My Favorite San Diego Restaurants

Hello! Are you traveling to San Diego soon and in need of some advice on where to go when you visit San Diego? Or are you a local and just looking for something new to try in San Diego? Here is a list of some of my favorite restaurants in town!

Mexican Food

San Diego is known for its stellar Mexican food! If you want to try some real, authentic Mexican food, check out some of my favorite spots below.

  • Lolita’s (link)
    A local chain in San Diego with locations in the South Bay, Downtown San Diego, and Clairemont area. I recommend the Carne Asada (steak) or California (steak & fries) burrito. If you’re adventurous, try the 2-in-1 burrito – it has two rolled tacos stuffed into a Carne Asada burrito! Check out my post here about Lolita’s – at the end there is a photo of the 2-in-1 burrito.
  • Tacos el Gordo (link)
    Tacos el Gordo can be confusing on your first visit. There are different lines for different meats and the most popular is their Adobada (pork). Get in the line for the meat you want and order there. The mulitas (basically it’s like a quesadilla with meat and toppings) and tacos are great but be sure to get a plain quesadilla if you’re a cheese lover. In fact, get two. My long ago review of Tacos el Gordo is here.
  • Las Cuatro Milpas (link)
    Everything here is made from scratch. The flour tortillas are to die for. The line is usually long but don’t let that deter you. Carve out a little time for some real fresh, really excellent Mexican food. Go before noon if you can. It’s cash only and isn’t open for dinner or on Sunday, so this is a midday treat. Check out my post about Las Cuatro Milpas here.
  • The Taco Stand (link)
    The Taco Stand is a newer local chain with fresh street style tacos! I recommend the cilantro sauce on everything (if you like cilantro, of course) and the Al Pastor (pork) tacos. Check out my post about The Taco Stand here.
  • Salud (link)
    Salud has two locations – one in Barrio Logan and one in National City. It’s always busy in Barrio Logan so I recommend going to National City if you can. They have killllllller corn tortillas for their street style tacos and I love their chips. Carne asada is my favorite here. Review post here!
  • Mexico!
    And if you feel like adventuring down into Mexico itself, check out my post about having some amazing food in Tijuana and Popotla!

Italian Favorites

  • Monello (link) or Bencotto (link)
    These restaurants are next door to each in Little Italy and offer slightly different menus. Monello is more “street food” and Bencotto is slightly more “upscale”. If you want amazing fresh pasta, you can get it at either spot. If you want amazing lasagna, go to Bencotto; it’s one of my favorites in town. Monello review. Bencotto review. Bencotto review #2.
  • Biga (link)
    Everything at Biga is amazing. The food is incredibly fresh and delicious and very satisfying. If you can make it in on Saturday, try the Porchetta. It’s to die for. Review post here.
  • Volare (link)
    If you want a no frills, simple, Americanized style Italian food, then Volare is it. The dining room hasn’t changed in years with it’s pink-ish hued walls and old posters of Italy. The food is solid though. I love the pesto and the fettucine alfredo here and the crispy calamari. Review
  • Cucina Basilico (link)
    Another spot that does daily fresh pasta! They have a variety of noodles they make each day and you get to pick which one you want for your sauce. Original review here plus I had a birthday dinner was here.
  • Devine Pastabilities (link)
    There’s a place that makes a garlic bread pasta filled sandwich and it’s as amazing as it sounds. My favorites are the Macahelper (macaroni cheese & beef) and the Creamy Pesto. This is carb heaven! Review here
  • Square Pizza Co. (link)
    We’ve been coming here for awhile and the pizza is amazing and made with so much love! My favorite is the Boston Beach style pizza with a provolone, ricotta, and basil on top. They also have Detroit style and Sicilian style pizzas. Everything is made from scratch and tastes so, so good. Down in Pacific Beach area and open late! Review here.

Other Favorites

  • The Crack Shack (link)
    Dude. The chicken here is sooooo goooooood. Review.
  • The Balboa Bar & Grill (link)
    One of my favorite burgers in town is the Balboa Burger. $5 at happy hour every day of the week. Do it. Review.
  • Tobey’s 19th Hole (link)
    We take a lot of out-of-towners here for breakfast and sit out on the patio. One of the best views and really stellar “stick to your ribs” diner food. Review.
  • Pete’s Seafood (link)
    New England food on the West Coast! The whole belly clams are amazing here and reasonably priced (compared to other spots in town). They also have great sandwiches, too! Review.
  • Le Parfait Paris (link)
    The desserts are all really good here. My favorite thing to get is the almond-chocolate croissant. Sandwiches are also excellent and you can’t go wrong with a couple of macarons. Review.
  • Tambayan Filipino BBQ & Grill (link)
    Great breakfast plates and if you go after 3PM, they have skewers you can warm up on their grill! Plus yummy lumpia. Review.
  • Wei Wei Asian Express (link)
    We come here a lot. Specifically for the crispy beef and garlicky green beans. They also have great wings. Very fresh and made from scratch Chinese food. So good! Review.
  • Vietnamese Food
    My go to spot for banh mi sandwiches is Cali Baguette and if you want really really good Vietnamese style egg rolls, check out A Chau. I also love the beef pho at Pho Cow Cali and the chicken pho with ginger sauce at Bolsa.