San Diego

Our favorite places to eat in San Diego

San Diego’s food scene really blew us away. From the freshest seafood to trendy breakfast spots that will kickstart your day, San Diego has it all! Even with just three days in this gastronomic haven, we had the pleasure of exploring several incredible food spots. Discover our favorite places to eat in San Diego, from the best bagels to the hottest seafood bar.

Flap Your Jacks for a sweet breakfast

Flap Your Jacks

Located in the vibrant North Park neighborhood, you’ll find Flap Your Jacks. This trendy breakfast and brunch spot will take your morning meal to new heights. With an extensive menu featuring both sweet and savory dishes, this eatery is a paradise for breakfast lovers. The true star of the show at Flap Your Jacks is their unique twist on pancakes – the customizable DIY pancakes! Or like they say: F.Y.O. (flip your own). 😉

Prepare to unleash your inner pancake artist as you choose from a mouthwatering array of batter options, ranging from classic favorites like banana bread to incredible treats like red velvet. But it doesn’t stop there. You can choose to mix it with a variety of fruits or sweets like white chocolate chips and snickers. They also have some toppings available like whipped cream and peanut butter spread. To complete your pancake masterpiece, there’s a selection of different syrups available to drizzle over the stack. We never knew you could do so much with pancakes, so there were a lot of decisions to be made: what batter, how many toppings, will we mix it with something,… There are too many options!

Eventually, we went for the red velvet pancakes with white chocolate chips and whipped mascarpone cream as topping. It was so much fun to make (and flip) our own pancakes! We have to admit, our first attempt was a little burnt. 😳 But practice makes perfect, and we finally managed to make some perfect ones as well (near the end)! The waiter told us that 1 choice of batter makes about 4 pancakes, but that wasn’t the case for us at all. Maybe we were a little frugal, but we managed to make at least 10 (little) pancakes without using all of the batter! Of course it depends on how big you make ‘em, but for us 1 choice of batter was enough.

We also tried some savory dishes: the huevos con chorizo and the power frittata. Both dishes were amazingly good! The power frittata is an omelet with potatoes, asparagus, roasted peppers, tomato and mozzarella. This was the most flavorful omelet we’ve ever had and it filled Thysia up in no time! We tried some omelettes at other places, but nothing beats the one we had at Flap Your Jacks. The huevos con chorizo were also very tasty, the combination of eggs with potatoes and spicy chorizo just hit the spot. We can asure you that combining the pancakes with 1 savory dish will satisfy your hunger for the rest of the day! We also had some pineapple mimosas to start our day off right that we can recommend. At Flap Your Jacks, breakfast becomes a delightful and interactive culinary adventure that will leave you craving more!

Where: 3020 University Ave

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Spill The Beans for a savory breakfast

Our favorite places to eat in San Diego: Spill The Beans

If an extensive breakfast is not your thing and you prefer a quick, savory bite, Spill The Beans is the place to be. They have the tastiest bagels in town and let you choose from a variety of “sandos”: pre-made combinations, each with their own twist. On top of this you can choose your own “bagel-flavor” from the 10+ available flavors!

We tried a The San Diego sando + serrano, habanero and jack cheese bagel, and a Millennial sando + roasted garlic and cheese bagel. The San Diego is an absolute masterpiece and definitely the one you should get! The bagel is filled with peppered bacon, a fried egg, pepper jack, american cheese and cayenne aioli. This was truly the best bagel ever, every ingredient fit together perfectly and created a flavor bomb! On top of it, if you combine it with the habanero bagel, you get a little habanero to spice up your morning. 😉 The Millennial bagel is a bagel covered with avocado and seeds like chia and poppy seeds, which was alright but lacked that “spark” in our opinion. The roasted garlic and cheese bagel went really well with it, though.

We do have to say that it can get really busy here, so arrive early enough to get ahead of the crowds! We visited on a Sunday morning between 8:30 AM and 9 AM and had to wait half an hour (worth it!). It really is one of our favorite places to eat in San Diego!

Check the locations here.

Ironside for fresh seafood

Our favorite places to eat in San Diego: Ironside

In the heart of Little Italy you’ll find Ironside, a Fish & Oyster Bar that had been on our list for a while. The first thing we noticed was its stunning interior, especially the gorgeous bar! We would have loved to sit here but unfortunately the bar was packed.

We ordered some fresh oysters each (got great recommendations from the waiter), with the octopus a la plancha and the lobster roll to share. The octopus with chorizo and olives was incredible and definitely the star of the show! So tender and flavorful, it made us reminisce about our time in Zakynthos where we had a lot of octopus. The lobster roll on the other hand was nothing to write home about. Although the taste was fine, we couldn’t help but feel that a more generous filling would have elevated the dish to its full potential. The brioche was small and there was not enough meat for our liking. If we compare this lobster roll to the ones at Lobster & Beer, they are night and day.

Nevertheless, the atmosphere and overall dining experience at Ironside made it an enjoyable visit and we would definitely come back! We are already eyeing their Maine Lobster plate and Swordfish. 😉

Where: 1654 India St

Wolfie’s Carousel Bar for French bistro cuisine

Wolfie's Carousel Bar

Another hotspot in Littly Italy is Wolfie’s Carousel Bar, a French Bistro & Bar that promises an experience like no other. Even if French cuisine isn’t typically your go-to, a visit to this extraordinary establishment is an absolute must! The interior is simply breathtaking, especially the magnificent centerpiece: a rotating carousel-shaped bar. There are also some booths with typical carousel horses and some French paintings. Even the toilets are a piece of art!

Whether you opt for a quick lunch, or simply choose to have some cocktails at the bar, you’re in for a treat. We tried the Crab Benedict and the smoked salmon tartine, both dishes were fresh and delicious and got to our table in no time (props to the kitchen!). The Crab Benedict was served on a fresh, warm croissant which went surprisingly well with the overall dish. At Wolfie’s Carousel Bar art, gastronomy, and ambiance come together and create and unforgettable experience.

Side note: we don’t know if we would dine at the rotating bar itself as we feel that this would make us nauseous. 😂 Definitely fun to look at, though!

Where: 2401 Kettner Blvd

Homestyle Hawaiian for delicious Hawaiian food

Homestyle Hawaiian

Homestyle Hawaiian brings authentic and delicious Hawaiian cuisine to the heart of Pacific Beach. Located conveniently close to the beach, this restaurant offers the perfect opportunity to savor your meal while enjoying the coastal breeze. We tried several dishes, including the veggie lumpia, lava chicken, and garlic shrimp scampi. While each dish was impressive in its own right, the garlic shrimp scampi stole the show with its bold flavors and delightful touch of spiciness. We really liked that it came with a lot of sauce that we could pour over the rice if we wanted (or just eat a full shrimp without anything else!). We also tried the malasadas dessert for the first time, it was delicious and a perfect ending to our amazing meal.

Every dish at Homestyle Hawaiian is prepared with fresh ingredients, resulting in a burst of vibrant flavors with every bite. It was a great introduction into the Hawaiian cuisine with the staff giving us some great recommendations! Pair your meal with one of their handmade lemonades, and you’re in for a refreshing and satisfying experience. The peach lemonade, in particular, stood out as our favorite, perfectly complementing the tropical flavors of the cuisine. If you’re looking for authentic and mouthwatering Hawaiian dishes, make sure to stop at Homestyle Hawaiian!

Where: 747 Turquoise St

Rusticucina for a romantic dinner

Our favorite places to eat in San Diego: Rusticucina

Rusticucina sets the stage for a romantic evening with your partner. The interior exudes a warm and intimate atmosphere, perfect for creating a memorable evening. Adding to its charm, Rusticucina seamlessly blends the American and Sicilian culture together. So cozy!

You can choose between several antipasti, salades, pastas or some meat/fish dishes (ossobuco, chicken, salmon, …). Since we were really craving some pasta, we both went for a pasta dish (Thysia took the lobster ravioli, Kelvin went for the carbonara). We definitely recommend the super creamy carbonara! The plate was full with pasta, pancetta and some extra parmesan cheese the waiter provided. It was really great that the waiter did not make us feel bad to ask for a second (and 3rd, 4th, 5th, …) spoon of parm. 😉 You can also choose your own pasta and even add protein such as chicken or burrata. We also love the fact that every dish is made with locally sourced ingredients.

Where: 3797 Park Blvd

Pro tip
If you visit Rusticucina from Sunday to Thursday, don’t miss their date night special! For only 45 euros, you get one antipasti, two pasta dishes, and a dessert. They have several options you can choose from, ensuring an unforgettable dining experience that suits your preferences (and keeps you within budget!). With its intimate ambiance and delicious dishes, Rusticucina is the perfect spot for a romantic evening full of delightful surprises.

Cannonball for the tastiest sushi

Our favorite places to eat in San Diego: Cannonball

Cannonball, located in Belmont Park, is an oceanfront rooftop gem that combines breathtaking panoramic ocean views with some incredible sushi. We went for the spicy edamame as an appetizer together with the poolside sangria, a delightful cocktail perfectly suited for warm summer days. As mains we ordered the lobster roll (sushi, not a brioche), spider roll and kinoko roll.

While each roll had its own unique appeal, it was the kinoko roll that surprised and delighted us the most. This vegan (!) roll with asparagus, cucumber and shiitake mushrooms was incredible! If you are looking to try out something new, make sure to order this one. We don’t think this roll gets ordered enough because the waiter specifically “warned” us that it was vegan (even though it was already stated on the menu 😂). However, the undisputed champion of our meal was the lobster roll. The combination of spicy lobster, spicy aioli and a touch of jalapeños left our palates craving more. The spider roll was really good but not as surprising as the kinoko roll, or as sophisticated as the lobster roll. Cannonball is the perfect spot to grab some delicious sushi with breathtaking views!

Where: 3105 Ocean Front Walk

LAVO for amazing pizzas

After a busy day of sightseeing, we didn’t feel much like going out to a restaurant anymore. We decided to order something on UberEats, and how glad we are that we did! We ordered pizzas at LAVO and had the most amazing pizzas ever! The Angry Maria pizza with vodka sauce, tomato, basil pesto and mozzarella was spectacular and something we’ll try to recreate ourselves! We also ordered the spinach and artichoke pizza, this one was also very tasty. If the pizzas are already so delicious when delivery, we can’t imagine how delicious these would be if you eat them on the spot. LAVO is the first restaurant we will visit when we get back to San Diego (hopefully soon)!

Where: 611 Fifth Ave

Salt & Straw for some creative ice cream flavors

Salt & Straw

Right next to Ironside in Little Italy you can find Salt & Straw. They push the boundaries of traditional ice cream flavors by offering some unique and creative ice cream combinations. From olive oil to the combination of pear and blue cheese, Salt & Straw offers some of the most unexpected flavors. While they also have beloved classics like vanilla and chocolate, even these timeless flavors come with a twist that sets them apart. Can’t decide on a flavor? Make sure to ask the staff to sample a scoop before making your final choice. We had the honey lavender and cinnamon snickerdoodle, both were delicious! Prepare to have your taste buds both surprised and delighted as you discover the extraordinary world of flavors at Salt & Straw.

Where: 1670 India St

Where to stay in San Diego

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