Of course, all hotels offer some type of breakfast service, but if you want to branch out, these are great. Morning Glory. Gotta love a place that serves cocktails at breakfast. German pancakes, Souffle pancakes, Born & Raised (steakhouse) Dry Aged Steak and Eggs, Tableside Lobster Omelet and more. Broken Yoke Cafe with multiple locations throughout the area. Betty’s Biscuits and Gravy, Monte Cristo, Hash Skillet, Cali Breakfast Burrito are some of the favorites. Cody’s La Jolla serves a Chicken Biscuit Sandy that is a cheddar scallion biscuit, fried egg, fried chicken, arugula and sausage gravy that is to die for. Also serves cocktails. Try the Lemon-Thyme Spritzer.
One of my favorite lunch spots is Mr. A’s on Fridays. The restaurant sits at the top of a downtown office building and the views from the patio are breathtaking. Last time enjoyed a wonderful Pork Schnitzel with lemon, capers and brown butter. Monello
is a wonderful Italian restaurant with homemade pasta tossed in a 60lb cheese wheel. Coasterra is a modern Mexican restaurant that sits on the Bay with wonderful views. Jimmy’s American Tavern has indoor and outdoor seating with marina views and offers a casual, tavern menu. George’s at the Cove in La Jolla has stunning views of the cove. Almost doesn’t matter what’s on the menu.
Brockton Villa in La Jolla has sweeping views of the Cove and their Coast Toast, a fluffy, souffle-like French toast with orange zest notes and house-made, beer-brined corned beef with eggs and chive horseradish creme fraiche are worth the visit alone. Snooze has multiple locations and offers 6 types of Bloody Mary, 9 types of “bubbles” and an array of other cocktails. Select from 8 types of “bennies.” breakfast pot pies, killer corned beef hash and all your other favorites. Madison Park is a bit different with a Mediterranean bent to it. How about cinnamon and sugar coated waffle pieces with cream cheese sauce and jalapeno blackberry jam? Or a Blue Dream Mimosa, blue-green spirulina, cold pressed lemonade and ginger?
Michele Parente of the San Diego Union-Tribune literally tried hundreds of burgers in the San Diego area and she declared the In-n-Haut at Juniper & Ivy (get the homage to the famous California fast food chain In-n-Out?) as the best. The burger at Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant gets strong marks as well.
City Tacos, a fast casual chain, has multiple locations and excellent food. Death by Tequila offers Baja cuisine and a killer tequila bar. It is run by Top Chef Angelo Sosa. Lola 55 is a beautiful taqueria that can be good for a mid-week lunch or a celebration dinner.
Fried chicken isn’t something we usually recommend, but the Crack Shack is no usual restaurant. Multiple locations, always a line. Their signature Jidori fried chicken, served with choice of sauces, is not to be missed.
Lots to like at Born & Raised from the stylish main dining room with leather booths and lots of brass to the rooftop, open air bar and dining room to the dry aged steaks and solid, albeit expensive wine list. But what I really loved was the Steak Diane and Beef Wellington, two items not seen on most steakhouse menus.
I love the look and feel of Ironside Fish & Oyster in little Italy. Good clam chowder and their Lobster Roll is made with brown butter mayo, chives and crispy shallots. Yum!
Village Vino! has a nice selection of wines and cheeses, charcuterie, flatbreads and more. Vin de Syrah is a wonderful subterranean spot in the Gaslamp and Solterra in Leucadia who makes their own wines with grapes from all over California and Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico. They age all of their red wines in predominately French oak barrels for a minimum of 14-24 months depending on the varietal and style of wine that they are looking to produce. Most of their fermentations are done in small open-top fermenters with a variety of hand-selected yeasts that bring complexity to the wines. Currently, in barrel and bottle they have 14 different red varietals, 3 whites, rose’, port, and late harvest wines. Fun place.
When it’s time for cocktails in San Diego, we’re partial to those with a view Like George’s at the Cove in La Jolla or Altitude Sky Lounge in the Gaslamp. There are also great views at Mister A’s and Born & Raised. The Nolan has a rooftop and patio and fire pits. The Pony Room patio at the Rancho Valencia Resort is a wonderful place for drinks and at the end of the day you’re likely to see hot air balloons passing by.
To enjoy the real art of mixology, try Polite Provisions, “Manufacturers of Local Tonics, Elixirs and Cures” and Realm of the 52 Remedies, a true speakeasy with a hidden entrance. Starlight is another favorite that also has good food. Youngblood offers a unique cocktail experience like we’ve never seen before. Reservations are a must at this plush and intimate hideaway where you will enjoy a customized, multi-course cocktail experience.
Craft Beer Bars
San Diego enjoys a well deserved reputation as one of the premier beer producing cities in the country with over 200 breweries and brew pubs. Too many to mention all the good ones, but this will get you started. Encinitas Ale House features 350+ bottles of every type of beer you could want, in addition to 32 beers on tap. Great burgers, too. Blind Lady Ale House has been named to Draft Magazine’s “100 Best Beer Bars in America” list every year since it opened its doors. Fantastic pizza, too. Barrel Republic is the nation’s first self-service craft beer bar. You get a bracelet, pour your own beer and are charged by the ounce. 44 electronic taps. Click here for a guide to all San Diego Craft Beers.
After Dinner Fun
Certainly the above wine and beer bars are an after dinner option. You can also cruise the Gaslamp where virtually every bar has some music.
Other choices: The National Comedy Theatre is an association of theaters that host improv comedy performances from professional and up-and-coming comedians. Started in San Diego. The San Diego House of Blues is a bar and restaurant that serves Southern comfort food with live music and folk art. The Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach is a great live music venue for known and up and coming performers.