Just north of the San Diego Zoo on Park Boulevard, it blazes a foodie trail up to the quaint, Craftsman-packed neighborhood of University Heights. Though there are some worthwhile outliers (Trust, for example) most of the area’s restaurants line a two-block stretch of Park Boulevard where they’re all in arm’s reach.
Where: 3752 Park Boulevard, Suite 105C
Trust’s acclaimed dishes don’t fall easily into any category, so perhaps their own description of “urban rustic food” best describes local and wood-fired dishes like their octopus fritters with okonomi sauce, chicken liver toast, or dry-aged pork chop with local red beans. Choose from an outdoor patio putting you in the heart of Hillcrest, or a relaxed but urbane interior.
Where: 4622 Park Boulevard
Brace yourself to be wowed by the all-wooden, vaulted interior that has been compared with being inside a giant guitar. Rest assured this place is far more than a mere Instagram post, as evidenced by dishes like pan-roasted
Where: 3788 Park Boulevard
You might as well be in the City of Lights with these small-batch French pastries and candies. The goodies are handmade by Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef Melanie Dunn in her home kitchen above the patisserie. Pop into the tiny space and order to-go chocolate and pistachio croissants, canneles, caramels, tortes, and macarons.
Where: 4404 Park Boulevard
Pop in for artisanal sweet and savory pies, craft coffee, ice cream, draft beer and wine. Hearty pies like braised pork shoulder or Worcestershire-sautéed minced meat clock in at a hefty 5-inch-diameter, while sweet pies such as apple crumble, coconut cream, or key lime measure 4-inches across. They even have Vegan options!
Where: 4646 Park Boulevard
Tiny, inexpensive, and ultra-casual, this is one of San Diego’s popular Thai restaurants. Limited seating means customers must often stand while waiting for traditional dishes like shrimp tom ka, green papaya salad, stir-fry, five styles of curry, and specialties in the $12-range including roast duck and fish curry, lemongrass chicken and crab fried rice.
Where: 4612 Park Boulevard
Park yourself at the bar of this excellent couples spot, or adjourn to the expansive-yet-cozy patio for table tennis, giant Jenga and Connect Four. Bask in $9-$10 craft cocktails. Have an intimate conversation at an al fresco table. Demonstrate your aptitude for pinball. It’s all possible here.
Where: 4601 Park Boulevard
New Zealand-themed newcomer tops a brewery with an expansive patio, perfect for sipping hard kombucha, craft beer, and dining on Impossible meat rolls, fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and other delights from Down Under.
Where: 4661 Park Boulevard
Although labeled a Vegan/Vegetarian restaurant, anyone who savors the flavor of these meat-free dishes will leave wondering when they’ll go back. All dishes are prepared daily with plant-based ingredients. Be sure to try the famous flower cup appetizers, “chicken” satay, and coconut-based Zen soup. Make a reservation in advance as this quaint restaurant fills up quickly.