Most restaurants in San Diego are very family friendly and in this list I’ll be sharing some favorites from our trip in November 2014, when Little T was 14 months old. We’ll be back in San Diego this November and while I’m looking forward to trying out new places, I might also be heading back to some of these great spots. Last year we stayed in Mission Bay so these 6 restaurants are all a 10 minute or less drive from that area, and each place had a children’s menu, high chairs and crayons and a coloring sheet to keep Little T busy while we waited for the food.
The Mission Restaurant – Mission Beach: 3795 Mission Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92109
This restaurant came highly recommended by the hotel’s concierge and pretty much everywhere I looked online and in local guides for one of the best brunches in San Diego. It definitely did not disappoint. We were there on a busy Sunday morning with about a 40 minute wait – but it was well worth it. The pancakes were fluffy and scrumptious – and a beautifully plated, generous portion!
I ordered a Papas Loco plate off the Latino breakfast menu and it was absolutely delicious and bursting with flavor. It’s a heaping plate of rosemary potatoes, grilled jalapenos, black beans, cheese, avocado slices and sour cream, served with salsa, tortillas and two scrambled eggs. Little T meanwhile had a Mission cinnamon toast and fresh fruit. Everything at the restaurant was fantastic and this was one of my favorite meals during the trip. I’ll definitely be heading back to this restaurant, which has locations in Mission Beach, North Park and SoMa East Village.
Old Town Mexican Cafe – Old Town: 2489 San Diego Avenue, San Diego, CA 92110
To be honest, when I used to live in San Diego, I would steer clear of Old Town thinking it was a great big tourist trap, and there are some restaurants that could easily fall into that category. Old Town Mexican Cafe came up when I was searching for recommended Mexican restaurants in the area, and since Old Town was literally five minutes down the freeway from where we were staying, I thought I’d give it a try and most of what we had was great.
The restaurant has an extensive menu, with plenty to choose from. I went with a pork tamale and one of their house specialties, the pork carnitas. The pork was a bit dry, but everything else – the tamale, beans and handmade tortillas – was delicious.
Little T had the chicken quesadilla off the kid’s menu and also enjoyed picking at my pork carnitas, the avocados and tomatoes.
Old Town Mexican Cafe makes the tortillas in house, right by the entrance.
Las Olas – Point Loma: 3924 W. Point Loma Boulevard, Point Loma, CA, 92110
One of our (Mr G and me) favorite restaurants in San Diego is Las Olas in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, North County, right on Highway 101 and across from the beach. While it would have been great to go back there, their Point Loma location is very convenient to enjoy some delicious Mexican food in the beaches area.
I ordered a classic combo, with a chicken taco and a chicken enchilada. The chicken enchilada and side of rice and beans were all great, although the chicken taco was not as tasty.
Little T had the Baja-style fish goujons (I removed some of the breading) with rice, beans and a yogurt salsa.
Hodad’s – Ocean Beach: 5010 Newport Avenue, Ocean Beach, CA 92107
Renowned for its bacon cheeseburgers, this local burger joint became even more popular after it was featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” show with Guy Fieri. It’s usually pretty busy and when we showed up, there was about a 20 minute wait and I decided to head straight in and order takeaway for a picnic by the bay.
It’s a great place full of character and good food!
I had a cheeseburger (yum!) and Little T had the chicken strips and french fries.
Phil’s BBQ – Point Loma: 3750 Sports Arena Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92110
Phil’s BBQ has also been featured on Food Network, on the “Man vs Food” show with Adam Richman, and is another popular spot for locals and out-of-towners for its great BBQ mesquite baby back and beef ribs, chicken and pulled pork sandwiches.
The baby back rib and chicken dinner was fantastic, tender and tasty and the baked beans were delicious. For Little T, I ordered the “Phil’s Ticklers” BBQ chicken chunks which came with 2 onion rings, slaw and fries and was a pretty large portion, so I packed away some of the chicken and veggies for the next day’s lunch.
P.F. Changs – Fashion Valley Mall: 7077 Friars Road, San Diego, CA 92108
P.F. Changs is my favorite restaurant chain that I’ll always go to at least once if there’s one in the city I’m visiting. In just the past couple of years I’ve been to the ones in Miami, Waikiki and, of course, San Diego. There’s one at the big Fashion Valley Mall in Mission Valley and we were there for our last dinner in San Diego.
My go-to plate is the kung pao shrimp. It has a good kick, without being overly spicy, and I like the crunch of the peanuts and the tasty sauce. This is also one of the very few seafood dishes you’ll see me eating and I can’t wait to have it again very soon! Other favorites are the orange peel chicken, beef with broccoli and the chicken lettuce wraps.
Little T had the honey chicken (served with a honey sauce) with brown rice and we shared the Baby Buddha’s Feast, which was a plate of steamed snap peas, carrots and broccoli.
I’m looking forward to heading back to San Diego soon, trying out some new restaurants and going back to some of these new favorites. If you have any restaurant recommendations for the San Diego area (near Mission Valley), please let me know in the comments!