Is this Otay Mesa sandwich shop among the top 5 places to eat in America? Yelp says yes!

This month, the crowd-source ratings website announced its 10th annual Top 100 Places to Eat in the United States’ list, and four local eateries made the list.

But don’t look for San Diego’s Michelin three star Addison Restaurant on the list. By and large, the vast majority of hot spots that make the list each year are casual quick-service outlets and mom-and-pop cafes that deliver great food and service at an affordable price.

In 2020, Bryan Zeto’s Shawarma Guys food truck in San Diego’s South Park earned the No. 1 spot on the list, thanks to his herb-packed falafel and juicy Wagyu beef kabobs. And in 2017, Bob and Kathy Carpenter’s Sunny Side Kitchen in Escondido ranked 52nd. Zeto and the Carpenters said the Yelp recognition gave them a huge boost in business, and Zeto said he’s now close to moving into a brick-and-mortar restaurant space, thanks in part to to the Yelp attention.

This year’s Yelp “top 100” list has winners from 30 states, including 28 in California. The four San Diego County eateries include a sandwich deli in the top 10, as well as a birria taqueria, a kabob shop and a ramen restaurant. To determine this year’s winners, Yelp asked users of the website to submit nominations for their favorite restaurants. Then the entries were compared based on the number of five-star ratings, the total volume of reviews and several other factors.

Here’s a look at San Diego’s winners:

A sandwich at Beyer Deli in San Diego.

A sandwich at Beyer Deli in San Diego, which ranked No. 4 on the Yelp 2023 list of the Top 100 Places to Eat in the United States.

(Courtesy of Yelp)

Beyer Deli, Otay Mesa — No. 4 in America

This family-run sandwich shop in an Otay Mesa’s Three Flags Business Park is no stranger to the Yelp Top 100 list. It has gradually moved up the rankings from 79th place in 2015 to 59th in 2018. Beyer Deli, which opened in 2001, has earned almost exclusively 5-star reviews from its more than 650 reviewers. Reviewers praise the deli’s extra-large portions, high-quality meats and breads and its authentic New York deli-style pastrami, Reuben, Philly steak’n’cheese and egg salad sandwiches. Most sandwiches are under $11. There’s also a few Mexican food items and fresh-made soups. Know before you go: Beyer is only open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays and it only accepts cash. 3065 Beyer Blvd Ste A105 San Diego. (619) 428-4704.

The interior of GONZO! Ramen shop in Carlsbad.

The interior of GONZO! Ramen shop in Carlsbad, which is 20th on Yelp’s 2023 list of the 100 Top Places to Eat in the U.S.

(Pam Kragen/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

GONZO! Ramen, Carlsbad — No. 20

Earning the 20th spot on this year’s list is a boon for the GONZO! owners Mika and Jamison Murphy, who opened their “Japanese soul food” restaurant on March 4, 2020, and were forced to close when the stay-at-home order was announced a couple weeks later. Fortunately they relocated and reopened and have been doing gangbuster business ever since. Born in Japan, Mika Murphy worked as a Tokyo movie publicist and elementary school cafeteria worker before going into the resaturant business with her husband and their sons, who were all raised in Okinawa. GONZO! makes five different ramen broths in-house, including red spicy miso, black garlic and green vegan. The restaurant is also known for its rice bowls and chicken karaage and katsu curry. The restaurant also serves Japanese sake and beer. Dishes range in price from $14 to $17. 300 Carlsbad Village Dr, Carlsbad. (760) 672-5111.

A chicken kabob plate at San Diego's Baba Kabob.

A chicken kabob plate at San Diego’s Baba Kabob, which ranked 35th on Yelp’s 2023 list of the Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S.

(Pam Kragen/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Baba Kabob, Miramar — No. 35

At this casual Afghan restaurant just off Miramar Road, the Attaie family serves generations-old recipes they brought to the U.S. with them when they immigrated in 1982. Rohullah Attaie and his son, Romel, opened this location in 2018, while Romel’s uncle runs their Poway outlet. “Living in a diverse community such as San Diego, we wanted to share our bit of culture with the city,” Romel said. The restaurant’s top-selling dish is its kabobs, which include tender and juicy chicken, lamb and chapli, which is spiced ground meatballs. A popular side dish is the potato bolani, a warm flatbread filled with vegetables and served with yogurt sauce. 9474 Black Mountain Road, Suite A, San Diego. (858) 800-1258.

A queso birria taco combo plate at Mike's Red Tacos in Clairemont.

A queso birria taco combo plate at Mike’s Red Tacos in Clairemont, which ranks 52nd on Yelp’s 2023 list of the Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S.

(Pam Kragen/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Mike’s Red Tacos, Clairemont — No. 52

Launched a few years ago as a food truck on Morena Boulevard, Mike Touma opened his first brick-and-mortar shop in Clairemont last August. His birria tacos get their name from the flour tortillas that Touma first dips in red chile oil, then grills for a crunchy exterior. Served with or without cheese, the tacos are filled with slow-stewed beef (birria) for a delicious gourmet taco that will fill you up. One queso (cheese) birria taco is enough for many diners, but there are combo plates that come with house consome dipping sauce and a side of red onions, chopped herbs and lime wedges. There’s also birria burritos, ramen and loaded nachos, as well as chips, churros and a two-layer tostada-style “Crunchstack.” Combos are $12.70, or $13.99 with cheese (tip: don’t skip the cheese). 4310 Genesee Ave., Ste. 104, San Diego. (858) 737-4299.

Next Post

Local couple brings taste of Southeast Asia to area with new restaurant

Neighborhood few James and Keena Lam are psyched to carry a flavor of Southeast Asia to the Sandhills with their most current and best cafe Banh Sen, an eatery specializing in Asian noodles and street foods in downtown Southern Pines. “Food Network, eat your coronary heart out!” James teased in […]
Local couple brings taste of Southeast Asia to area with new restaurant