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Official Image [Mal Al Sham]

Where to Eat in El Cajon

This inner suburb is known for its wide range of Middle Eastern cuisine

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The East County city of El Cajon, located just 17 miles from downtown San Diego, offers a large variety of dining options, from classic breakfast spots to barbecue and Italian fare, but the area has become particularly known for its family-run Middle Eastern restaurants that serve as a gateway to the wonders of Lebanese, Syrian, and Iraqi cuisine.

Points on this map are arranged from north to south. Know of any great restaurants to check out in the El Cajon area? Send us a tip.

A number of San Diego restaurants have resumed outdoor dining. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit San Diego’s coronavirus tracker. 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. Breakfast House

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1464 Graves Ave
El Cajon, CA 92021
(619) 401-1133
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The speciality is right in the name: Breakfast House has amazing breakfast and lunch dishes — from crusted french toast and omelettes in the morning, to burgers and sandwiches in the afternoon.

Official Image [Breakfast House]

2. Mamma Rosa Italian Restaurant

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1773 E Main St
El Cajon, CA 92021
(619) 442-0231
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Mamma Rosa’s has been serving authentic Italian food to El Cajon residents and visitors since the early ’80s. Their menu includes speciality dishes like chicken cacciatore, as well as pasta, pizza, and sandwiches. And don’t forget to order a side of garlic bread.

Official Image [Mamma Rosa Italian Restaurant Instagram]

3. Janet's Cafe

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1696 Greenfield Dr
El Cajon, CA 92021
(619) 440-8599
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Operating since 1994, Janet’s Cafe offers delicious American food, open from 6:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. every day. Delicious breakfast options range from omelettes to huevos rancheros, while their waffles and french toast will satisfy any sweet tooth.

Official Image [Janet’s Cafe Instagram]

4. El Cajon Bistro & Bakery

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109 Jamacha Road
El Cajon, CA 92019
(619) 590-0278
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This El Cajon eatery has a wide range of menu offerings that will make choosing this place easy when your group can’t decide on a restaurant. Notable dishes include the Hawaiian burger, a calamari wrap, tequila chicken fajitas, meatloaf, and a reuben burger.

Official Image [El Cajon Bistro & Bakery]

5. URBN El Cajon

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110 N Magnolia Ave
El Cajon, CA 92020
(619) 328-6922
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A crispy Brussels sprout appetizer and craft pizzas stand out on this simple yet delicious menu.

Official Image [URBN El Cajon]

6. Mal Al Sham

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388 E Main St
El Cajon, CA 92020
(619) 401-1055
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For delicious Mediterranean food, look no further than Mal Al Sham. The menu offers shawarma, kibbeh, and pleeeenty of hummus.

Official Image [Mal Al Sham]

7. Downtown Cafe

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182 E Main St
El Cajon, CA 92020
(619) 440-5687
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Satisfying bar food is to be had to Downtown Cafe. From quesadillas and mozzarella sticks to burgers, sandwiches, and tacos, this place has it all.

Official Image [Downtown Cafe]

8. Por Favor El Cajon

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148 E Main St
El Cajon, CA 92020
(619) 440-8228
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A generous margarita and cocktail menu at Por Favor will keep diners happy throughout their whole meal. House margaritas conveniently come in three sizes, so you can easily decide how much you want to drink.

Official Image [Por Favor El Cajon]

9. Nahrain Fish & Chicken Grill

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1183 E Main St Suite A
El Cajon, CA 92021
(619) 334-3222
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This quaint Iraqi restaurant serves up serious flavor with notable fish and chicken dishes. Try the masgouf — the national dish of Iraq — for an authentic Middle Eastern experience.

Official Image [Nahrain Fish & Chicken Grill Facebook]

10. Ali Baba Family Restaurant

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421 E Main St
El Cajon, CA 92020
(619) 442-3622
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Ali Baba has been serving delicious halal food to El Cajon since 2002. And it is seriously loved — the restaurant boasts a 4.3-star rating with over 1,000 reviews.

Official Image [Ali Baba Facebook]

11. Sagmani's Restaurant

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478 W Douglas Ave
El Cajon, CA 92020
(619) 440-0077

For delicious hummus and kabobs, Sagmani’s has you covered with authentic Iraqi food.

Official Image [Sagmani’s Restaurant Instagram]

12. Crafted Greens

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745 Jamacha Road
El Cajon, CA 92019
(619) 328-4044
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According to their website, Crafted Greens is “dedicated to bringing you the best ingredients sourced from credible, local farms.” Their beet and goat cheese salad is particularly enticing.

Official Image [Crafted Greens]

13. The Wrangler Family Barbecue

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901 El Cajon Blvd
El Cajon, CA 92020
(619) 442-1170
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Texas-style barbecue is always an easy choice for meat lovers. Wrangler Family Barbecue offers delicious sides — from french fries to baked beans to macaroni salad — and truly delicious pit barbecue. Beef, ham, and ribs are on the menu.

Official Image [Wrangler Family BBQ Facebook]

14. Sahara Taste of the Middle East

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2990 Jamacha Road
El Cajon, CA 92019
(619) 660-9990
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Shawarma, kabobs, falafel, tabbouleh, and hummus can all be found on this extensive Middle Eastern menu.

Official Image [Sahara]

1. Breakfast House

1464 Graves Ave, El Cajon, CA 92021
Official Image [Breakfast House]

The speciality is right in the name: Breakfast House has amazing breakfast and lunch dishes — from crusted french toast and omelettes in the morning, to burgers and sandwiches in the afternoon.

1464 Graves Ave
El Cajon, CA 92021

2. Mamma Rosa Italian Restaurant

1773 E Main St, El Cajon, CA 92021
Official Image [Mamma Rosa Italian Restaurant Instagram]

Mamma Rosa’s has been serving authentic Italian food to El Cajon residents and visitors since the early ’80s. Their menu includes speciality dishes like chicken cacciatore, as well as pasta, pizza, and sandwiches. And don’t forget to order a side of garlic bread.

1773 E Main St
El Cajon, CA 92021

3. Janet's Cafe

1696 Greenfield Dr, El Cajon, CA 92021
Official Image [Janet’s Cafe Instagram]

Operating since 1994, Janet’s Cafe offers delicious American food, open from 6:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. every day. Delicious breakfast options range from omelettes to huevos rancheros, while their waffles and french toast will satisfy any sweet tooth.

1696 Greenfield Dr
El Cajon, CA 92021

4. El Cajon Bistro & Bakery

109 Jamacha Road, El Cajon, CA 92019
Official Image [El Cajon Bistro & Bakery]

This El Cajon eatery has a wide range of menu offerings that will make choosing this place easy when your group can’t decide on a restaurant. Notable dishes include the Hawaiian burger, a calamari wrap, tequila chicken fajitas, meatloaf, and a reuben burger.

109 Jamacha Road
El Cajon, CA 92019

5. URBN El Cajon

110 N Magnolia Ave, El Cajon, CA 92020
Official Image [URBN El Cajon]

A crispy Brussels sprout appetizer and craft pizzas stand out on this simple yet delicious menu.

110 N Magnolia Ave
El Cajon, CA 92020

6. Mal Al Sham

388 E Main St, El Cajon, CA 92020
Official Image [Mal Al Sham]

For delicious Mediterranean food, look no further than Mal Al Sham. The menu offers shawarma, kibbeh, and pleeeenty of hummus.

388 E Main St
El Cajon, CA 92020

7. Downtown Cafe

182 E Main St, El Cajon, CA 92020
Official Image [Downtown Cafe]

Satisfying bar food is to be had to Downtown Cafe. From quesadillas and mozzarella sticks to burgers, sandwiches, and tacos, this place has it all.

182 E Main St
El Cajon, CA 92020

8. Por Favor El Cajon

148 E Main St, El Cajon, CA 92020
Official Image [Por Favor El Cajon]

A generous margarita and cocktail menu at Por Favor will keep diners happy throughout their whole meal. House margaritas conveniently come in three sizes, so you can easily decide how much you want to drink.

148 E Main St
El Cajon, CA 92020

9. Nahrain Fish & Chicken Grill

1183 E Main St Suite A, El Cajon, CA 92021
Official Image [Nahrain Fish & Chicken Grill Facebook]

This quaint Iraqi restaurant serves up serious flavor with notable fish and chicken dishes. Try the masgouf — the national dish of Iraq — for an authentic Middle Eastern experience.

1183 E Main St Suite A
El Cajon, CA 92021

10. Ali Baba Family Restaurant

421 E Main St, El Cajon, CA 92020
Official Image [Ali Baba Facebook]

Ali Baba has been serving delicious halal food to El Cajon since 2002. And it is seriously loved — the restaurant boasts a 4.3-star rating with over 1,000 reviews.

421 E Main St
El Cajon, CA 92020

11. Sagmani's Restaurant

478 W Douglas Ave, El Cajon, CA 92020
Official Image [Sagmani’s Restaurant Instagram]

For delicious hummus and kabobs, Sagmani’s has you covered with authentic Iraqi food.

478 W Douglas Ave
El Cajon, CA 92020

12. Crafted Greens

745 Jamacha Road, El Cajon, CA 92019
Official Image [Crafted Greens]

According to their website, Crafted Greens is “dedicated to bringing you the best ingredients sourced from credible, local farms.” Their beet and goat cheese salad is particularly enticing.

745 Jamacha Road
El Cajon, CA 92019

13. The Wrangler Family Barbecue

901 El Cajon Blvd, El Cajon, CA 92020
Official Image [Wrangler Family BBQ Facebook]

Texas-style barbecue is always an easy choice for meat lovers. Wrangler Family Barbecue offers delicious sides — from french fries to baked beans to macaroni salad — and truly delicious pit barbecue. Beef, ham, and ribs are on the menu.

901 El Cajon Blvd
El Cajon, CA 92020

14. Sahara Taste of the Middle East

2990 Jamacha Road, El Cajon, CA 92019
Official Image [Sahara]

Shawarma, kabobs, falafel, tabbouleh, and hummus can all be found on this extensive Middle Eastern menu.

2990 Jamacha Road
El Cajon, CA 92019

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