Having called San Diego home friends or family visiting the area ask for “best of dining” recommendations. The following is a list of favorites and in no particular order – they’re all scrumptious!
.: The Mission – this is the BEST breakfast in all of SD and I prefer the East Village location. It gets crowded on the weekends but it is well worth the wait. The ZEN breakfast is one thing I miss most about my old stomping ground.
.: BASIC – this is a hip and yummy pizza place/bar. The scene on the weekends is a welcome departure from the miniskirts of the Gaslamp. Tip: it is also across the street from the Padres stadium where there is a nice little park overlooking the field so take a stroll before getting some grub.
.: Cafe Chloe – this is my all time favorite spot in SD for an afternoon espresso, dinners to die for and a quaint spot to kick back and relax.
.: Vin De Syrah Spirit & Wine Parlor – the décor at this chic wine bar is second only to the selection of drinks. Order the cheese plate with the honey/truffle oil and you can thank me later. Tip: this is a faux-speakeasy, meaning the entrance is hard to find but here’s how: It’s underground — in the Gaslamp Quarter beneath the Melting Pot (at Fifth Avenue and E Street). Even after you find the corner stairwell, it’s still a challenge to find the entrance. There are multiple doors down there; the actual entrée is covered by fake clover that looks like a big wall of ivy).
.: The Prado @ Balboa Park – the draw here is that when in SD you MUST go to Balboa park, visit the arboretum, tour a museum, visit the sculpture garden at sunset, then stroll over to the The Prado for a bite/libation. The best seats (weather permitting) are out on the back patio so call in advance to ensure prime seating.
.: Bencotto Italian Kitchen – true to its name this is in Little Italy; TJ and I went here 3 times the last week before I left SD, so as you can image, we love it. Tip: Little Italy has a Farmer’s Market on Saturdays from 9-1pm that is worth the visit. Also, lots of beautiful cafes for espresso in the morning or after your meal at Bencotto.