The Magical Melting Pot: San Diego’s Best World Cuisines
As both a coastal city with an active port and a border town with a strong sense of international identity, San Diego has long been a rich blend of global cultures. Not only does that make its residents some of the most diverse in the nation, but it also means that our world cuisines are incredibly varied, deeply authentic, and nothing short of mind-blowingly delicious. No matter what you’d like to eat, you’ll find it here, and in fine form. Hungry? Take a look at some of our favorite places to grab a bite with a multicultural flair.
We’ll start with what’s arguably the most prevalent food scene in the city. Thanks to the fact that Downtown San Diego is only about a half-hour’s drive from Tijuana, it isn’t surprising that we have some of the best Mexican food available anywhere in the country. Old Town in particular is brimming with excellent restaurants. Here are some of our favorites:
- Casa Guadalajara: 4105 Taylor St, San Diego, CA 92110 (3.1 miles away)
- La Puerta: 560 4th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101-6905 (4.7 miles away)
- The Taco Stand: 621 Pearl St, La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92037 (10.4 miles away)
- Puesto: 1026 Wall St, La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92037 (12.1 miles away)
Photo credit: @casaguadalajara
Spanish food is truly an experience. While Spanish influence certainly shows up strongly in the traditions of many Central and South American styles, true old-country cooking is in a class by itself. Expect smoky flavors, incredibly fresh ingredients, and some of the finest expressions of seafood that exist.
- Tapas & Beers: 926 Broadway Cir, San Diego, CA 92101 (4.3 miles away)
- Café Sevilla: 353 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101 (4.9 miles away)
- The Prado: 1549 El Prado Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101 (6 miles away)
- Costa Brava: 1653 Garnet Avenue, San Diego, CA 92109 (6.2 miles away)
Photo credit: @sevillasd
Pretty much everyone loves Italian food. Satisfying pastas, simmered sauces, masterfully-prepared meats and vegetables — there’s truly something for everyone. If you’re a fan of continental cooking, you’ll find no end of exceptional examples here. The appropriately named Little Italy neighborhood is a great place to start.
- Solare Ristorante: 2820 Roosevelt Rd, San Diego, CA 92106 (1.2 miles away)
- Bencotto Italian Kitchen: 750 W Fir St, San Diego, CA 92101 (3.3 miles away)
- Davanti Enoteca: 1655 India St, San Diego, CA 92101 (3.6 miles away)
- Catania: 7863 Girard Avenue #301 F3, La Jolla, CA 92037 (12.2 miles away)
Photo credit: @solaresandiego
Although closely related to both Spanish and Italian cuisines, Mediterranean food has a depth of flavors all its own. Encompassing Greek, northern African, Turkish, western Russian and Portuguese profiles, the emphasis is on taste, freshness, and harmony of ingredients. The Mediterranean diet has also been shown to be one of the world’s healthiest, so guilt isn’t on the menu.
- Fairouz Restaurant: 3166 Midway Dr, San Diego, CA 92110 (2.6 miles away)
- Café Athena: 1846 Garnet Ave, San Diego CA 92109 (6.4 miles away)
- Pomegranate: 2312 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104 (9.2 miles away)
- Zorba’s Greek Restaurant: 100 Broadway, Chula Vista, CA 91910 (12.5 miles away)
Photo credit: @thecafeathena
Few global menus incorporate the depth of flavor that India’s do. Intensely flavored spices, rich sauces, and aromatic herbs infuse every aspect of the culture’s cuisine. It’s all accompanied by fragrant rice varieties and savory sides that are completely unique to the regional style. Once you try it, you crave it.
- Sundara: 1774 Sunset Cliffs Blvd, San Diego, CA 92107 (2.4 miles away)
- India Palace: 3960 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103 (5 miles away)
- Bombay Coast: 4705 Clairemont Dr, San Diego, CA 92117 (9.1 miles away)
- Tandoori Palace: 257 N El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024 (25.3 miles away)
Photo credit: @bombaycoast
The influence of various Asian cultures on the food traditions of San Diego simply cannot be understated. Some of the earliest immigrants to the area came to our shores from China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand. The immensely delicious dishes of these cultures remain a part of San Diego’s melting pot today. The Convoy Street thoroughfare in particular is home to a high concentration of exemplary pan-Asian restaurants.
- Shan’Xi Magic Kitchen (Sichuan / Chinese): 4344 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111 (10.5 miles away)
- Rakiraki Ramen & Tsukemen (Japanese): 4646 Convoy St. San Diego, CA 92111 (10.5 miles away)
- Phuong Trang (Vietnamese): 4170 Convoy Street San Diego, CA 92111 (10.5 miles away)
- Jeong Won BBQ (Korean): 4690 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111 (10.7 miles away)
- Mekong Cuisine (Laotian / Thai): 3904 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111 (10.8 miles away)
Photo credit: @rakirakiramen
Hungry for more? If you’re staying with us in Point Loma, you’ll find a huge Portuguese community that was originally founded by tuna-boat fishermen and their families. The community has grown so much that they hold an annual Portuguese Festa here, and you’ll find a Portuguese food hall and market just down the road from us open year round. Stop by and grab some authentic ingredients and traditional favorites, including malasadas (fried dough), soups, and more.
Book Your Foodie Getaway
Getting hungry? Plan your San Diego stay and try out all these eateries for yourself — just make sure to check out special offers before you book.