clock menu more-arrow no yes

Discover San Diego’s Hidden Gems

View as Map
This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

Much more than “just” a beach town, San Diego prides itself on being able to provide an unassuming good time. San Diegans are keenly aware of its main attractions--sun, sand and surf — but know that there’s a lot more to the city than just hanging out at the beach, eating burritos. Hidden piano bars, world-class gas station tacos and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it brunch spots are just some of the dining quirks that make the city much more exciting to dine in than meets the eye.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Miss B's Coconut Club

Copy Link
7154, 3704 Mission Blvd
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 381-0855
Visit Website

Tucked into a cozy beachside nook in Mission Beach is Miss B’s Coconut Club, which serves tiki drinks in its special fleet of mugs that the bar has collected over the years. A special added twist is that both the food and drinks have a Caribbean and Cuban bent — bringing SoCal, the South Pacific and another tropical region under one roof. Grab an Elysian Brewing Company beer to bring in the PNW into the mix, too.

2. Maestoso

Copy Link
1040 University Ave ste. B101
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 642-0777
Visit Website

Hillcrest’s newest Italian restaurant looks like any old swanky joint from the outset. Once sat, however, guests are given waiters that pull double duty in the kitchen as chefs, giving diners a full service experience. Don’t order too much, though--during dinner service, staff pushing roving carts of aperitivo plates stop at each table to supplement the meal with a variety of off-the-cuff, delectable bites.

3. El Pueblo

Copy Link
820 Birmingham Dr
Cardiff, CA 92007
(760) 230-1771

An unassuming Cardiff-by-the-Sea Valero gas station also plays home to El Pueblo, which serves some of the best food in North County. In particular, the carne asada tacos are the most popular. Another surprise is that El Pueblo is open 24 hours--a true rarity anywhere in San Diego county.

4. The Blind Burro

Copy Link
639 J St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 795-7880
Visit Website

What could easily be mistaken for another rowdy near-Petco Park watering hole is in fact one of San Diego’s best taco spots, The Blind Burro. Pair your Elysian brew with Tijuana-style hot dogs, chicken tinga gorditas and Baja-style street tacos.

5. Red Fox Room and Steakhouse

Copy Link
2223 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 297-1313
Visit Website

Tucked into the side of the Lafayette Hotel in North Park is the Red Fox Steakhouse, which also features a lively piano bar that brings revelers from all over San Diego to its cozy singing area. Unsurprisingly, classic steakhouse fare is the move at Red Fox, but for a more casual vibe, sit at the bar with your Elysian beer and a burger to catch some tunes.

6. The Duck Dive

Copy Link
4650 Mission Blvd
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 273-3825
Visit Website

Though Pacific Beach is well-known for its bevy of bass-thumping bars that cater to a particularly young crowd, it’s less-known for its dining scene. Enter The Duck Dive, which is a sports bar that also manages to have good food, like a citrus-marinated filet mignon to pair with an Elysian Space Dust IPA.

7. South Beach Bar & Grille

Copy Link
5059 Newport Ave
San Diego, CA 92107
(619) 226-4577
Visit Website

What looks like a dingy dive from the outside is exactly that at Ocean Beach’s South Beach Bar & Grill. Less obvious is the fact it serves some of San Diego’s best battered and fried fish tacos alongside a rotating tap list of quality San Diego craft beer.

8. The Grass Skirt

Copy Link
910 Grand Ave
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 412-5237
Visit Website

A Pacific Beach strip mall poke joint called Good Time Poke gives way to a speakeasy tiki wonderland called The Grass Skirt--all that’s needed is an escort through a fake freezer. The freezer gives way to a lava rock tunnel that empties into the dining room, where giant tiki men, tropical murals and lights and high-octane rum drinks take center stage.

9. Jake and Eggs

Copy Link
1774 Sunset Cliffs Blvd
San Diego, CA 92107
(619) 419-1207
Visit Website

Housed in the popular Ocean Beach Indian restaurant Sundara, Jake & Eggs is the newer, lesser-known daytime iteration, serving breakfast and brunch from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Wednesday to Sunday. Pro tip: make sure you go for the gut busting breakfast sandwich that is often on the specials menu, which comes with housemade sausage and special sauce.

10. KINDRED

Copy Link
1503 30th St
San Diego, CA 92102
(619) 546-9653
Visit Website

Cute, neo-victorian decor and a vegan menu? Sounds like another SoCal health joint, right? Think again--South Park’s vegan headquarters is Kindred, which prides itself on playing metal in its open-air dining room while serving some of the most creative (and strong) cocktails San Diego has to offer.

11. Bushfire Kitchen

Copy Link
2602 Del Mar Heights Rd
Del Mar, CA 92014
(858) 461-0946
Visit Website

No ordinary burgers (or beer) here — this local and organic-focused restaurant makes gluten-free options, and even paleo options, their specialty. You’ll find free range chickens, American Heritage Duroc breed pork, and grass-fed beef on the menu, in addition to an expansive beer and wine list. Try the chicken-rib combo with your Elysian brew.

This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

1. Miss B's Coconut Club

7154, 3704 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109

Tucked into a cozy beachside nook in Mission Beach is Miss B’s Coconut Club, which serves tiki drinks in its special fleet of mugs that the bar has collected over the years. A special added twist is that both the food and drinks have a Caribbean and Cuban bent — bringing SoCal, the South Pacific and another tropical region under one roof. Grab an Elysian Brewing Company beer to bring in the PNW into the mix, too.

7154, 3704 Mission Blvd
San Diego, CA 92109

2. Maestoso

1040 University Ave ste. B101, San Diego, CA 92103

Hillcrest’s newest Italian restaurant looks like any old swanky joint from the outset. Once sat, however, guests are given waiters that pull double duty in the kitchen as chefs, giving diners a full service experience. Don’t order too much, though--during dinner service, staff pushing roving carts of aperitivo plates stop at each table to supplement the meal with a variety of off-the-cuff, delectable bites.

1040 University Ave ste. B101
San Diego, CA 92103

3. El Pueblo

820 Birmingham Dr, Cardiff, CA 92007

An unassuming Cardiff-by-the-Sea Valero gas station also plays home to El Pueblo, which serves some of the best food in North County. In particular, the carne asada tacos are the most popular. Another surprise is that El Pueblo is open 24 hours--a true rarity anywhere in San Diego county.

820 Birmingham Dr
Cardiff, CA 92007

4. The Blind Burro

639 J St, San Diego, CA 92101

What could easily be mistaken for another rowdy near-Petco Park watering hole is in fact one of San Diego’s best taco spots, The Blind Burro. Pair your Elysian brew with Tijuana-style hot dogs, chicken tinga gorditas and Baja-style street tacos.

639 J St
San Diego, CA 92101

5. Red Fox Room and Steakhouse

2223 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104

Tucked into the side of the Lafayette Hotel in North Park is the Red Fox Steakhouse, which also features a lively piano bar that brings revelers from all over San Diego to its cozy singing area. Unsurprisingly, classic steakhouse fare is the move at Red Fox, but for a more casual vibe, sit at the bar with your Elysian beer and a burger to catch some tunes.

2223 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92104

6. The Duck Dive

4650 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109

Though Pacific Beach is well-known for its bevy of bass-thumping bars that cater to a particularly young crowd, it’s less-known for its dining scene. Enter The Duck Dive, which is a sports bar that also manages to have good food, like a citrus-marinated filet mignon to pair with an Elysian Space Dust IPA.

4650 Mission Blvd
San Diego, CA 92109

7. South Beach Bar & Grille

5059 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107

What looks like a dingy dive from the outside is exactly that at Ocean Beach’s South Beach Bar & Grill. Less obvious is the fact it serves some of San Diego’s best battered and fried fish tacos alongside a rotating tap list of quality San Diego craft beer.

5059 Newport Ave
San Diego, CA 92107

8. The Grass Skirt

910 Grand Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

A Pacific Beach strip mall poke joint called Good Time Poke gives way to a speakeasy tiki wonderland called The Grass Skirt--all that’s needed is an escort through a fake freezer. The freezer gives way to a lava rock tunnel that empties into the dining room, where giant tiki men, tropical murals and lights and high-octane rum drinks take center stage.

910 Grand Ave
San Diego, CA 92109

9. Jake and Eggs

1774 Sunset Cliffs Blvd, San Diego, CA 92107

Housed in the popular Ocean Beach Indian restaurant Sundara, Jake & Eggs is the newer, lesser-known daytime iteration, serving breakfast and brunch from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Wednesday to Sunday. Pro tip: make sure you go for the gut busting breakfast sandwich that is often on the specials menu, which comes with housemade sausage and special sauce.

1774 Sunset Cliffs Blvd
San Diego, CA 92107

10. KINDRED

1503 30th St, San Diego, CA 92102

Cute, neo-victorian decor and a vegan menu? Sounds like another SoCal health joint, right? Think again--South Park’s vegan headquarters is Kindred, which prides itself on playing metal in its open-air dining room while serving some of the most creative (and strong) cocktails San Diego has to offer.

1503 30th St
San Diego, CA 92102

11. Bushfire Kitchen

2602 Del Mar Heights Rd, Del Mar, CA 92014

No ordinary burgers (or beer) here — this local and organic-focused restaurant makes gluten-free options, and even paleo options, their specialty. You’ll find free range chickens, American Heritage Duroc breed pork, and grass-fed beef on the menu, in addition to an expansive beer and wine list. Try the chicken-rib combo with your Elysian brew.

2602 Del Mar Heights Rd
Del Mar, CA 92014

Related Maps