Five awesome food spots in San Diego
WALKER CHUPPE | ARTS & CULTURE EDITOR | THE USD VISTA | @lordwalker_
With the fall semester beginning shortly, many new faces will be attending the University of San Diego, including many newcomers to the San Diego area. With that in mind, this list is great for new students to try a few trendy local restaurants, and for returning students to try a new spot or two.
1. Lolita’s Taco Shop
Lolita’s has been a staple in San Diego since the original restaurant opened in 1984, and there are now six Lolita’s locations in the greater San Diego area. Lolita’s is the perfect place for quick and casual Mexican food, while still retaining amazing flavor.
Junior Set Lu prefers Lolita’s over other Mexican restaurants because of the quality of the food.
“I think that Lolita’s is the best because it doesn’t taste like regular restaurant Mexican food,” Lu said. “To me it tastes more homemade and fresh than other restaurants.”
Customers rave about everything from tacos to carne asada fries, and Lolita’s is consistently ranked amongst the top Mexican food restaurants in San Diego. The closest location to USD is on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, around a 10-minute drive from campus.
The area around Convoy street is densely populated with various Asian cuisine, and the seemingly endless sea of restaurants can be daunting at first. From the street, Tajima does not look like it would be one of the best noodle houses in San Diego, but do not let its lackluster exterior fool you. Inside the restaurant, Tajima is welcoming and modern, almost like a Japanese-style sports bar.
Senior Vy Nguyen reflected that Tajima is best known for its ramen, and that the combination of taste and quality is superb.
“Tajima is a true ramen experience,” Nguyen said. “The broth is always so creamy and delicious, it could never disappoint!”
3. Civico 1845
In the heart of Little Italy in downtown San Diego, Civico 1845 prides itself on creating authentic and contemporary Italian dishes. Their focus is on seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients to make sure their food is as natural and sustainable as possible. Even the bar and dining areas in Civico are fashioned from reclaimed, natural materials. Civico also offers many gluten-free and vegan options as part of their fresh menu.
Italian international student, Edo Amari, frequents Civico because it is one of the most authentic Italian restaurants in San Diego.
“Civico 1845 is the little slice of Italy that I miss incredibly,” Amari said. “It reminds me very much of the restaurants that I used to visit back home. The amazing staff and outstanding food is something of quality that can only be found in a truly authentic place.”
4. Cafe Gratitude
Continuing with the fresh theme, Cafe Gratitude is possibly the restaurant with the freshest menu in all of San Diego. The menu at Cafe Gratitude is 100 percent organic and plant-based. Their philosophy is to create an environment that promotes health and sustainability for both the community and the planet as a whole.
Junior Alex Khan eats at Cafe Gratitude on a regular basis.
“I like going to Cafe Gratitude because the food is fresh and delicious,” Khan said. “They offer lots of options for people with food allergies or preferences without being bland. The plates are so colorful and bright, and the staff is always really friendly.”
Cafe Gratitude offers a wide range of menu items, each with their own unique and at times exotic flavors. The ambiance is fun and upbeat, and, with their selections of bowls, wraps, sandwiches and more, Cafe Gratitude is a great place to spend lunch or dinner with a few friends.
5. Chocolat Cremerie
Located in the Gaslamp Quarter, Chocolat Cremerie was created with the idea that it would be a place where flavors, scents, and aromatic spices collaborate to create something magnificent. It seems that anything ordinary is replaced with something special and delicious at Chocolat Cremerie.
Sophomore Nicole Jamshidi frequents Chocolat due to its inviting ambiance and delicious desserts.
“I love the family atmosphere of the place and the mascarpone and nutella crepe,” Jamshidi said. “It’s also in a great location and affordable enough for a broke college student.”
Although Chocolat is well-known for its desserts, it also serves casual breakfast, lunch, and appetizers, which are crafted with balance and traditional Italian flavors in mind.
Whether an experienced veteran or a complete newbie in the food scene in San Diego, these five restaurants are definitely worth a try.
San Diego has a wide variety of cuisine to sample, and these selections are among the best in their respective categories. And, of course, not only are they excellent the first time around, most of their customers end up returning for a second time, and a third, and a fourth.