Not sure why I haven’t done this yet, but here it is! All of my favorite spots in San Diego broken down by category. I will most likely be updating this as I try more places and remember ones I am forgetting.
GOOD VIBES & VIEWS:
- Barbusa, Little Italy- This place is such a vibe. It’s loud, fun, food and service is amazing. Couldn’t ask for anything more. Their gluten free pizza is shockingly good and of course, the canoli nachos are a MUST!!! Make a reservation- they book up quick!
- Born & Raised, Little Italy- One of the most beautiful establishments I have ever step foot in. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the food for the price, but drinks on the roof is the move! It’s GORG.
- Coasterra, Harbor Island – My favorite spot for margs and apps! Wouldn’t recommend for a full on dinner – food isn’t that great. I go for the view (all of downtown/harbor), the spicy marg, and table side guac.
- Starlight, Mission Hills. It has amazing vibes, the BEST mule on earth, wonderful food, and great service. You gotta check it out – get a mule and the burger, trust me.
- Eddie V’s, La Jolla. Be prepared to break the bank for a BOMB steak and seafood dinner with views down the coast of the La Jolla. It’s one of the most beautiful places to have a meal, but if you aren’t ready to fork over the $$$ just go for drinks!
- Bali Hai, Point Loma. Home of the strongest Mai Tai in America. Pretty sure there’s a limit on how many you can order (1 or 2?). Great for enjoying the killer view with a cocktail and some apps. Food isn’t anything to write home about.
- Nolita Hall, Little Italy. My fav late night spot! Fun atmosphere, great cocktails and even better pizza. If you go on the weekend you will probably see me there and I will probably be intoxicated.
- El Camino, Little Italy. Decent Mexican food with great vibes. This is a great late night spot to grab a marg and watch the planes go overhead the open roof!
- Ironside, Little Italy. Looking for fresh seafood and the cutest decor? Here you go. This is top 3 fav places in SD food wise. Listen closely – get the octopus (don’t be scared), lobster roll, the fresh bread, and chowder fries. TO DIE FOR.
- Herb & Wood, Little Italy. Things I look for in a good restaurant: FOOD YOU CAN’T REPLICATE AT HOME. Brian Malarkey really knocked this one out of the park. The dinner rolls (not on the menu), Oxtail Gnocchi, and Venison are must orders. The best food I’ve had in San Diego.
- Cesarina, Point Loma- Best Italian in San Diego. It’s super authentic and the fact that they have Pear ravioli really wins me over. Highly recommend this spot!!
- Kous Kous, Hillcrest. Moroccan food at it’s finest. If you’ve never had it, think Middle East meets Mediterranean?? I don’t know, just go. My favorite part is the carrots they give you before your meal. Ridiculously good!
- Bo-Beau Kitchen + Bar, Ocean Beach. Some of the best French food I’ve had outside of France. The chef is amazing and it’s half the price of Mister A’s (the “best” French food in SD – not really this place is WAY better). Cozy intimate vibe. Get the french onion soup, beet salad, and steak frites. They don’t take reservations, but you can call ahead and put your name on the wait list.
- Sushi Ota, Pacific Beach. Best sushi in SD. Looks sketchy (right next to a Planned Parenthood lol) but it’s unreal.
- OB Noodle House, Ocean Beach. Asian/Pho. Fun atmosphere and it’s very inexpensive. Get the wings and alllll of the apps! Would recommend more for lunch.
- Goodonya Organic Restuarant, Encinitas. My favorite spot in SD for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They use organic and local ingredients and their food is always unreal. I get the veggie bowl, breakfast tacos, sweet potato avocado toast, and golden chai to drink. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Also, get the gluten free cinnamon roll warmed up with grass fed butter to snack on while you wait for your food. Promise you won’t regret it. If you go on Sunday morning there’s a 99.9% chance I’ll be there….
- Cafe Gratitude, Little Italy. This plant based restaurant is a favorite breakfast or lunch spot for me. I mostly go for the vegan nachos….
- Flower Child, Del Mar. Cutest vibes here and always amazing healthy dishes. My favs are the skinny cobb with chicken or a salmon bowl with sweet potato, broccoli and the gluten free mac and cheese. SO GOOD!
- La Perla Cocina, Pacific Beach. Best Mexican food around. Get the veggie or California burrito – both around $6!
- Oscar’s, Pacific Beach. Ceviche and fish tacos!!! Hole in the wall spot just like La Perla, but the food does not disappoint!
- Vanoos, Pacific Beach. This Mediterranean deli has the best Greek salad I’ve ever had and it’s MASSIVE. You would never guess how good this place is, but trust me it’s amazing!
- Madison on Park, Normal Heights- Super cute restaurant with an unreal brunch menu. The Mediterranean breakfast, white bean shashuka, and churro waffles are out of this world. They have amazing cocktails as well if you’re down for a boozy brunch.
- Campfire, Carlsbad- LOVE LOVE LOVE this place! I dream about their cheesy eggs (add brisket). It’s “camping” themed so bring your dad – mine personally loved it. Food is bomb!
- Davanti Enoteca – Bloody Mary bar. Need I say more? Get the foccacia bread with honeycomb. Life will never be the same.
- Kono’s Cafe, Pacific Beach. Basic American breakfast on the beach. They only take cash, but you won’t spend over $5 for a meal. Take your food to the balcony area and eat right by the pier above the ocean. Can’t beat it!
- Herb & Eatery, Little Italy. Vibes and food are on point. In the heart of Little Italy so it’s great for breakfast and a stroll!
- Holsem Coffee, North Park. BANANA. BREAD. COLD BREW. It’s life changing to say the least. This place is super cute and has some of the best unique coffee drinks I’ve ever had. You MUST go if you’re in SD!!
- Better Buzz, Multiple Locations. Super cute/instagram-able atmosphere and amazing coffee! I get the best drink ever – it’s really the best drink ever.
- Kumbar Coffee, Multiple Locations. If you are looking for strong, really delicious high quality coffee, this is the spot! Nothing fancy, small menu, but it some of the best coffee I’ve ever had.
- Dark Horse Coffee Roasters, Multiple Locations. Another small place with amazing coffee and vegan donuts!
- Holy Matcha, North Park. Cutest, girliest, most instagram-able spot in SD FOR SURE. The vegan matcha donut is super good!
- Parakeet Cafe, La Jolla/Del Mar/Little Italy. Really trendy and cute decor with a healthy menu! What more can you ask for? As you may know, I’m obsessed with their matcha. My dream order? Iced matcha with oat milk, the Mediterranean toast (sub hummus for avocado), and a vegan banana oat muffin for dessert. 10/10!!!!
- Communal Coffee, North Park. This place is a coffee shop that is connected to a flower shop so the vibes are definitely on point. Get the latte flight to try some different flavors – the lavender honey latte is a personal fav.
- Bang Bang, Downtown. Home of the Ryan Gosling bathroom. Need I say more? Don’t go for dinner – too loud and food isn’t that great. Great spot for late night drinks and a bathroom photo shoot.
- Hike Torrey Pines, La Jolla. Gorgeous beach hike. It’s a decent climb, but nothing you can’t do while hungover.
- Bike, Walk, or Run, Mission Bay/Pacific Beach. Rent a bike, take a walk or go for a run along the boardwalk in Mission Bay/Pacific Beach. The wide, flat boardwalk is great for a low impact workout while enjoying the sunshine. There are plenty of places to stop for a drink along the way!
- Van De Vort, Del Mar. My favorite place to shop whether I’m looking to splurge on a statement piece or get some fun trendy clothes at a reasonable price (look for their brand, VDV the label!). They also have some home decor stuff, a cute photo booth and the cutest kids shop attached!
- Pigment, North Park/Del Mar. Whether you want to build your own succulent garden or shop dainty jewels, you will want to spend hours in here! They have a little bit of everything.
- Little Italy Farmer’s Market. The best farmer’s market I’ve ever been to! So many different local vendors – I try to get something new every time I go and I’m never disappointed!
- Liberty Public Market, Point Loma. Sooo much good food. It’s like a mini Pike’s Place Market. Get the empanadas!!!
- Carlsbad Flower Fields, Carlsbad. Go to take pictures – that’s all you can really do there. Super pretty in the spring!
- Balboa Park. Tons of museums and they always have fun events going on.