With its romantic seaside setting, La Jolla has long been heralded as one of San Diego's most scenic and alluring dining backdrops. La Jolla's diverse array of restaurants promises diners a meal as memorable as its picture-postcard surroundings. Combining spectacular ocean views with award-winning menus that focus on farm- and ocean-fresh ingredients, La Jolla's chefs offer some of San Diego's most exciting and unique fine dining experiences.
Sophisticated dining options abound in La Jolla, from Torrey Pines and La Jolla Shores to the quaint Village of La Jolla.
- Overlooking scenic La Jolla Cove, George's at the Cove features Executive Chef Trey Foshee's creative regional cuisine in a chic modern setting. Foshee's ever-changing menu can be enjoyed in the elegant first-story California Modern dining room, the lounge-styled George's Bar and rooftop Ocean Terrace.
- Award-winning A.R. Valentien, located in the Lodge at Torrey Pines, serves a menu of seasonal provisions from local farmers' markets, small growers, ranchers and fishermen. Chef Jeff Jackson emphasizes basic ingredients, minimal handling and simple flavors that make for delectable tastings in a craftsman-style dining room.
- Nine-Ten, located in the historic Grande Colonial Hotel, is one of the neighborhood's hottest bistros. Chef Jason Knibb, named San Diego's 2014 "Chef of the Year" by the California Restaurant Association, presents market fresh, seasonally evolving California cuisine in a casually elegant atmosphere.
- The Marine Room at La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club has been a local landmark on La Jolla Shores since 1941. Waves crashing outside the windows provide a dramatic backdrop for executive chef Bernard Guillas' sophisticated seafood, steak and other fare featuring global influences and seasonal offerings. Chef Guillas is one of only two Maîtres Cuisiniers de France in San Diego.
- The hotspot for New American cuisine with a slant towards fresh seafood is THE MED, La Valencia Hotel's signature "Great Room" restaurant with sweeping ocean views showcasing the culinary expertise of Chef James Montejano. Enjoy classic cocktails, wines and live music in the iconic La Sala Lounge, a great accompaniment before, during or after dinner.
- At Roppongi Restaurant & Sushi Bar Chef Stephen Window fuses East and West in dramatic and creative ways, including seasonal specialties and Asian-fusion tapas. Roppongi's dining areas include a sushi bar and covered patio with a fire pit.
- A back-to-basics cooking approach made Whisknladle a La Jolla institution. Executive Chef Ryan Johnston's philosophy is reflected in a diverse menu of gourmet comfort food where everything is baked, churned, smoked, aged, cured and pickled in-house, along with fresh produce from local growers. Whisknladle Hospitality's nearby Prepkitchen focuses on delivering the same farm-fresh seasonal cuisine at an everyday-eats price.
- New to the La Jolla Village dining scene, The Hake Kitchen & Bar serves sensational seafood dishes like roasted octopus, tuna tostadas and ceviche in a comfortably casual yet stylish setting.
- Celebrity Chef Brian Malarkey's Herringbone features fresh ocean-to-table flavors, as well as unique takes on meat, in a warm and inviting vintage warehouse that includes six live olive trees growing indoors and a cozy lounge.
- Manhattan of La Jolla Italian steakhouse in the Empress Hotel is a local favorite where Frank Sinatra and friends would feel right at home in its swanky, romantic dining room. Standout dishes include their famous cannelloni, lobster ravioli and New York steak Fiorentina.
BISTROS AND CAFES
La Jolla's plethora of intimate cafes and bistros boast refined menu offerings and a cozy relaxed atmosphere that feels worlds away.
- At the new Bijou French Bistro, Chef de Cuisine Shaun Gethin collaborates with acclaimed Chef William Bradley from Addison restaurant at The Grand Del Mar on a Parisian-inspired menu where seasonal ingredients rendezvous with classic French fare.
- The lively, casual European bistro-style eatery, Café La Rue at La Valencia Hotel, features a menu of modern European cuisine served in a Parisian art deco-inspired room. Guests enjoy an inviting pet-friendly patio and sidewalk dining on Prospect Street - perfect for people watching. Café La Rue was voted 2014 Best New Restaurant by San Diego Magazine.
- The newly remodeled Bernini's Bistro with its Italian cuisine and comfortable European cafe look and feel is a locals' favorite neighborhood eatery; it is especially popular for breakfast.
- The intimate, European-style Finch's Bistro and Wine Bar features a tasty menu of French-inspired dishes with a Mediterranean flair, along with an extensive wine list.
- Brick & Bell Café is an affordable and charming little place for breakfast and lunch, featuring popular fresh-baked pastries like scones, cookies and shortbread.
- At Tapenade Bistro, award-winning chef Jean-Michele Diot fuses classic French Provencal gastronomy with contemporary American cuisines to create one-of-a-kind dishes.
BREAKFAST AND BRUNCH
La Jolla's brunch and breakfast options range from a delicious escape at a historic hotel to casual neighborhood eateries.
- Saturdays and Sundays, THE MED at La Valencia Hotel features a mouthwatering menu of breakfast and brunch offerings, including lobster crepes, quiche du jour, sugar spice salmon hash, and waffles with strawberries and macadamia nuts. Diners can enjoy mimosas and Bloody Marys along with stunning views of the Pacific from the main dining room and terrace, or experience the urban setting of the pet-friendly patio.
- A San Diego breakfast tradition, the new Richard Walker's Pancake House in La Jolla Village features world-famous baked apple pancakes, French toast, hearty omelets, crepes and more.
- Harry's Coffee Shop has been La Jolla's "toast of the town since 1960." In addition to traditional breakfast fare, the classic diner serves home-style favorites like chicken fried steak, oatmeal pancakes and crispy hash browns.
SABOR DE MEXICO
With the international border located just 30 miles to the south, foodies can find zesty Mexican fare in La Jolla.
- Puesto is a popular go-to place for gourmet Mexican street food, using all-natural meats, sustainable seafood and local organic greens. Taco favorites include carne asada, chicken al pastor and potato soy chorizo.
- Since 1945, Verdes El Ranchero has been serving authentic and traditional Mexican dishes drawn from family recipes. Delicious classics include chile rellenos, carnitas Michoacán and pozole; a fan favorite are the cheese crisps.
PIZZA, BURGERS AND BREWS
After a day at one of La Jolla's beautiful beaches, nothing is more satisfying than a hamburger or pizza paired with a frosty beer.
- Celebrating 25 years in San Diego, Sammy's Woodfired Pizza & Grill in La Jolla is its flagship restaurant. Specialties include artisan pizzas like LaDou's barbecue chicken with smoked gouda, brie cheese and truffle oil, Thai chicken or shrimp, and organic arugula and pear. Also popular is Sammy's original chopped salad and the legendary messy sundae for dessert.
- La Jolla Brewing Company, the area's premier craft brewery, serves up gourmet mac and cheese bowls, flat breads, burgers, as well as steaks and seafood, complemented by its delicious handcrafted beers like Sunny Jim's IPA, Neptune's Nitro, Glider Port Pale and Cove Side Stout.
- Small and inviting, The Public House is known for its "Locally World Famous Burgers" made from beef and exotic meats like bison and lamb, and specialty ales from San Diego and around the world.
With so many culinary choices in La Jolla, there are a couple fun ways to sample the area's cornucopia of cuisine.
- During the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival on October 11-12, visitors can savor a gourmet food court featuring selections from local restaurants and farmers' market vendors, as well as sip selections from more than a dozen regional and international wineries and local San Diego craft breweries.
- Departing daily at 2:30 p.m. from the Empress Hotel, La Jolla Wine Tours takes guests on 3.5-hour VIP walking tour to sample three to four of the following La Jolla restaurants and wine bars: Finch's Bistro and Wine Bar, Café Milano, La Dolce Vita Ristorante, We Olive, Crab Catcher, Karl Strauss, La Jolla Brewing Company, The Public House, Chedi Thai Bistro and Prospect Bar and Grill. Tickets are $89 per person. www.lajollawinetours.com/wine-tours/wine-food-walking-tours
Happiness is calling in San Diego. For more information on La Jolla's dining offerings, visit the San Diego Tourism Authority's website at www.sandiego.org/discover/la-jolla.aspx or call 619-236-1212.
The San Diego Tourism Authority is funded in part by the San Diego Tourism Marketing District with City of San Diego Tourism Marketing District Assessment Funds.