San Diego Restaurants - 11 Favorites From a Local

Visitors will never go hungry in San Diego. Although they might go crazy trying to decide where to eat! San Diego County boasts oodles of restaurants, and I've created a list of my favorites.
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Visitors will never go hungry in San Diego. Although they might go crazy trying to decide where to eat! San Diego County boasts oodles of restaurants. So for all you San Diego visitors, I've created a list of my favorites. My family has lived here over 25 years; long enough to call it home. The eateries listed below are located within a seven-mile radius of downtown. Many have water views because, well, water views are one of San Diego's best features! Bon appetit, dude!

Hash House a-go-go
3658 5th Ave. San Diego 92103
I always feel hip when I eat here. (Do people still use the word hip?) Hash House opened in 2000 and still attracts a big crowd. On the menu you'll find terms like: crispy hand-hammered pork, and sage fried chicken. There are seven kinds of hash including house-smoked salmon, and meatloaf. Portions are enormous; you might want to split your order.

Kono's Surf Club Café
704 Garnet Ave. San Diego 92109
No parking, long line, but it's at the beach, and it's a great value. There are about a dozen outdoor tables and they all overlook the ocean. I usually order the Egg Scramble - eggs, bacon, onion, green pepper, and cheese, with Kono potatoes and English muffin $4.95. Flip-flops are de rigueur. Cash only. Be sure to walk onto Crystal Pier; it looks like it's private but it's open to the public.

3940 5th Ave. San Diego 92103
If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, this is a great place to start: pineapple upside down pancakes, or breakfast pot pie, and since we're only 30 minutes from Mexico you really should try some huevos rancheros. They offer gluten-free pancakes too!

Isabel's Cantina
966 Felspar St. San Diego 92109
I met Isabel years ago. I knew she'd be a big deal someday. She's a down-to-earth, likeable person with a head for business. And man, can she cook! Isabel was doing fusion before anyone else. I mean, who does Asian-Latin fusion? Isabel does! I've put this restaurant in the lunch category because of her crazy good tacos, but her pancakes are killer.

Pt. Loma Seafoods
2805 Emerson St. San Diego 92106
Any restaurant that's been around for 50 years and is still owned by the same family is a good sign. The tuna salad (with a lovely splash of dill) sandwich is served on their fresh sourdough bread. (I could easily devour the whole thing, but I usually share it with my husband.) Really good clam chowder. Friday nights you might find me here eating the best fried shrimp I've ever had. While it's still daylight, take a stroll onto the pier and look at the commercial fishing boats.

True Food Kitchen
7007 Friars Rd. San Diego 92108
I feel a bit sheepish suggesting a restaurant that's located in a mall, but if you eat here you'll understand why I've included it. They cook with seasonal and sustainable foods; my body feels good when I eat true food. Menu items include: Winter ingredient salad, Grass-fed bison burger, Spaghetti squash casserole, and Red chili shrimp with sesame noodles. Lots of gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options.

Baleen at Paradise Point Resort
1404 Vacation Rd. San Diego 92109
No matter where you live, you will feel like you're on vacation when you come here. Think South Pacific with lots of palm trees and bamboo. Baleen dining tables overlook Mission Bay; if you sit on the deck there's no extra charge for the light breeze and the sound of water lapping the shore. Order the scallop appetizer--you won't be disappointed.

750 Fir St. San Diego 92101
Full disclosure, I've known Guido since the 90's. (I love it that I know somebody named Guido, BTW.) Guido is Italian. I'm Italian. I talk louder and use my hands more when I hang with Guido. He'll bring out the Italian in you too. He opened Benncotto a few years ago and has won a bunch of awards. The menu offers 10 pasta sauces, including: al formaggi, arrabbiata, and pesto; they have 14 pasta fresca (handmade) options including: fusilli integrali, pappardelle, and penne bianche. You'll say, "Delizioso!"

Sally's at the Hyatt Hotel
One Market Place San Diego 92101
When my son turned 25 last year, this is where our family went for dinner. Even though I made the dinner reservation, my family blamed me for never suggesting this restaurant before. (What's up with that?) We sat outside overlooking the marina. The scallop appetizer comes with this crunchy potato do-dah on top. Devine would be a word to describe how good it was. I'm aware that this is the second time I mentioned scallops; it's personal.

Tender Greens
2400 Historic Decatur Rd. San Diego 92106
San Diego is a Navy town and Tender Greens is located on the former Naval Training Center, now called Liberty Station. This eatery is my go-to restaurant. Fresh salads, outta this world soups -- the tomato basil is de-lish! And oh my, the Yukon gold mashed potatoes are the BEST! Everything is grilled and tossed right in front of you. Their food is definitely paleo diet friendly. Your meal will set you back just $11 per person.

The Fish Market
750 N. Harbor Dr. San Diego 92101
There's a long menu of fresh fish options: halibut, mahi mahi, salmon, seabass and yellowtail. They also have an oyster bar and a sushi bar. The restaurant overlooks San Diego Bay; you can eat in the casual ground floor restaurant or go upstairs to their fine-dining restaurant named, Top of the Market.

San Diego is brewing with breweries! So while you're enjoying a meal at one of our countless restaurants, be sure to try some of our local beers; here's the entire list.

Your Turn
Don't just eat and run! Comment below and tell me which San Diego restaurants are your favorite.

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