So you’ve already shot your shot with that special someone, have been hanging out, but really want to step your game up. Cool, we hear ya. The six San Diego restaurants below are bound to make one hell of an impression… just make sure you save up a bit first!
1. Born and Raised
Address: 1909 India St, San Diego, CA 92101
Winner of the 2018 “Best New Restaurant” award from San Diego Magazine, Born and Raised is positively killer if you’re into steak. The prime cuts are aged in-house, the cocktails are served via the 45-foot bar or a roving cart, and the atmosphere is definitely one to be seen in—this place is upscale but in a funky way. For example, the table tops are marbled and the dining room filled with brass, but there are photos of Eazy-E and Ol' Dirty Bastard scattered about. And don’t forget to check out the rooftop patio! All in all, very dope, but bear in mind the entry-level steak is $35, you high roller, you.
2. Juniper & Ivy
Address: 2228 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
This New American restaurant is contemporary, cool, and filled with some of the area’s top culinary talent. There’s a lot of buzz around the brisket, beef, and short rib burger, and bear in mind this is another fantastic destination for grabbing a steak. However, if you don’t want to break the bank on date night, it’s possible to play it smart at Juniper & Ivy—some of their side selections can be had for as little as $5.
3. Menya Ultra
Address: 8199 Clairemont Mesa Blvd m
San Diego, CA 92111
Want something a little different? How about one of the best damn bowls of ramen in the nation?
Menya Ultra is the brainchild of renowned master ramen chef, Takashi Endo. Standing as his first US-based location, everything from the broth to the noodles is made in-house. The latter are known for their virtually perfect pull and chew, so keep in mind that there’s no great time to show up. Expect to wait for a table!
4. Herb & Wood
Address: 2210 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
Like Born & Raised, Herb & Wood is certainly another spot to be seen in. The food is top notch—you have big-time chef Brian Malarkey to thank for that—and the variety is there, with seafood, steak, pastas, and wood-fired pizzas, all paired with a dope cocktail menu.
A little too pricey for your tastes? Hey, we can’t blame you, but here’s the cool thing: Herb & Wood is paired with a casual restaurant, Herb & Eatery, at the same location. You kinda can’t go wrong!
Pictured here: Shaun White just casually getting in a photoshoot there. If it's good enough for The Flying Tomato, it should probably be good enough for you.
5. Death by Tequila
Address: 569 S Coast Hwy 101 Encinitas CA, 92024
Okay, envision this: Baja-inspired dishes (blend of coastal Mexican, Asian, Mediterranean, and other world influences) paired with more than 100 tequilas and 30 mezcals. Yup—Death by Tequila, opened in September of this past year, makes that a daily reality. Recipient of the 2018 1st Place Judges Choice Award, San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival for “Best Taco,” this is an awesome option for a fun and (hopefully!) romantic evening. There’s live music, too!
Address: 3752 Park Blvd. Suite 105C, San Diego, CA 92103
If you want mad tasty, elaborate dishes served in a more chill environment, Trust is for you. Chef Brad Wise has specialized in live-fire cooking at this location since 2016, so you’re getting options such as wood-grilled lamb meatballs with tzatziki, pickled shallots, and chiles, or swordfish rigatoni with chiles and eggplant. And, of course, there are plenty of cocktails to wash it all down with.
Good luck on that hot date!