Island
Since opening in 1888, this beachfront resort has become a destination synonymous with Southern California escapes, thanks to its iconic Victorian design, coastal activities, and colossal digs, complete with 902 rooms across five distinct ownership areas. The onsite culinary scene is just as expansive – more than half a dozen eateries await guests, with specialties ranging from tacos to pizza to sundaes. But the main event here is Serẽa, a sea-to-table restaurant that offers sustainably driven dishes with a Mediterranean influence. Chef JoJo Ruiz leads the menu, a seasonal feast of regional specialties such as king salmon sashimi and grilled local swordfish, much of which is showcased in the restaurant’s impressive seafood display, where diners can choose their favorite catch of the day. Enjoy those hyperfresh dishes on the expansive patio with wine, the sound of crashing waves, and plenty of SoCal charm.

Pony Room at Rancho Valencia Resort
Courtesy of Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa

Santa Fe ranch
This Rancho Santa Fe resort features 49 casitas along with 45 acres of gardens, walking trails and olive groves for guests to enjoy. In 2011, the property underwent a $30 million renovation for several exciting additions, including that of The Pony Room, an equestrian-themed bar and restaurant that serves as the hotel’s gathering point. The venue takes inspiration from the country’s deep Americana culture and reflects it in details such as exposed wood beams, natural leather, and wheel chandeliers. Pull up a chair, try a glass of bubbly on tap, and savor orders of lobster tacos, bacon-wrapped dates, and filet mignon steak frites. Come for equally impressive dishes at breakfast or brunch, but it’s dinnertime with a show here, as most evenings the patio offers a front row seat to a series of hot air balloons floating overhead.

The Desmond at Kimpton Alma San Diego
Kimpton Alma San Diego

Gas lamp district
Opened last year in the city’s Gaslamp Quarter, this small new hotel showcases colorful artwork, pristine amenities, and urban sophistication. The relaxed yet cosmopolitan ethos of the property extends to the mezzanine restaurant, The Desmond, where Chef Jason Neroni serves a menu of globally inspired dishes with a serious focus on seasonality. Experience it on plates like pumpkin hummus and smoked beets with black garlic molasses and in house-made pastas, including the delicious rigatoni with Dungeness crab and nduja butter. If you lean towards lighter fare, check out The Café at Hotel Alma, an all-day eatery with small plates and a sophisticated drink list (try the Thai Tonic, with gin, lemongrass, and basil). Be sure to visit in the spring, when the property plans to unveil its newest dining option, a poolside hangar featuring a medley of crowd-pleasing cocktails and appetizers called Leave of Absence.

Vistal and Garibaldi at InterContinental San Diego
Garibaldi | Photo by Kimberly Motos

Centre
This waterfront hotel features 400 rooms spread over 19 floors and several dining options to choose from. At Vistal, guests can enjoy all-day Baja-inspired menus in a sophisticated, relaxed environment and some beautiful local artwork, including that of surf photographer Aaron Chang. Enjoy time on the patio with grilled octopus and Bar Harbor clams, or take a seat at the bar for a bite of flatbread or poke. Those looking for European flavors will find it at Garibaldi, the hotel’s speakeasy-style restaurant serving Sardinian-inspired dishes and cocktails. Start with an Aperol Spritz and a round of oysters before delving into one of the signature hand-formed pastas. And as if two restaurants weren’t enough, there are more. The hotel also houses Seneca, CH Projects’ vibrant rooftop restaurant that became an overnight hit for its breathtaking skyline views, striking art-deco-meets-nautical design, and enduring weekend vibes. Decorated like a modern Roman trattoria, the venue serves wood-fired entrées of pizza, seafood and steaks, along with memorable sharing plates. (Give your social channels a boost for the hand-pulled mozzarella, a tableside order that’s as much a spectacle as it is an entrée.)

Want more thrills? Follow us on Instagram, TwitterPinterest, YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat.

Nicole Schnitzler is a contributor to Thrillist.