San Diego

Stuff to Do

  • Sea World - protested by PETA but fun for kids

  • San Diego Zoo - one of the best zoos in the world (note: a bunch of stuff is under construction from 2016 until summer 2017)

  • San Diego Zoo Safari Park - formerly the "Wild Animal Park", a zoo that has more room for animals to roam in

  • Old Town - San Diego's mission and other old buildings

  • Balboa Park - the park itself is very nice, as are several of the museums; the Zoo is in the northern part of Balboa Park

  • Tijuana (or elsewhere in Baja) - Mexico is a short drive (or trolley ride) away

  • Beaches - lots of beautiful beaches including

    • O.B. [classic SoCal]

    • Mission Beach [Great Dipper rollercoaster, Plunge pool, a bit like an East Coast beach]

    • P.B. [frat-tastic]

    • La Jolla [upscale]

    • Del Mar [nicest "beach", hard parking]

    • Coronado [somewhat fancy]

    • Carlsbad [local]

  • Parks (Point Loma, Torrey Pines, water sports on Mission Bay, Cowles Mountain, San Miguel Mountain, El Cajon Peak, etc.)

  • Downtown Waterfront (USS Midway, Russian sub, Star of India ship from Master and Commander)

  • map of districts

Places to Eat

*** = recommended (most others are "try sometime")

## = definitely want to try sometime

Resources for Finding Restaurants


  • Seafood: Fish Market - 750 N Harbor Dr (near Midway Memorial), 619-232-3474, many recommend the upstairs portion

  • Argentinian (Little Italy): Puerto La Boca - 2060 India St. (@ Hawthorn) 619-234-4900, empanadas, chimichurri sauce, happy hour

  • Afghan: Chopahn - 750 6th Ave (@ F), 619-236-9236, good reviews, tastes a bit like Indian

  • American: Dobson's Bar & Restaurant - 956 Broadway Circle, just N of Horton Plaza, 619-231-6771, a bit pricey, renowned for the mussel bisque

  • Locavore American (Gaslamp): JSix at Hotel Solomar - 616 J St (@ 6th), 619-531-8744, seafood-centric, everything freshly made with local ingredients, "whole animal cookery" --> rec'd by several chowhounds, Eater magazine

  • Steak (East Village): Cowboy Star - 640 10th Ave (@ Market), 619-450-5880, expensive but good steaks, in-house butcher, rec'd by many chowhounds --> rec'd by several chowhounds, Eater magazine (says "try for a seat at Victor Jimenez's chef table"

  • French: Cafe Chloe - 721-9th Ave (@ G), 619-232-3242, nice french place with highly rec'd steak & frites, mussels, and pistachio bread pudding. --> rec'd by several chowhounds, Eater magazine

  • Urban Comfort (East Village): Neighborhood - 777 G St (@ 8th) 619-446-0002, Eater magazine rec's the burgers and steak tartare

  • Gelato (Little Italy): Pappalecco - State & Cedar, highly rec'd gelato, also salads/panini

  • Searsucker - rec'd by Eater magazine

  • - [Hodad's coming to 10th and Broadway?]

  • Rama Thai (a bit expensive? 327-4th Ave, 619-501-8424)

  • Cafe Sevilla (tapas, 555-4th Ave, 619-233-5979)

  • Red Pearl Kitchen (pan-asian, 440 J St, 619-231-1100)

  • Oceanaire (seafood)

  • Ice Cream/Chocolate: Chocolat Cremerie - 509 5th Ave, Sun-Th 9-mid, F/Sat 9-1 AM

  • Chopahn (Afghan, similar to Indian)

  • Alambres ?

  • (Bay Park Fish?)

Maritime Museum/Little Italy

  • Fish Market "top of the market" (pricey but good seafood)

  • Dobson's (mussel bisque near Horton Plaza)

  • Currant @ Sofia Hotel

  • Anthony's Fish Grotto

  • Trattoria Fantastica (smoked chicken gnocchi, etc.)

  • Pappalecco for Gelato (State & Cedar...also good salads & panini)

  • Puerto La Boca - Argentenian Steakhouse - 2060 India St. (@ Hwthorn) 619-234-4900, empanadas, chimichurri sauce, happy hour

  • Sogno di Vino or Enoteca Style (enotecas)

  • Buon Appetito

  • Burger Lounge

  • Mona Lisa Delli

  • Pete's Quality Meats: meatballs, sausages, open 10-5 (basically for lunch)

  • ##Bencotto - rec'd by some chowhounds, Thrillist Emilia Romagna chef

Pacific & Ocean Beach

  • ***Sushi Ota - 4529 Mission Bay Dr (PB), very difficult to get a reservation, unheard of 29 out of 30 rating on Zagat! Also rec'd by chowhounds and Eater magazine...went here in 2010, was very nice

  • ***The Grass Skirt and Good TIme Poke - by day this is Good Time Poke, an *excellent* poke bar with sashimi-grade fish and really tasty stuff; by night it turns into The Grass Skirt, a bar/restaurant with a cool pan-Asian menu and tropical cocktails; the best part is probably how you get in (through a "freezer"), although we also liked the pork belly "taco", see San Diego Eater for more

  • South Beach Bar & Grill - 5059 Newport Ave, Ocean Beach, overlooking the ocean, this place is known for having some of the best fish tacos in San Diego (crispy fried mahi mahi with lots of sauce on a flour taco, so perhaps less "Baja authentic" but still good)

  • Isabel's Cantina - on Eater San Diego's list of best breakfast places

  • Breakfast: Mission Cafe - 3795 Mission Blvd, 858-488-9060, 7-3 every day, one of three locations (others are in SoMa/East Village and South Park), yelpers rave about French toast, rosemary potatoes, and blackberry-bannana pancakes.

  • Rocky's Crown Pub - rec'd by Eater magazine, says that it's in a "bar burger battle against Hodad's in Ocean Beach" but has fewer tourists

  • The Fishery - rec'd by Eater magazine, especially for Tuesday tasting menu ($28 for 4 courses)


  • Mamá Testa Taqueria - 1417 University Ave, beat Bobby Flay in a fish taco matchup; they do Guerrero (as opposed to Baja) style, where the taco itself is fried, M-Th 11:30-9, F-Sat 11:30-11, Sun 12-8.

  • Yakyudori Yakitori & Ramen - rec'd by Eater magazine

North Park/Normal Heights/University Heights/City Heights

  • ***The Great Maple - awesome for breakfast/brunch, with lots of carby deliciousness smothered in caramel, but also other stuff. We especially liked the brisket and goat cheese popovers. On one Thrillist editor's list as the best restaurant in town.

  • Carnitas' Snack Shack - 2632 University Ave (@ Oregon), focuses on pork, Eater magazine called it "2012's biggest success story" and in 2016 it still had a lot of fans

  • ??Pop Pie - raved about chicken pot pie place, see Thrillest article

  • Super Cocina - 3627 University Ave (@ 36th St in Normal Heights, just off 15/805), 619-584-6244, M-Sat 8-8:30, home-style mexican food, meaty stews laid out on steam tables, carnitas...

  • Mariscos German - 3504 University Ave @ 35th, this taco truck supposedly some of the best and most authentic fish tacos in San Diego - see an this extensive blog review

  • Blind Lady Ale House - Eater magazine rec's local farm driven-menu of tasty pizzas and salads

  • French: Farm House Cafe - small kitchen but great food says Eater magazine, who especially praises their Sunday brunch

  • The Linkery - Eater magazine rec's for homemade sausages and cured meat ("craft food")

  • Urban Solace (see brunch, below)

  • Pomegranate Russian-Georgian

  • The Smoking Goat

  • Ranchos Cocina (good carne asada, cheap)

  • Los Amigos Mexican Cocina (good carne asada, cheap)

  • Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano - supposedly authentic Neapolitan-style pizza, rec'd by Eater magazine

  • Vietnamese: Que Huong - Eater magazine says to go beyond pho to try snails, boar, and chicken wings

  • Jayne's Gastropub - rec'd by Eater magazine

Chula Vista

(Note that locals pronounce it "CHOO-luh VIH-stah," not the Spanish pronunciation)

  • Aqui Es Texcoco, 1043 Broadway (between Moss and Naples, off I-5 exit 7 for L St), Chula Vista, 619- 427-4045, 8-9 every day, [nopales/serranos cactus salad, ##pancita tripe, ##barbacoa de borrego marinated lamb, salsa negra...] --> get Flautas (rolled tacos) de Barbacoa, Tacos (rib, cabeza, etc?, Orden, Cabeza, or Mixiotes? ...also has huitlacoche (corn smut/fungus) Also see:blog review, Yelp page, rec'd by Eater magazine

  • ***Mariscos El Pescador - 1008A Industrial Blvd (between L and Moss), chowhounds laud this taco truck, often found in the Toys-R-Us parking lot, as one of the best/most authentic places for fish tacos in San Diego. See this blog post for more (rec's the Campechana seafood cocktail) and this review (re'cs the Gobernador shrimp taco). Worth the drive down there--awesome tacos!

  • Romesco Baja Med Bistro (in Bonita, E of Chula Vista) - 4346 Bonita Rd, rec'd by Eater magazine for "Baja Med cuisine"

Mission Hills

  • Blue Water Grill - super fresh fish, also good fish tacos

  • Wine Vault and Bistro - rec'd by Eater magazine for seasonal menus and Friday ($20, 3-course) and Saturday ($30, 5-course) "prix fixes dinners that feel like a steal"

Linda Vista/Clairemont (N of Mission Valley)

  • Thai: The Original Sab-E-Lee - rec'd by Eater magazine for curries, noodles, and especially catfish/duck larb and raw beef salad

  • Japanese: Wa Dining Okan - homestyle Japanese, Eater magazine especially rec's M-Sat 11:30-2 set menu at lunch