A vacation in San Diego, California can’t be missed. There are some fun activities for children, of course (like SeaWorld), the weather is nearly always warm and sunny, and the Gaslamp Quarter is makes for a lively, travel-friendly town center. But these are difficult economic times, and trip planners are keeping sharp eyes on their travel budgets. Thankfully, there are some inexpensive, easily affordable restaurants in San Diego. These are not the dives (and yes, San Diego has its share of those): Instead, these are the best restaurants that manage to serve decent food at a great price.
Best Cheap Restaurants in San Diego
Kono’s Surf Club - Who here loves all-day breakfasts? I sure do. Nothing like coming up to this boardwalk-located restaurant after an afternoon of surf and sun, and ordering a big stack of french toast. There are plenty of cheap lunch items on the menu too. Kono’s in Pacific Beach is Hawaiian-themed, and most menu items are $5 and under. No website: Kono’s is at 704 Garnet Ave, across from the ocean. (858)
Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza isn’t just pizza – although its oven-baked pie really is a local legend. There are also salads, pasta, and over 20 different types of tapas. Sammy’s was voted the #1 pizza in San Diego a few years ago, and is among this year’s Most Popular Restaurants in Zagats.. Check out the children’s menu – kids ages 10 and under eat for just $5.95. Gaslamp: (619)230-8888 La Jolla: (858) 456-5222 Mission Valley (619) 298-8222
Stout Public House is a terrific Irish pub – not necessarily child-friendly, but it’s got everything an old fashioned Irish pub needs. The atmosphere is jovial, the location in downtown, and Happy Hour is all the way from 4PM to 8PM every day. Inexpensive pub food like fish and chips and chicken pot pie are here, needless to say, along with burgers, tuna melts, grilled pork chops, and much more. Most menu items are $10 or less. (619) 702-7933
101 Cafe is the oldest restaurant in Oceanside (in San Diego’s North County). Named for historic US Highway 101, Cafe 101 faces the original location of the highway. It’s a 1950′s style diner – although it has been renovated since it originally opened! – and, like most diners, has all-day breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Come get a photo taken of your car with the ’50′s style waitresses, and the photo might show up on the restaurant’s website! Most menu items are under $10. (760) 722-5220
El Pescador is in high-end La Jolla, but manages to serve great, fresh seafood at low-end prices. It’s popular because it’s a relatively cheap restaurant for the area, hence is usually bustling. There are really affordable seafood salads and sandwiches for lunch, and it won’t bust a vacation budget to get the grilled yellowtail sandwich or Scottish salmon salad. (858) 456-2526
Point Loma Seafoods is located right in the middle of Point Luma’s fishing docks. This ultra-casual setting lends itself well to the full-service fish market restaurant. It doesn’t get much fresher than this: Cheap eats right on the dock include sandwiches, fried seafood, soups and chowders, and shrimp cocktails. (619) 223-1109
Bay Park Fish Company, like Point Luma Seafoods, is a full-service market and restaurant. It overlooks Mission Bay, a lovely view. Tourists likely aren’t interested in buying seafood retail, but the menu is extensive and the dining area has been recently expanded. Most entrees are $10 or less yet come in large portions, unusual for a fresh seafood restaurant. (619) 276-3474
San Diego CA has a wide variety of restaurants, ranging from high-end, formal dining experiences to the lowliest of greasy spoons. These restaurants are the best cheap restaurants in the area – good food in casual settings – and you’ll leave without having busted your vacation budget.