The Ultimate Guide to
Restaurants in La Jolla
La Jolla is a mecca for food lovers. From fine dining to high quality, casual cuisine, from award-winning seafood and prime steaks to chocolate croissants and street tacos, look forward to exceptional food in La Jolla.
Let our ultimate guide to La Jolla restaurants and cafes, sorted by genre and food category, be the guide to your next meal.
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Where to go for Burgers
Find impressive burgers, from traditional classics to modern burgers with unique ingredients, in La Jolla.
– Casual spot with an Irish feel. Order one of their traditional Irish dishes – the Shepherd’s Pie is a longtime local favorite!
– Learn more about their food, including their famous Moo Cluck Oink! Burger, at our review – I-rish I could Eat Here Everyday – Hennessey’s La Jolla.
– Perfect for families on the go. Their walk-up line makes it easy to pick up a burger for a quick dinner, and they even have a Kids Menu (complete with a grilled cheese option)!
- Torrey Pints (Gastro Pub in Whole Foods La Jolla)
– This tucked-away little pub is a hidden gem in Whole Foods Market. It’s super casual and more of a ‘hang out and drink beer’ type place, which makes it perfect for a laidback dinner before a night out on the town.
– A must-visit for burger and beer lovers! With at least twenty beers on draft at all times, the Public House is a good spot to try out some local brews or something a little more exotic.
There are great burger deals in La Jolla almost every day of the week. Find out the best ones, like when and where to Buy 1 Get 1 Free, at Best Burger Deals in La Jolla.
Where to go for Sushi
As La Jolla is nestled along the Pacific Ocean, it has abundant seafood – making it the perfect city for sushi connoisseurs.
– What to go for: Happy Hour! Happens Monday-Friday from 4pm-8pm, and gets you 20% off everything on the menu.
– This award-winning sushi restaurant is located in the Hyatt Regency at Aventine.
– Tucked away right at the entrance to La Jolla (on Prospect), this little sushi place is great for a quick bite in between the beach and shopping; it’s casual and service is quick.
– Located in University City, this one’s a bit off the beaten path but offers great Happy Hour deals and Bento Boxes.
– Go for the views! It’s on the second floor and has a nice outdoor patio – great place to watch the sunset after work.
– This is the perfect spot to go before you see a play! This unique Asian Fusion, steak, and sushi restaurant is actually located inside the La Jolla Playhouse.
Find our local favorites, with further insights, at our Top 4 Sushi Places You Need to Try.
Where to go for Tacos
La Jolla’s unique approach to cooking and its proximity to south of the border have cultivated a setting for great tacos. This local fare will make you want to celebrate Taco Tuesday every week.
– Get insight on their happy hour tacos at this review of The Hake happy hour.
– Go for the unique spin on the classics! Their menu includes items like grilled octopus tostadas and mushroom tacos; as an added bonus, they also do Sunday brunch.
– Super casual; go for a pitcher of margaritas on the front patio.
– Get more insights at The Shores Restaurant happy hour.
– If you’re craving fish tacos, this is the place to be. It’s laid-back and family-friendly, so it’s a good spot to take the kids; they also usually have a decent beer selection.
Get more details on our favorite tacos in La Jolla at Top Taco Tuesdays in La Jolla.
Where to go for Italian
La Jolla has drawn people from around the world – including top chefs from Italy, who are now serving up authentic Italian cuisine at a variety of great restaurants.
– Pro-tip: sit on the patio (on the third story) for incredible ocean views while you dine! Get more insights in this review of happy hour at Catania La Jolla.
– Classic Italian in a cute, cozy space near La Jolla Shores. Great for a romantic date for two!
– Also located at La Jolla Shores, which makes for a nice walk down to the beach after dinner.
– Pro-tip: every Tuesday, get 50% off a bottle of wine with your main course!
– A beloved local favorite, this cute spot is known for its organic, fresh approach to food and its incredible outdoor patio. Expect to find everything from huevos rancheros to classic Bolognese pasta on their menu.
Where to go for Mexican
Burritos. Tostadas. Enchiladas. Find your favorite classic styles or try La Jolla chefs’ new and noteworthy twists on Mexican cuisine.
– There’s a reason Puesto tacos made Erin Jackson’s top restaurant week picks in San Diego.
– Undeniably authentic Mexican in a casual spot walking distance to the beach. A local favorite is the adobado tacos, which they roast on a spit right at the restaurant.
– “Craft” Mexican and fun cocktails, plus a great outdoor patio.
– Ultra-fresh Mexican with a twist – they are known for their veggie-packed bowls and salads.
– A local favorite that has been around for years; classic decor and traditional dishes make this a great spot for a weeknight family dinner.
Where to get the Best Seafood in La Jolla
La Jolla, San Diego’s Jewel of the Sea, is perched along the Pacific. Its proximity to the ocean can be seen in all of its restaurants that offer delectable seafood entrees and appetizers.
– Upscale fresh fare located inside the La Jolla Hotel.
– You can’t beat the views here. George’s sits directly above the ocean, so outdoor seating is prime. Go for dinner and enjoy the sunset with a cocktail.
– Upscale choice for seafood lovers.
– After a recent remodel, The Hake is bigger and better than ever. Their shareable plates are a good way to sample a variety of menu items.
Where to Find French Food
Say bonjour to fine French food in La Jolla. Visit one of the acclaimed cafés or bistros, with chefs straight from France, for the finest of fare. Most importantly, bon appétit!
– Classic French food with a view! Enjoy traditional favorites here, like pâté, escargot, and Coq a Vin.
- Café La Rue on Prospect (within La Valencia Hotel)
– For those who want a bit of French food but still want the option for something more traditional, this is the spot. Located inside La Valencia, this cozy restaurant offers everything from steak tartare to sandwiches and soup.
– A restaurant, bakery, and wine boutique all in one! This Pacific Beach gem is renowned for its ultra-fresh ingredients and rotating menu.
– Perched on the third floor of the new La Plaza La Jolla, this spot offers Modern French bistro dishes paired with more traditional cuisine. Sit outside for a great view.
Where to Dine with an Ocean View
Savor fantastic food and sip hand-crafted drinks while soaking in breathtaking ocean views. You can do just that at any of these restaurants.
– Go here for a modern flair on California cuisine; expect craft burgers, seafood with a citrusy twist, and hot sandwiches.
– This world-class restaurant sits directly on the water; you’ll see waves crash up against the floor-to-ceiling windows while you eat. Definitely an experience you’ll never forget!
– Locally sourced, seasonal ingredients set to ocean views within Hotel La Jolla. Look for the fresh grilled fish, house made pastas, local meats and flatbreads.
– Dine in a historic La Jolla cottage! Come here for the epic brunch.
– True to its name, locals and tourists alike flock here for the seafood. Try their oyster bar!
– If you’re itching to have a late breakfast, this is the spot! They serve until 3pm.
– Perched high atop the cliffs at Torrey Pines, this is probably the best view you’ll get from up high. Their casual lunch fixings (sandwiches and salads) are available until 4pm
Best Places for Smoothies & Acai Bowls
Get your fix of fruit and veggies via a juice, smoothie or bowl (like the ever popular acai bowl) at a La Jolla juice bar or green-centric cafe.
– In addition to regular smoothies and juices, they also offer yummy acai bowls and wellness shots.
– Proudly named as the first ever juice bar in Southern California, this place does it right with super fresh sandwiches, vegetable juices, and fruit smoothies.
– Salads and wraps to die for, plus some delicious protein shakes that will keep you going the rest of the day.
– Popular for their three and seven-day juice cleanses.
– You can get everything from Boba tea to sandwiches to Greek yogurt here – in addition to their yummy smoothies and juice options. Great for a quick, healthy lunch.
Perhaps you’re interesting in smoothies and juices for detoxing. To assist, here’s our full Guide to Detoxing in La Jolla.
Where to Find the Best Healthy Food Entrée Options
In La Jolla, you can treat yourself to a meal out and still eat healthy. Great restaurants offer options that taste exquisite and are nutritious, being light on calories and high in benefits.
The Top Spots for Fine Dining in La Jolla
Enjoy the elegant atmosphere of La Jolla at one of the top fine dining restaurant, offering memorable meals in a truly elegant setting.
Where to Get Modern American Cuisine (American Food with a Twist)
Chefs in La Jolla love to create classic American cuisine, such as burgers, lasagne and portobello mushroom entrées. You’ll find unique interpretations that utilize new and notable ingredient pairings with traditional dishes.
Where to Get Great Coffee in La Jolla
Caffeinate your day with a standard coffee, elaborate coffee beverage – such as a latté or peppermint mocha – or tea.
Where to Pick Up Baked Goods & Pastries
Croissants. Scones. Danishes. Treat yourself to high quality baked goods that will pair perfectly with a coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
Where to Go for Breakfast
It is said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Luckily, there are a variety of great options for making sure your most important meal is served just right.
Great Restaurants for Families
As a family with kids, you’re looking for a restaurant that offers kid-friendly entrées and atmosphere. You also seek a place where the setting and food is fun and flavorful for the adults. Find a selection of such restaurants right here in La Jolla.
Romantic Restaurants – Good Places for a Date in La Jolla
Foster a romantic atmosphere at one of these La Jolla restaurants; with carefully selected lighting, excellent service and optimum wine and champagne options, they cultivated the perfect setting for a special evening.
Where to Brunch in La Jolla
If you love brunch a waffle lot, look no further. From mimosas to coffee, from savory entrées to sweet ones, there is a brunch to suit everyone’s taste at these La Jolla restaurants.
Where to Grab Casual Cuisine – Food to Go
Sometimes we crave an upscale dining experience that’s enjoyed course-by-course. Other times, we are simply looking for good food that we can grab quick – perhaps to take on the road, bring to the beach or pack as a picnic.