Recs in La Jolla area?

Hello! We will be staying for about a week near the end of May/beginning of June in La Jolla. Any recommendations for places to eat? We’re from NYC, love asian food, mexican food, huge dessert/boba person, not so big a fan of “classic american”/french type stuff (although i do like breakfast-y things!). Willing to drive a bit but not more than about 40min from La Jolla.

I’ve put together this list so far, thoughts are welcome! Obviously not trying to hit all of them so please let me know which are must-gos or if you have any to add/remove :slight_smile:


  • richard walkers
  • the cottage
  • sugar and scribe bakery
  • shorehouse kitchen


  • Din Tai Fung
  • Himitsu
  • Nine-Ten
  • oscar’s mexican seafood
  • Catania
  • Puesto
  • Galaxy taco
  • taco stand
  • don carlos taco shop
  • duke’s
  • burger lounge
  • herringbone
  • whisknladle


  • boba bar and desserts
  • happy lemon san diego
  • Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

Things to do

  • birch aquarium
  • seaworld
  • la jolla shores beach
  • la jolla cove beach
  • san diego zoo / safari park

I’m a huge fan of Extraordinary Desserts in Little Italy in downtown San Diego. In addition to the lovely and gilded desserts, they make a mean cafe sua da/Vietnamese coffee gelato. We usually stay nearby and walk there for dessert every night.
I also like casual Mexican places in SD. My favorite being Cotixan for their rolled tacos (from what I understand SD folks don’t use the word “taquito”). The rolled tacos come in chicken or beef and are smothered with guacamole and shredded cheese. I can probably eat two orders and not blink an eye.
Also it’s been reported that the Mariscos German truck has very good fish tacos. I bet that’s something you can’t find in NYC.
Side note, if you enjoy a good hike, I love Torrey Pines. It’s not too hard and the views are gorgeous. Parking is tough on high traffic days (weekends and holidays).


It’s been years since I tried to go there, but Brockton Villa off Prospect in La Jolla has a great view to go with your breakfast.

Masala Street - get the popcorn prawns and any of the lamb dishes

El Pescador Fish Market - go here instead of Oscar’s.

Cheese shop
Wayfarer bread and pastry
85 degrees (UTC, after Din Tai Fung)
Raised by Wolves (bar at UTC)
Draft Republic (for drinks)
Georges at the Cove
Galaxy tacos
Oscars (Dangerous to disagree with Ipsedixit but I like Oscars, El Pescador is also very good)
Mendocino Farms
Snooze (Carmel valley/Del Mar)
Urban plates
K sandwiches
Supernatural sandwiches
Asian food (look up posts for Kearny Mesa/Convoy area which isn’t that far from La Jolla)

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Extraordinary Desserts sounds right up my alley :slight_smile: Thanks for the rec, adding it to my list!!
Both the Mexican spots sound great too!

Oh wow those are some gorgeous views, thanks for the rec.

The little chairs at Masala Street look precious lol. Thanks for the rec and for El Pescador, will add to the list!

Ooh wow, thanks for all the recs!! Yup we have innout on the list implicitly, I used to live in CA so I crave it often haha. Will look for Kearny/Convoy stuff as well, thanks!

Within a 40 minute drive of La Jolla? You could be in Mexico by then :upside_down_face:

Skip Richard Walker’s and sub in either Harry’s Cafe or Isabel Cantina in Pacific Beach.

Check to see if The Marine Room is doing high tide breakfast while you’re here. The Marine Room is built right on the beach and when we have the highest tides of the year (about 4 times a year) they do a breakfast brunch where the incoming waves are breaking against the restaurant windows. The food is decent, but the setting is fun. The Marine Room is also a good happy hour choice for cocktails and apps, best view location in La Jolla.

I find the tacos at Galaxy Taco underwhelming, BUT…their cocktails, apps and entrees are really quite good.

Kaito Sushi (and Omakase) in Encinitas
Sushi Ota in Pacific Beach
The Fishery in Pacific Beach
Blue Water Grill in Midtown or Ocean Beach (lunch)
Eclipse Chocolate in South Park for breakfast and dessert

Polite Provisions for cocktails and Soda & Swine nextdoor for snacks in Normal Heights
Cantina Mayahuel for all things mezcal + a little tequila + a few tacos and some really good mole, in Normal Heights across the street from Polite Provisions

The best Mexican is probably at Super Cocina in City Heights. It’s a hole in the wall serving comida casera, homestyle cooking. Don’t be put off by the steam table, a lot of what’s on offer are soupy/stewy things that benefit from the moist heat and don’t deteriorate. They will give you a taste of whatever you want before you decide what to order.

Other things to do…
The Wild Animal Park in Escondido
Liberty Station in Point Loma
Balboa Park, there’s more to it than just the zoo :wink:
The ships on the Embarcadero…Maritime Museum + the Midway
Perhaps Belmont Park

Oh my god Super Cocina looks b o m b. Will definitely check it out. Thanks for the recs!

couple of simple notes if you want something without leaving La Jolla:

Wayfarer for breakfast (pastries and such)

you have Taco Stand on your list, get the adobada tacos. I like Galaxy Taco also, but I think Taco bar gives a better example of taco shop style setting with better quality tacos.

Whisknladle is one of my favorites in LJ that won’t break the bank.

If you are willing to drove 15mins or so, take 52 east out of LJ to Convoy Street, tons of good Asian restaurants.

It is, but just be aware that it’s best for breakfast or lunch. It’s only a few miles from the Zoo, so you could either stop there for breakfast before you go to the zoo, or a late lunch if you want to go after the zoo. I really wouldn’t go much after around 2:00ish as they run out of stuff and the later you go in the afternoon the more the steamtable takes it’s toll. It’s certainly not fancy, but it is pretty good.

The place I want to return to most in San Diego is Pomegranate. Their sister restaurant Kafe Sobaka closed but the food’s very similar.

Best meal I had in La Jolla proper was at George’s. Kind of safe for my taste but very good. Prepkitchen was good. So was Whisknladle.

Bird Rock Fine Wine is a good wine shop.

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+1 on all these places
Extraordinary Desserts terrible really awful parking
Wayfarer bread
Mendocino Farms
Snooze - go early on the weekend
Bird Rock coffee - our go to coffee in SD

Some places not mentioned
Sidecar Donuts - Del Mar
Crack Shack - fried chicken a couple of locations

If you drink beers
Modern Times - call ahead for good BBQ at Phil’s BBQ and go to the Greenwood location
Pure Project - small but quaint tasting room
Pizza Port - several locations with good pizza

Are you going to be traveling with kids? I’ve been to every place on your list with my kids at various ages from 3 to 7.
Birch Aquarium is not very big. We only spent like 45 minutes to an hour. Nice but not much to see.
We prefer the Zoo over the Safari Park. Both will require a lot of walking so wear comfortable shoes. The main reason we prefer the zoo is you’ll be able to see many more animals and exhibits. The Safari Park is spread out with much fewer animals.

Great tip, thanks!

I don’t think I’ve ever had Georgian food - looks interesting. thanks!

Thanks for the tips! We don’t have kids but good to know anyway :slight_smile:

Some really great suggestions here. I whole-heartedly second several: Extraordinary Desserts, Wayfarer (almond croissant), Nine-Ten, Din Tai Fung, K Sandwiches, and Super Cocina (carnitas & stews). My personal favorite Mexican is a bit North in Solana Beach–Tony’s Jacal from 1940’s (turkey tacos & guacamole) For ice cream, try Boboi Gelato in La Jolla or Salt & Straw in Little Italy. For old school fried seafood, try Anthony’s in La Mesa on a beautiful little pond.

Oooh I’ve been wanting to try salt and straw! Thanks!

Enjoy your visit!

@jntcho CA ice-cream scene is very strong!!!

Personally I’m thrilled about the rebirth of ice cream. About 10 years ago it seemed like all the ice cream shops were disappearing and being replaced by frozen yoghurt. I LOVE ice cream and was truly saddened by the trend. BTW there’s an ice cream event coming to SD (North Park) called Scoops this month.

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