We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Best BBQ in the Nation!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Phil's BBQ

Phil's BBQ
3750 Sports Arena Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92110
Improve this listing
Ranked #5 of 3,694 Restaurants in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $0 - $20
Cuisines: Sandwiches, Barbecue
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Large groups, Dining on a budget
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Delivery, Late Night, Reservations, Takeout
Description: For the past 17 years, BBQ lovers across San Diego County have turned to restaurateur Phil Pace to satisfy a singular craving: mesquite-grilled baby back ribs, beef ribs, chicken and sandwiches. Serving thousands of customers a day from a diverse clientele of skateboarders to Bentleys, Phil has built his foundation on consistency, quality, freshness, and friendly service. "We thrive on providing each guest with the 'Phil's Experience', which basically comes down to organized chaos," laughs owner Phil Pace. "The biggest reason behind our success is our loyal customers who have supported us and waited in line for a taste of BBQ for the past fifteen years. "Since opening its doors in San Diego in 1998, Phil's BBQ has served over one million pounds of BBQ sauce (enough to fill Shamu's tank).
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Best BBQ in the Nation!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2013 via mobile

What's not to love about this place? Amazing BBQ, good drinks, and no stuffy restaurant atmosphere to make you worry abound getting sauce all over your face! Phil's is just amazing very simple bbq that will have your mouth watering and you dreaming of more. It's been featured on shows like Man vs. Food and won best in the country awards, and it deserves all the praise. Anything is good, though I must say the pulled sirloin steak sandwich and plain old ribs are my favorite, and I love the potato salad! The onion rings are absolutely to die for, but the portions are pretty big so don't afraid to share with friends! You really can't go wrong at Phil's, go back several times and try something different every time!

I will recommend though, that you do take out if you are not great at standing in lines. The line at Phil's can be HUGE and I'm pretty sure they don't do reservations as it's not a sit down place. The staff is very efficient and really nice, but so many people come to eat at Phil's and it's a cashier line and pick up service that the line can take up to an hour or two. As a local my recommendation is to look up the menu online and call it in. They have special pick up parking spots and a separate line which takes minutes to get through. You'll be glad you ordered out when you get all the dirty looks from people who have been in line for an hour and you just walk in and out with your food. Be warned though, you can't be clever and order out and then stay at the restaurant. They have a stict policy about this and will firmly ask you to leave, as to avoid a riot from those outside. So order out, and head to the beach or something for a picnic, any local from SD will look at you in envy as you gobble down your BBQ with loud yumms and oh my gods.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,835 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Top Contributor
134 reviews 134 reviews
97 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
“Who Knew San Diego was the place for BBQ?”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2013

Last stop on the way to the Airport to fly back to Chicago. This place is highly recommended on TA and we endorse that recommendation.

Order at the register and get one of those high falutin' pager with colors to let you know your meal is ready. I had the chicken breast and my wife had the ribs. I got a sample of hers and she was allowed one bite of mine.

No complaints. Some might even say Texas style. Good sauce and well prepared "fall off the bone" meat. Cole slaw was okay. Onion rings are highly regarded, but they are greasy. Coke products like God intended.

I would go back in a heartbeat. A little pricey for what it is, but the service is outstanding and they food is very good. Whole staff was friendly and accommodating to our needs. More napkins on request.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
103 helpful votes 103 helpful votes
“Tender meat, sauce sweet”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2013

Went to Phil's twice based on the reviews on TripAdvisor and other websites. Had the pork ribs the first time, they just fell off the bone. Personally I find the sauce a little too sweet for my tastes. My wife had the quarter chicken with vegetables. The chicken was tender and juicy with a large serving of vegetables. My second visit was for lunch, had the 3 beef rib dinner. I have to say it was one of the best beef ribs that I have ever had. The meat fell off the bone and for a change, there was meat on both sides of the bone, which I don't see a lot of here in Canada. The meat was tender enough to pull apart with a fork.

The lines can be long. We got there around 530 on a Wednesday and by 545 a line was starting to form. It was along the side of the building when we left around 630. There was also a line-up when we went there for lunch around 1245 but it was moving at a reasonable pace. We were invited into the bar while standing in line so I don't know how long it took to move through. Drove by on a Saturday night and the line was out the door and around the corner. It was near the back of the restaurant and that was around 615.

Would definitely eat here again, but would ask for the sauce on the side so I can control the amount.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Delicious BBQ food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2013

We arrived at Phil's BBQ to find a long dinner line. We decided to come back the next evening when we had more time to wait (figuring a long line meant amazing food)! We were right! The meat were so tender and soft...melts in your mouth! We will be returning next time we visit San Diego!

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Great BBQ”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2013

I'm a huge fan of bbq ribs, and this place really blew me away!!! love going here! good Prices for l a lot of food!!! =)

Visited April 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Phil's BBQ also viewed


Been to Phil's BBQ? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Phil's BBQ, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.