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The Pioneer BBQ/Facebook

Where to Eat in La Mesa

This not-so-sleepy suburb offers everything from Himalayan food to barbecue

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Located just nine miles east of downtown San Diego, La Mesa is developing its own distinct dining scene. From within its city limits, diners can feast on Himalayan cuisine, dig into barbecued brisket or grab a tasty sandwich from a liquor store. Whether you’re an area resident or looking to find a new-to-you eating spot, check out these 14 restaurants in La Mesa as a starting point to discovery.

Disclaimer: This map should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still COVID-19 safety concerns: For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the California Department of Health. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Cheers Deli & Liquor

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6983 Navajo Rd
San Diego, CA 92119
(619) 463-9991
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Don’t bypass this deli and liquor store combo because the fresh made sandwiches are a favorite of locals to grab a bite. There are the usual options like Italian submarines and meatball subs but pause to study the extensive menu for hidden gems like the Greek chicken. It’s a hot sandwich featuring marinated chicken, provolone and feta cheeses, black olives, cucumbers and garlic on a French roll.

Chainsaw sandwich
Darlene Alilain-Horn

2. The Pioneer

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8622 Lake Murray Blvd
San Diego, CA 92119
(619) 825-7787
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Owners Willie DePascale and Chef Hanis Cavin knew what they were doing when they opened this restaurant back in 2018. Specializing in all things BBQ including smoked meats, burgers, and a variety of sides, this Lake Murray venue is the go-to place for residents to hang out and grab some grub. Don’t miss out on the Best Mac & Cheese featuring smoked gouda, white cheddar, Swiss, parmesan and cheddar panko crust with an option to add a BBQ meat of your choice.

The Pioneer BBQ/Facebook

3. Signature Thai Cusine - Thai Food Restaurant La Mesa

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6185 Lake Murray Blvd
La Mesa, CA 91942
(619) 825-7559
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La Mesa has a great spot for authentic Thai cuisine on Lake Murray Boulevard. Some menu standouts include popular dishes like drunken noodles and green curry, plus addictive specialities like pad prik Thai dum, a soft shell crab sautéed in garlic and black pepper sauce.

Signature Thai/Facebook

4. Brew Coffee Spot

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6101 Lake Murray Blvd
La Mesa, CA 91942
(619) 713-6698
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This La Mesa spot is a popular venue for meet ups and getting some work done. Since the pandemic the business has continued to support the community by hosting markets and live music nights in its parking lot. Community involvement aside, head in for coffee creations like Barista Ben’s Latte, a mojito in coffee form with hints of vanilla in each sip. The Brew Coffee Spot also sells coffee beans sourced from around the globe.

Brew Coffee Spot/Facebook

5. Banbu Sushi Bar & Grill

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8555 Fletcher Pkwy #106
La Mesa, CA 91942
(619) 589-0071
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Go here for gorgeously plated sushi and other Japanese dishes that mirror the restaurant’s chic furnishings. With its spacious outdoor dining options, it’s also been a popular spot during the pandemic. Standout rolls to try include The Ultimate Hamachi Roll and Poke Crisp.

Bambu Sushi Bar & Grill/Facebook

6. Bánh Mì Babe

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5854 Montezuma Rd
San Diego, CA 92115
(619) 269-0660
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This newish spot is closer to the College Area but worth the drive for its inventive Vietnamese dishes and refreshing beverages. Those looking for something outside of the usual banh mi should order the Dip Mi Babe, your choice of any sandwich (like the filet mignon banh mi) but with the restaurant’s special broth for dipping.

Banh Mi Babe/Facebook

7. Himalayan Cuisine

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7918 El Cajon Blvd P
La Mesa, CA 91942
(619) 461-2503
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The local dining scene offers unique global flavors including this restaurant serving a mix of Indian, Nepalese and Himalayan cuisine. The menu features familiar dishes like vegetable samosas, chicken tikka masala and saag aloo, as well as lesser known ones such as Himalayan balti, a chicken and lamb dish cooked in a savory tomato sauce.

Chicken chili
Himalayan Cuisine/Facebook

8. La Mesa Bistro & Bakery

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8697 La Mesa Blvd
La Mesa, CA 91942
(619) 589-0806
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This La Mesa institution is always packed on the weekends for brunch and is also a popular lunch destination because of its hearty portions. The extensive menu specializes in American classics plus specials like the açai pancakes or Baja shrimp omelette.

Ultimate veggie omelette
La Mesa Bistro & Bakery/Facebook

9. Terra American Bistro

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7091 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92115
(619) 293-7088
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Owner and executive chef Jeff Rossman’s spot is one of San Diego’s first farm-to-table restaurants and since moving from Hillcrest to its location on El Cajon Boulevard, it’s been a popular area mainstay. The menu is labeled New American meaning you can find influences from all over, like their Nashville hot chicken sandwich and stuffed pork chops with chicken chorizo to bowls with Asian ingredients.

Terra American Bistro/Facebook

10. BO-beau kitchen + garden

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8384 La Mesa Blvd
La Mesa, CA 91942
(619) 337-3445
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File this restaurant under date night options or places to impress because its industrial-chic interiors softened with lots of natural lighting is a stunner. The menu is California-French featuring everything from trout amandine to fig flatbread.

Fig flatbread
BO-beau kitchen + garden/Facebook

11. Surf Rider Pizza Co.

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8381 La Mesa Blvd
La Mesa, CA 91942
(619) 340-1270
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This La Mesa pizzeria touts 18-inch East Coast-style pies as well as cheesesteaks and strombolis. All pies like the signature Surf Rider Pizza with roasted garlic, white sauce, gorgonzola cheese, roma tomatoes and basil, are sold whole or by the slice.

Surf Rider Pizza Co./Facebook

12. City Tacos

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8325 La Mesa Blvd
La Mesa, CA 91942
(619) 467-7999
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North Park’s popular City Tacos found a home in La Mesa and it’s just as popular as the original location. Choose from traditional tacos like pollo asado, carnitas and carne asada or venture into more unique creations like the Mexicali taco featuring grilled arrachero, onions, poblanos, asarado cheese and mashed potatoes.

City Tacos/Facebook

13. Farmer's Table La Mesa

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8141 La Mesa Blvd
La Mesa, CA 91942
(619) 724-6465
Visit Website

When Farmer’s Table splashed onto the La Mesa scene in 2017, it marked the area as an up-and-coming dining destination. To this day, Farmer’s Table remains just as popular with residents for its woodfired pizzas and Italian-American dishes using locally sourced ingredients.

Lamb shank
Farmer’s Table La Mesa/Facebook

14. Carnitas Uruapan Mexican Food

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4233 Spring St
La Mesa, CA 91941
(619) 337-2448
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This family-owned-and-operated spot not only offers carnitas but also birria, beef and chicken served in enchiladas, tacos and burritos. Do what the regulars do and order the carnitas— they’re sold by weight and served with rice, beans and tortillas.

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1. Cheers Deli & Liquor

6983 Navajo Rd, San Diego, CA 92119
Chainsaw sandwich
Darlene Alilain-Horn

Don’t bypass this deli and liquor store combo because the fresh made sandwiches are a favorite of locals to grab a bite. There are the usual options like Italian submarines and meatball subs but pause to study the extensive menu for hidden gems like the Greek chicken. It’s a hot sandwich featuring marinated chicken, provolone and feta cheeses, black olives, cucumbers and garlic on a French roll.

6983 Navajo Rd
San Diego, CA 92119

2. The Pioneer

8622 Lake Murray Blvd, San Diego, CA 92119
The Pioneer BBQ/Facebook

Owners Willie DePascale and Chef Hanis Cavin knew what they were doing when they opened this restaurant back in 2018. Specializing in all things BBQ including smoked meats, burgers, and a variety of sides, this Lake Murray venue is the go-to place for residents to hang out and grab some grub. Don’t miss out on the Best Mac & Cheese featuring smoked gouda, white cheddar, Swiss, parmesan and cheddar panko crust with an option to add a BBQ meat of your choice.

8622 Lake Murray Blvd
San Diego, CA 92119

3. Signature Thai Cusine - Thai Food Restaurant La Mesa

6185 Lake Murray Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942
Signature Thai/Facebook

La Mesa has a great spot for authentic Thai cuisine on Lake Murray Boulevard. Some menu standouts include popular dishes like drunken noodles and green curry, plus addictive specialities like pad prik Thai dum, a soft shell crab sautéed in garlic and black pepper sauce.

6185 Lake Murray Blvd
La Mesa, CA 91942

4. Brew Coffee Spot

6101 Lake Murray Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942
Brew Coffee Spot/Facebook

This La Mesa spot is a popular venue for meet ups and getting some work done. Since the pandemic the business has continued to support the community by hosting markets and live music nights in its parking lot. Community involvement aside, head in for coffee creations like Barista Ben’s Latte, a mojito in coffee form with hints of vanilla in each sip. The Brew Coffee Spot also sells coffee beans sourced from around the globe.

6101 Lake Murray Blvd
La Mesa, CA 91942

5. Banbu Sushi Bar & Grill

8555 Fletcher Pkwy #106, La Mesa, CA 91942
Bambu Sushi Bar & Grill/Facebook

Go here for gorgeously plated sushi and other Japanese dishes that mirror the restaurant’s chic furnishings. With its spacious outdoor dining options, it’s also been a popular spot during the pandemic. Standout rolls to try include The Ultimate Hamachi Roll and Poke Crisp.

8555 Fletcher Pkwy #106
La Mesa, CA 91942

6. Bánh Mì Babe

5854 Montezuma Rd, San Diego, CA 92115
Banh Mi Babe/Facebook

This newish spot is closer to the College Area but worth the drive for its inventive Vietnamese dishes and refreshing beverages. Those looking for something outside of the usual banh mi should order the Dip Mi Babe, your choice of any sandwich (like the filet mignon banh mi) but with the restaurant’s special broth for dipping.

5854 Montezuma Rd
San Diego, CA 92115

7. Himalayan Cuisine

7918 El Cajon Blvd P, La Mesa, CA 91942
Chicken chili
Himalayan Cuisine/Facebook

The local dining scene offers unique global flavors including this restaurant serving a mix of Indian, Nepalese and Himalayan cuisine. The menu features familiar dishes like vegetable samosas, chicken tikka masala and saag aloo, as well as lesser known ones such as Himalayan balti, a chicken and lamb dish cooked in a savory tomato sauce.

7918 El Cajon Blvd P
La Mesa, CA 91942

8. La Mesa Bistro & Bakery

8697 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942
Ultimate veggie omelette
La Mesa Bistro & Bakery/Facebook

This La Mesa institution is always packed on the weekends for brunch and is also a popular lunch destination because of its hearty portions. The extensive menu specializes in American classics plus specials like the açai pancakes or Baja shrimp omelette.

8697 La Mesa Blvd
La Mesa, CA 91942

9. Terra American Bistro

7091 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115
Terra American Bistro/Facebook

Owner and executive chef Jeff Rossman’s spot is one of San Diego’s first farm-to-table restaurants and since moving from Hillcrest to its location on El Cajon Boulevard, it’s been a popular area mainstay. The menu is labeled New American meaning you can find influences from all over, like their Nashville hot chicken sandwich and stuffed pork chops with chicken chorizo to bowls with Asian ingredients.

7091 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92115

10. BO-beau kitchen + garden

8384 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942
Fig flatbread
BO-beau kitchen + garden/Facebook

File this restaurant under date night options or places to impress because its industrial-chic interiors softened with lots of natural lighting is a stunner. The menu is California-French featuring everything from trout amandine to fig flatbread.

8384 La Mesa Blvd
La Mesa, CA 91942

11. Surf Rider Pizza Co.

8381 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942
Surf Rider Pizza Co./Facebook

This La Mesa pizzeria touts 18-inch East Coast-style pies as well as cheesesteaks and strombolis. All pies like the signature Surf Rider Pizza with roasted garlic, white sauce, gorgonzola cheese, roma tomatoes and basil, are sold whole or by the slice.

8381 La Mesa Blvd
La Mesa, CA 91942

12. City Tacos

8325 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942
City Tacos/Facebook

North Park’s popular City Tacos found a home in La Mesa and it’s just as popular as the original location. Choose from traditional tacos like pollo asado, carnitas and carne asada or venture into more unique creations like the Mexicali taco featuring grilled arrachero, onions, poblanos, asarado cheese and mashed potatoes.

8325 La Mesa Blvd
La Mesa, CA 91942

13. Farmer's Table La Mesa

8141 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942
Lamb shank
Farmer’s Table La Mesa/Facebook

When Farmer’s Table splashed onto the La Mesa scene in 2017, it marked the area as an up-and-coming dining destination. To this day, Farmer’s Table remains just as popular with residents for its woodfired pizzas and Italian-American dishes using locally sourced ingredients.

8141 La Mesa Blvd
La Mesa, CA 91942

14. Carnitas Uruapan Mexican Food

4233 Spring St, La Mesa, CA 91941

This family-owned-and-operated spot not only offers carnitas but also birria, beef and chicken served in enchiladas, tacos and burritos. Do what the regulars do and order the carnitas— they’re sold by weight and served with rice, beans and tortillas.

4233 Spring St
La Mesa, CA 91941

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