Skip to Content

23 Best Restaurants in La Jolla You Must Visit (For First Timer!)

La Jolla is known for its beautiful beaches and coastal location, but restaurants in La Jolla also add to the overall feel and draw.

La Jolla Village is a pedestrian-friendly area with upscale stores and waterfront eateries.

The tidal pools of Shell Beach are home to anemones and crabs, while La Jolla Cove offers panoramic ocean vistas.

There is something for everyone in the beachfront community, whether you’re seeking seafood, refined Japanese fusion, hip cafes, spectacular ocean views, Mexican, or an all-out fine dining experience.

In fact, if you want one of the best ocean-side views while dining, you shouldn’t miss the fantastic restaurants in La Jolla.

Restaurants in La Jolla

1. Duke’s La Jolla

Duke's la jolla

Duke’s La Jolla

There are many excellent restaurants in La Jolla, and Duke’s is a great starting point if you’d love to explore the food scene in this neighborhood.

Duke’s is a tiny restaurant franchise with an island feel. The restaurant gives the impression that you are in Hawaii.

The restaurant is known as Duke’s La Jolla in honor of native Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku, who founded modern surfing and won Olympic medals in swimming and water polo.

Duke’s, which overlooks La Jolla Cove, offers genuine, welcoming warmth along with modern takes on the classic island.

The menu of Duke’s La Jolla is quite similar to those of its sibling establishments in Hawaii.

Some of the restaurant’s signature dishes include the Dukes burger, Lilikoi Ceviche, poke tacos, and surf and turf.

The renowned Hula Pie, a masterpiece with macadamia nut ice cream, a chocolate cookie crust, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce, is a treat not to be missed.

Get a seat with a view of the water if you can, and make sure to make reservations ahead because the restaurant gets busy pretty fast.

At dinnertime, the outdoor dining area has great views of the ocean and is quite popular during dinnertime due to its prime ocean views.

Overall, Duke’s is one of the most family-friendly sit-down restaurants in La Jolla, and you should definitely visit.

Address: 1216 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States

2. The Cottage

The cottage la jolla

Cottage La Jolla

The Cottage is a must-stop if you are looking for restaurants in La Jolla for fantastic breakfast/brunch.

Located just half a block from The Empress Hotel, locals and tourists have enjoyed delectable breakfast, brunch, and lunch offerings from The Cottage for over two decades.

The restaurant is a neighborhood favorite noted for its breakfast.

The bright, spacious interior and the outdoor patio offer families a welcoming, comfortable dining area.

The Cottage’s food is exceptional; it is traditional American fare with a Southern Californian twist.

With options including salmon hash, loaded French toast, and Eggs La Jolla Benedict, it is understandable why it is a well-known breakfast establishment.

The lunch menu comprises burgers, tacos, salads, and wraps.

The Cottage offers a cookbook and serves meals on a seasonal basis. During busy periods, don’t plan on staying for a lengthy supper because other people will be waiting.

Address: 7702 Fay Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States

3. Isola Pizza Bar

Isola Pizza Bar

Isola Pizza Bar

If you’re in La Jolla and want to experience real Italian culture, you must visit Isola Pizza Bar.

The restaurant offers a great wine list, a more extensive menu, and fresh pizzas baked in their wood-fired oven.

The shelf full of the best Italian wines will guarantee that your palate won’t be disappointed.

The restaurant has a full Italian menu in addition to some delectable specialties from the Ligurian West Coast.

The pizzeria’s menu includes Margherita, Prosciutto Cotte e Funghi, Quattro Carni, and others, along with antipasti, soup, salads, paninis, and daily-made pasta.

The welcoming owner, Massimo, would be pleased to explain how the various meals are prepared, just as his grandmother did with him, to round out your visit to Italy.

The lovely, sunny San Diego beach is only a few blocks from Isola’s La Jolla location.

You may take advantage of the excellent weather that comes with being so near to the seaside by sitting outside.

Similarly, Dog owners who wish to eat a slice outside at Isola Pizza Bar can do so at a handful of the outside tables.

Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30 am to 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday from 11:30 am to 10:00 pm, and Sunday from 11:30 am to 9:00 pm are the hours of operation for Isola Pizza Bar.

Address: 1526 India St, San Diego, CA 92101, United States

4. Puesto La Jolla

Puesto la jolla

Puesto La Jolla

Looking for restaurants in La Jolla that offer Mexican dishes? Then visit Puesto.

Puesto is a renowned Mexican Artisan Kitchen & Bar that offers a creative spin on traditional Mexican dishes.

Most of what they sell are tacos, but the flavor and texture combinations are amazing.

Who doesn’t like their taco filling wrapped in cheese grilled on a griddle? Everyone has options, including meat, seafood, fish, and vegetables.

The setting is wonderful, the service is warm, and the vast varieties of tacos are a little out of the ordinary (in a good way) and very satisfying.

Chef/Partner Luisteen Gonzales’ menu items, in addition to tacos, also feature a variety of fresh catch ceviches, guacamoles, appetizers, and ensaladas.

You can observe the kitchen staff creating the tortillas and preparing the cuisine if you come here; It is really entertaining.

Additionally, you should make a reservation if you want to eat here, and if you do, ask for a table upstairs by the window.

Address: 1026 Wall St, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States

5. The Marine Room, La Jolla

The Marine Room, La Jolla

Marine Room, La Jolla

The marine room is one of the best restaurants in La Jolla. In fact, if you find yourself in La Jolla and are not at The Marine Room, you need to reconsider.

The restaurant has been welcoming locals, tourists, and celebrities to its surfside location for unrivaled sea vistas and coastal food for more than eight decades.

The Marine Room is housed in a modest structure that blends in with the neighborhood surrounding La Jolla Community Beach. Don’t be fooled by this; this is fine eating at its finest.

Due to the restaurant’s numerous floors, the vistas are immediately visible as soon as you enter, creating an incredibly dramatic first impression.

The main eating sections are reached via a short, twisting staircase, where high booths and tables with white linens are set up.

Customers may view the ocean from 180 degrees of wall-to-wall windows while also hearing the sound of waves slamming against the glass.

It’s usual to see kayakers, scuba divers, and even the occasional seal or sea lion rushing to snag the last of their food during dinner.

A sizable wine selection is available by the glass or bottle at The Marine Room. There is also a selection of beer and mixed drinks.

The French chef also incorporates a variety of ingredients, like violet infusions, bee pollen, barberries, sunchoke gnocchi, and other accents, into the menu’s mouthwatering selections.

Overall, you will be treated to a breathtaking view if you can make plans to eat there at sunset and high tide.

Address: 2000 Spindrift Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States

6. Green Door Cafe

Green door cafe, la jolla

Green Door Cafe, La Jolla

This is a cozy and welcoming restaurant with delicious vegan cuisine and a good assortment of beer and wine.

Many claims that the restaurant, particularly the lovely patio, makes them feel they have been transported to Madrid or Paris.

The proprietor of this little eatery has long maintained a booth at the Sunday farmers market in La Jolla.

Later, he decided to open a physical restaurant as well. But, the cafe is a little difficult to discover even though it is only a few city blocks away from the farmers market.

The excellent vegan burger on the menu is a favorite, but any of the selections will likely please health-conscious diners, vegans, and anyone with tastebuds.

There are both indoor and outdoor seating options, and the menu is extensive.

Address: 7644 Girard Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States

7. Manhattan Of La Jolla

manhattan of la jolla

The Manhattan of La Jolla

Manhattan is one of the top Italian restaurants in La Jolla.

Located inside the Empress Hotel, Manhattan is a traditional Italian steakhouse.

The quaint, affluent community of La Jolla, Manhattan of La Jolla whisks you away to the best of New York.

One of this restaurant’s outstanding features is its decor.

Numerous images of Marilyn and Frank give off the impression that one is in the cellar of a speakeasy from the 1940s.

The menu and the cuisine’s flavor are evocative of an Italian restaurant in New York.

Lobster bisque soup is to die for. A lobster ravioli appetizer with a caesar salad is enough for a small but perfect meal, or you can get something more hearty.

Overall, you can’t go wrong with Manhattan for a date night, a work meal, or a large table with friends.

Address: 7766 Fay Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States

8. Bernini’s Bistro

Bernini's Bistro

The Bernini’s Bistro

Bernini’s is one of those restaurants in La Jolla where you can always meet up with friends for coffee or tea, breakfast, lunch, or dinner any time of day.

For the past 24 years, Bernini’s Bistro has been a neighborhood favorite in La Jolla.

You will be satisfied with the broad selection of dishes they offer at extremely reasonable costs.

Despite its small size, Bernini’s makes up for it in food, atmosphere, and service. When the owner and his wife are not around, the welcoming bar staff and wait staff ensure that your stay is enjoyable.

Excellent wine selections, specials, and appetizers are available, and portions are more than generous.

Similarly, the owner’s inspiring artistic talent is showcased in the exceptional paintings that grace the walls above the meals and service!

Test out some of the seafood, wood-fired pizza, or fresh organic pasta meals.

Don’t pass up the chance to sip fine wine, draft beer, or margaritas. The coffee, juice, and lemonade at this location are excellent.

Address: 7550 Fay Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States

9. The Taco Stand

The taco stand

The Taco Stand

Taco stand is a must-visit restaurant in La Jolla. In fact, if you desire real street tacos, The Taco Stand is worth the visit.

The tacos and burritos are excellent; tacos must start with delicious corn tortillas. The fillings are likewise top-notch, plenty, fresh, cooked, and well-seasoned.

Additionally, there is an interior bench as well as lovely outdoor benches for seating.

Don’t forget to end a dinner with a traditional Rosarito churro or a Mexican popsicle. Another excellent side dish is the grilled corn on the cob with mayo, parmesan cheese, and chili spice.

Address: 621 Pearl St, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States

10. Brockton Villa

Brockton villa

The Brockton Villa

Brockton Villa is one of the most popular restaurants in La Jolla. It is a great place to visit, especially if you want an intimate or communal dining experience.

The Brockton Restaurant is located in a vintage seaside villa.

The inside dining room is a nice area with benches with striped upholstery, mismatched seats, and light wood tables decorated with fresh flowers during the day and lanterns with shell themes at night.

The dining room’s beautiful fireplace, which features enormous abalone shells, serves as the focal point.

The charming restaurant also offers great views of the well-known La Jolla Cove and has an open, airy beach cottage ambiance.

Everyone will enjoy themselves at Brockton Villa, whether you are bringing the family, having a romantic supper for two, or just catching up with old friends.

Take in the ocean views while enjoying your mouthwatering Coast Toast, omelet, or benedict while sitting on the terrace.

Address: 1235 Coast Blvd, San Diego, CA 92037, United States

11. Parakeet Cafe La Jolla

Parakeet Cafe La Jolla

Parakeet Cafe La Jolla

San Diego has multiple Parakeet Cafe locations, and there’s a good reason. You are about to find out!

With lots of outdoor space, Parakeet is a great spot to enjoy breakfast, brunch or if you want to grab a coffee and a gluten-free chocolate croissant.

The Parakeet Cafe represents the neighborhood’s distinct Southern California culture because of its eccentric yet welcoming ambiance.

Its menu features a variety of healthy food choices in addition to regular and specialized espresso drinks.

A delicious breakfast, lunch, and dessert menu is also available for vegans, vegetarians, or carnivores to enjoy. The cafe also serves really wholesome, generous portions.

Even though it’s open until early in the evening, it’s best for breakfast, lunch, or a midday break.

Address: 927 Silverado St, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States

12. Eddie V’s Prime Seafood

Eddie v's prime seafood, la jolla

Eddie v’s Prime Seafood

Positioned above one of La Jolla Cove’s most picturesque areas, Eddie is one of the best restaurants in La Jolla, with great-tasting seafood.

The restaurant is decorated in a casually sophisticated setting with a sensual earth-tone color scheme complemented by boldly colorful artwork.

In fact, this is the epitome of what one wants in a fun, adventurous, and amazing evening out.

Whether you eat at the bar with “Chef Stuart” making things happen, in the main dining room close to the beach, or upstairs practically on the ocean, the views and ambiance are a terrific start to something even better.

The large windows in the lower main eating room also maximize these views.

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood has locations throughout the country, including Austin, Houston, Chicago, and Orlando.

With an emphasis on top-of-the-catch premium seafood dishes, Eddie V’s Prime offers an experience full of seafood, steaks, and rhythm.

Additionally, steaks and seafood are the main items on the menu.

Your palate will be satisfied if you pair one of their arugula goat cheese salads with the restaurant’s famous crabcakes. They will give you a fillet you can cut with a fork if that is what you like.

Address: 1270 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States

13. The Spot La Jolla

The Spot La Jolla

Spot, La Villa

The Spot is one of those restaurants in La Jolla you stop for a bite when you’ve had enough of window browsing or doing some serious shopping in La Jolla.

This restaurant has been a La Jolla landmark for a long time and attracts hungry customers for lunch and dinner.

After initially opening in Evanston, Illinois, The SPOT Restaurant moved to the warm southern California coastline in the late 1970s, bringing its famed Chicago-style pizza.

Since then, fresh fish, steaks, ribs, burgers, and salads have been popular. It also provides kid-friendly options.

They offer a full lunch and supper menu in addition to a bar area, and their booth seating next to a roaring fire is relaxing in the winter.

For a combination of robust flavors, choose the whole slab BBQ ribs, lamb burger, Mahi Mahi tacos, or seafood pasta medley.

Many residents frequent The SPOT because of its Chicago-style pizza. These 30-minute-prep pizzas are so thick that you might need a knife and fork to consume them.

Portions here are large, so it is best to share when you can.

Address: 1005 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States

14. Barbarella Restaurant & Bar

Barbarella Restaurant & Bar

Barbarella Restaurant & Bar

The best way to get ready for a day at the beach is to sit at a bar and enjoy some excellent coffee and a sumptuous breakfast. Barbarella is a great place to do just that.

Barbarella is a classic gathering place on La Jolla shores.

The restaurant is a unique gastronomic treasure decorated with a diverse assortment of art and ample outdoor seating.

In fact, the Shores wouldn’t be the same without Barbara’s tradition of “enthusiastic decorating,” which she started many years ago.

Even though new people now own Barbarella, they are continuing wonderful traditions.

A few pizzas, a decent assortment of pasta, several Italian meals, and some American classics are all included on the menu.

For those who are more ravenous, chilaquiles are good.

The wood-fired cooking oven by Niki de Saint Phalle features mosaic art and sculpture, giving the outdoor Mediterranean style a dynamic edge.

There is also a “hidden garden” section at the back for larger groups if you have a large one.

Address: 2171 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States

15. Piatti Ristorante & Bar, La Jolla

Piatti ristorante & bar la jolla

Piatti Ristorante & Bar

Want to get a chance to eat in one of the oldest and most well-known restaurants in La Jolla, then visit Piatti Ristorante & Bar.

The restaurant appears unassuming from the outside, but once you step inside, you are transported to a chic Italian restaurant. But what makes the courtyard even better is how it was cleverly designed around a ficus tree.

Just imagine enjoying a romantic meal on a patio table for two, surrounded by a huge ficus tree.

A Roman fountain, chianti bottles, and terra-cotta tiled floors all add to the authentic Italian menu’s setting.

Highlights include house-made ricotta-spinach-basil ravioli and gourmet wood oven-fired pizzas.

In addition to a delectable dessert menu that includes Italian classics like Tiramisu and Crostata al Limone, a Meyer lemon, and a raspberry torte with raspberry sauce, Piatti Ristorante also has a sizable wine selection.

If you are a vegan or someone with an allergy, the restaurant offers a substantial variety of vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Come early because this eatery gets really busy on the weekends.

Address: 2182 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States

16. El Pescador Fish Market

El Pescador Fish Market

The El Pescador Fish Market

El Pescador is located in the heart of La Jolla’s picturesque center.

La Jolla’s El Pescador Fish Market has been a neighborhood institution for over three decades. Place a takeout order, purchase fresh fish from the market, or eat in.

Pescador is well-known for its fish sandwiches, which are made with your choice of fresh seafood and are served on toasted torta rolls.

Local swordfish, calamari, and sea bass are among the options.

Additionally noteworthy are its seafood “burros,” or burritos, mainly when stuffed with yellowtail & squid.

In fact, every good-eating marine animal found in the nearby Pacific is on display, and all of it is caught by professionals using no lines or traps.

There is seating both inside and outside. Grab your drink, napkins, and condiments BEFORE you settle down and place your order at the counter; the staff will deliver it to your table.

Visitors to El Pescador are also welcome to bring their dog along, and after enjoying a shrimp cocktail at one of the restaurant’s many outside tables, they can leave.

The hours of operation for La Pescador Fish Market are daily from 11 am to 9 pm.

Address: 634 Pearl St, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States

17. NINE-TEN Restaurant & Bar

Nine-ten restaurant & bar

Nine-Ten Restaurant & Bar

Located on Prospect Street, Nine-Ten is a modern restaurant with sidewalk tables where people-watching has become a pastime.

The restaurant’s main focus point is the bright and regionally-inspired ocean and flora wall panorama designed by renowned artist Dana Montlack.

The compact dining room’s high ceilings and rich mahogany wood elements inside also add to the room’s cozy atmosphere.

The menu’s broad wine list offers both domestic and foreign selections.

Address: 910 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States

18. Beaumont’s

Beaumont's la jolla

The Beaumont’s La Jolla

Beaumont’s is an ideal place to drink, enjoy live music, or hang out while in La Jolla.

The restaurant’s modern decor includes bold embellishments in vibrant colors. It’s a great spot for sharing dishes with friends (like Korean street tacos, wild boar sausage flatbreads, and more).

The menu includes everything from basic noodles to miniature New York steaks, so kids aren’t left out either.

The bartenders create fantastic cocktails that are inexpensive during happy hour.

They also have live music on Thursday through Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons. However, Sunday shows are suspended during football season, while Thursdays are set aside for acoustic performances.

Address: 5662 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States

19. George’s at the Cove

George's at the cove

George’s at the Cove

Several restaurants in La Jolla offer seaside views, but George’s at the Cove stands out.

Georges at the Cove is a well-known beachside establishment with views of the Pacific Ocean and the northern shoreline.

After more than two decades of doing business at the cove, you know this place is unique.

Let’s begin with the breathtaking scenery. There is no better position to observe people and the ocean than the rooftop restaurant and bar. You get a full view. People from the area, tourists, businesspeople, young and old, and parents with strollers

Choose from dining in the modern restaurant and bar inside or outdoors.

The seafood-focused cuisine showcases the utilization of local, fresh ingredients and inventive taste pairings to produce an unforgettable dining experience.

Additionally, George’s offers dining on three levels: the more formal area is on the first floor, the bar and small terrace are on the second floor, and the open-air, casual restaurant is on the top floor.

The restaurant also has some interesting cocktails on its menu, and while the food menu is the same on the top and middle floors – the cocktail selections are not.

Address: 1250 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States

20. Cusp Dining & Drinks

Cusp dining & drinks

The Cusp Dining & Drinks

Cusp is a beautiful restaurant atop the highest building in La Jolla, offering a world-class view with a world-class menu.

In fact, Cusp is undoubtedly one of the culinary highlights of the La Jolla dining scene.

It is located on the 11th floor of the Hotel La Jolla. They provide a complete bar with bar seating, contemporary decor, and stunning seaside views.

The savory meals on cusp’s menu feature regionally sourced ingredients, fresh-caught fish, house-made pasta, local meats, and rustic flatbreads.

All of these dishes are matched with a sizable wine list and creative handmade cocktails to guarantee a meal where the main component is a delight.

Note that the menu is seasonal and subject to change.

Ask to secure one of the two-person tables near the window if you’re dining with a special someone so you can enjoy the amazing views while having an intimate discussion.

The restaurant is open on Sunday-Thursday: from 7 am-9 pm, while it is open on Friday-Saturday from 7 am-10 pm.

Address: 7955 La Jolla Shores Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States

21. A.R. Valentien

A.r. valentien

The A.R. Valentien

A.R. Valentien is one of the best upscale farm-to-table restaurants in La Jolla.

The restaurant is part of the lovely California Craftsman-style boutique hotel, The Lodge, at Torrey Pines.

Additionally, it is named after the 20th-century California artist whose works are displayed throughout (and elsewhere in museums around San Diego).

With priceless paintings by A.R. Valentien, the setting exudes a breathtaking “Old School Country Club” elegance.

In fact, the restaurant itself is a testament to Southern California heritage and craftsman architecture.

Don’t confuse this restaurant with a typical hotel restaurant. It isn’t.

Most of the food on the menu is obtained locally, and the setting leans heavily toward fine dining.

The bar is easily one of the best in San Diego.

You can enjoy drinks inside at the bar next to the fireplace or outside on the balcony as the sun sets.

Purchase the seasonal prix fixe menu’s three-course local lunch made with local ingredients.

If the weather allows, dine on the terrace instead of the cozy and elegant dining room.

Don’t base your decision on what is listed on their website because the menu varies seasonally.

Address: 11480 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States

22. Catania, La Jolla

Catania, La Jolla

Catania, La Jolla

In a casual yet elegant setting with sweeping ocean views, Catania serves customers genuine Italian coastal cuisine.

The restaurant has a location in La Jolla Village, perched on top of the La Plaza Center at Girard Avenue and the Wall Street intersection. The menu includes pasta, wood-fired pizza, and other entrees.

It was even awarded one of Zagat’s Hottest New Restaurants Around the US in 2015, serving everything from exquisite pizzas and pasta to elegant, hand-crafted cocktails.

The portions are reasonable, and the cuisine is brimming with flavor.

Various fresh Crudo, homemade pasta, and handmade pizzas are available on the Catania menu.

If you’re looking for pizza, try the Sicilian Pistachio; it is good when you want something a little more unusual.

Similarly, the Duck Sugo Orecchiette pasta dish is for you if you’re feeling really decadent.

Address: 7863 Girard Avenue #301 F3, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States

23. Lupi Italian Restaurant

Lupi italian restaurant

The Lupi Italian Restaurant

Lupi Italian restaurant is in a good La Jolla location away from the bustle of the main village.

Due to its delicious fresh food and traditional pizzas, Lupi Italian Restaurant is still one of the favorite Italian restaurants in La Jolla.

Having received the La Jolla News Gold Medal for Best Dinner in La Jolla for the previous five years, Lupi Vino Cucina offers diners a genuine Italian dining experience.

If you don’t see what you want on the menu, let them know, and they will prepare whatever you request.

Address: 5518 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States

Final Remark

La Jolla also offers a wide variety of casual dining options, including Italian, pizza, and Mexican food.

Whatever your taste preferences, you’re sure to find a restaurant in La Jolla that suits your needs.