San Diego Business Journal San Diego has been voted the No. 12 best foodie city in America by WalletHub. This according to the personal-finance website’s “2021’s Best Foodie Cities in America” report, released on Oct. 4.

America’s Finest City came in at No. 1 in terms of affordability and accessibility of highly rated restaurants and No. 2 for craft breweries and wineries per capita. S.D. also came in at No. 13 as far as restaurants per capita is concerned. Elsewhere, the city entered at: No. 54 for average beer and wine price; No. 57 for gourmet specialty-food stores per capita; No. 72 for number of grocery stores per capita; and No. 82 for coffee & tea shops per capita.


As a result of these findings, San Diego is No. 12 on the “Best Foodie Cities in America” list.
 Portland, Oregon, topped the tally at No. 1, Orlando, Florida, at No. 2 and Miami, Florida, at No. 3. Other California cities include San Francisco, which entered at No. 4, Sacramento, landing at No. 6 and Los Angeles at No. 11.

Exploratory Experience of Eating

Adam McCann, financial writer for WalletHub, said, “Authentic foodies, according to experts, not only crave new and different flavors, but also savor the exploratory experience of eating, learning and discovering food… Culinary hotspots across the U.S. offer plenty of affordable options for cash-strapped foodies. These wallet-friendly cities cater to diners who prefer to cook at home, explore the local flavors or both.”

To determine the best and cheapest local foodie scenes, WalletHub compared more than 180 of the largest U.S. cities across 29 key metrics. The data set ranges from affordability and accessibility of high-quality restaurants to food festivals per capita to craft breweries and wineries per capita.


McCann added that restaurant prices rose 5.4% between July 2020 and July 2021 and that grocery store prices rose 3.5% between 2019 and 2020. Overall, food spending decreased by $100 billion in 2020, though, in part due to financial difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Food-Obsessed City


The last few years, San Diego has been building its reputation as a foodie town, landing on numerous food-centric lists.


Most recently, in April this year, a study released by Rent.com ranked San Diego as one of the top 10 foodie cities in America. According to the data-based study, S.D. is the No. 5 best food city in the U.S. The tally listed American, Mexican and Deli as the most popular cuisines in the County.


“What’s not to love about sunny San Diego? Endless sandy beaches, a vibrant downtown and yes, an amazing food scene,” states the site. “All that sunshine powers a bounty of fresh produce, while the sea serves up uber fresh seafood. From fish tacos and carne asada to wood-fired pizza, Southeast Asian cuisine and fabulous local wine, prepare to wow your palate. And did we mention that Mexico is just 17 miles away? Expect plenty of spillover from all those south of the border flavors.”


In July 2020, Business.org voted San Diego the 13th most food obsessed city. As per the list, San Diego has 4,959 restaurants, 348 eateries per 100 people and the top-rated local restaurant is Phil’s BBQ.