Wherever you dine in historic Coronado, you can’t fight that loving feeling that you’ve been instantly immersed in the glamorous side of Crown City with stories of Top Gun, Marilyn Monroe, and U.S. presidents. Accessing Coronado Island (though technically not an island) is a picturesque adventure: take the Coronado Ferry, cruise along the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, or mosey along the Silver Strand beach route. Locals and tourists flock to the area for seafood, European-style bistros, and a MooTaco on warm, breezy evenings.Read More
15 Restaurants to Try in Scenic Coronado
Venture out to Crown City to dig into these local favorites
Helmed by executive chef JoJo Ruiz, the anchor restaurant of the legendary Hotel Del Coronado spotlights local sustainable seafood. Open for dinner nightly, standout specialties at this Michelin-recognized restaurant include wood-grilled whole fish deboned tableside, and the Serea mezze, a hummus platter with whipped cheese, and house-made pita bread. Weekend seaside brunch features crab cakes and caviar benedict.
This Parisian-style bistro has become neighborhood favorite, winning Michelin Bib Gourmand recognition two years in a row. Executive chef Matt Sramek whips up favorites like crepes, cruffins, and smoked salmon tartines.
A staple for islanders since 2001, this beloved local spot is a cozy European café by day and a bistro by night, with regulars floating in and out all day long. Bakers show up daily at 4 a.m. to begin the pastry making. The ham and gruyere cheese quiche is soft and billowy and cheesecakes are best-sellers.
Owner Anthony Pascale is committed to concocting creative twists to sashimi with the daily catch he purchases right off the docks to shore up his progressive Japanese menu. Check out the chalkboard menus for the chef’s sashimi specials to pair with Japanese sake flights.
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Clayton's Coffee Shop
The retro American diner has been an island staple since 1938. Owner Mary Frese has added Southern favorites from her native Tennessee, like chicken and waffles and biscuits and gravy. The spicy sausage patty and good ole’ eggs and toast are other popular dishes, especially among the military personnel stationed in Coronado in search of made-from-scratch, comfort food.
Head to this 1950s-inspired parlor on Orange Avenue and cool down with a waffle cone filled with hand-crafted ice cream that’s made with 16 percent butterfat to give the dessert a creamy richness. MooTacos are popular, along with ice cream flavors like Banana Nutella and Island Crunch made with chocolate, chipped chocolate pieces, and coconut.
Garage Buona Forchetta
Housed in a former mechanic’s garage built in 1904, Garage Buona Forchetta pays homage to the history of the venue with an Italian twist. Ask for the specials, like seafood cioppino teeming with mussels, octopi, clams, and fish. Traditional Neopolitan pizza is made to order in their wood-fired oven and they have gluten-free and vegan options as well.
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The chic, modern restaurant with French-inspired décor is part of the Fox Restaurant Concepts group that also operates Flower Child and Olive & Ivy. You’ll find healthy salads, like sprouts and squash, along with plates of pasta and frozen cocktails.
Il Fornaio Coronado
Perfect for people watching against the backdrop of the city skyline, Il Fornaio Coronado sits near the Coronado Ferry Terminal. Grab a seat on the patio in the Tuscan-style restaurant and try the paccheri alla vodka, house-made tubular pasta with a scrumptious vodka tomato sauce, or Pizza Cristina with Italian prosciutto, mushrooms, and white truffle oil.
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The namesake family-owned Mexican restaurant has roots in Puerto Vallarta where the first Serrano’s Restaurant opened. Try all four house-made salsas: roasted tomato, cilantro mayo, Japanese chili, and spicy serrano pepper. A must-try is the cochinita taco, a slow-roasted pork taco that takes over 36 hours to make using a secret family recipe.
Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill
Built as a miniature prototype of the Hotel Del Coronado across the street, this quaint harbor restaurant sits on stilts on Glorietta Bay. Ask to visit the crow’s nest at the top for sweeping 360-degree views of Coronado. Most of the fish is caught with the restaurant’s two dedicated vessels; don’t miss the smoky New England clam chowder and the chipotle-blackened swordfish.
Smokehouse & Bar at the Historic Laundry
Recently opened in July 2023, the latest culinary addition to the Del is located in the hotel’s historic laundry building. The on-site smoker serves up specialties like pork ribs, house cheese curds, and smoked queso dip that accompanies the giant pretzel. Sip on Prohibition-era cocktails such as the Dirty Laundry, made with scotch, amaretto, and coffee beans.
Located on bustling Orange Avenue, the casual tiki-themed bar features Hawaiian-Mexican fusion dishes like Kahlua pig and guacamole tacos and robust cocktail menu of tropical drinks made with house syrups. The pog cheesecake with guava and passionfruit is a must-try, along with treats from the newly launched Dinky Donut Shack.
Clayton's Bakery & Bistro
The adorable French-themed restaurant from the Coronado-based Clayton’s family of restaurants offers all-day brunch dishes like croque madame and warm beignets. They also have a full bakery serving croissants, bagels, and doughnut holes.
The traditional Italian restaurant features chef Giorgio Corletti’s family recipes incorporated with the kitchen experience he picked up in Michelin-starred restaurants in Rome. You can also choose your own adventure with fresh pasta dishes with add-ons like crispy prosciutto. Pair with a kiwi spritz and cap off the meal with a Nado gelato from next door.