La Jolla (pronounced, roughly, luh hoy-uh) is a picturesque seaside town north of San Diego, California. Known for rugged hills, nice beaches, cute seals, and an affluent buzz, La Jolla is great for a California getaway.
I had been to San Diego 4 or 5 times prior to my long weekend in La Jolla. Even though La Jolla is close to San Diego as the crow flies, it’s actually a bit of a trek to get there in practice. You have to meander through some winding hills before being dumped into basically the one street that feeds all of La Jolla Village. Traffic can be a nightmare, but don’t let that deter you. La Jolla is great for a daytrip, a long weekend, and everything in-between.
If you decide to spend some time in La Jolla, these are my 5 favorite restaurants – there’s something for any mood, appetite, and craving!
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California Casual: The Taco Stand
If you can only make it to one of these restaurants, make it The Taco Stand.
There’s a reason it has over 3000 Google reviews averaging out at 4.6 stars.
There’s a reason there’s a line out the door, even at odd hours.
Located a bit south of La Jolla Village, The Taco Stand is a small, unassuming building that makes Cali-Mexican food that really packs a punch.
Selling tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more, this is the place to go to if you want an awesome beachy taco stand experience.
I went around 2pm and still stood in line for an hour. I hate lines, but y’all, this was worth it.
I ended up ordering the carne asada taco, the fried fish taco, and the spicy shrimp taco. They were DELICIOUS. The carne asada was especially tasty. And, of course, I got churros to round it out.
I had to waddle out of there when I was done, but it was everything I’ve ever wanted. Yum! ?
Best Beach Vibes: Duke’s La Jolla
If you’re looking for the Hawaiian casual meets California cool, Duke’s La Jolla is a solid bet. Duke’s overlooks the ocean and puts out fantastic cocktails. Does anything sound more wonderful than a fruity cocktail while listening to the waves crash on the shore?
I didn’t think so.
Check out their menu – with offerings ranging from burgers to seafood to nachos to sandwiches, you’re sure to find something extra tasty.
I had the coconut shrimp with orange marmalade & poke tacos. Fresh & filling, which was exactly what I wanted after a full day at the beach. The fruity cocktail was the cherry on top!
But, do be warned: this place is hoppin’, so it may be hard to get a table by the ocean. Swing by and put your name down early if you want the full experience.
Classy Date Night: Himitsu
When I think of a fancy date night, I think of omakase-style sushi. If you agree, Himitsu is the place to be.
This restaurant is small so a reservation is a must. Pro tip: when you make your reservation, request a seat at the sushi bar. You’ll be sure to strike up a conversation with other diners & the sushi chefs. I think it makes for a very well-rounded sushi experience.
Like I said, I opted for the omakase, or Chef’s selection. If you’ve never done omakase, it’s a culinary adventure. After asking what you don’t like, they’ll start handing you plates of their choosing.
Himitsu was fun because it was a bit more adventurous than other sushi restaurants I’ve been to. There was a shrimp head served on one plate and I ate an entire deep-fried crab. But that’s the point of omakase: trusting the Chef!
After eating at more casual, beachy-type restaurants, having a reason to dress a bit nicer was definitely appreciated.
Afternoon Pick-Me-Up: Better Buzz Coffee
After spending a long day at the beach (and walking around the steep hills of La Jolla!), I was desperate for a cold pick-me-up. Luckily I stumbled upon Better Buzz Coffee which was exactly what I needed.
I got a blended frozen mocha coconut drink and it was so tasty. The coconut helped me continue the beachy vibes while satisfying my sweet tooth and giving me the caffeine buzz I needed.
Sweet Escape: Bobboi Natural Gelato
It’s no secret that I love Italy. I’ve visited 3 times so far and could go back honestly every year. I LOVE Italy.
And that means I love gelato, too.
Located just up the hill from the beach is the cutest little gelato stand: Bobboi Natural Gelato.
They have all the gelato flavors you’d expect plus a few more. It’s so perfectly smooth, creamy, and decadent. You might not think you need two flavors, but I promise you’ll want two flavors.
La Jolla Village has so much to offer. Whether you’re spending a weekend or a week in La Jolla, these 5 restaurants are sure to satisfy!