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San Diego, California

Top 5 restaurants in San Diego?

I'd love some casual cafe and dinner restaurant recommendations.  What are some foods and restaurants that I must try while I'm down there for 4 days?  I'll eat anything!

9 Answers

top answer by
Gordon from Ojai

San Diego is really a great place to experience good food. As Michael mentioned it really depends on what type of food you are into.  This is a fairly diverse list, the three that are must haves for me anytime I am in SD though are Rubicon, a CA burrito and Hoboken.

Rubicon Deli  One of my favorite spots in San Diego. This place is definitely not Subway, the quality and selection is fantastic but you will pay a bit more for it. The place is small inside and out and parking is pretty bad in Mission Beach, however, it's completely worth it. They have 4-5 breads, and different mustards so you can build your own unique sandwich or pick from the menu. Basically everything here is good so try something out of your norm.

El Indio Started as a tortilla factory, still make all of their own tortillas, not the cheapest as far as mexican food goes in SD but still very good. Drive ins, Diners and Dives featured this place awhile back but it hasn't been completely overrun.

Tajima Japanese Restaurant  Anytime I was in the mood for ramen or japanese curry (there's a big difference) this is the go to. Open late (2-3am) and reasonably price since its on Convoy.

The Linkery  Handmade sausage and craft beer in North Park. Great place with huge windows/walls that open to the outside. A little pricey for what you get but it's worth it, the quality of food is great.

Hoboken Pizza & Beer Joint  Nice and cheap pizza in Pacific Beach and the best part is they're open late so you can grab a bite if you go out at night. They have large thin crust slices as well as thick cut Sicilian style.

BO-beau kitchen + bar I second this place. A little off the beaten path on Bacon St in Ocean Beach but it's got good food.

Whisknladle  Nice place in La Jolla. Seating can be a little cramped feeling. Portions are on the smaller side as are most "nicer" places but the food is delicious. The scallops are a favorite here, but i usually prefer them with the steak set up. 

Roberto's Mexican Food  Classic burrito place that's open 24 hours a day. California burritos are a must in San Diego and Roberto's has a good one. Roberto's is not just in Del Mar, you can find them all over SD.

Hash House a-Go-Go is a pretty good place if you like ridiculous portion size and some interesting food combos. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Rubicon Deli (restaurant)
  2. El Indio (restaurant)
  3. Tajima Japanese Restaurant (attraction)
  4. The Linkery (restaurant)
  5. Hoboken Pizza & Beer Joint (restaurant)
  6. BO-beau kitchen + bar (restaurant)
  7. Whisknladle (restaurant)
  8. Roberto's Mexican Food (restaurant)
  9. Hash House a-Go-Go (restaurant)
8 thankscomments (5)

answered by
Michael from San Diego

Hi Debbie - 

So much depends upon what kind of experience you are seeking.  I love small, intimate eateries.   Among those, I think Isabel's Cantina is a little known gem that is worth your time.   In Pacific Beach, you've also got Cafe Athena, which does Mediterranean food proud.     Rimel's Rotisserie in La Jolla is also a special place that knows seafood and cooks it beautifully at reasonable prices.   In Del Mar, En Fuego Cantina is a nice Mexican restaurant with great music (especially on Wednesday nights).  

Hash House a-Go-Go -- tourist love it......I don't.  Lots of food but prices aren't great and lines are long.   On the other hand, The Prado at Balboa Park is a lovely place with decent food and unbeatable location.    Balboa Park is another gem of San Diego.

Finally,  I strongly recommend BO-beau kitchen + bar or The 3rd Corner in Ocean Beach. Both restaurants are excellent (especially their wine list) and they are located near a a very non-touristy part of San Diego that has a lot of charm, nice beaches and really good food.    Don't miss it.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Isabel's Cantina (restaurant)
  2. Cafe Athena (restaurant)
  3. Rimel's Rotisserie (attraction)
  4. En Fuego Cantina (restaurant)
  5. Hash House a-Go-Go (restaurant)
  6. The Prado at Balboa Park (restaurant)
  7. BO-beau kitchen + bar (restaurant)
  8. The 3rd Corner (attraction)
6 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Joe from Arlington Heights

hey Debbie.  for excellent, innovative cuisine, check out  Indigo Grill in Little Italy.  for a casual, relaxed meal, i would definitely try La Pinata in Old Town (their oldest Mexican restaurant).  the food tastes amazingly fresh!  both restaurants were highly recommended by locals when I last visited.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Indigo Grill (restaurant)
  2. La Pinata (restaurant)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Brew from Manhattan Beach

For breakfast, I thought Hash House a-Go-Go was one of the more interesting places I've been.  Expect long waits and huge portions, but this is a great option for a breakfast in an area of town that I probably would have never visited if it wasn't for the restaurant, which was great.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hash House a-Go-Go (restaurant)
4 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Micah from Humacao

If you like barbeque, try out  Kansas City Barbeque at 600 W. Harbor Dr. Besides being a nice casual place you can eat outdoors and enjoy the fabulous San Diego weather, it has a little fun history to it since it was used as a filming location for Top Gun. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Kansas City Barbeque (restaurant)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Haydee from Santa Teresa

Debbie, yes the hotel is awesome!! As far as restaurants go there is  Whisknladle which is great for dinner, also their other restaurant  PrepKitchen (there are 3 but all great!) The one in Little Italy is our favorite.  George's At The Cove also in La Jolla is great for lunch with an ocean view! We loved  Isabel's Cantina in Pacific Beach for dinner.  Harry's Coffee Shop in LJ is a great breakfast spot too! Hope these help! 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Whisknladle (restaurant)
  2. PrepKitchen (restaurant)
  3. George's At The Cove (restaurant)
  4. Isabel's Cantina (restaurant)
  5. Harry's Coffee Shop (restaurant)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Mark from Denver

Check out Hash House a-Go-Go for breakfast!  Filippi's Pizza Grotto is good for casual Italian.  If you get up to La Jolla check out Crab Catcher for a nice dinner!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hash House a-Go-Go (restaurant)
  2. Filippi's Pizza Grotto (restaurant)
  3. Crab Catcher (restaurant)
2 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Mike from Seattle

If you're willing to drive up the coast a little, grab breakfast at  Stratford Court Cafe in Del Mar. And, if you stay up that way, head to  Pizza Port.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pizza Port (restaurant)
  2. Stratford Court Cafe (restaurant)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered first by
Luciana from Austin (Texas)

I don't have many tips, but we had lunch at  Cafe Chloe which was very good (French) and  Crown Bistro in Coronado had a great breakfast.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cafe Chloe (restaurant)
  2. Crown Bistro (restaurant)
2 thankscomments (2)

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