5 Delicious Downtown San Diego Restaurants

5 Delicious Downtown San Diego Restaurants

Down San Diego boasts a rich nightlife culture and a wide array of dining options. If you are visiting the area and unsure where to tease the taste buds, we have rounded up a list of downtown San Diego restaurants that are delicious and definitely worth a shot if you are in the area.

A good meal can be the highlight of a trip. Don’t take a chance when it comes to your food. Downtown San Diego is home to dozens of high-quality restaurants. If you want to embrace a culinary experience that you will remember, put these restaurants at the top of your list.



For a classic American dining experience infused with beer and bourbon, Barleymash is a must-stop in Gaslamp Quarter. It’s a fun, high-energy atmosphere with a prime location. Take a few minutes to remind yourself that life should be simple, sipped, and savored with a restaurant whose namesake refers to the grain used to make beer and bourbon.

At Barleymash, there is always something going on. The venue books live music or deejays seven days a week and hosts a variety of special events throughout the year. It’s definitely worth a stop when you are in San Diego.

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Chocolate Cremerie

Chocolate Creamerie

We would be remiss if we didn’t include a decadent dessert stop on our list. The Chocolate Cremerie serves an assortment of gelato, coffee, pastries, salads, crepes, paninis, and desserts. It’s the perfect place to satisfy a sweet tooth or grab a quick bite for lunch.

If you are looking for something small and quaint in the city, this little cafe pulls it off well. This gem serves outstanding gelato. 

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The Lion’s Share

The Lion’s Share

It’s fancy food and cocktails without the smug pretense of elitist indignation. They nail the atmosphere on the head with live music performed by a professional harpist and highly attentive service. The menu is eclectic and comfortable. It might be fine dining, but you should be able to recognize the food on your plate.

The restaurant features a full bar with housemade cocktails from fresh ingredients. It’s quaint and small, perfect for intimate settings. However, it may be more challenging for large groups. If you want to enjoy a nice dinner or happy hour, this place is charming.

Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse

Fogo De Chao – San Diego

Get a taste of something different at Fogo de Chao. Brazilian steakhouses have risen in popularity in the US due to their culinary prowess and generous approach to the dining experience. These steakhouses commonly serve all-you-can-eat meats in a Rodizio-style dining experience that is similar to a buffet but served at the table.

Fogo de Chao was curated in the homeland of Brazil and brought to the states at the beckoning of US travelers who frequented the restaurant in Brazil. There is no shortage of finely prepared meats at Fogo de Chao, making it the perfect stop for meat-loving carnivores. Choose from steak, chicken, lamb, pork, or seafood.

Cafe 222

Cafe 222

Who doesn’t love breakfast? Hands down, the best breakfast in Gaslamp Quarter is served at Cafe 222. Enjoy peanut butter and banana stuffed french toast that is packed with protein and flavor. As the day draws on, the cafe offers a wide range of homestyle lunches like classic tuna melts and southern-style chili.

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You’ve probably never enjoyed waffles with so many different takes. You can order the classics or dress them up with pumpkin, pecan, strawberry shortcake, or chili and cornbread. Along with the full line up of waffles, you can choose to pair your meal with savory classics like housemade biscuits, burritos, and frittata. 

The Bottom Line on Downtown San Diego Restaurants

We’ve curated a full line up of great places to eat in Gaslamp Quarter. For breakfast, we are in love with the classic hotspot Cafe 222 or The Morning After. For a quick stop for lunch, the winner is still Cafe 222 or the Chocolat Cremerie. Dinner choices depend on your preferences. Barleymash is American culture dining at its best. Biga is a fresh take on farm-to-table Italian. Fogo de Chao is for the meat-lover. The Lion’s Share is the best choice for an intimate dining experience.

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Banner Photo: Prime Time San Diego – by Lee Sie