After a full day enjoying the San Diego’s beaches and sunshine, the last thing you want to be doing is searching for a place to eat that will satisfy the whole family. To help you plan out your awesome day (or week), here are 10 places to take the family for delicious bites, beverages and sweet treats.
Where: 3725 Paseo Place, San Diego, CA 92130
Besides offering a range of enticing food and drink options — from Tocaya Organica’s modern Mexican specialties to Salt & Straw’s inventive ice creams to Harland Brewing’s local craft beers — One Paseo is just a relaxing place for a family to hang out. The mixed-use center near Del Mar offers cozy seating around open-air plazas, lawns and fire pits, plus a range of inviting retail zones to stroll through. (In fact, there’s even a pathway called The Stroll.)
Where: 2204 Fern St, San Diego, CA 92104
A family favorite in San Diego’s South Park neighborhood, Station Tavern offers a kids’ menu featuring with favorites from hot dogs to grilled cheese sandwiches to tofu pups. The tavern’s expansive “back yard” boasts communal picnic tables with lots of fun play options, and four-legged family members are also welcome in the outdoor areas. Station Tavern takes its name from the trolley that once ran through here; the business has received a San Diego Architectural Foundation Grand Orchid Award for its inventive use of space, sustainability and preservation of local history.
City Tacos’ OB Playground
Where: 4896 Voltaire Street, San Diego, CA 92127
The seventh and latest City Tacos location in the San Diego region is an ideal spot for family fun. OB Playground, as the company is calling this new food-and-entertainment emporium, boasts everything from bocce ball, fire pits and a paleta cart to its own gated dog park. Picnic tables and other seating add cozy comforts to the place’s 10,000-square-foot courtyard, where guests can lounge and enjoy live music as well as City Tacos’ delicious lineup of tacos and more. And parents just might enjoy the place’s 10 local-beer taps, too.
Surf Rider Pizza La Mesa
Where: 8381 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942
This neighborhood-favorite pizza joint offers both indoor and outdoor patio seating and a fun, beach-y family vibe. The menu is packed with specialty pies, but Surf Rider also serves up sandwiches, salads and strombolis. And there’s even an on-site Swell Bakery, with such sweet treats as the Surfers Breakfast (an oatmeal cookie with toppings) and a S’Mores Mountain.
Liberty Public Market
Where: 2816 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
Situated in the middle of the sprawling and vibrant Liberty Station — with its retail shops, walking paths and plentiful recreation options — the Public Market is a bustling food hall with lots of casual outdoor seating and a huge array of food and beverages. Kids are bound to love such outlets as the Mini Donut Co., Rad Burger, Bao Bar, Wicked Popcorn and Puffs. For an extra-fun dining experience, take your meal in the bench-outfitted wooden “boat” outside the market’s southeast entrance.
Officine Buona Forchetta
Where: 2865 Sims Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
Just a short stroll over from the Liberty Station Public Market is this flagship restaurant of the local Buona Forchetta Family of eateries. The place’s dual patios are perfect for families and come complete with a playground. And the restaurant’s Neapolitan-style pizzas are bound to be kid-pleasers. They might even want to enjoy a slice while sitting inside the vintage Fiat that has been transformed into a table for two.
Where: 2965 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
The third restaurant in our trio of kid-friendly Liberty Station eateries, Corvette Diner is renowned for its lively atmosphere and retro flair. The nostalgic midcentury vibe here extends to the diner’s live DJ, old-school arcade, vintage jukebox and entertaining staff. Menu items pay tribute to entertainment icons of yesteryear, from the La Bamba Nachos to Peggy Sue’s Pastrami. Corvette Diner may not be the quietest place, but for families it’s sky-high on the fun factor.
Farmer & the Seahorse
Where: 10996 Torreyana Rd, Ste 240, San Diego, CA 92121
Family brunch is a specialty at the Torrey Pines-area Farmer & the Seahorse, which offers farm-to-table dining amid expansive lawns and casual surroundings. Kids will love such specialties as the Bananas Foster French Toast, and parents will appreciate the plentiful parking and room to roam.
The Crack Shack
With locations in both Little Italy and Encinitas, the Crack Shack caters to families with such amenities as open-air seating, lawn games, fire pits and other fun touches. (It’s also pet-friendly.) And the place is famous for its creative takes on chicken, from the Coop Deville sandwich (with fried Jidori chicken breast and pickled Fresno chilis) to a half or whole fried bird with choice of dipping sauces. (There are also vegetarian options.)
Hotel Del Coronado Beach + Taco Shack
Where: 1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118
On a beautiful and sunny San Diego day, head to the glittering shores of Coronado — a beach consistently rated one of the best in the nation — to revel in a picnic and a swim. And the fabled Hotel Del’s beachside taco stand makes that oh so easy, with delicious tacos (grilled fish, spicy shrimp, vegan and more) that pair perfectly with the sound of crashing waves. Plus, there’s beer and a lineup of tropical cocktails for the grown-ups, too.
Cover photo courtesy of Diana Rose.