Dine Your Way Through Downtown San Diego

While it’s true that San Diego is well-known for amazing fish tacos and an unparalleled craft beer scene, each of the city’s neighborhoods offers truly unique culinary cuisine. In this guide, we’ll dine the heart of through Downtown San Diego — known for the historic Gaslamp District, Petco Park’s East Village, and surrounding neighborhoods. Here, you’ll find everything from upscale fine-dining, authentic Tijuana tacos and multiple Michelin-rated restaurants. Hope you’re hungry! 


Making Your Way Downtown

If you’re visiting downtown from Humphreys Half Moon Inn here on Shelter Island, you’re likely to pass through the surrounding Little Italy or Embarcadero neighborhoods. And we’d be doing you a disservice to exclude these must-try spots along your way.


Nolita Hall (4.3 miles)

(Photo: @nolitahall)

Nolita Hall is not only the city’s most stylish beer hall, but also a culinary destination that offers elevated fine dining. This expansive Little Italy locale features vaulted ceilings, elegant chandeliers, and a contemporary design aesthetic. Enjoy a delectable menu of artisanal pizzas, shared plates, and craft cocktails while soaking in the chic and vibrant atmosphere. The combination of fantastic food, curated beverages, and modern ambiance makes Nolita Hall a must-visit spot on your restaurant tour of San Diego.

2305 India St, San Diego, CA 92101


Born and Raised (4.5 miles)

(Photo: @bornandraisedstk)

Beef is the big star at this majestic Little Italy meatery, with a selection of prime, dry-aged cuts making up the majority of the menu. Born and Raised steakhouse is famous for their attentive (but never intrusive) tableside service, striking décor, and some of the most incredible, melt-in-your-mouth cuts of meat available anywhere. The cocktail program is also one of the best in the city, with a beverage to tantalize every palate. You can’t go wrong here.

1909 India St, San Diego, CA 92101


Portside Pier (4.5 miles)

(Photo: @topsailportsidepier)

Portside Pier is a recently built dining destination in the Embarcadero area. You’ll be spoiled for choice here thanks to a collection of restaurants, elevated viewing decks, and 360-degree panoramic waterfront views. Whether you’re enjoying traditional Mexican at Miguel’s Cocina, handcrafted cocktails at Topsail, or a little after-dinner sweetness at Portside Coffee & Gelato, you can feast your eyes on awe-inspiring views of the Embarcadero right outside the window.    

1360 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101


Downtown San Diego and East Village

Prince St. Pizza (5.8 miles)

(Photo: @psp_sandiego)

Make no mistake: San Diego has become a real pizza hub in the last few years. That’s thanks in no small part to pie meccas from the nation’s other pizza capitals making forays into our SoCal paradise. One of the biggest? Prince St. Pizza, a longtime New York City stalwart that figured we could use some Big Apple love in pie form. And they really brought their A-game. When you go, don’t miss sampling the Spicy Spring, a masterpiece of a slice featuring Fra Diavolo sauce, fresh mozzarella, spicy pepperoni, genuine Pecorino Romano. Mangia!

415 S Market St, San Diego, CA 92101


Bang Bang (5.8 miles)

(Photo: @bangbangsd)

Located in the heart of Gaslamp District, Bang Bang is a sushi restaurant that also doubles as one of San Diego’s best nightclubs. A fun and lively option for an exciting night out, this location features three separate “concepts” in one. One part Asian fusion restaurant, one part sushi bar (known for creative options like their Hello Kitty or Bruce Lee rolls) and one part nightclub — hosting live DJs, movies and the largest disco ball on the west coast. Famous for its Ryan Gosling-themed bathroom, this is definitely a destination for a girls’ night out or special celebration!

526 Market Street, San Diego, CA 92101


Lola 55 (6.1 miles away)

(Photo: @lola55_sandiego)

We’re firm believers that all tacos are good tacos, but some are simply a cut above. Lola 55 doesn’t just make an amazing taco, they make a taco good enough to show up on the Michelin Guide. In addition to serving stellar examples of classics like smoked carnitas and al pastor pork, Lola 55 adds in some non-traditional (but no less delicious) choices such as squash blossom, mushroom, and cauliflower (with tacos starting at less than $5 per plate). Don’t forget to save room for dessert, to try their homemade dark chocolate molé and horchata ice creams.

1290 F St. San Diego, CA 92101


Tacos El Gordo (6.2 miles)

(Photo: @tacoselgordo_)

If you’ve ever been to Mexico and tried a street taco, you’ve likely been on the hunt for those flavors here. We’ve got you covered! Born in Tijuana and perfected in Chula Vista, Tacos El Gordo is the stuff of local legend. This is truly as authentic as authentic gets. Popular favorites like spicy chorizo and carne asada share menu space with traditional cuts such as cabeza, buche, tripa, and lengua. When you go, be sure not to pass up the perfectly spiced adobada pork — by far the most popular item. And even though the topped fries may be a surprise, they’re also surprisingly delicious. Tacos El Gordo is Open until 2 am most nights (and 4 am on weekends), so it’s the perfect stop after an evening of enjoying downtown’s nightlife.

511 F St, San Diego, CA 92101


Callie (7.2 miles)

(Photo: @callierestaurant)

Looking for a dining option that’s both trendy and upscale? The award-winning, Michelin rated Callie’s fresh Mediterranean-by-way-of-California menu has made them a fast favorite. Chef Travis Sikward developed his culinary chops while working alongside celebrity chef Daniel Boulud in New York City, and he brought his bright and bold approach to flavor back to San Diego. Menu items include housemade pastas, grilled seafood and their famous “Aleppo chicken”. And if you really want to impress a date? Order their Meyer Lemon Pavlova dessert, decorated with rose meringue kisses and honey-whipped labneh, and topped with pistachio halva. 

1195 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101


Plan Your Fall Foodie Tour at Humphreys

(Photo: @eathumphreys)

Getting hungry yet? We don’t blame you. When you’re ready to embark on your culinary tour of downtown San Diego, Humphreys Half Moon Inn is the place to stay! We’re located close enough to downtown for a short drive, but also within quiet Shelter Island — so you can head home for a relaxing evening on the water after your night out. We offer competitive rates, attentive service and thoughtful, guest-first amenities. Plus, thanks to our very own on-site hotspot Humphrey’s SoCAL Dining & Music, you never have to venture too far afield when those cravings hit. So take a look at our Special Offers page for all the latest San Diego travel deals, and reserve your fall food tour today!