This enclave by the coast, also known as the “Jewel by the Sea”, has long been home to some of San Diego’s most foundational restaurants. In recent years, the area’s cuisine has become increasingly varied, with local restaurants and out-of-town visitors able to sample everything from street tacos to the finest dining in town. Here are some of the best places to eat west of the 5.Read More
Where to Eat in the Coastal Town of La Jolla
From street tacos to fine dining, this seaside neighborhood offers something for everyone
Sandpiper Wood Fired Grill & Oysters
The relaxed La Jolla Shores relation of George’s at the Cove recently introduced a new all-day happy hour running from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays when wines by the glass, specialty cocktails, well drinks, and draft beer are $4 off and food specials include $4 Baja fish tacos and $8 prime rib sliders along with its signature offer of a free dozen oysters with the purchase of a bottle of Champagne.
The Marine Room
One of La Jolla’s crown jewels, the waterfront restaurant is helmed by executive chef Mike Minor, who is also heading up kitchen operations at La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club and the Shores Restaurant. His luxe menu includes dishes that reflect his passion for regional Mexican cuisine.
George's at the Cove
The neighborhood’s crown jewel, this La Jolla institution overseen by chef/partner Trey Foshee is known for its seasonally-minded cuisine and equally impressive views, which can be enjoyed on the open-air rooftop’s Ocean Terrace or its Level2 bar.
NINE-TEN Restaurant & Bar
From this elegant and contemporary restaurant, revered chef Jason Knibb and team execute inspired California cuisine. Offering breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch as well as a great bar menu, dinner is the main event with highlights that include Knibb’s signature Jamaican jerk pork belly and his take on the Italian classic cacio e pepe.
Marisi La Jolla
As it heads into its second year, this already-accomplished restaurant is now under the direction of veteran chef Cameron Ingle (Bestia, Blue Hill at Stone Barns), who will be steadily adding seasonal dishes to the modern Italian menu.
Known for its whimsical design, this all-day restaurant brings playful vibes to downtown La Jolla where you can brunch beneath a botanical canopy or sip cocktails under fluffy sheep sculptures. There’s also a sidewalk cafe and coffee bar, with grab-and-go food as well as a sit-down menu.
Puesto La Jolla
The La Jolla outpost of Puesto was the first of what is now quite an empire of Mexican food, with locations across California. Though tacos are its calling card, the restaurant is also known for its excellent cocktails and housemade beer.
From a rooftop perch above Girard Avenue, this Whisknladle Hospitality restaurant serves an accomplished array of Italian dishes, from crudo and pizza to wood-roasted seafood, in a beautiful indoor-outdoor setting.
Beloved by locals, the European-style cafe has been a favorite stop for casual lunches and picnic provisions for over three decades. Utilizing produce grown in its own organic garden in Julian, its menu includes house-baked pastries and cookies, seasonal soups, and hearty sandwiches built on fresh loaves of homemade bread.
The Kitchen at MCASD
The Urban Kitchen Group (Cucina Urbana, Artifact at Mingei) brings its considerable culinary experience to this recent addition to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla. Offering all-day dining, the cafe also hosts occasional multi-course dinners that revolve around a featured seasonal ingredient or global cuisine.
This Japanese restaurant, which spans an intimate sushi bar and an outdoor patio, is presided over by accomplished sushi chef Mitsu Aihara, a Sushi Ota alum who offers an omakase experience as well as sushi rolls and la carte dishes.
Candor by Giuseppe
One of San Diego’s most respected caterers runs this friendly neighborhood restaurant that sits at the entryway to downtown La Jolla. Though the menu leans Italian, there’s also a great burger.
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Ambrogio by Acquerello
Centered around tasting menus, with a four-course option offered during weekdays and a grander seven-course meals featured on weekends, this modern Italian restaurant is a partnership between the Ambrogio15 group and chef Silvio Salmoiraghi and his team from Italy’s Michelin-starred Acquerello Ambrogio by Acquerello.
El Pescador Fish Market
This longtime community mainstay is a bustling space that doubles as a fish market and a sit-down restaurant. Starting with the freshest of mostly local seafood, its grilled fish plates, sandwiches, and salads are always a hit.
Bistro du Marché by Tapenade
The adjacent Sunday farmer’s market inspired the name for this second La Jolla restaurant from acclaimed French chef Jean-Michel Didot (Tapenade), a “gastro-bistro” that incorporates seasonal ingredients into classics like duck confit, coq au vin, and more.