san diego is by far one of my favorite cities. the weather is gorgeous 24/7 (65 degrees in december is the norm), the people are down to earth, and the food is great. i first visited the city with a few close friends last march and loved it so much that i revisited with joe in december. if you’re in LA, i’d suggest making time to stop in san diego since it is an inexpensive two-hour bus ride away.
first things first – food…
san diego loves their mexican food, particularly tacos. yes, yes, yes to #tacotuesday. seafood is super fresh, considering they’re right by the coast so shrimp and fish tacos are some of my absolute faves!
for a fast casual place with cheap tacos, check out city tacos. they have a great assortment to choose from and have an awesome topping bar filled with onions, salsas, cilantro, and more. i’d recommend the camaron (pictured above: sauteed shrimp in a serrano chile egg batter topped with grilled calabacitas & corn) and the mahi al adobo.
lucha libre taco shop has the funkiest decor, which definitely suits its name. it reminded me of the WB cartoon i used to watch every saturday morning. i wasn’t a fan of their double wrapped tacos, but the fillings inside were pretty tasty. their space is small so the wait could be up to an hour long.
one of the most well-known taco places in san diego is probably oscar’s mexican seafood…and for good reason! their tacos are delicious + fresh. san diego also has an abundance of avocados so including some in the tacos adds an awesome creamy texture.
and finally (i am just now realizing how many tacos we actually ate), head to puesto’s if you want a fancier, sit-down place with spot-on decor and mexican street eats. the tacos are a little more on the pricey side. we chose to eat outside, which is crazy because it was in the middle of december, but you’ve got to love that west coast weather!
if you have a sweet tooth like me, you’ll love hammond’s gourmet ice cream. what makes this shop unique is that you can choose ice cream flights (up to 32 cones!), which means you can eat more than just one flavor. and trust me, you’ll definitely want more than just one – take a look at that crazy flavor list. it took a bit of self-control not to get 32, so joe and i settled for 6…because of course, we had more eating to do later on. :)
succulents + ice cream. what more can i ask for?
kono’s cafe has lines out the door, but their breakfast plates are worth the wait.
i took this picture because how cute are those christmas ornaments? even though it sure didn’t feel like winter, carnitas’ snack shack had to get some christmas cheer. some of their lunch items pictured below!
we wanted to switch things up from the mexican food binge, so we decided to try tajima ramen house. their spicy ramen and katsu curry are ah-maaazing. even the salad was delish. i noticed there were a good number of other asian restaurants closeby, all with solid reviews on yelp, so i’m looking forward to trying some of those when i visit again!
last time i visited san diego, i lived 5 minutes walking distance from this bar called starlite. little did i know how great it was! during the week, they have these (very strong) moscow mules for $8, along with some yummy items to snack on. the bar decor really does live up to its name.
joe is an avid lover of all things BBQ, so you can imagine his excitement when we ate at phil’s BBQ. to give you a better idea of how popular this place is, there are currently 11,191 reviews on yelp with a 4.5 star rating. i’m not a huge fan of BBQ but did enjoy everything we ordered. the meat is tender and falls right off the bone!
ironside fish & oyster is for oyster happy hours! get here early because the bar area gets crowded. while you wait, sneak a peek at their nautical decor. peep the octopi on the bar wall. they also have an entire wall of (fake) piranha heads.
at bankers hill bar & restaurant, hang out at the bar for a few specialty cocktails, or grab a table for a date night meal with your significant other.
not pictured, but also great restaurants and bars to check out:
- kettner exchange. an indoor/outdoor bar which i can see getting real crowded on the weekends. come early if you want to cozy up on one of the comfy couches outside.
- extraordinary desserts. the name says it all. the cake slices are rather large, so i’d recommend splitting with a friend!
- pacific beach fish shop. more fish tacos, duh.
- breakfast republic. looking for brunch?
- hash house a go go. the original one in vegas made its way to san diego. come here for ridiculously large portioned food.
- cucina urbana. a beautiful restaurant with some awesome pasta to share.