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Best food in San Diego and North County

🌱 This post is in the growth phase. It may still be useful as it grows up.

I’ve lived in North County San Diego my entire aware life.
If you’re visiting, welcome! These are my favorite places to eat and their best dishes.

This is — by no means — an exhaustive list of San Diego’s greatest food. But it’s good fucking list.


Dija Mara

Dija is about as far away from Oceanside as you can get in Oceanside. You walk thrue the door onto a different continent. We go here when we want to escape to a place where folks aren’t afraid of heat and fish heads.

Favorite dishes

  • Grilled Roti
  • Charred Eggplant
  • Pork Belly Skewers
  • Mie Goreng
  • Nasi Goreng
  • Whole Friend Market Fish
  • Coconut Ice Cream Brownie (retired)

Favorite drinks

  • Beets by Bali
  • PALOMA #808

The Friendly

This is the best burger in San Diego, full stop.

One reviewer on Yelp said “this burger looks like it was run over by a truck”. That’s right. The burger looks like shit. But holy balls it’s a bite of pure soul.


Favorite dishes

  • OG Dirty Flat Top

Tribute Pizza

I love the Costo Combo. It’s non-ironically one of my favirote pizzas. Hit me with an artisinal, wood-fired, classic combo tribute — in an abandoned postal service building and I’m so in I can’t find my way out.

Everything about this place is perfect.

Favorite dishes

  • the classic combo supreme
  • house made award winning sea salt foccaccia with marinated garlic confit, balls of burrata, housemade ‘nduja’

Underbelly Ramen

This is “white people asian food” my grandmother warned me about — I won’t dance around that. But shit, if it’s not the best “white people” ramen out there. And if you like lots of tastes and cocktails, they crush it.

Favorite dishes

  • Belly of the beast bowl
  • Chicken confit bowl
  • Kimchi
  • Crispy chicken wings
  • Pork belly bao

East Village

  • Kimchi-chive Street-Cart Pancakes
  • Carnitas Dynamite Fries
  • Monk’s Stone Pot


Between the Mexico border and an Asian college town, carnitas ramen is a unique cultural mish-mash that is odd and delicious.

Favorite dishes

  • Carnitas Ramen

Tasty Noodle House

My brothers discovered this place after my dad passed. But if we’d discovered it while he was still living, he would have wanted to die eating there. This is the hole-in-the-wall, pot-sticker-slinging, bun-filling, cash-discounting, noodle shop of his dreams.

My grandma likes it; `nough said.

Favorite dishes

  • Shanghai Grilled Pork Bun
  • Shanghai Xiao Long Bao w/Pork
  • Spicy Seseme Pork Wonton
  • Braised Prok & Tofu Skin in Soy Sauce
  • Taiwanese Chicken

Prager Brothers Artizan Bread

The Prager Brothers make the best bread on planet earth. By brother moved to NYC this last year and said the only thing he misses is Prager Brother bread.

Favorite dishes

  • Epi Baguette
  • Shortbread Cookie
  • Spicy Italian Sandwich
  • Seeded Baguette

Lofty Coffee

Lofty Coffeee Roasting Works in Encinitas is the most special places to enjoy a hot drink in North County.

They roast really wonderful coffees but this seems to be the only one of their locations where they know how to brew it. But

…others I love

  • Buona Forchetta
    • Paaaaastaaaa
  • Moto Deli
    • They make a yellowtail sandwich that blows my mind
  • Menya Ultra
    • A friend who spent the last decade in Japane says this is the best Ramen in San Diego
  • North Italia
    • I love everything on their menu
  • Juene et Jolie
    • They just got a Michilin Star and their drinks are divine
  • Campifire
    • Their lunch bowls and appetizers are wonderful.
  • Juniper and Ivy
    • Best kitchen in San Diego. Go with a party of four and get every appetizer. They have an off-menue tribute to the In-N-Out doubl-double.
  • Crack Shack
    • Shmaltz. Fried. Fries.
  • Wayfarer Bread & Pastry)
    • Out of this world pastries. And specialty pizza nights!
  • Blue Ocean, Japanese
    • Love their hot pot bibinbop
  • Señor Grubby’s
    • This place is about what you’d expect from an American-run, Mexican food place. However, the Dos Amores burrito is special. If you’re in the mood for a spicy, onion-forward, al pastor, yo gotta try this.
  • LTH
    • Grimmy gastro pub at 11
  • Herb & Sea