Gaby’s Guide to San Diego

Is it criminal that I only live a few hours away from San Diego yet I almost never find myself there? I think so! Luckily I’ve now remedied that and have vowed to return so I can continue my fish taco hunt in the very near future (more on that in a bit!)

Gaby's Guide to San Diego - where to eat, stay, see and do!

These past few months I’ve teamed up with the awesome folks at Andaz to bring you some of the highlights from their properties around the states. They also have locations across the pond, down in Costa Rica (mom + dad are you reading this – we need to go!) along with other awesome destinations and more to open in the coming years. So far I’ve been able to experience Andaz Napa, NYC, Los Angeles and San Diego.

I don’t know about you guys, but I often travel via my stomach and I’m always planning my next meal. Eating my way through a city is my favorite way to explore! For San Diego I knew there was an abundance of great Mexican food and California inspired Italian food – so we focused on that.

Had I been by myself I would have gladly eaten fish tacos for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert (hey, it’s part of my job!!) but seeing as how I was with my husband, I had to mix it up a bit! Not to worry though, my list of epic Fish Taco joints in San Diego is growing by the hour… so a return trip will absolutely be in my near future!!

The Andaz San Diego is right in the heart of downtown, in the Gaslamp district, which is pretty much the hot spot of trendy restaurants at the moment. Some of my favorites included:

For Lunch or Dinner:
Ironside – It’s like the best of the east coast but in San Diego. The most epic Lobster Roll in the state. It’s to die for!
Seersucker San Diego – Literally a hop skip and a jump from the Andaz, Seersucker is killing it!! Kick off your meal with the duck fat fries for sure. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
Davanti Enoteca – two words – mascarpone polenta. It’s probably going to change your life. Also, order the focaccia with honeycomb. Another game changer!! And wear comfortable clothing, since you’ll leave FULL!
Oscar’s Mexican Seafood – home to the best fish taco in my humble opinion. This little eatery is churning out some seriously amazing eats. Any of the tacos would be worth a flight to San Diego. The grilled shrimp and their taco of the day were my 2 favorites!! And you can bet I’ll be back when I continue my fish taco quest!
• Bahia Don Bravo – another can’t miss fish taco joint! It’s a bit out of the way since it’s a drive away in La Jolla, but their Lobster Burrito. Whoa!

Gaby's Guide to San Diego Tacos Gaby's Guide to San Diego Puesto

For Brunch:
The Patio on Goldfinch – Who wouldn’t want to dine while sitting underneath a giant living wall filled with plants, succulents and happiness. The chilequiles might not be the most photogenic thing on the planet – but they are game changers!!!
Coffee and Tea Collective – looking for some seriously beautiful coffee art? Look no further!! Coffee and Tea Collective is the perfect place to caffeinate and relax while sipping on a great beverage!
Bottega Americano – Breakfast Calzones. Do I need to say anymore? This restaurant just opened a few months ago and they are already rocking it! The interior is beautiful, the food is out of this world and I’d like to move into the space next to the pizza oven so I can become an official taste tester!
Donuts on top of the Andaz – the flavors rotate on a daily basis and the pastry chef will blow your mind with all the different options. Coming from a seriously judgy donut consumer – these rocked!!
The Donut Bar – go early and prepare to wait in a mega line. But if you’re obsessed with donuts then you absolutely cannot miss this one! The donuts are approximately the size of your head… so go hungry!
Extraordinary Desserts – the name says it all! The desserts here are out of this world. They are so beautiful you won’t want to ruin it by digging in, but I promise you it’s worth it!

Gaby's Guide to San Diego Calzone

Gaby's Guide to San Diego Pizza

For Cocktails:
• Fairweather Bar – talk about instagram friendly locations!! If you’re a cocktail aficionado you’ve got to give this one a try! Give your bartender a tip on what kind of alcohol you enjoy and they’ll whip up something delicious.
Puesto at The Headquarters – the margaritas here are top notch!! And they have 3 different kinds of guacamole; I mean… who could argue with that?

You’ve also got to hit up Balboa Park and wander around the ground there for an afternoon. You could pop into the San Diego Zoo while there and check out the Air and Space Museum too!! I mean, we’ve gotta do a bit of walking in order to burn off all those calories, am I right?

If you happen to be there on a weekend, check out the Farmers Market in Little Italy (right downtown) for some seriously great snacks! They have an abundance of pre-made food to try if you’re hungry, gorgeous produce to snack on and some beautiful flowers if you need to snag some for any reason!

Downtown San Diego also has go-car (like mini go-karts) rentals that you can drive on the main roads. You can rent one for an afternoon and do a guided tour of all the hot spots! It’s a great way to see a ton of the city in 2-3 hours!

There you have it!! Enough restaurants / sites / nibbles / drinks to get you through an incredible San Diego excursion! Hop on over to Andaz Salon for more fab San Diego finds along with other epic Andaz adventures!

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19 Comments

  1. Basically, I just need to move to the West Coast for a summer! Wanna switch? You come to MV and I move over there – I fell in love with the West coast on our latest trip to Napa….Seriously gorgeous weather and the restaurants were all so amazing!

  2. Gaby you are seriously in my zip code with almost every recommendation! I live 2 blocks from Balboa Park and 2 blocks from Extraordinary Desserts 🙂 The Patio on Goldfinch, love. Run by it daily. As well as many of your other spots! LMK next time you’re in town!

  3. I want to go every place you featured, even the ones I’ve been to before. Great selection and love the mouth-watering photos. This guide is great for anyone looking for places to eat in SD.

  4. I lived in San Diego from 1977 to 1988, and have not been back since then. Other family lives in San Diego part time, but have never heard them mention any of these places! I will ask them if they know about these dining places.

    I had to read this as I love San Diego, but do not travel any more from northern Minnesota.

  5. You listed so many of my favorite spots! I’ve yet to go to Oscar’s even though it is next door to my favorite cookie spot, Uncle Biff’s (I hope you grabbed a cookie!). We will be there for tacos today! Loved your review and I can’t wait for your next visit here. P.S. – I call the focaccia at Davanti “Life Changing”.

  6. Dear Gaby,

    I noticed that you really like tacos, would love to have you over
    for some of mine anytime.

    kind regards

    Gerry Torres/City Tacos

  7. Excited to hit many of these food spots during our upcoming San Diego getaway! You mentioned downtown go-kart rentals, but I can’t find this anywhere online. Do you know the name of this company?? Thanks!

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