The Best Bar and Grill Restaurants in San Diego County: A Guide

San Diego County is home to some of the best bar and grill restaurants in the United States. From wood-fired stoves to Mexican cuisine, there is something for everyone. Whether you're looking for a romantic date night or a family dinner, these restaurants have it all. Let's take a look at some of the most popular bar and grill restaurants in San Diego County.

Chef Eric Bost's Fort Oak is a great place to start any night in San Diego. Located in a former Ford dealership, the restaurant has been renovated to include a striking bright blue bar in the center of the dining room. Enjoy one of their house cocktails or choose from their selection of martinis ranging from the saltiest (the Chevelle) to the most citrusy (the Vega).San Diego is home to some of the best Mexican food in the United States, and El Comal is one of the best Mexican restaurants in San Diego. The North Park neighborhood spot is famous for its hot and fresh food, and it stays true to the delicious heat that bears its name: the comal is a clay iron.

If you're going to eat a dish from El Comal, that should be the Baja California fish taco. The taco comes fried or grilled and is topped with cabbage and pico de gallo. Take it to the beach or park and enjoy it while enjoying the San Diego sun for an unbeatable experience. El Comal also prepares a delicious homemade mole. Enjoy it rolled in enchiladas and topped with cream or as a complement to the restaurant's tacos and burritos.

Addison is another great option for an upscale dinner experience. Common dishes served at Addison include Kumamoto oysters served with a splash of champagne, a rich bite of Kobe beef ribs, and fig wafers with peanut butter, caramel, and horchata. For an additional fee, the meal can be accompanied by an expert wine pairing. If you want to reign a little, you can choose from Addison's impressive selection of craft cocktails. After traveling from Barbados to Mexico, the Texcoco region became known for popularizing lamb barbecue, which involves grilling meat over low heat for hours on an underground fire.

Aqui Es Texcoco recreates this process with a specialized oven, which has helped this quiet place in Chula Vista build its reputation as one of the best places to barbecue lamb in San Diego. As you would expect, the lamb barbecue dish is a must have order. The dish comes with a small bowl of lamb broth, tortillas, salsa, lime, cilantro and onion, so get ready to prepare the dish and eat. Complete your meal with a slice of homemade caramel flan or a warm, sweet dish of honeyed sweet potato (sweet potatoes with honey). If you're thirsty, Aqui Es Texcoco offers beverages ranging from house cocktails to iced beer buckets, which are the perfect complement to any barbecue dish.

Mabel's Gone Fishing

is another great spot for an exclusive night out with a neighborhood vibe.

The dining room at Mabel's Gone Fishing is fun and elegant, and features colorful tiles, bouquets of fresh flowers, and flashy ceramic plates that you'll want to take home. The menu of small plates with seafood flavor is also perfect for a party of any size, whether you're splurging with a group of friends or eating food alone.

Kearny Mesa

is home to one of San Diego's best Japanese restaurants. This modest place is an industry favorite that goes unnoticed but offers an impressive three-course tasting menu in its dining room while à la carte service is available in its bar and lounge.

Cafe Gratitude

, awarded Bib Gourmand status by the Michelin Guide, stands out for offering an internationally inspired breakfast menu (think fried rice with egg and carbonara for breakfast) and excellent cocktails in its fantastic pink-hued setting. The spread is served with slices of grilled toast, pickled carrots and spoonfuls of mustard so you can create your ideal snack.

George's at The Cove

, although its downstairs fine-dining restaurant closed during the pandemic, still offers top-notch views and dishes such as local raw tuna and roasted Jidori chicken on its rooftop terrace and gastrobar specializing in artisanal cocktails.

Taco María

, located in Los Angeles usually gets most of Southern California's food hype but San Diego also has its own diverse culinary scene.

Of course, San Diego's local cuisine offers great seafood dishes such as their refreshing raw tuna which has a sweet touch with ingredients like cucumber, charred ash chillies, coconut snow and strawberries.

Birrieria Estilo Jalisco

, while prices have risen since moving to San Ysidro still offers slow-cooked birria and roasted bone marrow as an unparalleled combination.

Juniper & Ivy

, Eater San Diego adds this admired restaurant which remains one of Little Italy's growing food scene pillars still under former executive chef Anthony Wells' James Beard Awards semifinalist hands whose “left coast cuisine” menu is based on his commitment to supporting local farmers and fishermen.

Somtum Der

, this East Village restaurant deserves recognition for introducing San Diegans to lesser-known Thai dishes particularly those from Isaan Northeast region which incorporate local produce and seafood.

Pizza e Birra

, initially built to honor some of world's best pizzerias this North Park restaurant has earned respect for its own menu creations from homemade breads & vegetable dishes from farmer's market to its “Neo-Neapolitan cakes” ranging from weekly specialties with creative touches & classic tarts.

Kathie Defalco
Kathie Defalco

Proud introvert. Total pop culture specialist. Wannabe coffee junkie. Amateur twitter maven. Passionate pop culture enthusiast.