Last week, Kevin and I attended a wedding in San Diego, Los Angeles’ cooler, more attractive cousin. But due to our work schedules, we only had 24 hours to enjoy this awesome city. It was then that we decided to make a guide so you can eat your way through San Diego in 24 hours.
So as we cruised down the I-5 during rush hour traffic and tossed around Ron Burgundy quotes, I mapped out a foodie plan for our brief journey. I relied on members of the travel blogging community to show me the best of the best of San Diego’s cuisine and they did not disappoint!
9:00 pm – Sushi Ota
Despite the car-dealership and freeway adjacent location, Sushi Ota is the best sushi I’ve ever had. As a novice sushi lover, I’m a big fan of flashy and unique rolls. This was not the place for that kind of sushi. Here, you receive quality and savory fish served the way it was meant to be enjoyed. Prepared in a classic California roll or spicy tuna roll, this is the freshest fish I’ve ever had, each flavor complimenting one another. For $50, you can get the best sashimi in SoCal that will ever enter your mouth. The most interesting roll (and in my opinion, most delicious) was the Pizza Roll, which is the amazingness you see pictured above.
*Tips: Make reservations a few days in advance! We made ours 24 hours ahead of time and still received the last reservation of the evening. And while there is no actual dress code, it’s a fairly fancy-esque establishment.
10:00 pm – Chocolat Cremerie
Oh, gelato. My biggest weakness. My soulmate. My number one tummy-ache inducer. Instead of green tea ice cream at Sushi Ota, we wanted something with a bit more pizazz. Granted, 10 pm may not be the greatest time to find the best gelato in town. But passed the drunken frat boys and the late night pizza shops, Chocolat Cremerie provides a variety of delicious gelato right in the heart of the Gaslamp District. In addition to the many gelato flavors (we got pistachio, Nutella, salted caramel, and toffee crunch), there are plenty of delectable pastries available until 11 pm. If you’re looking to treat your late night sweet-tooth and do some serious people watching, this is the spot!
*Tips: Parking is a bitch in Gaslamp. Look for a parking garage and take a handy, dandy bike-cab to get there. If you’re staying in Gaslamp, it’s definitely worth a nice walk.
7:15 am – Donut Bar
Donut Bar was by far my favorite foodie spot in San Diego. Not just because I’m a sugar junkie looking for my next fix. And not just because boutique donuts are the new #eatingfortheinsta craze. These donuts were absolutely divine! Each unique flavor was made with quality ingredients leaving you ravenous for another bite. Flavors like French Eclair with Ferrero Rocher and Creme Brulee with an actual torched caramelized top as you casually enjoy a strawberry milk on draft! And that Homer Simpson D’oh-nut? IT WAS THE SIZE OF MY FACE!
*Tips: Arrive early! We waited in line for 45 minutes despite arriving at 7am when the store opens. Also, follow @donutbar on Instagram! They post their daily donut menu the day before so you can order online (which saves you the trouble of waiting in line).
12:30 pm – Las Cuatro Milpas
I admit, I’m probably the only Southern Californian that dislikes Mexican food. My friends and family think I’m a lunatic for not being a fan. Seriously, who couldn’t love flavorless beans with melted, gross cheese wrapped in a greasy and plain tortilla?! (I probably just pissed off quite a few readers with that one.) So it’s safe to say I’m not the best judge of quality Mexican food. Kevin, however, has quite a bit of history with Mexican food and this man was not a fan. “I mean it’s fine,” said my hungry fiancé after a 20 minute line, “but Tito’s Tacos in Los Angeles is much better.” While the locals and tourists find this to be the best Mexican food in the city, we were not impressed.
*Tips: Cash only! It’s not overly expensive, for a hole-in-the-wall, but they don’t accept credit cards. Also, be prepared for another line. This one is pretty quick, but locals claim it’s worth the wait.
5:00 pm – The Prado at Balboa Park
The wedding bells were ringing when we arrived (horribly late) at The Prado at Balboa Park. The ceremony was on the side of the cafe where several randos watched our friends say ‘I do.’ When the reception rolled around, I was greeted with the best wedding food I’ve ever tasted (and I’m not just saying that, Ryan and Lauren)! We were greeted with a light, summertime salad that was the perfect portion. For dinner, I had a beautiful salmon dish while my fiancé had braised short ribs with potatoes and carrots. The presentation along with the flavor was soo “uh-mazzzing”. I kept exclaiming how “uh-mazzzing” it was, although Kevin might blame the 7 glasses champagne for my chattiness. (Ohhhh, the hangover…)
*Tips: Another parking disaster. This might have been because there was also a carnival at the park in addition to the wedding. Try to get there an hour early so you can take a stroll around the Japanese garden or wander inside the museums before dinner.
Did I miss any great restaurants? Where should I go next time?