San Diego ranked as No. 5 'foodie city' in America by Yelp

It may come as no surprise that Yelp users ranked San Francisco as the No. 1 foodie city in America in 2018, but San Diego is nipping close at its heels at No. 5, and Los Angeles didn’t even make the top 10.

On Tuesday morning, the crowd-sourced reviews website Yelp.com released its ranking for the nation’s top 10 destinations for food lovers. These rankings were based on a city-by-city comparison of the number of new restaurant openings, restaurant ratings, reviews, diversity of cuisine and percentage of food photos posted with reviews in 2018.

The national top 10 list, in order, is: San Francisco; St. Louis, Mo.; Honolulu, Hawaii.; Plano, Texas; San Diego; Las Vegas; Richmond, Va.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Baltimore, Md.; and Austin, Texas.

Some of these picks may seem odd to San Diegans, but not among the nation’s top food critics. Plano, a fast-growing city on the outskirts of Dallas, has become a mecca for Asian restaurateurs in recent years. Pittsburgh was named the “2019 Food City of the Year” by the San Francisco-based restaurant consulting firm af&co. And St. Louis ranked No. 5 among Food & Wine Magazine’s best places to eat in 2019.

Strangely enough, Los Angeles ranked No. 1 on that same Food & Wine magazine list. There’s no explanation of why L.A. didn’t make Yelp’s top 10, but Yelp users tend to review restaurants in their immediate neighborhoods, and their ratings criteria — affordability and takeout service, for example — may not apply to higher-end, Michelin-starred eateries.

Yelp also released 2018 top five lists in several ratings categories among San Diego restaurants. These restaurant picks were based on eateries that had the highest number of positive reviews and star ratings last year.

In the category of “Most Popular Restaurants for Delivery/Takeout,” the top five in San Diego are: Common Stock in Hillcrest; Bud & Rob’s New Orleans Bistro in East Village; Sicilia Bella in La Jolla; Empanada Kitchen in downtown San Diego; and It’s Raw Poke Shop in Ocean Beach.

The top 5 San Diego “Restaurants that are Worth the Wait,” meaning full-service spots they don’t take reservations and have high-starred reviews, are: Snooze in Hillcrest; Parkhouse Eatery in University Heights; Werewolf in the Gaslamp Quarter; Din Tai Fung at Westfield UTC; and BO-beau kitchen + bar in Ocean Beach.

And Yelpers’ top 5 “Most Popular Restaurants that Take Reservations” in San Diego are: Monzu Fresh Pasta in East Village; Ristorante Illando in Little Italy; Wet Stone Wine Bar & Cafe in Bankers Hill; Parma Cucina Italiana in Hillcrest; and Baci Restaurant in Bay Park.

For more information on the rankings and the methodology used to arrive at the results, visit the Yelp Food Blog at yelpblog.com.

pam.kragen@sduniontribune.com. Twitter: @pamkragen

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