South San Diego is filled with the most mouthwatering and vibrant food culture. From authentic Mexican fair to craft coffee to not-so-traditional Japanese to crave-worthy fusions, there’s something for every kind of foodie. Below are some of our favorite must munch spots around South San Diego.
We’ve got three words for you: Carne Asada Fries. This ultimate cheat day treat has landed itself of the “try before you die” list for good reason. Using locally sourced and handpicked produce, Lolita’s makes every dish from scratch daily—all the way down to the spice blends and sauces. Click here to get a taste of what else Lolita’s Mexican food brings to the table.
This South San Diego gem has earned itself a national reputation. Featured on the Food Network for best chilaquiles in town, Talavera Azul is the ideal brunch spot for those looking to kick things up a notch. Just be sure you pair your chilaquiles with equally as famous café de la olla—trust us, you won’t regret it.
At Farmer’s Table, you can taste your way through the best of American and Italian cuisine. This family friendly environment offers authentic eats from morning until night. Start your day with one of their 10-pound Bloody Mary’s, another Food Network favorite. Or cap off the perfect afternoon with a real Sicilian pizza fresh out of a Stephano Ferrara pizza oven imported directly from Napoli. Click here to explore the whole menu and let the cravings set in.
If you’re into exploring the up-and-coming food and drink scene, Third Ave in Chula Vista is your place. As a pioneer of this revival, Grindhouse has set the stage with it’s all day offering of coffee, food, and beer. The sandwich line-up is strong with killer Cubanos and gooey tuna melts. A variety of craft tall cans, beans from Coava and Modern Times, and specialty drinks like the perfectly sweet Mexican Mocha, round out this dare we say perfect coffee house menu.
You don’t have to cross the border to get a true taste of Tijuana. Tacos El Gordo is a beloved staple for all taco obsessed San Diegans. Nowhere else can you get the same flavor, quality, and pricing so cheap you’ll feel inclined to order as much as your appetite can handle. Handmade corn tortillas, top grade meats and the freshest ingredients create a taco experience that will have you coming back week after week—good thing they have two locations in the Chula Vista area. Want a local Tacos El Gordo tip? The adobada line is long for a reason. Stay strong and your taste buds will be thanking you in the end.
An izakaya is a casual Japanese establishment that serves food and drink where people gather to socialize. The food is similar to tapas and paired with beer or sake. Izakaya Naruto not only taps into their traditional Japanese roots but also branches out to include a wide variety of foods taking inspiration from other regions in Asia and other nearby countries such as Mexico. The modern and casual settings set Izakaya Naruto apart from typical Japanese restaurants, creating an atmosphere that welcomes anyone who is looking for a wonderful experience.
Remember those crave-worthy fusions we mentioned earlier? Well pull up a chair and prepare your palate for the beautiful harmony of Mexican and Pilipino cuisine. Mexipino Craft is the brainchild of South San Diego locals, Chefs Roger Buhain and Richard Corpus. As first-generation kids, their parents provided them with a wholesome rich environment of flavors and foods that inspired them to do what they love doing: creating decadent meals. Click here to learn more about their story and the mind blowing menu they’ve created together.
If you’re into Mexican pastries, Panderia La Moreliana may become your go to spot. Known for their perfectly sweet conchas, Panderia La Moreliana has been satisfying South San Diego’s sweet tooth for years. If it’s the conchas you’re after, be sure to get there early as these sell like hotcakes. You’ll also find a wide variety of Mexican pastries available for the savoring as well as custom cakes and fondant work.
You’ve probably tried trendy mochi ice cream but have you every experienced the pillowy goodness of fresh mochi crafted with love? Hogetsu Bakery is a traditional Japanese bakery that’s been providing sweet, soft handmade mochi to South San Diego for over 35 years. If you’re new to the mochi world, we encourage you to try every flavor and if you can’t finish them all, no worries! You can store mochi in the fridge for up to three days or freeze it in a Ziplock baggie and microwave for 15 seconds. If you’re a mochi connoisseur on a journey to find the best mochi in town, you’re welcome.
For all of our home cooks out there, the Eastlake Farmer’s Market is the perfect place to gather all of your organic and locally sourced ingredients for the week. Stop by on Saturdays from 9am-2pm. Click here to see what local vendors will be waiting for you there.
This is just a tasting of what the Chula Vista food scene has to offer. Come check it out for yourself and grab a plate full of South San Diego love. Follow us on social to hear more about what a life in South San Diego can bring you.