Looking for a bite or sip in a quaint beachy ‘hood? These neighboring pockets of San Diego will hit the spot. La Jolla’s Bird Rock community is brimming with charming outposts, as is the northern enclave of Pacific Beach, particularly along idyllic Turquoise Street. Come hungry.
By Sarah Daoust, adapted from WHERE San Diego magazine
In Bird Rock, Wheat & Water is a new spot serving up wood-fired pizzas, salads, charcuterie and cheese plates, and local beers amid woodsy-chic furnishings. Don’t miss: the Bacon and Potato pizza with bechamel sauce, house-made mozzarella, leeks, Parmesan and fresh herbs.
Locals’ favorite Voce Del Mare is downright adorable, featuring a wine lounge, dog-friendly patio and refined Italian cuisine—perfect for a casual date night. Don’t miss: the salmon carpaccio, homemade gnocchi, sauteed artichokes and grilled pork chops.
Find American comfort fare, cocktails and occasional live music at nearby Beaumont’s—a casual-cool neighborhood hangout serving lunch and dinner daily, and weekend breakfast. Don’t miss: the fried green tomatoes with bacon and buttermilk dressing, and the Portuguese seafood stew for dinner; and the breakfast tacos filled with scrambled eggs, hash browns, feta, avocado and Applewood-smoked bacon.
Considered the area’s mother ship for java addicts, Bird Rock Coffee Roasters is a laid-back (albeit busy) “farm-to-cup” coffee shop known for its organic, fair-trade offerings and signature roasts. Enjoy a cup of joe on the sidewalk patio, or a buy bag of beans at wholesale prices. Don’t miss: the Trophy Wife, our pick for the best macadamia nut latte in town.
North Pacific Beach
In north Pacific Beach, Ambrogio 15 is a modern Milanese restaurant with authentic pizzas, focaccia and Italian wines. Don’t miss: the Nuvola Focaccia topped with burrata and prosciutto; and the Hannibal Lecter pizza loaded with Italian meats. Freshly baked breads and pastries beckon from gleaming glass cases inside The French Gourmet—a quaint restaurant, bakery and wine shop serving California-influenced French cuisine and wines by the glass. Don’t miss: the pâté sampler, the pan-roasted crispy skin chicken and the duck leg confit.
For ultra-casual eats, Homestyle Hawaiian is a quick-serve joint with delicious island-style food and generous portions. Think: slowed-roasted pork, Korean-style beef short ribs, pupus and Loco Moco. Don’t miss: the Spam Musubi (grilled Spam served atop a block of rice, wrapped with seaweed), coated in panko and deep-fried, then drizzled with spicy mayonaise. And then there’s Oscar’s Mexican Seafood; the Turquoise Street location is an institution. When you want fish tacos and ceviche, come here. Don’t miss: the Taco Especial with smoked fish, shrimp and scallops; and the bluefin tuna ceviche.