We love to eat! Who doesn’t? Luckily San Diego has some of the best dining options on the west coast. Being a huge tourist city with visitors from all over the world, our fair city has some of the best food available from all regions and for every pallet. From five-star world-class dining, to divey taco shops- this blog has you covered! Let’s take a look at some of the best places we’ve been to.
Located centrally in San Diego’s fabulous Hillcrest neighborhood, Snooze is a breakfast-fiend’s delight. Offering both savory and sweet breakfast and brunch items, this popular morning spot has you covered. Delicious, fluffy, and mouth watering stacks of pancakes and thick-cut local maple and hickory bacon are the favorites here. For morning cocktails Snooze offers an extensive list of creative drinks- our favorite is the Boss Hog bloody mary (Bacon Infused Cyrus Noble Bourbon & House Bloody Mix; yes please).
The Great Maple
Homey yet elegant, The Great Maple is extremely popular for it’s brunch. This eclectic restaurant offers up one-of-a-kind breakfast fare with an equally interesting drink menu. Don’t be intimidated by the rather daunting menu; the staff is extremely knowledgeable about the items listed and can guide you to your best choice if you can’t decide (it happens to us all the time). Our favorite items are the silver dollar banana pancakes with thick cut maple bacon and two eggs. For a drink we suggest the One-Armed Mary (House Bloody Mary with a spiced octopus tentacle- so good). On weekends the line can be out the door so we suggest arriving as early as you can.
Located on the cusp of Point Loma and Old Town just off the Pacific Coast Highway, this spot is an old time favorite in San Diego. It offers an extensive breakfast and brunch menu with American classics, as well as Mexican breakfast options. The platters are huge, so bring your appetite. This old-fashioned classic diner is very nostalgic and affordable, making it family friendly!
The Tractor Room
In the heart of Hillcrest is one of our favorite restaurants/lounges. You’ll notice it due to the vintage tractor situated near the giant green doors of the building. Inside it is dark and warm with antler chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The menu is unique for San Diego, with items such as boar-meat spring rolls and elk criss-cut fries. They are known for their amazing cocktails (especially their bourbon selection, which is extensive). If you stop by you simply must have the potent Bourbon Mint Julep.
This is the ultimate romantic restaurant, with stunning views of the city from the bay. It is known for it’s seafood, with fresh crab and local fish plates. Drinks are elegant and traditional with a unique flair, and the service is top-tier. During the weekends it can fill up fast, so we recommend putting in your reservation in advance.
This Mission Hills hot spot it at once elegant and moody, with a gorgeously designed interior. The menu changes weekly, as they source all of their food locally, making this ideal for someone that loves a local hangout with plenty of changes for the pallet. Enjoy your meal inside, or take your table outside to the upstairs patio and bar to enjoy a warm San Diego evening. This place is known for it’s Moscow Mule, so be sure to sample it before your main course.
Late Nite/Bars and Lounges
URBN Coal-Fired Pizza and Cocktails
Situated in the up-and-coming North Park neighborhood, this gourmet pizza and lounge is a two-for-one. Open until 2:30 AM Thurs-Sat, URBN offers craft cocktails and amazingly unique hand-made pizzas in an open industrial setting. It’s great for late-night get-together’s with friends, and people watching the trendy youth that live in the neighborhood is always interesting. While it can get crowded, reservations are typically not needed as there is plenty of space in it’s warehouse-like setting.
Another North Park favorite, Rudford’s has been around since the 1940’s. It is open 24 hours and offers a menu that is typical yet high-quality diner food. If you are an early riser or get that midnight craving for steak-and-eggs, Rudford’s has you covered. It is also affordable and family-friendly, so be sure to bring the kids!
Lucha Libre Tacos
This late-night taco shop is centrally located in Mission Hills and offers a fantastic menu inspired by authentic TJ cuisine. Due to it’s location near popular neighborhood bars, this restaurant becomes quite packed between 1AM and 3AM. Items such as the Surf-N-Turf burrito and TJ Corn on the Cob are favorites here.
One of the best things about a city like San Diego is that there are thousands of dining options available for locals and visitors alike. We didn’t have time to touch on our other favorites (be sure to check back regularly for updates!) but this is a great starter guide for those interested in exploring what America’s Finest City has to offer for your belly and taste buds.