San Diego is now one of our favorite restaurant and food cities and here’s why…

San Diego’s food scene officially rules. It was not so long ago that Southern California, the birthplace of fast food, once offered a pretty dismal showing in the way of awesome eating, but the time has now come when proud locals can tell food snobs visiting from San Francisco to go shove it. This list only scratches the surface, but it’s a worthy starting point. So do yourself a favor and ditch the In ‘n’ Out Burger (hint: they’re overrated) and check out one of these San Diego food hot spots instead.

Rustic Root

Places like Hooters and the Hard Rock Cafe are looking increasingly out of step in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, a former tourist trap turned turned hot spot thanks to new nightlife options and eateries like Searsucker, Double Standard and Rustic Root. The handsome, loft-like dining room at Rustic Root is the perfect place to settle in for a fine meal consisting of standards like a half-roasted chicken or double cut pork chop, but the mad stampede is for the generous and playful rooftop patio, a dream space for lounge lizards, booze hounds and, yes, topiary aficionados. Snag a spot on a balmy evening (hint: there are about 300 a year) or come for a scenic brunch consisting of scrambles, benedicts and lots of cocktails.