Three San Diego Restaurants Make Esquire Magazines List Of 50 Best New Restaurants In America

November 28, 2023

Three San Diego County restaurants have been included in Esquire Magazine's 2023 list of the 50 Best New Restaurants in America.

San Diego-based restaurants Hitokuchi in the Convoy District of Kearny Mesa, Mabel's Gone Fishing in North Park and Michelin-star award winning Valle in Oceanside have all made Esquire Magazine's forty-first edition of their annual Best New Restaurants selections. To compile the list, four of Esquire's writers went across the nation and sampled approximately 200 dining establishments searching for "radical authenticity." Chef Mads Refslund, who was a co-founder of world-renowned Noma in Denmark, was given top honors of Restaurant of the Year for his Ilis restaurant in Brooklyn, NY. 

This past January after more than three years in development, the owner of San Diego's omakase-only Hidden Fish sushi bar in Kearny Mesa opened Hitokuchi restaurant in a neighboring space last occupied by a massage parlor. The experimental, small-bite Japanese concept and sake lounge offers an intimate experience with only 13 seats and 50 or 90-minute seating options. At Hitokuchi, which loosely translates to "one sip, one bite" in Japanese, owner and chef John "Kappa" Hong serves shareable, amuse-bouche-sized dishes of luxurious Japanese cuisine, with ingredients sourced from around the globe including direct from Japan’s renowned Tsukiji Fish Market. 
Chelsea Marlene Coleman and Rae Ellen Gurne, who have operated The Rose Wine Bar in San Diego's South Park community since 2010, opened Mabel's Gone Fishing in the heart of North Park in September 2022. Named after Coleman's dog, the restaurant serves an eclectic, seafood-forward global-inspired menu with a Mediterranean focus, a curated list of natural wines from Europe and California, and a devotion to gin spirits and area beer. Earlier this summer, French tire company Michelin announced 10 new selection of Bib Gourmand establishments for the 2023 Michelin Guide California, and Mabel's Gone Fishing was added to the list
In 2021, Chef Robert Alcocer relocated his family from Ensenada, Mexico to Oceanside, CA and joined the team at the Mission Pacific Hotel by Hyatt to open Valle restaurant. The upscale Mexican restaurant offers a menu centered around open-flame and charcoal cooking and boasts sweeping views of the Oceanside Pier. Chef Alcocer has been the executive chef at Malva restaurant in Mexico's Valle de Guadalupe since the open air eatery debuted on Mina Penélope winery in 2014. Prior to joining Malva, the Ensendada native with Oaxacan roots worked in some of the top kitchens around the globe, including The World's 50 Best Restaurants honorees Pujol in Mexico City and La Broche in Spain. Valle was awarded a highly coveted Michelin Star this past July.

For Esquire's full 2023 list of the 50 Best New Restaurants in America, visit