Where to eat for free birthday meals in San Diego

It is time for my annual Free Birthday Food post! This year’s edition has got brand things in it! I also managed to make a handy-dandy spreadsheet for easy viewing. The key to maximizing your free birthday meals is to start as soon as possible. There are a number of items you’ll get at the very beginning of the month. Half will come about a week before your birthday and the other half on your actual birthday. The sooner you can use a coupon, the better off you’ll be in the long run in getting as much as you can.

The Broken Yolk

Broken Yolk - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

One of the very first coupons I got was for the Broken Yolk. The Broken Yolk just opened in Mira Mesa so I was able to go here on my lunch break instead of just going for breakfast.

My choice of meal was the Club Sandwich for $11.95. The Broken Yolk gives you a $10 reward for your birthday so I ended up paying only $2.10 (plus tax) for this meal. Value: $10.00.

The Broken Yolk: $10 Free Birthday Reward | Broken Yolk Rewards

The Habit Burger Grill

The Habit Burger Grill - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

Another new recent addition to Mira Mesa is the Habit Burger Grill. Lucky for me since they also have a birthday reward! At the Habit you get a free Charburger with cheese for your free birthday meal. I opted to have it on grilled bread instead of the hamburger bun. I think the grilled bread tastes better.

The Habit Green Beans

This isn’t included, it was just something I wanted – the tempura green beans! Yum yum! I think they’re a nice substitute for getting french fries! Value: $4.10.

The Habit Burger Grill: One Free Charburger with Cheese | The Charclub

Panera Bread

Free Bagel at Panera Bread

For whatever reason, Panera Bread gave me a month of free bagels during my birthday month. I don’t think the two are related, but it was nice they went together. I was eligible for a free bagel every day in October, though I think I only managed to go about 5 times. Oh well. 

The actual free birthday item from Panera Bread is a free pastry. I opted to get the Caramel Apple Thumbprint Scone. Nice crunch and flakiness but had weird overly salty areas to it. Value: $3.09, but varies depending on what pastry you order.

Panera Bread: One Free Birthday Pastry – value varies | My Panera

El Pollo Loco

El Pollo Loco - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

Not sure when El Pollo Loco started doing rewards but if you’re apart of their Loco Rewards club, then you get a free entree up to $7 for your birthday. You have to use their app on your phone to redeem the reward, too. I found that a bit annoying since I know I won’t use the app the rest of the year, but oh well. 

I got the 2 piece combo which comes with two pieces of chicken (dark meat for me!), 2 small sides, and a small drink. Value: $7.00.

El Pollo Loco: Free entree up to $7 for your birthdayLoco Rewards

Nothing Bundt Cakes

Nothing Bundt Cakes - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

I always love getting the little bundlet for my birthday from Nothing Bundt Cakes. Their bundt cakes are so moist and delicious and the frosting is never too sweet! This year I went for a marble bundt cake. Yum, yum. Also you can just show the email on your phone without having to print anything out (or download an app). Value: $4.49.

Nothing Bundt Cakes: Free birthday bundlet | Nothing Bundt Cake’s E-Club

Jamba Juice

Jamba Juice - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

Jamba Juice will hook you up with any regular sized smoothie for your birthday. Their reward system is connected to your phone number making it easy to use. I tried the Mega Mango smoothie this time around. It’s a nice blend of mango, strawberry, orange, and pineapple. Tropical tasting! Value: $5.05. Varies depending on which smoothie your order.

Jamba Juice: Free birthday smoothie (value varies) | Jamba Insider Rewards

Rubios

Rubios - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

The free birthday meal for Rubio’s changed slightly this year. You are now required to purchase a beverage to get your free meal. The value of the meal can vary though, depending on what you choose. It’s pretty flexible, too, since you can choose the Coastal Trio, 2 taco plate, a burrito, or a bowl for your free meal. I opted to go with the two taco plate of the Original Fish Taco. I like it without the salsa on mine. Value: $7.69, but varies depending on entree.

Rubio’s: Free birthday entree with drink purchase | Rubio’s Beach Club

Pick Up Stix

Pick Up Stix - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

I probably would have never gotten this if Pick Up Stix wasn’t so close to my house. But it is close by and it’s an item you can get for free with no additional purchase. I actually bought a kid’s meal and ate it along with the cream cheese wontons to make it a dinner meal. I like this one since you are not required to purchase anything to redeem. Value: $4.79.

Pick Up Stix: Free birthday appetizer – cream cheese wontons | Dragon Email Club

Olive Garden

Olive Garden - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

My folks wanted to go to the Olive Garden on my birthday and I figured… eh, why not. At least I had a birthday coupon to redeem for a free dessert. They have endless pasta bowls at Olive Garden and I honestly could not even finish one bowl of pasta so that was wasted on me. I choose the ricotta cheesecake for my birthday dessert and they wrote a nice message on the plate. And they sang to me. I didn’t enjoy the singing part, but that’s life I guess. Good cheesecake. Value: $7.99. Good for any dessert up to $8.50.

Olive Garden: Free birthday dessert | Olive Garden E-Club

Firehouse Subs

Firehouse Subs - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

Firehouse Subs used to be an “only on your birthday with ID” thing but they changed it up. Now you have to use their app to redeem your free birthday sub, but on the plus side you get more than just one day to redeem it. The other tricky thing is that I did NOT get an email that my reward was available. I just happened to remember and checked the app and the reward was there. You have 6 days to redeem it. I got the Smoked Beef & Cheddar Brisket for my free lunch. Value: $7.99, but will vary depending on what sub you order.

Firehouse Subs: Free birthday sandwich | Firehouse Rewards

The Boathouse Restaurant

Jake and I decided it was high time to return to the Boathouse Restaurant for our free birthday meals. 

On the last Thursday of each month, the Boathouse Restaurant offers a free meal if you have a birthday that month. They have changed it slightly and now offer three different meals as the free birthday meal. You have your choice of prime rib, Alaskan cod, or teriyaki chicken breast. 

The Boathouse - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

Jake and I both got the prime rib dinner. It was juicy, medium rare, and tasted pretty good. I could not finish this sucker. It’s a big hunk of meat! Also this came out SO FAST. They were really prepared for the busy night! Value: $23.99 for the prime rib.

The Boathouse Restaurant: Free birthday prime rib | Must call to make reservations for the last Thursday of the month 

Pappalecco

Pappalecco - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

I discovered this free birthday coupon through the iBirthdayClub website. I have to say that most of the coupons through that website are not that great since most are buy one get one free coupons. But the birthday coupon for Pappalecco is a good one since you get a free medium sized scoop of gelato! I got what I always get, which is Stracciatella (milk/cream with chocolate chips). Value: $5.50.

Pappalecco: Free birthday gelato | iBirthdayClub

Cafe 21

Cafe 21 - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

Jake and I visited Cafe 21 on Adams Ave. I’ve always like this one since you get a free entree for your birthday and the restaurant is nice and cozy. We sat outside on the patio with Maya in a nice booth. BUT… it took almost an hour for us to get our food. Jake and I shared the burger which tasted very bitter and overcooked. I didn’t really enjoy it and was disappointed in the meal and how long it took to get our food. Boo. Value: $19.00. Value will vary on what entree you order.

Cafe 21: Free birthday entree (any item – value varies) | Cafe 21 Rewards

Burger Lounge

Burger Lounge - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

Burger Lounge gives you a free birthday milkshake. No other purchase required. We snagged this after one of our dinners. The fresh whipped cream on top makes it extra tasty in my opinion. Value: $5.95.

Burger Lounge: Free birthday milkshake | Become a Lounger

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

Krispy Kreme will hook you up with a free doughnut and a free coffee for your birthday. I went with an original glazed donut (which I shared with Jake) and a small hazelnut iced coffee. The coffee was terrible. Like, really terrible. They put an ungodly amount of hazelnut syrup into this and it was undrinkable. But hey… free doughnut. Value: $3.88.

Krispy Kreme: Free birthday doughnut and coffee | 

Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern

Jimmy's American Tavern - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern has a really great birthday deal. They give you a coupon for $25 off, no minimum value required. Jake and I shared two items: these onion rings (which sadly were really greasy and cause me stomach pain)…

Jimmy's American Tavern - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

and this Fried Chicken Dinner which comes with a fantastic thyme gravy! There are two pieces of chicken so it’s easy to share between the two of us. I love their thyme gravy. Anything that has thyme gravy I want to order. Our meal totaled $29 and $25 was taken right off. Not bad for a $4 meal, even if I did get a tummy ache later. Meh. Value: $25.00.

Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern: $25 Birthday Coupon | JFAT E-Club

Dickey’s BBQ

Dickey's BBQ - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

Dickey’s BBQ will net you a free pulled pork sandwich for your birthday. You MUST print out the coupon. The lady working the register was nice to me and let me use it by just showing it on my phone, but she told me next time I have to print it out. Okay, lady. Thank you for being nice to me. Value: $4.25.

Dickey’s BBQ: Free birthday pulled pork sandwich | Big Yellow Cup Club

Native Foods Cafe

Native Foods Cafe - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

I think it’s kind of funny that Native Foods Cafe, a vegetarian/vegan restaurant, is right next door to Dickey’s BBQ in Clairemont. I actually scored the Dickey’s sandwich and this salad on the same day. Because…. why not? I ordered the BBQ “Chicken” Salad which had lots of fresh veggies in it. The chicken does have a similar texture to real chicken which was a little mind boggling. Value: $10.00

Native Foods Cafe: $10 Birthday Reward | Native Foodie Rewards

IHOP

IHOP - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

The one little change to IHOP’s free birthday coupon is that they now put a location on the coupon and it’s only valid at that location. And they didn’t use the location I wanted. But it was still closeby and on the way to work, so I guess I can forgive them. You get a free Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity for your free birthday meal. You can substitute for any other pancakes (except for combos). I decided to get the Strawberry Rooty Tooty, but with the strawberry and whipped cream on the side. This way I was able to eat half and save the rest for breakfast later in the week. Value: $9.99.

IHOP: Free Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity | Pancake Revolution 

Souplantation

Souplantation - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

Souplantation managed to make their free birthday coupon BETTER this year. I’m impressed. Now you get one free birthday coupon plus a coupon for 20% for anyone else in your party. I like that it is no longer a BOGO coupon and offers a little discount for anyone that joins you. I actually went by myself for dinner. I had a nice salad and muffins…

a baked potato…

a little bit of chicken noodle soup…

and some chocolate lava cake with ice cream! Yum! Value: $9.99 for lunch or $12.99 for dinner.

Souplantation: Free birthday meal + 20% off anyone dining with you | Club Veg

Mary’s Donuts

Mary's Donuts - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

Mary’s Donuts is now on iBirthdayClub and they beat Krispy Kreme with their free birthday offer! You get TWO donuts from them plus a free small coffee. SCORE. Value: About $3.00. I’m not sure how much a regular donut costs, but the coffee was $1.50.

Mary’s Donuts: Two free birthday donuts and a small coffee | Mary’s Donuts Birthday Club

El Cilantro

El Cilantro - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

Another new find from a place way down in Imperial Beach! This one is good for $5 bucks from El Cilantro, a nice little Mexican restaurant that also serves breakfast. I got 5 rolled tacos for $5.50 and ended up just paying $0.48 cents (not sure why 48 cents and not 50 cents but let’s not question it, eh). I liked my rolled tacos with no cheese and onions and cilantro on top. These were fresh of the fryer and tasted great! 

El Cilantro: $5 birthday reward | El Cilantro Birthday Club

Duff’s Dogz

Duff's Dogz - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

I actually saw this one on Instagram and then signed up for it. There’s a little hot dog stand in the parking lot of Home Depot in Carmel Mountain Ranch called Duff’s Dogz. They get all of their product from Chicago. For your birthday, you get any hot dog on the menu for free. Jake and I shared this Frito Dog which came with chili cheese and fritos on top. A very solid and tasty hot dog – I even liked the chili! Definitely a place to revisit. Value: $4.75 (will vary on what you order).

Duff’s Dogz: Free birthday hot dog | Duff’s Dogz Birthday Club

Brother’s Restaurant

Brother's Restaurant - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

Brothers Family Restaurant has another pretty solid birthday offering – you get $10 with no minimum purchase required. Jake and I shared the chicken fried steak breakfast and they were nice enough to split the plates for us. Sweet! It was the perfect amount of food. The hash browns were nice and crispy. The chicken fried steak was a little floury on the bottom, but still tasted okay. Still a solid place for breakfast. 

Brothers Family Restaurant: Free $10 birthday reward | Brothers Birthday Club

Jersey Mike’s

Jersey Mike's - Free Birthday Food - San Diego, CA

Jersey Mike’s is one of the last coupons I used for a reason – their birthday coupon is good for an entire year! For your birthday you are treated to any regular sized sub sandwich plus a 22oz drink. I choose the California Club sandwich (turkey, bacon, avocado) and got it Mike’s Way (minus the oil and vinegar though). Tasty. Value: $12.04 (varies depending on what sandwich you order).

Jersey Mike’s: Free birthday sandwich + drink | Jersey Mike’s Email Club

I wasn’t able to even redeem as many things as I wanted to this year. I missed out on a few items I usually get and a few new ones that I found because I simply ran out of time.

You can view my full spreadsheet of birthday rewards right over here and check out what other goodies you can sign up for! 

This year’s free birthday total is $229.12. Not too bad, right? If you know about any other free birthday deals that I missed please let me know in the comments below! 

Author: Mary

Mary is a San Diego native and has been a food blogger for 11+ years. She is an avid reader, a lover of puppies, and loves trying new food. Foods she loves: sweets, peanut butter, pasta, Triscuit crackers with cream cheese, and extra nuts on top of her sundaes. Food she dislikes: pickles, really spicy food, runny eggs, olives, and too much arugula.

18 Replies to “Where to eat for free birthday meals in San Diego

  1. You are the Queen of deals Mary! Great and useful post! Too bad the burger sucked at Cafe 21 though. I will have to sign up for some of those new ones. Also, when I had my birthday meal at Rubio’s back on April, I didn’t have to buy a drink. I chose the coastal trio. They probably changed their deal after April. I really like the CFS at Brothers.

    1. Thanks, CC! It’s a little tough sometimes to find the new deals but I seem to manage to find them! I was super sad about the burger at Cafe 21. Definitely have to try something different next time. Interesting to note about Rubio’s. It’s a small change but I usually never get a drink so it was slightly annoying.

  2. Good haul Mary! Last year I marked off 20 birthday deals in my personal spreadsheet but who knows how many I’ll do this time. We’ve never done Boathouse because I’m not into prime rib but now that there are options… maybe this year! Since all these new places keep popping up, the birthday offers list keeps growing and growing! I like having choices =P

    1. Hi Lynn! 20 is a good haul! It takes planning to try and get a lot of them checked off the list. Not sure when they started doing the options at the Boathouse since we hadn’t gone in awhile so I was happy to see the options. I love having choices, too!

    1. Hi Larry – My current list is up to date as of October 2017. I redo the list every year and I make note of the changes that occur from year to year. If you know of one that has changed let me know so I can make a note of it! Thanks!

  3. My favorite deal is North Park sushi and grill. It’s one of the iBirthday deals you mentioned where you get up to 15 dollars free for your birthday if you bring two other people in to eat. It’s easy to find a couple friends to go out to dinner with though and the prices are really reasonable already.

  4. Hi Mary, I signed up for Jimmy’s Famous Tavern but it did not ask for any birthday info. When I received the confirmation email I thought it would allow me to complete the registration and enter but it did not. How do you get the $25 coupon?

  5. Thank you so much for this information which I WILL use for MY birthday in July… Especially the Bundt cake, I was told about it at work but have been unable to locate it………..Thanks again……..

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