View while eating in Brockton Villa, one of the best restaurants in La Jolla

19 Best La Jolla Restaurants (Where to Eat, By a Local)

La Jolla is a top San Diego destination and is worth a visit as much for its natural beauty as for its culinary scene. Many of the best La Jolla restaurants celebrate their proximity to the ocean by incorporating seafood, a beachy atmosphere, ocean views, or some combination of all three.

From romantic, elegant restaurants with stunning ocean views to casual taco shops, there is something to excite your taste buds on every corner of the small town! Let’s dive into the best places to eat in La Jolla:

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19 Best La Jolla Restaurants

Catania

🍽️ Italian | $$$ | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 +1 858 551 5105

A bar on the Catania's balcony in La Jolla
Enjoy the beauty of La Jolla and the flavor of Italy from Catania’s balcony. (Photo credit: Diana Rose Photography)

Catania brings a breath of coastal Italian culture, aesthetic, and, most importantly, food to La Jolla with handmade pasta dishes, wood-fired pizzas, seafood, and a decadent cocktail menu. The beautiful, Mediterranean-style patio offers a wonderful location for a shared meal or sunset drinks with views of the Pacific Ocean that will give you a vacation vibe, whether you’re on one or not.

Nine-Ten Restaurant & Bar

🍽️ Contemporary | $$$ | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 +1 858 964 5400

A colorful dish on a plate from Nine-Ten Restaurant & Bar
Nine-Ten’s dishes use local ingredients, including amazing locally-caught halibut and seasonal veggies. (Photo credit: Nine-Ten Restaurant & Bar)

Nine-Ten is one of the most elegant restaurants in La Jolla that celebrates seasonal, locally harvested ingredients with an ever-evolving, Michelin-recognized menu. The chic restaurant offers exquisite lunch, dinner, and drink menus with plates that will challenge you to choose just one entree. In this case, I recommend opting for the prix fixe menu that allows you to sample multiple dishes with wine pairings.

Candor by Giuseppe

🍽️ American | $$ | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 +1 858 246 7818

Different kinds of dishes served in Candor by Giuseppe
(Photo Credit: Candor by Giuseppe)

Candor is an unpretentious but upscale eatery that creates an inviting, lighthearted atmosphere heavy on community and culture. The familiar and welcoming atmosphere alone makes it one of my favorite local restaurants, but you’ll keep going back for the extensive, seasonal menu that blends a wide variety of global cuisines, all of which can be paired with Candor’s large selection of fine wines.

Brockton Villa

🍽️ American | $$ | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 +1 858 454 7393

View while eating in Brockton Villa in La Jolla
Perched over La Jolla Cove, Brockton Villa has one of the best views in La Jolla! (Photo credit: Brockton Villa)

Brockton Villa is a charming historic beach cottage-turned-restaurant that was built in 1894 as one of La Jolla’s first seaside weekend retreats. Now, you too can enjoy the ocean breeze and unbeatable La Jolla Cove views for breakfast and dinner on the wrap-around porch. I especially recommend the unbelievable fluffy french toast with seasonal jam.

👉 Pro Tip: La Jolla is a great place to spend a day! Start your morning at Brockton Villa and then explore La Jolla’s top sites and activities.

George’s at the Cove

🍽️ American | $$$ | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 +1 858 454 4244

People enjoying their meal and view at the ocean terrace of George's at the Cove
George’s at the Cove’s Ocean Terrace is a prime spot for drinks and a bite with a view!  (Photo credit: George’s at the Cove)

The only thing that tops views of stunning La Jolla Cove cliffs is gazing out over them from George’s ocean terrace with a delicious cocktail in hand, selected from their extensive drink menu (my favorite is the Spicy Piña Margarita). Besides the wonderful terrace bar, George’s has a fantastic lunch and dinner menu that offers first-rate seafood and American fare.

👉 Don’t Miss: La Jolla Cove and the resident sea lions are a top destination in San Diego. Check out a full list of things to do and see in San Diego here!

The Marine Room

🍽️ French Seafood | $$$$ | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 +1 858  459 7222

The Marine Room is La Jolla’s most iconic fine-dining restaurant, as famous for its culinary offerings as it is for its location on the sand of La Jolla Shores beach (no, this is not an exaggeration, the restaurant is literally on the beach). There’s nothing quite as picturesque or romantic as dining on exceptional seafood as the waves lap at the window next to you. 

👉 Pro Tip: Plan your lunch or dinner for high tide, for the most spectacular views as the waves will be at their closest to the restaurant!

Taco Stand

🍽️ Mexican | $ | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 +1 858 551 6666

View of an authentic tacos with beef and vegetables on it

As soon as the La Jolla location opened, The Taco Stand took the town by storm and consistently draws lines that wrap around the block. The small, humble Mexican Joint and taco shop has some of the best street tacos that San Diego has to offer, which is saying a lot in a city that prides itself on its Mexican cuisine. 

I highly recommend sampling all of their tacos, but I am a loyal fan of the shrimp. Oh and be sure to get plenty of their mouth watering cilantro sauce.

👉 Pro Tip: Avoid the line by placing your order for pickup online and then take it to eat at one of La Jolla’s beautiful beaches.

Mediterranean Room

🍽️ Mediterranean | $$$ | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 +1 844 602 5048

Located in the gorgeous La Valencia Hotel, the Mediterranean room is an extension of the picturesque Mediterranean-style architecture of La Jolla’s favorite pink hotel. The restaurant offers a fine dining experience that showcases California modern cuisine using locally sourced plates and ingredients, which you can enjoy with a beautiful ocean view. 

📚 Related Reading: La Jolla is a great place for a weekend trip from San Diego, and La Valencia Hotel is one of the top hotels in town!

El Pescador Fish Market

🍽️ Seafood | $$ | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 +1 858 456 2526

Lobsters and crabs on ice in El Pescador Fish Market

With a history that stretches back 40 years, El Pescador is a La Jolla landmark. The fish and market sources its locally caught seafood daily and creates casual but masterful dishes that highlight the fresh seafood. The menu, sure to satisfy all self-respecting seafood lovers, includes king crab, crab cakes, lobster rolls, fish tacos, salmon burgers, and much more!

Herringbone La Jolla

🍽️ Seafood | $$$ | Website | 📍Google Maps | 📞 +1 858 459 022

The interior of Herringbone is the product of creative visionaries that blurred the line between inside and out to create a dreamy, Mediterranean ambiance. The restaurant is inside an old warehouse filled with 100-year-old olive trees and decked with twinkle lights. 

The menu offers excellent seafood and meat-based dishes and an impressive wine and cocktail list, making it one of my favorite spots for date night. Check out the bar for happy hour and $1 oysters! 

Harry’s Coffee Shop

🍽️ American | $ | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 +1 858 454 7381

Pancakes with strawberries and bananas on top with maple syrup on side
Harry’s is a La Jolla landmark and gives a sense of what the town used to be like!

This adorable family-owned diner has been around since the 1960s, earning it the lofty title of “La Jolla’s oldest diner”. It has accrued a variety of accolades and awards for its breakfast diner fare over the years and holds a special place in La Jolla culture. 

You’ll want to get to Harry’s early as it always draws a loyal breakfast crowd, but the wait is well worth it to get a taste of their great breakfast food, served with a dose of Americana nostalgia.

Duke’s La Jolla

🍽️ Hawaiian | $$ | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 +1 858 454 5888

Duke’s is an establishment created in celebration of the ocean, the laidback beachy lifestyle, and Hawaiian cuisine. Named for Duke Kahanamoku, the father of modern surfing, the restaurant honors its namesake with a friendly, inviting atmosphere and beautiful views of La Jolla Cove and the Pacific ocean. The restaurant’s famous hula pie is a must-try.

The Cottage

🍽️ American | $$ | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 +1 858 454 8409

French toasts top with berries in The Cottage

This quaint diner, located in downtown La Jolla, offers extensive and delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. The cottage is a staple local restaurant that is a favorite among local La Jollans looking for a casual dining experience that is guaranteed to deliver incredible food. My favorite part about The Cottage is that they have some incredible vegetarian and vegan options on their menu.

Isola Pizza Bar

🍽️ Pizza | $$ | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 +1 858 412 5566

View of a pizza from a wood fired brick oven in Isola Pizza Bar

Isola Pizza Bar prides itself on honoring its traditional Italian roots through its incredible wood-fired pizzas, which are complete with mouthwateringly crispy melted cheese and their house-made tomato sauce. 

The amazing food has made a name for Isola and the restaurant draws pizza lovers from all over San Diego, earning it a spot as one of La Jolla’s most popular upscale pizza restaurants. 

Public House La Jolla

🍽️ American | $$ | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 +1 858 551 9210

Burgers and fries in Public House La Jolla
Public House is a great spot to grab a beer and watch a Padres game!

Located in a historic home constructed in 1904  in downtown La Jolla, Public House gives off a homey, casual atmosphere and pumps out great food and drinks. The local joint specializes in burgers and a rotating selection of German and Belgian beers that draw a lively afternoon and evening crowd.

Sugar and Scribe

🍽️ Bakery | $$ | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 +1 858 274 1733

Different kinds of desserts in Sugar and Scribe

Sugar and Scribe is first and foremost a bakery and cafe, run by Food Network Champion Chef Maeve who creates some of the most exquisite baked goods you can imagine. In addition to pastries and cakes, the restaurant also serves all-day breakfast and lunch, which includes everything from mouth watering french toast to a full Irish breakfast. Sugar and Scribe is the best place to satisfy a morning craving and wash it down with a fantastic artisan coffee.

Cove House

🍽️ American | $$ | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 +1 858 999 0034

View of the Cove House from the outside

Located a block from La Jolla Cove, the Cove house embraces its coastal location with a breezy, beachy atmosphere. This is one of my favorite spots to grab brunch or even just enjoy a summer-time cocktail. The outdoor patio offers outdoor dining with views of the ocean and also makes for great people and wildlife watching as both congregate around La Jolla Cove.

Sushi Nekosan

🍽️ Sushi | $$$ | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 +1 858 999 0999

View of sushi on a wooden tray

With melt-in-your-mouth locally sourced fish, Sushi Nekosan’s sashimi, poke, and sushi rolls are some of my favorites! The small Japanese restaurant provides guests with an intimate, casual experience and amazing food made from ingredients bought from local farmer’s markets. One of the signatures of the restaurant is the various inventive vegan rolls, which almost outshine the traditional fish rolls.

Green Door Cafe

🍽️ Vegan | $$ | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 +1 858 291 8886

A mixed vegetables on a plate in Green Door Cafe

The Green Door Cafe is a cute little plant-based cafe that uses locally sourced ingredients to create delicious food. The quaint restaurant features a dining room and a small, plant-covered European-esque patio with outdoor seating. One of my favorite dishes on the menu is the amazing vegan burger, but any of the options are sure to satisfy conscious consumers, vegans, and just about anyone with tastebuds.

FAQs About Places to Eat in La Jolla

What are the most romantic restaurants in La Jolla? 

My three favorite La Jolla restaurants for a romantic date night are the Marine Room, Herringbone, and Nine-Ten. The Marine Room offers a unique experience dining in such close proximity to the ocean while Herringbone’s beautiful atmosphere offers a dreamy, fairytale feel, which is perfect for a romantic outing, and Nine-Ten’s luxurious, upscale dining experience is the epitome of romance.

What are the best restaurants in La Jolla with outdoor dining?

Catania, George’s at the Cove, and Brockton Villa have gorgeous upstairs terraces and decks that offer unobstructed views of La Jolla’s famously beautiful coastline and the Pacific Ocean. They are the perfect places to dine on a warm summer day or time your dinner right to enjoy your meal with a gorgeous Pacific sunset!

What are the best brunch restaurants in La Jolla? 

Sugar and Scribe has incredible breakfast, pastries, and coffee… not to mention mimosas and bloody marys. The Cottage is also a great brunch spot that has extensive breakfast and drinks menus and Brockton Villa has fantastic breakfast food and brunch with a view of the ocean is something extra special!

***

As one of San Diego’s most beautiful beach towns that draws admirers from around the world, it’s no wonder that La Jolla has developed such a diverse and lively culinary culture. You’ll want to be sure to bring a big appetite when visiting! Before you leave, be sure to read my guide to all the fun things to do in La Jolla.

I hope I’ve helped you find the best restaurants in La Jolla for you!

(Featured Image Credit: Brockton Villa)

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One Comment

  1. All the restaurants named are very good, I am surprised Du Marche on Girard was left out, the food and service is excellent. Our two favorites in the village are Nine-Ten and Du Marche.

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