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Food & Dining in San Diego

San Diego is striving to become the culinary capital of California, with its wide assortment of restaurants and bars offering an array of cuisine to suit any taste. Known for fresh Mexican dishes and exceptional seafood, San Diego has some of the best dining in all of Southern California. San Diego has a number of sophisticated, creative restaurants emphasizing fresh fish and other seafood from the Pacific.

Regardless of the restaurant you choose there are many palate-pleasing treasures to be found in San Diego, so bring an appetite and explore the culinary creations of this seaside city.

Places to Dine


Featuring over 16 square blocks of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, the historical Gaslamp Quarter is affectionately known as the entertainment hub of San Diego. Catch a glimpse of local street entertainers, watch the crowds or simply hang out with friends in this popular downtown district, which is frequently compared to the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Numerous dining choices exist within the Gaslamp Quarter. For delicious seafood, try Blue Point Coastal Cuisine, an elegantly appointed restaurant. Meanwhile, Irish delicacies are offered at The Field, while desserts such as chocolates, ice cream floats and shakes are found at the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop.

For those who desire a dining experience without all the hustle and bustle of the Gaslamp Quarter, visit the outlying sections of downtown. Harbor Drive is home to Anthony's Star of the Sea, a traditional seafood restaurant appealing to a mature clientele.

Old Town

Old Town is where San Diego began. Romance and charm fill the air and dozens of historical buildings, transformed into shops and restaurants, line the streets. Enter the Bazaar del Mundo and dine at one of the festive eateries. Stroll down San Diego Avenue and experience the wonder of a real fiesta at the Old Town Mexican Cafe, where servers are dressed in traditional garb and tortillas are made fresh, right before your eyes. Meanwhile, Cafe Coyote Bar and Grill boasts an incredible selection of tequila.

Beach Cities

San Diego's beach towns feature an abundance of bars and restaurants catering to a young crowd. In downtown Pacific Beach, Garnet Avenue hosts the Pacific Beach Bar and Grill, an American restaurant known for scrumptious burgers and sandwiches. Also located in the beach cities, Moondoggie's and Moose McGillycuddy's are both traditional American sport bars, jammed with locals on weekend nights.

University Heights

A few miles shy of East San Diego lies one of the city's oldest and most charming communities, University Heights. There's never a shortage of places to satisfy the palate here. If it's coffee and live music you crave, Twiggs Tea and Coffee on Park Boulevard is always a good bet. With their decadent desserts and relaxing atmosphere, you'll never want to leave. Walk a block down and you'll find Harar Ethiopian Restaurant, a great place to munch on savoury East African dishes without burning a hole in your pocket.

Mission and Fashion Valley

Beyond downtown San Diego, popular eateries are also splashed throughout an area of town known to locals as "The Valley". Seau's Restaurant, owned by San Diego Charger Junior Seau, is frequented by celebrities and athletes. Prego's Ristorante is perfect for upscale gatherings with good friends, while Pat & Oscar's is a casual restaurant famous for its breadsticks, assorted pizzas and salads.

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