With the new year rapidly approaching, we’re taking a moment to reflect on the stories that most deeply resonated with Eater San Diego readers. Though the city is still collectively striving to attract more of the national spotlight, we know that our unparalleled ingredients and relaxed lifestyle make San Diego a truly special place to cook and eat.
The biggest stories from our coverage of the past year included news on openings large and small that highlighted the people and places that make up the fabric of our restaurant and bar industry, along with cuisine-specific maps and neighborhood guides curated for locals and visitors. We’re excited to bring you even more in 2024.
But, in the interest of looking back as the year comes to a close, here are 10 of the most-read standalone restaurant stories from 2023 on Eater San Diego.
The Lafayette Hotel Enters a New Era of Glamour in North Park
This summer’s opening, or reopening, of the historic Lafayette Hotel after a 31-million-dollar renovation was likely the biggest splash of the year. The largest endeavor yet from CH Projects, the sometimes polarizing, always compelling group behind audacious spots like Morning Glory and Young Blood, earned an Eater Award for its suite of options to drink, eat, and play, with more yet to come.
A Dreamy Daytime Cafe and Pop-Up Dinner Space Opens in Leucadia
Winner of Eater’s neighborhood restaurant of the year, Atelier Manna was an instant hit out of the gate, quickly becoming one of North County’s shining culinary gems. The thoughtful food that chef Andrew Bachelier is cooking up in his tiny kitchen has leveled up the anticipation for his next project, Chick & Hawk, which is due in 2024.
Highly Opinionated: An Eater Editor’s Favorite Burritos in San Diego
Part of a deep dive exploring the California burrito scene across San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, this highly opinionated feature highlighted our three favorite burritos in the city. The standouts included a tasty mash-up of a chile relleno and carne asada burrito and a carnitas burrito that shouldn’t be missed.
A Bakery Specializing in Not-Too-Sweet Asian Desserts Is Opening in Kearny Mesa
A cottage business turned bonafide storefront, the recipient of an Eater Award for best new dessert shop, Yiko Yiko is an earnest bakery whose handmade sweets aren’t too sugary, making it easy to crave the delicate textures and fresh flavors that revolve around its trendy Asian desserts.
One of Tokyo’s Most Famous Ramen Chains Is Coming to San Diego
The increasingly impressive food options at Westfield UTC got a serious boost with the arrival of Ramen Nagi, an acclaimed Tokyo-based chain that offers a range of ramen styles and allows diners to customize their bowls down to the details.
Oceanside’s Valle Restaurant Earns a Michelin Star
At the July unveiling of the 2023 Michelin Guide California, Oceanside’s two-year-old Valle restaurant was the only local establishment to be given a coveted Michelin star. This year also bestowed Michelin Bib Gourmand status to Mabel’s Gone Fishing and brought attention to spots like Artifact at Mingei and Paradisaea.
Climb Aboard Pacific Beach’s Luxe New Nautical Speakeasy, the Captain’s Quarters
Modeling after an old sailing ship, the Captain’s Quarters pulled into port earlier this year adjacent to the Grass Skirt, SDCM’s similarly immersive cocktail spot in Pacific Beach where the lavishly-designed bar features snacks from executive chef Brian Redzikowski. Next up, look for the group to tackle a reinvention of the Whaling Bar, a classic watering hole in La Jolla.
Iconic Texas Breakfast Tacos Have Arrived in San Diego
Transporting a taste of Central Texas to the exciting culinary scene in Oceanside, LA phenom HomeState landed in a breezy and stylish space starring breakfast tacos made with high-quality ingredients plus other Lone Star specialties like queso and Frito pie.
Unveiling Pacific Beach’s Brand New Six-Restaurant Food Hall
With even more choices added since its debut earlier this year, Mission + Garnet was 2023’s big food hall debut. The 4,000-square-foot collective brought early morning and late night options to the heart of Pacific Beach, including breakfast burritos, sandwiches, salads, and desserts.
Inside the Japanese Cafe, Speakeasy, and Sushi Bar That Shares a Roof in the East Village
This ambitious project from the owners of Beshock Ramen spans Asa Bakery, an all-day Japanese cafe, as well as a speakeasy spotlighting Japanese spirits called Bar Kamon, and Sushi Gaga, a luxe, 10-seat omakase showcase.