“My work has also motivated me to put a lot of time into seeking out good food and to spend more money on it.” – Michael Pollan
One of the great things about La Jolla is that there are so many good places to eat. I’m not a food critic, but I like eat and drink, so I’m just going to relay my experiences as a friend would do. These are some of my favorite places, but I am sure there are many more, you just have to explore and try new things.
Best Places to Eat in “The Shores”
The Shores Restaurant is the restaurant at the La Jolla Shores Hotel. It has really great seafood, and is also a nice breakfast spot. It has great ocean views and very good service. It has top reviews from Trip Advisor and from Open Table.
Piatti – La Jolla is a wonderful, neighborhood Italian restaurant with an option for open air dining. They have a nice wine list, a full service bar, good service, and really tasty food.
The Marine Room is adjacent to the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, and it is well known for its food, great service, and waves crashing against the glass of the restaurant during high tide. It is a spectacular experience!
Osteria Romantica is a traditional Italian restaurant with the checkered table clothes and fabulous wine list. The pastas are really terrific, and the service is very good. I love the ambiance of this place and it will remind you of eating at a traditional family Italian restaurant in New York.
Barbarella has a bistro atmosphere and serves locally grown organic produce. Everything is always super fresh, and there is something on the menu for everyone. It has a good number of outdoor tables for dining, and a fun bar.
Shorehouse Kitchen is a dog friendly restaurant that’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They even have a doggie menu. They have fun dining events like a five course wine pairing menu on December 2nd. Make your reservations today!
Sushi Mori is one of the better sushi restaurants in San Diego, and the best sushi place in La Jolla Shores. Everything is always super fresh and tasty.
Jeff’s Burgers is a good place for a burger if you want a break from the old staples like Burger Lounge and Smashburger . They make everything fresh and the have burgers, salads, and sandwiches. My teenage kids really love this place…especially when I’m not there with them!
Best Places to Eat in “The Village”
The Cottage is one of my favorite breakfast places in San Diego. We don’t get there as much now that we live in Rancho Santa Fe, but sometimes we just have to make a run down there for breakfast and to stock-up on their King Kong Brand Muffins.
Sushi on the Rock is a fun and hip sushi place that serves innovative sushi and sashimi dishes. The food is always fresh and good, and the ambiance is very fun. It’s a fun place for a date.
Puesto Mexican Street Food is a fun Mexican restaurant that is best known for their award winning tacos and their happy hours. It is a fun place to hang with a few friends.
Bubba’s Smokehouse BBQ is one of the better BBQ places in San Diego. I don’t think it is a good as Phil’s but it is still very good. The pulled pork, the brisket, and the jerk chicken are all really good. They also serve burgers, and have a pretty good selection of craft beers.
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood is one of the most fun places in La Jolla. It’s a really good seafood restaurant that has a fun bar and live jazz some nights. The restaurant has really nice ocean views as well.
Donovan’s Steak and Chop House moved from the UTC area to the Village in the last year. They are located where Azul used to be, right next to George’s on the Cove. Donovan’s is my favorite steak place in San Diego, bar none, and this move to the new location is really wonderful. They have made a few changes to the interior of the restaurant to make it look more like a Donovan’s, and the food is great. They have a fun bar, and a wonderful wine list. In the new location, they are open for lunch and dinner.
George’s at the Cove is one of my favorite places in La Jolla. They actually have three distinct restaurants. The lower level is the formal dining experience, and they have terrific service, great food, and a wonderfully creative chef. The second floor is good to hangout for drinks and more casual dining. The upstairs patio is great for breakfast and lunch and has views of La Jolla Cove. It is a very special and fun place.
Herringbone is one of celebrity chef Brian Malarkey’s restaurants, and one of my favorites. I really like Searsucker in downtown San Diego because of it’s lively atmosphere, but Herringbone is still pretty lively, especially by La Jolla standards. They have a nice two sided bar and the back part of the restaurant has a tree growing in the middle. It is a really cool vibe and the food is excellent. The wine list is a little more limited, but very good. And like most places in San Diego, you can always bring your own wine and pay a modest corkage fee (I almost always do that everywhere).
Wisknladle is a family oriented restaurant that is a favorite of La Jolla residents. It is the same owners as PrepKitchen, which has a location in Del Mar, and other locations in La Jolla and Little Italy near downtown San Diego. The food is good and the ambiance is casual and family style.
Tapanade is a fancy French restaurant. I am not big on French food, but I’ve been to a couple events there, and also been a couple times with clients. I’m not an expert on French food, but I think it is comparable to Mille Fleurs, which is in my neighborhood in Rancho Santa Fe. I do think Mille Fleur has a better wine list.
Nine-Ten has really good California cuisine, fresh locally grown produce, and a fun bar. It has a fun atmosphere and it’s worth trying at least once.
Roppongi is a fun and hip Japanese restaurant. If I go with a large group or with my family (which is a large group since we have five kids!), we like to sit outside around the fire pit. My kids like to order the “hot rock” and cook their own food on the hot rock. They have good sushi and other really nice Japanese food. A bit Americanized, but still really tasty. It reminds me of Cafe Japengo which really isn’t a traditional Japanese restaurant, but still super fun. Japengo is in the Aventine, which is in La Jolla. but not really in La Jolla since it’s east of the 5 Freeway!
Burger Lounge and Smashburger are both really good burger chains, and both have locations in La Jolla. They are both on my list of favorite burger places in San Diego. Check out the full list here!
Great Food at Torrey Pines Lodge
A.R. Valentine is one if the best restaurants in San Diego. It is great for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and worth trying even if you aren’t staying at the Lodge. Everything I’ve had on the menu is good, and I’ve eaten there multiple times for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The Grill is another one of the places on my favorite burger place list. It has a nice outdoor patio that overlooks the 1st Tee for Torrey Pines South Course. It is a great place for casual dining or for the 19th hole at Torrey Pines to grab a drink after a fun round of golf.
I hope you find this list helpful! Like I said before, I’m sure there are many other wonderful dining spots in La Jolla, but these are definitely some of my favorites. Tomorrow we will be publishing a list of some of our favorite bloggers that really know La Jolla well. You can use them as a resource as well!
What are your favorite places to eat in La Jolla? Any disagreements with my list? Where do you like to eat and grab a drink with friends? What’s your favorite date-night spot? We’d love to hear from you!