So here it is folks… My giant list of all things food in San Diego! The Captain and I are passionate about food and we pride ourselves on being the people you text when you are looking for a new spot to eat! Note: I should say I am a vegan, so every single restaurant on the list, while it might not be a vegan establishment, does offer vegan options! But I assure you, this is not just a list for veggies!!! In fact, out of the 26 spots listed, only 5 are entirely vegan or plant based! Meat eaters, rejoice! I have been compiling this list for weeks!! I am actually salivating after editing this post… I need some tacos… or noodles… or pizza… or falafel… or sheesh, I don’t know, for love of GOD GET ME SOME FOOD!
Best Coffee Drinks: Cafe Gratitude
Weird answer, I know, but the coffee beverages at CG are among the most original and delicious I’ve ever tried. Their Mocha!? Shut. Your. Face. Their teas and other libations are equally tasty!!
Best Breakfast: Coffee Cup
Not only is the best breakfast in San Diego, but also my favorite restaurant. The rosemary potatoes will change your life. I order the Papas Loco, no diary, add tofu, with corn tortillas. EVERY. TIME. I ate here the day I went into labor and I’m pretty sure it was the jalapeños that did the trick… We eat here… A LOT. Needless to say, the servers have my order memorized and I love them and I will miss them.
Best Pancakes: Moncai Vegan
These pancakes will change your life. Change it. The Captain stands firm that these are the BEST pancakes he’s ever eaten in his life!! HIS ENTIRE LIFE!!! You non-vegans will be like WHAT THE HELL!?! I don’t know how it’s possible to get such giant, fluffy pancakes with no milk or eggs… I don’t know how the chef does it, but he does and it is spectacular.
Best Vegan Breakfast: OB’s People Co-op
Not only is this the best value in town, these biscuits and gravy are the things dreams are made of! With an entirely vegetarian market beneath, this small kitchen whips up some tasty and simple food that will leave you satisfied and happy! I wish I lived closer to it because I would eat there daily… seriously, I’d do it.
Best Sushi: Ebisu Sushi Lounge
I love this place. We found this when we first moved out because they had a small, but interesting vegan sushi list, but we quickly became regulars. Their fish is always fresh and prepared in unique ways! The place is rarely packed, but always buzzing and they serve food way past your bed time. [special shout out to Little Tokyo in Carmel Mountain, this place makes me happy. Nothing super special, but it’s yummy]
Best Cocktails: WhisknLadle
Fancy and unique cocktails in a fancy and unique setting. Boom.
Best Chinese: Golden City
So after years of looking for a decent Chinese restaurant we stumbled upon Golden City and it is authentic and delish! With a completely separate veggie menu, it was a clear winner for me! Their salted garlic string beans are a thing of beauty!! Note: the portions are MASSIVE and definitely for sharing!
Best Döner: The Kebab Shop
Now, maybe you are thinking, come again!?! But if you have never had a döner you are in for quite a thrill! It’s like a Mediterranean burrito and it tastes like heaven! I order the falafel döner, no garlic sauce, add spicy hummus, add fries or rice depending on my mood. The wrap is soft, almost like a thin naan bread… It is delicious! There are now locations all over San Diego, so no excuses get thee to The Kebab Shop!
Best Salad: NaPizza
The superfood me salad with tahini dressing is literally a thing of the gods!! Their pizza and [always vegan] soup are both magic, but I don’t stray from my favorite salad! With locations in Little Italy, Hillcrest, and 4S you are covered!
Cafe Gratitude makes the list twice. I’ve eaten at the LA eatery a handful of times and at the recently opened San Diego locale 23,293,090 times. Slight exeggeration. I love love love everything on the menu. It’s vegan plant based goodness and I’m gonna miss them like WHOA. And then there’s Trilogy, a newer find, located in La Jolla on a rooftop with angels and fairies. OR flying aerobatic yogis. Close enough. The menu is small, but heavenly. I love their buckwheat crepes and the nachos!! OH THE NACHOS!!! Both of these spots are winners, for vegans and non-vegans alike!
Best Thai: Amarin Thai
My buddy Christina took me to this restaurant years ago and I fell… hard. Their Tom Yum Soup is AMAZING. They have an entire separate veggie menu that’s even fish sauce free! And good news North County, Siam Nara in Mira Mesa and Nok in Scripps Ranch are pretty much the same menu from owner Suree! Winning.
So Luigi’s was an early find, after watching a San Diego episode of triple D Guy Fieri swore he’d eat it off of a flip flop, we had to try it. To my delight, I found out that they will sub vegan cheese and even make vegan calzones. The calzones are AH-mazing. But even more surprising is their cheese-less salad pizza. This pizza is the bomb. And dude, all of their cheesy pizzas look amazing!! Oh, oh and when I was very pregnant and wanted to get another slice, the so sweet pizza maker gave me a slice on the house. Two thumbs up. A more recent find is San Diego Brewing! This spot has a crazy amount of vegan offerings along side all of your typical pub grub. They have vegan hot wings AND vegan pizza!!! Who knew!? It is the lightest crust and I just can’t say enough good things. The marinara is delish and the toppings are fresh. It’s so yummy.
Best Italian: Bencotto
Yummy, fresh Italian food in the chicest building. I love this place. Their arrabbiata sauce and zucchini soup really make me happy. A newbie that I’ve only tried twice is Civico1845, but it is really shaping up to be a winner! An entire authentic vegan menu, um dreams coming true.
Best Indian: Delhi Kitchen
This is a hole in the wall if ever there was one, but Delhi Kitchen in Carmel Mountain is a killer find! It’s super inexpensive and the family who runs it is so nice!! Their Chana Masala is spicy, full of flavor, and oh-so-good.
Best Ramen: Underbelly
Holy. Giant. Bowls. of. Soup. Batman. This spot is legit. They now have 2 locations, but if you can try out the original in Lil Italy it is totally worth it for the experience. The veggie ramen with truffle oil is lip smacking good!
Best Tacos: Don Carlos Taco Shop
One of the first joints we found when arriving in San Diego. Don Carlos is a hole in the wall if ever there was one! The owner is full of personality and with a tag line like “what would Jesus eat?” this place has to rock! And with multiple vegan options this joint is sure to please. We used to pick up food and bring it to the cliffs and watch the sunset with the rich people! Highly suggest it!!
Best Frozen Yogurt: Paradise Yogurt
Best vegan yogurt ever!!! They always have at least 2 vegan flavors and it constantly rotates. Their toppings are genius and they have the chillest employees. Love this spot.
Best Vegan Junk Food: Veggie Grill
The Buffalo Bomber has comforted me many, many a night… or day… or mid-morning. I ate here, nearly, twice a week when I was pregnant. The whole menu is awesome. And I’m gonna tell you right now, you will be surprised that vegan “chicken” tastes, well, pretty much like chicken!
Best Spot for a Group who can’t Decide: True Foods
This is the perfect restaurant for a group of folks who just can’t get their shit together. It’s deceptively healthy, but will please a variety of palates! You can get a bison burger, a seasonal squash pizza[amazing], or [my favorite] the Mediterranean chopped salad. There’s an option for the gluten intolerant, vegan, or meat eater in your group. And on top of all of those reasons, simply put, it’s a delish and thoughtful menu!
Best Meal with a View: Cordiano Winery
Our amazing neighbors suggested this spot a few years ago and we have been frequent visitors ever since. It’s nestled atop some impressive hills in Escondido, but you feel like you are in another world. The Italian owners are the sweetest and their pizza is out of control yummy! The wine is okay, but what you are really there for is the view! I
could have sat there for hours!
Best Beach Front: Ki’s Restaurant at the Beach
I love this spot in Cardiff. It’s the utmost in chill dining spots! We love to go for breakfast and I just love all of their healthy options and there is nothing that can beat the view!!
Best Date Night Spot: Alexanders on 30th
Now there isn’t much for a vegan to eat, but the few dishes you can have are totally delish and worth it for the wonderful and sexy atmosphere! It just feels… romantic!? The truffle mac n cheese is a favorite among my friends!
Best Brewery: Ballast Point
We’ve been to a few breweries and this is both mine and The Captain’s favorite. It’s not as touristy as Stone, but is on the larger scale. But with a super tasty menu, DELICIOUS beer, and a beautiful locale. It’s a winner.