Chugga-chugga Choo-choo! It’s the Change Train riding through and boy does it have news for you! San Diego was recently approved to move into its next phase of reopening—which means that restaurant dining rooms are now open to the public, provided they meet safety standards.
With this exciting news, you may be wondering which restaurants are open and how you can enjoy dining out in San Diego while staying safe.
Read this handy-dandy guide to find out where you can enjoy the culinary talents of San Diego’s best, all while protecting yourself and others.
Dine-in at Your Old Faves
For those of you rearing to sit down at some of the best restaurants in San Diego, here’s a list of our favorites and what they’re doing to keep guests as safe as they are satiated:
- Mezé Greek Fusion – Equipped with socially-distanced seating both inside and outside their space, this delicious eatery has everything you need to feel at ease while diving into some delicious spanakopita or classic moussaka.
- Patron’s Corner – For rustic-chic Mexican dishes that make you want more, dine-in or order takeout of their spicy chilaquiles for a kick, or their tenderloin tacos for some traditional comfort.
- Café 21 – Sit outside under gorgeous twinkling nights for a romantic night out, or feast with the family on their farm-to-table crumpet selections.
- Sorrento – This cozy Italian bistro could become your new go-to spot, whether you’re in the mood for authentic, thin-crust pizza, or a gourmet filet mignon.
- Queenstown Public House – Who needs to travel when you can get the New Zealand experience right in San Diego? Dine-in, order out, or pickup with Queenstown PH to chow down on their pacific shrimp starters and their inventive Kiwilango burger.
- Café Coyote – Available for dine-in, takeout, and delivery, this festive, rustic spot brings the Mexican plaza right to the heart of Old Town San Diego. Feel electric with their creative margaritas or fill up with their no-holds-bar fajita veggie bowl.
- Fred’s Mexican Café – Come to Fred’s for fresh margaritas, baja-infused eats, and a flavor fiesta you won’t forget. Social distance with friends on the patio—and bring the furry ones, too! Not only is Fred’s dog friendly, but they also offer a special menu just for your four-legged dining companion.
- Catania – Sitting on the top floor of the La Plaza center in La Jolla, Catania offers unbeatable coastal cuisine that’ll surely transport you with their housemade pasta, wood-oven pizzas, and handcrafted desserts.
- Herringbone – Making its home in a 1930s warehouse turned boho-chic, indoor forest, this charming seafood joint offers whimsical dishes from only the freshest of catches.
A Note on Street Closures
In order to allow restaurants to fully adhere to proper social distancing guidelines, the city of San Diego has announced street closures in both Little Italy and the Gaslamp Quarter to accommodate safer open-air dining and support restaurants impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the Gaslamp Quarter, Fifth Avenue—between G and K street—will be closed on Saturdays from noon to midnight, and Thursdays and Fridays from 3 p.m. to midnight. Starting in July, this street closure will include F street as well.
Since June 13th in Little Italy, certain street closures have been enacted on Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. to allow for more outdoor seating. They are:
- India Street between W. Ash and W. Grape Street
- Beech Street
- Cedar Street
- Date Street
- Fir Street from Kettner Boulevard to Columbia Street
Restaurants Foodies Have Been Craving
If you want to have a socially-distanced flavor adventure on a nice night out, or want to do takeout with a twist, check out these foodie-friendly restaurants for bold bites that are sure to stun—and delight—your palate.
- Bencotto – For artisanal Italian in a contemporary setting, build your own pasta dish with some handcrafted spaghetti, tagliatelle, gnocchi, or penne, topped with high-quality sauces for a meal that’ll surely hit the spot.
- Trust – For New American dishes to ignite your taste buds in an inviting, rustic atmosphere, check out Trust San Diego. For traditional French with a kick, we recommend their beef tartare.
- Barbusa – Craving carbonara? Look no further than this modern sicilian joint fit for foodies and carb-lovers alike. Whether you’re keeping it light with their busalacchi caesar or going all-in with their decadent bolognese al forno, you will never leave hungry or disappointed.
- Born and Raised – When you walk into this high-end steak house, you’ll feel like you stepped into a 1920s cruise ship thanks to its gorgeous arches, glitzy bar, and art-deco finishes. Sit in the starry setting of their chic outdoor rooftop patio for a sophisticated dinner that only gets better when you taste the steak.
- Herb & Wood – For a modern-industrial twist on Californian and Mediterranean dining, check out this upscale restaurant for their classic cocktails and carefully curated branzino and halibut.
- Animae – For Asian fusion with a creative edge, stop by Animae’s art-deco inspired dining room to share some chilled oysters with friends, or dive into their dungeness crab hand rolls.
Enjoy Your Take-Out Outside
Whether your favorite restaurant still isn’t doing dine-in, or you’re just not comfortable taking that step yet, we got you covered. Take-out doesn’t always mean you have to eat at home.
Instead, check out these gorgeous eateries that feature breathtaking surroundings—for take-out, outside:
- Mitch’s Seafood – While eating fish and chips at home sounds cozy, you can also enjoy the stunning marina views by picking up at Mitch’s and parking it right outside!
- Puesto – Even though they’re now open for dine-in, this innovative Mexican eatery is located perfectly on the bay by seaport village, for a sophisticated take-out meal right on the water.
- Little Italy – Did any of your top Little Italy picks miss this list? No worries! Pick-up the meal you’re craving and set up a quaint little picnic in Waterfront Park, which sits right along the harbor.
- Point Loma Seafoods – Still dreaming about seafood? Take-out from Point Loma for an outdoor meal in front of the ocean.
- Little Frenchie – Bring France to the beach by ordering authentic French take-out and eating it seaside in Coronado—who knew sand and sophistication could go together so well?
When to Wear a Mask
Like Batman, your mask is your best friend when it comes to keeping yourself—and others—safe. That’s why you have to be as vigilant as everyone’s favorite vigilante hero when going outside to pick-up, dine in, or eat out.
Here’s when you should wear a mask:
- Picking up food
- Ordering at the register
- Going to the bathroom
- Getting up to refill your drink
- Walking to and from the restaurant
Basically, you should be wearing a mask any time you’re not sitting down and eating. While this is not the most convenient protocol, it is the safest and most considerate. No matter what, you’ll still get to chow down on some good grub with the people you love.
And isn’t that what really matters?
Get Creative in Quarantine with So Diego Tours
At So Diego, we embrace positivity and creativity during this tumultuous time. Despite limitations and new regulations, San Diego is still the exciting, gorgeous city it has always been. Whether you’re looking for newly opened dining options or out-of-the-box activities for our socially-distanced times, our experts are here to help.
To continue exploring all of San Diego’s wonders—safely and responsibly—checkout more of our blogs today!
San Diego County. Face Coverings. https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/community_epidemiology/dc/2019-nCoV/face-coverings.html
SanDiegoVille.com. San Diego’s Little Italy To Close Streets To Allow Outdoor Dining. https://www.sandiegoville.com/2020/06/san-diegos-little-italy-to-close-streets-for-expanded-outdoor-dining.html
The San Diego Union-Tribune. Gaslamp to close Fifth Avenue to cars this weekend; will throngs of diners, revelers show up? https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/story/2020-06-17/gaslamp-to-close-fifth-avenue-to-cars-this-weekend-will-throngs-of-diners-revelers-show-up