Travel Guide: Must Try Food Places in San Diego

San Diego is known for the beaches, diversity and food. When Josh and I met in San Diego, we had so many things in common – from music to food. We both got to show each other great food places when on the budget or for our perfect date night. As we were brainstorming our favorite food places, the list kept growing. With that being said, I decided to make this a 2 part blog post. There is no particular order on these as they are all our favorites. I did some digging through my older social media posts to show you photos of the food we would get. Although, I am not able to find photos of each place, I’ve included their website for you to check out as well. Hope you guys enjoy!


Poor Boy Subs 

  • Price Range: $

  • Neighborhood: Poway

  • Why we recommend it: When it comes to sandwiches, Poor Boy Subs is the place to go to. 1) Reasonable prices compared to the chain sub places and 2) They are just darn good. Poor Boy Subs is a small sandwich joint with only a few tables. We’ve tried both hot and cold sandwiches and each time they did not fail us. The bread and toppings are fresh. A medium sized sandwich is enough to make you full. They aren’t stingy with the meat which makes it very filling. The only thing that we wish was that we would have found this face way before we moved out of San Diego.


El Indio

    • Price Range: $$

    • Neighborhood: Mission Hills

    • Why we recommend it: By far our favorite Mexican food joint in San Diego. We miss it so much since we left. Before we moved to the Pacific Northwest the last couple months we made a trip to El Indio almost every weekend to get our Mexican food fix. Everything is cooked fresh – you can see them make the tortillas and beans behind the cashier counter. At times, when there is fresh tortilla, they will top it with melted butter for you to snack on while you wait for your order. Honestly, we can name a few more. On the go, we grab their freshly made salsas, guacamole and chips. When you think you can’t finish a whole burrito they also offer mini burritos. Our favorites were fish burrito, carne asada burrito, fish tacos and mordiditas. FUN FACT: Guy Fieri loves taquitos so he stopped by El Indio and featured it on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives.



Chamorro Grill

  • Price Range: $

  • Neighborhood: Allied Gardens

  • Why we recommend it: Growing up with family from Guam and being a Hawaiian dancer when I was younger, I have always loved islander food. This food place is the only Chamorro or Guamanian food. I introduced this place to Josh when we first met and he loved it. I recommend the Chicken Kelaguen since it is my all-time favorite Chamorro food. The flavors they add to the diced chicken pairs perfect with the red rice. Josh recommends the decadent Beef Short Ribs with the red rice. After getting a bite from this place and realizing how good the flavor profile is of the food, you definitely would love to come back here. The atmosphere is laid back and the people are always friendly.


Streetcar Merchants

  • Price Range: $$

  • Neighborhood: North Park

  • Why we recommend it: Although we loved the crispy factor of the chicken from Crispy Fried Chicken, for flavor variety – Streetcar Merchants has the best chicken in San Diego. They serve chicken, doughnuts and coffee in a casual place with patio and indoor sitting. Because they cook to order the chicken, wait time can be from 20-45 minutes depending on the crowd. Our top two favorites are Big Mama’s Southern Fried Chicken and K Town Chicken. Their chicken is typically twice fried which gives the chicken that extra crispy factor. After having some chicken at Streetcar Merchants, grab a doughnut here and walk on over to The Milk Bar to select from their list of flavored milk to have with your doughnut.

Crispy Fried Chicken

  • Price Range: $

  • Neighborhood: College Area

  • Why we recommend it: Think of it like an Asian version of KFC but even better. If you are a fried chicken lover, this is definitely the place to go to. Their fried chicken is crispier, juicer and we’ll seasoned. You can even order chicken or shrimp fried rice. It is a family owned business and they are always friends and welcoming.

Pizzeria Luigi

  • Price Range: $ (Cash Only)

  • Neighborhood: Golden Hill

  • Why we recommend it: There are 3 locations, but the Golden Hill location is a favorite amongst most locals. As soon as you walk in, you are greeted with the friendly staff. You can order by slice or by a whole pie. It is a great hangout place as there is ample seating inside as well as on their patio. Not only is there a great selection of pie but a great selection of beer on tap. They are known for their New York style pies along with some Italian dishes. For meat lovers, we suggest the Capone pie – pepperoni, sausage & meatball toppings. Besides the basic cheese and pepperoni pie, the Capone pie is Josh’s other favorite. While my favorite pie is the White Girl – chicken, BACON & ranch. FUN FACT: Guy Fieri fell in love with the meaty Capone pie and featured this joint on Triple D.



  • Price Range: $$

  • Neighborhood: Mission Valley

  • Why we recommend it: We love mac n cheese and when we came to this place, we finally found where to go to get some really good mac n cheese. The restaurant is known for building your own meals from salads to burger to pizzas to mac n cheese to milkshakes. If you can’t decide on how to build your meal, they also have already built items you can select from. When I couldn’t choose what to put in my mac n cheese I would order their Lobster & Seafood Mac N Cheese. They weren’t stingy with the lobster either unlike other restaurants. Josh stacked his own Mac N Cheese with either pulled pork or pork andouille and topped with onion strings.

30 thoughts on “Travel Guide: Must Try Food Places in San Diego”

  1. I love traveling to San Diego and these places all sound like absolutely wonderful places to get a delicious meal. I’ll definitely try some of them out on our next trip!

  2. I’ve never been to San Diego, but these all sound like great options! I would love the pizzeria since Italian is one of my favorite cuisines!

  3. I went to San Diego for the first time this past December, but did not get to go to any of the places you recommend. They all look delicious! I guess I am going to have to go back and have some of this amazing food!

  4. Great post! I was in San Diego for the first time this past December, but did not get to go to any of the places you recommend. I guess I am going to have to go back and try 🙂

  5. I’m on the other side of the country in Maine, and don’t anticipate ever visiting California. However, your descriptions of the various eateries and the food they offer sound delicious!

    1. Agree. It is always amazing to see how easy it is to find seating even with the line out the door. We sure miss this place though.

  6. I’m hoping to go to San Diego this summer or next, so I’ll definitely be saving this list to check out these places on my trip! I love finding great eateries in new places. 🙂

    1. Wonderful. I’ll be posting part 2 soon of the food places and another post about places to see in San Diego soon.

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