The dining scene of the San Diego neighborhood of Pacific Beach (PB) has come a long way in recent years. Once known mostly for the wings, tater tots and fish tacos you could find at the many bars lining the streets of PB, now there are some impressive players vying for some serious foodie accolades. These upscale PB restaurants aren’t messing around when it comes to providing a dining experience you won’t soon forget. Don't think upscale along the same lines as La Jolla's George’s at the Cove or Rancho Santa Fe's Mille Fleur. This is, after all, still PB. You can show up at these restaurants in your flip-flops and no one will bat an eye, but inside you’ll find trendy furnishings, excellent service, and – most importantly – incredible, gourmet food.
The Patio has a tropical ambiance that works for romantic dates or a fun outing with a group of friends. The menu focuses on California fusion cuisine and you can find seafood, pasta, meat and flatbread pizza on the menu in addition to a variety of mouthwatering appetizers and desserts. The full bar at the Patio features local craft beer plus an impressive wine list from both California-based and international wineries.
Address: 4445 Lamont Street
This is the newest restaurant on this list to hit PB and is located on bustling Garnet Street in the building that used to be Moondoggies. You’ll find atypical menu items at the Backyard like fig plates, corn pudding, brisket burgers plus comfort food favorites such as macaroni and cheese. Also try the signature favorites like the crab and lobster roll. The ambiance is laidback with a beachy feel, which is fitting since it’s a short walk from the surf and sand. On weekend nights, expect a crowd as part of the Backyard turns into a dance floor. Dancing and great food? Now that’s a winning combination.
Address: 832 Garnet Avenue
Located a bit off the main drag of Pacific Beach on Cass Street, Enoteca Adriano provides a quaint little getaway from the raucous vibe of PB. Simple tables in a converted house greet you beneath the whitewashed boards that make up the ceiling and the colorful red and green walls. You’ll feel like you’re dining at a little neighborhood restaurant in Italy. The cooking will also help with that feeling, as the head chef is from Italy and grew up being surrounded by superb Italian cooking. His expertise is now in the daily specials and main menu at Enoteca Adriano. You can also find a good wine pairing when dining at Enoteca Adriano as the restaurant puts a focus on wine complete with daily specials and wine flights.
Address: 4864 Cass Street
The Fishery in North PB immediately feels like something special if you’re looking for fresh cuts of fish since you walk into the restaurant and there is a long bar right in front of you displaying a variety of fish. You can order some cuts to take home and cook on your own, or you can take a seat at one of the comfortable tables in the soothing dining space of the Fishery and feast on the likes of buttermilk fried albacore belly, macadamia crusted Alaskan halibut, linguine and clams or the delicious Mr. Brown’s Swordfish Tacos.
Address: 5040 Cass Street
Though you have all these great gourmet restaurant choices in Pacific Beach, you may still want some simple bar food...so if your idea of good eats is tater tots and wings, then at least take it a step up and make it "gourmet" by getting the tater tot nachos at Bub’s Dive Bar or the salt and pepper wings at Dirty Birds.