What to Eat and Drink In Old Town San Diego
As California’s oldest city, San Diego has a very rich and interesting past. Nowhere is this more evident than in Old Town, the site of the state’s earliest local settlements. Old Town is well-known for its authentic, lively and vibrant dining options, all of which have grown it into a major foodie hub. And while Old Town once largely focused on Mexican cuisine, its recently expanded to include sushi, a sports bar and even the world’s first cemetery-adjacent speakeasy. In light of that, here are some of our favorite places to get a taste of tradition in Old Town San Diego.
Perhaps one of the more popular Old Town restaurants, this spot has topped countless local “Best Of” lists. Once you’ve experienced it for yourself, it’s not hard to taste why. Everything on the menu is the definition of “fresh,” since each bite is made on-premises every day. In addition to the award-winning food, Café Coyote is also a great place to go for live entertainment, Margarita flights, and one of the best selections of Tequila and Mezcal in the state. Locals’ Tip Café Coyote makes fresh tortillas to order right in front of the restaurant and they’re a must-try!
2461 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110
Ask any local where to find amazing Mexican food in Old Town, and if they don’t recommend the aforementioned Café Coyote, they’ll almost certainly point you in the direction of OTMC. The famed “tortilla ladies” here make upwards of 7,000 fresh tortillas every day, and there’s not a thing on the menu that isn’t equal parts authentic and delicious. Do not pass up the carnitas, pozole, albondigas soup or overstuffed burritos.
2489 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110
Much like any restaurant in Old Town, there’s never a bad time to visit Tequila Factory. Still, no San Diegan would dispute that their champagne brunch is probably the best time to go. Served every Saturday and Sunday morning, the brunch includes a full menu of palate-pleasing south-of-the-border specialties. Additionally, guests can look forward to bottomless champagne and mimosas, and some truly delectable specialty desserts.
2467 Juan St, San Diego, CA 92110
Although Old Town is easily the undisputed best place to go for Mexican food in San Diego, there’s no shortage of other world cuisines available in the neighborhood as well. Jack & Giulio’s has been serving fresh-made Italian fare in the city since 1961, and their generous portions, rich flavors and friendly service have been the stuff of legend just as long. They also have a fantastic wine list that rivals any continental eatery in Little Italy.
2391 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110
The culturally diverse melting-pot ethic that defines Old Town (and San Diego as a whole) continues with this stellar Japanese establishment. As an outlet serving “Edomae”-style sushi in an intimate environment, Tadokoro offers an experience that’s as close to dining in Japan as you can get without stamping your passport. That’s especially due to the fact that much of the menu is flown in fresh from Japan daily, then prepared within hours.
2244 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110
After undertaking your food tour of Old Town, you’ll want to make a stop at Oculto 477 for an after-dinner apértif. Dovetailing with the increasingly-popular local speakeasy trend, this tucked-away tavern echoes the vibe of the Prohibition-era pubs of the past, as well as incorporating a somewhat spooky air borrowed from an adjacent cemetery. An upscale dress code is politely enforced here, so dress sharp when you plan your visit.
2414 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110
Need a great place to stay when making the rounds to all of these excellent Old Town eateries? Humphreys Half Moon Inn is the ideal rest stop. Our tropical resort-feel environment, marina views, excellent rates and stellar service all add up to a tasty trip. Take a look at our Special Offers page to select the San Diego travel package that’s right for you, and we’ll see you soon!