When you first walk into this Little Italy steakhouse, the swanky decor and white-tuxedo-clad waiters make you feel like you’re stepping into The Great Gatsby—then all the framed portraits of famous rappers bring you back into the modern era. Indulge your Roaring Twenties fantasies with caviar service and refreshing cocktails along with dry-aged, bone-in rib eye and wagyu steaks on their rooftop patio. During happy hour, the popular waffles and caviar and martinis are sure to make you feel as luxurious as the ambience.
1909 India Street, Little Italy | 619-202-4577
This classic steakhouse has brought San Diego a taste of the Windy City for over two decades. Signature dishes include Angus prime rib au jus with creamed horseradish, aged steaks and chops charbroiled over a mesquite wood-fire grill, and the staple dessert at any steakhouse: a classic crème brûlée. In addition to the USDA Prime steaks, their menu also features veal, chicken, lobster tail, king crab legs, and shrimp entrées.
5255 Kearny Villa Road, Kearny Mesa | 858-565-2272
With sweeping views of the downtown waterfront, this two-story restaurant at the InterContinental hotel is a stunning steakhouse scene. But don’t just go for the view—cozy up on the patio while you enjoy the rib eye that’s been dry aged for 45 days, a must-try menu item. If the bayside view gives you an especially nautical craving, treat yourself to a seafood tower, which comes with chilled lobster tails, iced jumbo shrimp, oysters on the half shell, Alaskan king crab legs, bloody mary clam shooters, jumbo lump crab, and their signature sauces. And, of course, the temperature-controlled wine walls are a nice touch.
901 Bayfront Court, Embarcadero | 619-272-5060
If you’re looking for somewhere to take your special date on a Tuesday night, try the three-course dinner for two, which features a 35 ounce tomahawk paired with two salads, two sides, and two desserts. Indulge in their chocolate lava cake, which has a rich, gooey center of Callebaut Belgian chocolate. And what’s a date without a little wine? Called the Fleming’s 100, this award-winning wine program offers 100 premium selections by the glass.
8970 University Center Ln., La Jolla | 858-535-0078
The fare here is inspired by the kitchen tables of Southern Brazil. Enjoy the churrasco experience, where fire-roasted cuts of meat are presented on skewers and carved at the table. Choose from 14 different meats and an array of Brazilian side dishes, like warm pão de queijo (cheese bread), crispy polenta, mashed potatoes, and caramelized bananas.
668 Sixth Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter | 619-338-0500
Greystone truly goes beyond by offering three different wagyu options, from Australia, Japan, and the US. As if that weren’t enough, they also feature an eclectic variety of proteins, including elk, wild boar, bison, locally caught ahi, Chilean sea bass, and live Maine lobster. Top it all off with Greystone’s infamous Bloody Truffle, a bloody mary concocted with their house-made truffle mix and topped with freshly shaved truffle dust.
658 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp | 619-232-0225
Finally, a steakhouse located somewhere outside of downtown. For over fifty years, Hunter Steakhouse has made a name for itself in Mission Valley as the “the best prime rib in town.” See for yourself whether they live up to their reputation by trying their award-winning house specialty prime rib, herb crusted, slow roasted, and served au jus with creamed horseradish sauce. They serve prime rib for both lunch and dinner, so there’s no excuse to miss out. Choose from classic sides like New England clam chowder and au gratin potatoes.
2445 Hotel Circle Place, Mission Valley | 619-291-8074
What could be better than steak and whiskey? Japanese steak and whiskey—and this modern steakhouse offers one of the largest collections of Japanese whiskey brands in California. Their steak selections include a 45-day dry-aged porterhouse and A5 Japanese wagyu, the highest grade. Other menu items range from seared wagyu sashimi to Spanish charred octopus. Order an ice-cold concoction from their Toki Japanese highball machine to top it all off.
376 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter | 619-329-4868
Island Prime and C Level are local landmarks known for stunning views overlooking the city skyline and Coronado. While Island Prime’s doors are temporarily closed, pop into their new pop-up restaurant, Harbor Float, the open-air venue located right next door to Coasterra. Dine on the water while enjoying seared sea scallops or Australian rack of lamb. C Level’s patio is open and serving the regular menu. Try the lobster and fontina BLT: lobster and whitefish salad on jalapeño-cheddar sourdough, served with lobster bisque.
880 Harbor Island Drive, Harbor Island | 619-298-6802
You know a steakhouse has a dedication to quality when it requires a highly skilled butcher to be at the location at all times to monitor airflow, temperature, and humidity—which is exactly what Larsen’s does. Before digging into your main meal, linger a bit in the appetizer section, where you can find dishes like hamachi crudo with orange, grapefruit puree, pesto, and crispy sage. Along with wet- and dry-aged beef, Larsen’s also offers specialty cuts, like veal chops, boneless braised short ribs, and kurobuta pork chops. If you’re in the mood to wine and dine, they offer 300 wines, 30 by the glass.
4301 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla | 858-886-7561
With a patio surrounded by palm trees and a view of the convention center, this surf ’n’ turf joint features a classic steakhouse menu, offering entrées such as an 18-ounce New York strip done “Kansas style,” grilled mahi mahi, and pasta carbonara. Complement your main meal with other, lighter bites like scalloped potatoes and crab bisque. Don’t fret if you can’t make it for dinner—many of the entrées are also served during lunch.
224 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter | 619-237-4900
Rei do Gado prides itself for being the only Brazilian steakhouse in San Diego with a mesquite charcoal grill. As another authentic churrascaria, they serve various cuts of meats grilled in a skewer for an all-you-can-eat barbecue night out. Join them Tuesday to Thursday nights for their dinner special and enjoy a 10-meat rodízio, complete with side dishes and one complimentary glass of red or white wine.
939 Fourth Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter | 619-702-8464