Lofty Coffee: The hip, layed-back San Diego vibes run deep at Lofty - and we absolutely love it. They take coffee seriously, but in a calm and casual way, and it totally works. (Like the barista will go to great lengths to explane the origin of your roast, then ask you to surf after.) Their breakfast menu is limited but delicious, and no matter which location you go to, there’s always plenty of seating and solid people watching. (@loftycoffeeco)
Bobby’s pick: Whatever pour-over the barista recommends
Alli’s pick: Cappuccino
Coava: Originally from Portland, Coava is one of our favorite spots when we’re in the Pacific Northwest. We were so excited to hear they were coming to San Diego! Their downtown location is spacious, has lovely outdoor seating, and excellent coffee. If you just starting the journey into craft coffee (it’s okay if Starbucks is your thing), start here. (@coavacoffee)
Better Buzz: With locations popping up all over San Diego, Better Buzz seems to be a local favorite. With consistent high-quality coffee and a great atmosphere to relax (or work), Better Buzz really lives up to their name. Their Hillcrest flagship store is the best! (@betterbuzz)
Bobby’s pick: Best Drink Ever (it’s an Americano with a twist)
Alli’s pick: Cafe Latte
Richard Walker’s Pancake House: Home-cooked breakfasts, massive portions, and stellar service. Once you’ve dined at Richard Walker’s you understand why they have such a loyal clientele, and why the wait can sometimes take over 45 minutes! Get there early! (@richardwalkerspancakehouse)
Bobby’s pick: The San Diego French Toast
Alli’s pick: The Banana Pancakes
Cafe 222: If it’s been featured by Bobby Flay as “The Best Thing I ever Ate”, you better believe it’s pretty darn amazing. Cafe 222 has a lot of epic items on the menu, but we suggest coming for the Peanut Butter and Banana French Toast. You’ll definitely agree with Mr. Flay - it’s downright delicious! (@cafe222sd)
Bobby’s pick: The Peanut Butter and Banana French Toast
Alli’s pick: The Peanut Butter and Banana French Toast (just do it.)
The Donut Bar: We’re big donut fans and San Diego’s iconic “Donut Bar” is just about everything we’d want from a modern donut shop. They have an overwhelming amount of flavors, (which usually means we buy a ridiculous amount because “Gotta try ‘em all!” and they even have Stumptown coffee on tap… Because you need something strong to wash down all of those donuts! (@donutbar)
Bobby’s pick: The Maple Bacon
Alli’s pick: The Unicorn Cake
Sally’s San Diego: Confession #1: Our dog’s name is Sally, so we’re biased on this place. Confession #2: It’s one of the best-kept secrets in downtown San Diego, and we’d like to keep it that way - so don’t tell too many people, k? If you’re looking for a great lunch spot with mouth-watering food and a killer view, Sally’s is your ticket. They have something for everyone - sushi? They’ve got it. Fish and chips? The best we’ve ever had! And it’s right on the water in Seaport Village. (Oh, and don’t even get us started on the pet menu!!) (@sallysfishhouse)
Bobby’s pick: Pacific Snapper
Alli’s pick: Fish & Chips
Sally’s pick: Surf + T-arf or the Frozen Pawpsicles (seriously)
Puesto: Because when are tacos and margaritas EVER a bad idea?! Puesto is one of our San Diego go-to’s, and it has yet to disappoint. Fun and hip decor, friendly staff, and a fun and interactive take on traditional Mexican food. Hint- the menu is mostly unique tacos. We’re here for it. (@eatpuesto)
Our picks: Mix & Match tacos - they’re all delish!
Grand Ole BBQ: Twenty minutes north of downtown will take you to quirky North Park area, which is full of amazing restaurants like Grand Ole BBQ. Claiming to be “the biggest smokehouse west of Texas”, this BBQ joint has brought Central Texas BBQ to Southern California. Everything here is good - from the BBQ (duh), to the steaks, and the burgers. Come hungry! (@grandolebbqyasado)
Civico 1845: If you find yourself in Little Italy, stop at Civico 1845 for fresh, tasty, and authentic Italian cuisine. The space is light and bright, with a rustic dining room and a lively atmosphere. The fresh, handmade pasta took us back to Tuscany, and the Tiramisu is SO good! We are suckers for good Italian food, and Civico 1845 is a place we wish we lived closer too! (@civico1845)
Bobby’s pick: Pappardelle Brasato
Alli’s pick: Gnocchi Zucca E Gamberi (AND Tiramisu)
Buona Forchetta: Another SD gem for Italian food, Buona Forchetta is one of our favorites for pizza! They have a dreamy outdoor seating area, an authentic wood-fired oven that was handmade in Naples (that they’ve named Sophia), and gluten-free crust options if you’d like. Enjoy! (@buonaforchettasouthpark)
Bobby’s pick: Jove Pizza - burrata, bresaola, arugula, and shaved parmesan
Alli’s pick: Margherita Pizza (simple, and amazing)
Noble Experiment: There’s just something really fun and hipster about speakeasy’s, and this one’s one of our favorites. Entering through the “hidden” door will never NOT be a thrill! (@nobleexperiment)
Alli’s pick: Dealer’s Choice (you name the spirit, and the bartender creates!)
Bobby’s pick: Feather Weight Old Fashioned
The Manchester Grand Hyatt : Not only has this hotel been a landmark on the San Diego skyline for years, but it’s every bit as magnificent inside as one would imagine! Being such a big hotel, their staff’s attention to detail is really impressive, and the rooms feature jaw-dropping views of the bay. Oh, and they’re REALLY dog friendly. If you have a pup and you’re coming to San Diego, stay here. Your pet will love you for it. (@grandhyattsd)
The US Grant: Another iconic building in San Diego, The US Grant is by far the most charming hotel downtown. From their elegant lobby to the exquisite rooms (one of the most lush, comfy hotel beds we’ve had!), you’ll no doubt feel like royalty while you’re staying there! (Or just really important - which is also cool.) (@theusgrant)
Bike around Coronado Island: If you don’t have bikes, you can easily rent them. It’s the perfect little island town to get lost in for the day - admire the quaint homes, grab lunch at the Hotel Del, and watch the sunset over the water.
Little Italy: San Diego’s Little Italy is something special. From the to-die-for Italian food, to the warm and eccentric locals, to the young artists and entrepreneurs that grace the streets - it’s a melting pot of downtown SD! Walk around, eat your weight in pasta, and make friends at a local coffee shop.
Old Town: Historic Old Town San Diego is a hidden gem just south of the city center. It was California’s first settlement, and now is a bustling place to walk around, grab some amazing Mexican food, and do some souvenir shopping!
Totally pet friendly!! From the Grand Hyatt to downtown restaurants with outdoor seating and DOG MENUS - San Diego is about as dog friendly as you can get! Take your pup to Sprinkles for a “pupcake”, there’s “Yappy Hour” at the iconic Hotel Del on Sundays, and let them roam free at the North Beach Dog Run!