Home to 70 miles of coastline, more than 30 beaches and nearly 270 days of sunshine a year, San Diego remains one of the top tourist destinations in the country, and has the hotel scene to prove it. Whether it’s a boutique beachside boutique or a sprawling inland resort, these properties boast impressive on-site amenities and exquisite design, but it’s their dining options that invite discerning palates from across the county and country. . Whether you’re looking to creatively unwind, relax or enjoy a night on the town, these hotel restaurants have you covered, from rooftop Roman trattoria to oceanfront dining.
Pacific Beach This stunning beachfront hotel offers epic ocean views, neo-modernist interiors, cool coastal vibes, and a prime Pacific Beach location among several of San Diego’s best neighborhoods. Then there’s JRDN’s award-winning restaurant, where chef Stephen Gage creates seasonal California cuisine with an emphasis on all things local. Try seafood like the Tuna Nachos (with avocado, mango and sriracha) or the Lobster BLT (with tarragon aioli on a brioche bun) and pair them with any of Wine Director Chris Delaney’s recommendations (listings are available). itself the best award of the wine audience). Save room for dessert and watch the sunset here – one of the most spectacular views in the area.
La Jolla Located between La Jolla and Del Mar, this hacienda-style resort spans 10 acres of pristine gardens and includes plenty of memorable details along the way (think clay fireplaces, spa bungalows, and a saltwater pool). When you’re hungry, head to Mustangs & Burros for Baja-inspired cuisine with a Californian twist on elevated plates like vegetable tostadas, pulled pork tacos, and chicken almond mole. Agave spirits lead the cocktail menu, and those looking for something neat will appreciate the restaurant’s flights and sipping tequilas. The wine list also shines a light on Mexico, with a number of selections coming from the Valle de Guadalupe. Enjoy them all after dinner on the outdoor patio, or swing by early—happy hour is available Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m.
Gaslamp Quarter Although there are now Pendry hotels across the country, this location was the first, and it immediately made waves with its effortlessly cool aesthetic, combining world-class luxury with a SoCal sensibility. The same can be said for its lobby-level Lionfish restaurant: an award-winning invitation area, round banquettes, custom chandeliers and nautical details. Chef and James Beard Smart Catch executive JoJo Ruiz serves contemporary coastal cuisine with an emphasis on hyper-fresh and seasonal ingredients; classic examples include togarashi-spiced shrimp and grits, poached Big Glory Bay salmon (topped with corn butter sabayon and fermented popcorn) or, for a real show-stopper, the Bad Rabbit: an edible, sculpted rabbit topped with beluga caviar and cream cheese. and blinis. Pair it with the team’s recommended bubbles, then switch to dark drams like Dante’s Peak: a smoky fusion of activated charcoal, tequila, mezcal and peach bitters.
La Jolla 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 time. Within the lavender-pink walls, guests will encounter an 11-story Spanish-tiled tower that includes rooms, villas, suites, and an all-inclusive restaurant on the lobby level: the Mediterranean Room. Reopening in 2022 as part of the property’s 95th anniversary, this is where chef Fabian Eaves serves a menu of California-Mediterranean cuisine enhanced with locally grown ingredients. Try the Shawarma-Spiced Octopus (with garbanzo beans and black garlic) or the 18-ounce Bone-In Ribeye (with radish butter, shiitake, and Colima salt). Any table here is good and there is a choice, even outdoors. For example, on Patio Sol to enjoy the buzz of Prospect Street, or on the Ocean View Terrace to catch La Jolla’s stunning coastline.
From the sea Located in the heart of Del Mar, this award-winning resort is known for its ocean views, comprehensive amenities (from a pool and tennis courts to a full-service spa), and destination-worthy dining. In Adelaide, executive chef Nick Green draws inspiration from local produce and the restaurant’s seaside location, showcasing California’s finest vegetables, meats and seafood on menus. Try it in orders like the Hamachi crudo (with fennel, raisins and local olive oil) or the 1855 Steak Tartare (with green garlic Caesar salad, cured egg yolk and seed pita) – any of which will find a happy pairing at the restaurant. the wine list consists of a focused selection of regional and international bottles. After dinner, sit out on the poolside patio to take in the views of the Pacific Ocean and sip any cocktail, particularly the Bill Daly Sour: a frothy blend of barrel-aged gin, lemon and egg white.
Gaslamp Quarter Purpose-built in 1970 as a recreation of France’s famed Palace of Versailles, this Gaslamp Quarter hotel exudes European luxury (and is filled with rich finds, including a Versailles table). From Baccarat crystal chandeliers to marble bathrooms, discover opulence adorning the Westgate Room restaurant on the first floor. Here, chef Fabrice Hardel offers French-inspired cuisine with a focus on local ingredients, with orders like togarashi-crusted Baja shrimp or sea urchin on a day boat. Don’t skip dessert, though, as the pastry team excels at daily ordering of French favorites like macarons and chocolate mousse. Visit the recently opened Veranda, the hotel’s outdoor patio with modern American fare and live music four nights a week.
Coronado Island Since opening in 1888, this beachfront resort has been synonymous with Southern California escapes thanks to its stunning Victorian design, waterfront activities, and sprawling digs with 902 rooms spread over five distinct property areas. The on-site culinary scene is extensive, too—guests are treated to more than half a dozen dining options, with specialties ranging from tacos to pizza to sundaes. But the main event here is Serẽa, a sea-to-table restaurant that offers regular fare with Mediterranean influences. Executive Chef JoJo Ruiz directs the menu, which celebrates regional specialties such as seasonally modified king salmon sashimi and grilled local swordfish, many of which are displayed in the restaurant’s impressive fish display, where guests can choose their favorite fish. Enjoy hyper-fresh fare on a spacious patio with wine, the sound of crashing waves and plenty of SoCal charm.
Santa Fe Ranch This Rancho Santa Fe resort has 49 casitas as well as 45 acres of gardens, trails and olive groves for guests to enjoy. In 2011, the property underwent a $30 million renovation for several exciting additions, including The Pony Room, a horse-themed bar and restaurant that serves as the hotel’s main gathering point. The space draws inspiration from the country’s deep American culture, and shows it in details like exposed wood beams, natural leathers and wheel lights. Take a seat, enjoy a glass of their bubbly, and sample lobster tacos, bacon-wrapped dates, and filet mignon steak frites. Come for brunch or brunch for equally impressive fare, but it’s dinnertime here, as most parties include a show, giving front-row seats to the many hot air balloons hovering above the patio.
Gaslamp Quarter Opened last year in the city’s Gaslamp Quarter, this tiny new hotel exudes colorful artwork, clean amenities, and urban sophistication. The property’s relaxed yet cosmopolitan ethos extends to the Desmond restaurant on the mezzanine level, where chef Jason Neroni offers a menu of globally inspired plates with an emphasis on seasonality. Try it on plates like squash hummus and smoked beets with dark garlic molasses, and house-made pastas, including savory rigatoni with Dungeness crab and ndjua butter. If you’re more inclined to go lighter, check out The Café at Hotel Alma, with small plates and an elegant drinks list (try the Thai tonic with gin, lemongrass and basil). Be sure to visit in the spring, when the estate plans to open its newest eatery, a poolside hangout that will bring with it crowd-pleasing cocktails and cocktails called “Freedom Vacations.”
City center This waterfront hotel has 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 refined, relaxed environment and surrounded by some amazing local artwork, including surf photographer Aaron Chang. Spend time on the patio with an order of grilled octopus and Bar Harbor mussels, or grab a seat at the bar to grab a bite of a flatbread or tortilla. Those looking for European flavors can find them at the hotel’s Garibaldi restaurant, featuring Sardinian-inspired dishes and cocktails. Start with an Aperol Spritz and oyster wheels before diving into any of the handmade pastas. And if two restaurants weren’t enough, there are even more. The hotel also has a lively rooftop restaurant, Seneca, by CH Projects, which has become an overnight hit with its stunning skyline views, stunning art-deco nautical design and consistent weekend vibes. Decorated as a modern Roman trattoria, this place offers wood-fired pizzas, seafood and steaks, as well as memorable share plates. (Power up your social feeds for the hand-shredded mozzarella, a tableside order that’s just as amazing as the starter.)
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