Local Wally's Top Foodie Eats
San Diego's Best Foodie Restaurants
San Diego has a lot of great restaurants and not all of them are along the ocean or owned by celebrity chefs. No, a lot of our finest restaurants are tucked away in our neighborhoods like North Park or Mission Hills or Kensington, places most tourists never't go. If you're looking for chef driven restaurants, the type that source their ingredients locally and subscribe to farm to table philosophies, then dive into the San Diego foodie scene.
Some of these restaurants are hipster, some cool and some dives, but all of them have found an audience with locals who know their food and aren't afraid to instagram it. Speaking of which, remember to post your photos on instagram and to #localwally with your best food shots. If you know what I'm talking about you are in the right spot!
Did I miss one? Email me and I'll check it out!
Foodie Eats in North Park, Hillcrest, and Beyond
This isn't your Top Ramen
I'll openly admit that I love Top Ramen. Come on, what else can you eat that costs three for a dollar? Underbelly takes this up a few notches and gets their ramen right with people happily standing in line for the right to slurp noodles. Two locations, the tiny original in Little Italy where a sidewalk stool is the coveted spot or the new trendy modern location in North Park, one of San Diego's trendiest outdoor dining spots.
North Park Location
French meets San Diego
Lively French bistro in a rustic setting that's both farmhouse casual and informally elegant at the same time. This is the sort of place with chalkboard art and standing room only at the bar serving up things like duck fat truffle fries and porchetta (pork belly) on top of cheesy polenta. Rich food and huge portions, lively and noisy, it's obviously food cooked from the heart, moderately priced and well executed. I love it here!
Updated Comfort Food
One of San Diego's original hipster restaurants, Urban Solace has dominated the local food scene with their updated and upscaled versions of American classics like chicken and dumplings or their "Not Your Momma's" meatloaf. Top brunch spot with patio dining and live bluegrass music. A strong focus on using local produce, naturally produced meats and sustainable seafood should keep your Prius loving friends happy.
Feed Your Foodie on a Budget
Do you take lots of pictures of your food before you eat? If so you are going to love Prepkitchen, a foodie focused restaurant with 3 locations that produces creative dishes using local fresh ingredients. Each location has its own personality (and its own menu), from woodsy Del Mar to dinky La Jolla to sleek Little Italy. But all of that is just window dressing for the superb food, from incredible tapa plates to share to large plates of pasta, meats or seafood.
Beer Tavern with Great Pizzas
Make no mistake, this isn't some concept restaurant. The Blind Lady Ale House is a real tavern that's serious about their beers - all the way down to using the correct glass for the type of beer you order. But it's not snobby, it's fun with communal tables, live music on the weekend. They take their food equally serious using local ingredients and sustainable seafood. Gourmet pizzas are a steal at around $12 and the Belgian Fries are worth it alone.
Pork-centric menu in casual setting
Yes, it looks sketchy from the front, a re-purposed fast food eatery with a giant pig on top. But don't keep driving, stop and get in line where you order at the sidewalk then head to the back modern patio to taste for yourself why locals love the snack shack. Using top local ingredients and humanely raised meats, everything from the carnitas tacos to the big sandwiches stuffed with plenty of bacon has earned them a place at the foodie table. Tasty non-pork items as well, but why?
Top Foodie Asian Restaurants
Authentic Chinese Dumplings
North of downtown a few miles is our version of "Chinatown". It's not pretty like San Francisco and it's not tourist friendly but it's filled with strip malls featuring every type of authentic Asian cuisine you desire. The Dumpling Inn built it's reputation as a hole in the wall joint serving up the best potstickers in town and recently expanded into a full blown restaurant. Get the Xiao Long Bao, a bite sized dumpling filled with meat and hot soup! Open late.
Ramen and food grilled on sticks
Fans of ramen and yakitori, aka food grilled on sticks, will love the tiny Yakiyudori, a place so authentic that you half expect to see Anthony Bourdain sitting at the grill downing beer and sake as he orders up more skewers of beef tongue or chicken hearts. Not all the food is weird (you can go safe with chicken thighs or bacon wrapped asparagus) and the ramen with house made noodles is insanely good. Super cheap and delicious.
Locals favorite sushi bar
Nothing against the high end sushi restaurants where some of the people are dressed hotter than a ball a wasabi but when I need a sushi fix I'm frankly more interested in finding the freshest seafood than the hottest club scene. Considered by some to be the best sushi house in town, trust the locals and don't let the strip mall location sway you away. Get the chirashi for lunch, a giant bowl of sushi rice topped with 8 different fish for $20.