As a resident UTC Westfield shopper, I know my way around the mall like the back of my hand, even through the significant renovations it has undergone over the last decade. Of course, nothing works up an appetite like a shopping spree, which is why I’m grateful for UTC’s growing number of dining options.
This isn’t your typical food court fare. UTC has embraced global cuisine, hidden speakeasy gems, and elevated establishments and transformed into a gastronomic haven, drawing in food enthusiasts as eagerly as it does folks on the hunt for a new pair of shoes.
So the next time you need a break from browsing shelves—or are seeking a dining destination in its own right—try one of these 14 food and drink spots at Westfield UTC.
When it comes to Italian cuisine, I’m a discerning critic, but Lucrezia managed to surpass all of my expectations. Among the freshest additions to UTC’s culinary scene, this coastal Italian spot captivates with an ambiance that transports you to the Mediterranean, and servers, while attentive, allow guests to savor their meal without feeling rushed. The memory of the exquisite cacio e pepe and grilled baby lamb chops lingers, and I eagerly anticipate my return to explore their pizza offerings.
Din Tai Fung
I frequently daydream about the xiao long bao at Din Tai Fung, and the constant line and the scarcity of available reservations on OpenTable serve as a testament to the fact that I’m not alone in my admiration for this UTC gem. If you’re lucky enough to snag a table, try the vegetable and pork dumplings, chicken spicy wontons, and tantalizing noodles with spicy sauce. Your taste buds will thank you later.
Javier’s Cantina reigns supreme among dining experiences that effortlessly convey you away from the bustling mall environment. The decor inside Javier’s will make you feel like you’re entering a high-end eatery in Cabo. This is one of my go-to picks for a date night, birthday dinner, or special event, thanks to the restaurant’s perfectly shaken margaritas and steamy empanadas. Tyr their fresh seafood dishes like aguachile del rey made with callo de hacha, camaron and pulpo or signature plates like the chile negro made with braised angus short ribes in chile negro sauce.
If you go to Ramen Nagi, be prepared to do some waiting. While standing in the serpentine line that winds its way through an exterior courtyard, though, you’ll receive a customizable ramen order sheet to tailor your bowl precisely to your preferences—right down to the desired quantity of oil, garlic, and spice. If you’re in the mood for a more traditional soup, the Original King is an excellent choice. Seeking a spicier adventure? The Red King beckons. Beyond the realm of ramen, make room for the crispy karaage chicken.
Haidilao Hot Pot
At this hot-pot hot spot, you’ll choose up to four broths in which to cook an array of meats, seafood, and veggies, including harder-to-find proteins like tripe, sea cucumber, and duck tongue. Spring for access to the sauce and seasoning buffet to kick all your selects up a notch. Futuristic robots traversing Haidilao‘s add a quirky and entertaining dimension to your dining adventure.
This restaurant’s menu may be New Zealand–inspired, but the décor of its outdoor bar and bistro embraces the laidback SoCal spirit. Queenstown Bistro sits in the heart of UTC Mall, offering an indulgent baked brie, a delightful soup and sammie combo, and the Hogs & Heifers burger (a grass-fed beef patty with bacon, edam cheese, and tomato chutney), plus an ever-evolving selection of wines, beers, and cocktails.
Raised by Wolves
When you cross the threshold of the hidden-in-plain-sight speakeasy Raised by Wolves, you’re ushered into a chair flanking a fireplace that pivots to bring you into the inner sanctum of the bar. While the initial journey can feel like the entrance into an amusement park ride, the energy inside more closely resembles a Victorian gentleman’s club. My drink of choice here is the Bidi Bidi Bom Bom, a blend of blanco tequila and Aperol with strawberry, habanero, and lime.
One Silverlake dish is that has left an indelible mark on my taste buds is the garlic truffle ramen, a flavor bomb featuring a creamy pork and veggie broth blend with thick noodles, kale, mushrooms, and the soup’s titular garlic and truffle oil (that said, it’s not a great date night choice). In addition to its delectable ramen offerings, Silverlake Ramen offers savory rice bowls and chicken, pork, and Impossible meat bao buns.
Inside Pacific Catch’s breezy, wood-paneled UTC space awaits a diverse spread of sustainably sourced seafood. Fish is rolled, raw, into sushi; fried and tucked into tacos or beside fries; and served grilled in bowls or next to sides like kimchi fried rice, blistered shishito peppers, and broccoli brushed with miso butter. I’m partial to the crispy Baja shrimp taco with avocado-tomatillo salsa.
Board & Brew
Few sandwich places in San Diego compare to Board & Brew. I used to trek to their original location in Del Mar to get my hands on the coveted Turkado (turkey breast, jack cheese, and avo on sourdough) with the shop’s cult-favorite secret sauce. Over the last few years, the chain has expanded across San Diego, OC, and Tempe, adding a location in UTC. If sandwiches aren’t your jam, Board & Brew also offers a winning cobb salad and a grilled Baja chicken wrap loaded with spicy jalapeños.
Tocaya Modern Mexican
After a Mexican-food feast, I typically find myself wishing for more forgiving pants, but Tocaya presents a refreshingly light twist on Mexican cuisine. They have a robust lineup of vegan offerings, and you can customize protein options (including plant-based meats) for nearly every dish. I can’t get enough of the plantain chips and guac, and the Fajita del Rey bowl—featuring sautéed peppers and onions, rice and beans, and dairy-free chipotle crema—is my go-to order.
This tea spot is a great place to meet up with a friend before hitting the shops—but don’t come hungry. Wushiland is all about the drinks. They offer refreshing sips like grapefruit green tea and the floral Four Seasons tea, as well as creamier picks such as a red bean black tea latte. I like a classic milk tea with a scoop of ice cream inside, like a richer version of a float.
True Food Kitchen
Nationwide chain True Food is the kind of spot that manages to strike that ideal balance between scrumptious fare and a lighter, more health-conscious approach. Though their seasonally rotating menu makes brilliant use of less-common ingredients like sea moss and sweety drop peppers, my favorites are deceptively simple: the Tuscan kale salad shines with lots of lemon and garlic (add salmon to make it a meal), and their nostalgia-inducing flavored lemonades remind me of carefree childhood days.