Family Dining Suggestions
We're headed to San Diego with the kiddos (two families), and staying in Pacific Beach. We're doing the typical tourist stuff (Legoland, Zoo, etc), but are looking for some really good, family-friendly dining options. We'll be in town from Sunday to Friday.
We will have a car, so travel shouldn't be an issue, though we'd probably try and coordinate meals with our daily outings (Zoo, Legoland, Safari Park, Aquarium, Coronado). Our budget is Moderate-to-Cheap, but splureges aren't out of the question. Also lucky to have kids that eat, or will try, just about anything! I'd love some good Chinese, Mexican, Italian/Pizza, Sushi, Burgers (though In-and-Out is a treat for us TX folks) and possibly some gastro-pub type places. Not sure if the latter is possible, but the grown-ups LOVE good beer!!
Looking forward to the suggestions, and the trip!!
Pizza Port will definitely let your kids in; the game area is part of their vibe. The Ocean Beach location is probably closest to you, though Solana Beach is not that far up the coast. Some people like their pizza, most of the rest are OK with it, but that isn't the primary reason one is there. :)
Tender Greens in beautiful old renovated Navy depot Liberty Station-- before/after eating great place for kids to run free. TG is absolutely topnotch reasonable CA fresh, in food and concept. The architecture of the former Navy barracks is beautiful and a rare bit of saved SD history. Normally, we like to tear down anything over 40 years old.
Lunch outside at the Catamaran Resort, another great place for kids. A few feet from the table is a beach, where kids can play. They have a new chef who's working hard to elevate the food above usual hotel fare and create SD-centric dishes. (I think you can park free if you eat there. not sure. we usually walk or ride bikes on the boardwalk to get there.) Noted mid-century architecture and grounds contain parrots and waterfall. . .
Outside the Catamaran Resort loading dock is a taco dive frequented religiously by Mission Beach locals and Catamaran kitchen crew. I think it's called La Playa, but you can't miss it on east side of Mission Blvd in the CR's shadow.
Lots of families at The Fishery, some of the freshest fish in town. (not cheap) And Cantina is another great SD restaurant, with fusion food and decor; open doors and fresh air.
If you and kids are truly adventuresome, look for one of our famous seafood taco trucks. Unforgettable. Plenty of info on other threads for them. Search Mariscos German to start.
Search for any of these places on CH and you'll learn more. Always happy to help out a fellow TXan.
5040 Cass Street, San Diego, CA 92109
3515 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104
Catamaran Resort Hotel
3999 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109
966 Felspar St, San Diego, CA 92109
2400 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
Alfonso's for Mex in LJ..
George's at the Cove up on the ocean terrace for lunch or sunset drinks and dinner
Sammy's Pizza in LJ
Filippi's in Pacific Beach
Piatti's in LJ Shores
LJ Shores restaurant at the Hotel LJ Shores
Jeff's Burger for lunch at LJ Shores or Cheese Shop for beach fun
Bahia Don Bravo's in Bird Rock/LJ for great fish tacos and Mex
Cafe Athena in PB
Prado when your at the SD Zoo
Kings Fish House or Karl Strauss at Legoland
Hacienda de Vega when at Safari Park
Brigantine in Coronado for everyday happy hour..best fish tacos
if you're going to Legoland in Carlsbad, the best sushi in the county is at Kaito Sushi in Encinitas, which will be on your way back down to PB.
Blue Ribbon Artisanal Pizzeria in Encinitas is very good. mostly open for dinner and a few days/wk for lunch. check their website for exact hours.
good Chinese is lacking in SD, so save your $$ and eat other food.
also do a search for the places that you are going to. This is a common request on the board and there are lots of suggestions already in place.
El Comal on Illinois St in North Park is really good Mexican food, pretty near the zoo, and in a safe neighborhood. I doubt there would be any problems bringing kids there.
Thanks for all the great info! Really looking forward to trying out many of these suggestions.
We'll see how we feel after the 20 hour car ride from Austin, TX to SD!
Near the Zoo - (North Park area)
Blind Lady Ale House has excellent beers and pizza and is very family friendly during the day. I understand that it gets pretty crowded at night and with self-serve seating may not be conducive to eating with the kids.
El Take it Easy is a gastro-cantina in North Park with the same owner as the Linkery. I enjoy the food at both places and have found the Linkery to have better beer and be more kid-friendly but I have enjoyed the food at El Take it Easy better.
URBN Pizza on University and 31st. New Haven style pizza and good beer. Seems like it would become more of a bar than restaurant on weekend nights so couldn't say for sure whether it would be kid-friendly then.
Station Tavern in South Park is also very family friendly - mostly outdoor seating with a small gravel play area. I enjoyed the chickpea patty burger better than the beef ones and they definitely have some good beer on tap. Also nearby to that is a storefront where you can buy growlers of Stone beer to go.
In other areas:
Pizza Port has great beer and is very kid friendly at all their locations. The Carlsbad location is an exit or two north of Legoland.
Coronado Brewing Company has a kids night - Tuesday, I think. I haven't eaten there but they have some very good brews.
Second the recommendation for Stone World Bistro. Not sure when your trip is but check to see if there is an event there and make a reservation for a table.
Not sure of the number and ages of your kids but this is from the point of view of having a kid that uses a high chair or booster.