On March 13, I flew to San Diego to spend some time with one of my best friends, Christina Rice, attend the doTERRA Leadership Retreat, and have some quality one on one time with some of the other women I am fortunate enough to not only call business partners, but forever friends, as well.
The time I spent with Christina prior to the Leadership Retreat was basically one big, epic food tour. When you’re with Christina, the goal is to “never have a bad meal” and that’s exactly the way our week played out. Each and every meal was “the best meal ever” and, looking back, I would never be able to choose a favourite because all of the restaurants we visited were phenomenal.
The food I ate in San Diego for the entire last half of March was too good not to share, so I wanted to put together a blog post for you, outlining all of the restaurants we ate at, what I ordered, and what I loved, so you could enjoy these restaurants, too (if local), or put them on your list of places to eat at the next time you visit one of my new favourite cities, San Diego!
Before I introduce you to the best restaurants of San Diego, I must note that I was not the one to discover these restaurants. Christina introduced me to most of them, so, as we joked many times during our time together, she should be your go to girl if you have any questions about which restaurants to eat at while in San Diego, but here is a list of my favourites from the two weeks I spent in that incredible city:
The Best Restaurants Every Foodie Should Visit in San Diego, California
Our first stop was for lunch at Peace Pies, which is a raw vegan cafe. Despite the fact that I am not a raw vegan (or even vegan, for that matter), it was really difficult to choose from the menu because there were so many incredible options! I love when I go to a restaurant and have a difficult time choosing because there is so much that appeals to me! Usually, that’s not the case. Most often, I have a hard time choosing because there are only a couple of options that appeal to me. But, like I said, this was not the case at Peace Pies. The menu had so many options and I finally settled on the “Bliss Burger”, which is a sundried tomato & walnut burger topped with cheez, pickles, and homemade ketchup served on onion bread. But, since I was in such a toss up on what to order, Christina and I split the Noble Nachos, as well.
The burger was messy (in the best way possible) and half way through eating it I told Christina, “I could eat here every day!” The sauces on the burger were magic, the raw vegan patty made from sundried tomatoes and walnuts was so satisfying, but the onion bread may have been my favourite part! Overall, everything was delicious. Oh, and those nachos? Addicting. I would order those every time I went!
True story: I ate at Nectarine Grove 4 times during the 2 weeks I spent in San Diego, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! Nectarine Grove is a 100% gluten free restaurant, with vegan, paleo, and keto options if you follow any one of those eating styles. They have an in house bakery, which offers tons of vegan, paleo, and keto treats, but also breads, baguettes, and bagels.
Every time I visited Nectarine Grove, I was craving vegetables, so didn’t order any of the baked goods for myself, but did have the chance to try one of their sandwiches made on a paleo baguette and I would definitely order that for myself in the future – it was delicious!
Above all of their incredible baked goods, Nectarine Grove is famous for their plantain crusted chicken, which I also had the chance to try and was blown away! It was so crispy and I couldn’t believe it was gluten free and healthy!
As I mentioned, each time I went to Nectarine Grove I was craving vegetables, so I ordered from their list of “Bowls”, which comes with your choice of base (I chose spinach) topped with roasted vegetables and your choice of meat, depending on which type of bowl you order. My favourite bowl was the Chimichurri Steak Bowl because it was topped with the biggest glob of goat cheese, but they also offer dairy-free nut cheese, which I also tried, if you cannot eat dairy.
Honestly, there are so many options at Nectarine Grove – I would go back in a heart beat!
GOODONYA is an Organic Eatery, which I actually did not eat at, but would definitely eat at the next time I am in the area. Despite not eating at this restaurant, the reason I am including it in this list is because I enjoyed two lattes from here which were easily the best two lattes of my life! And, of course, I ordered the same latte both times because it was so good.
It may sound weird, but the latte I ordered was called the “ACV” latte, which is made with in house made coconut milk, peppermint tea, raw honey, cayenne, and… apple cider vinegar. Don’t judge it, though! Whoever came up with this concoction is a pure genius! Like I said, I loved it so much I had it twice in two weeks!
I also tried Christina’s Golden Milk Latte, which was delicious, but we both agreed that the ACV latte with the best creation ever!
Parakeet Cafe is another restaurant I went to more than once while in San Diego. First, Christina took me there, but then it also just so happened to be walking distance from the doTERRA conference I was at, so my friend and I walked there for lunch, too!
I think my most favourite thing about this restaurant was the atmosphere, but the menu and food were incredible, too! It’s definitely a “must visit” restaurant if you’re in San Diego.
The entire menu isn’t gluten free, so be attentive to the menu when ordering if you have to eat gluten free like me, but the staff at Parakeet were incredible and so helpful with substitutions!
I tried different things each time I went to this restaurant, but my favourite order was their Roasted Greens Bowl (made gluten free and paleo) with an addition of their beet smoked salmon, which I would highly recommend adding to your order whenever you go here!
Also, you must try one of their fancy drinks! I tried both the Moon Milk and Flat Black – the Moon Milk was my favourite!
Trilogy Sanctuary is a vegan cafe that quite literally blew my mind! I was so impressed with this meal and happy Christina and I ordered a few different things off the menu, so we could split and try more than just one entree each!
We started with the cauliflower buffalo wings, which were grilled and easily the best cauliflower “wings” I’ve ever had! Then, we split the cauliflower pizza and the “Green Power Bowl” (no rice). The cauliflower pizza was topped with the most incredible pesto, mushrooms, eggplant bacon, and vegan parm. I would highly recommend ordering the cauliflower “wings” and pizza if you ever get the chance to go here – they were both unforgettable!
Truly, I wish I could go back to this restaurant to try more from their menu as there were so many delicious sounding options! They also offer smoothies and vegan/gluten-free desserts, which I would have loved to try, but we were too full after our meal.
Beaming is an organic superfood cafe, which Christina and I went to for breakfast smoothies one morning!
Truthfully, I’m not much of a smoothie person, but while I was in San Diego, I had a few smoothies (one from Beaming and the rest homemade by Christina) and now I must say… I’m on a bit of a smoothie kick and have made several since being back at home!
As I mentioned before, I always get so excited whenever a menu has more than just a couple of options that appeal to me. Beaming definitely has so many smoothie options that I would have loved to try, but we only went here once, so I tried the “Sexy Mayan” (with added avocado and cacao nibs) and was extremely happy with my order! I would highly recommend this smoothie if you like a little bit of heat. It definitely wasn’t spicy, but there was some warmth, for sure!
We didn’t order food at Holy Matcha, but they do have food on their menu (think, the most beautiful avocado toast you ever did see!) Christina and I, however, went for the drinks! I would also recommend going for the atmosphere, because it was so California and definitely a place to visit and soak up some Cali vibes!
I ordered their Mushroom is Cacao drink, but also sipped on Christina’s iced matcha latte, which tasted like a cinnamon roll!
One of the “must go places” on my list prior to beginning this foodie tour with Christina was Cafe Gratitude. It had been on my “must visit” list for years because I always see my Instagram friends posts photos of their food from here, so I had to go and test it out for myself!
Cafe Gratitude definitely lived up to the hype and I highly recommend you go, too, if you’ve never been here before. And here’s another piece of advice: you must order their Buffalo Cauliflower! It was life changing. I also ordered their “Whole” bowl for my entree, which I loved.
I truly cannot remember the last time I had a pizza that was like real pizza, so this pizza from Powerhaus Pizza was another meal that blew my mind while I was touring San Diego.
To be completely honest, I’m not a “pizza person”. I have never been a “pizza person”, but if I lived in San Diego, I would frequent Powerhaus Pizza more than the average person because it was so good!
They have prebuilt pizzas or you can create your own by choosing your base, sauce, toppings, and cheese. I ordered their Hawaiian pizza on cauliflower crust, which you’d never know was a cauliflower crust because it tasted exactly like a gluten-filled thin crust pizza! I couldn’t believe it!
Another great thing about Powerhaus Pizza was their quality of ingredients! They use grass fed cheese, naturally raised meats, but also have vegan options if that’s the type of diet you follow or cannot tolerate real dairy! Since I personally do well with dairy, I had my pizza topped with their grass fed mozza!
Tocaya is a modern organic Mexican restaurant that my friends and I went to twice within 24 hours because we were so impressed!
The atmosphere and interior design was incredible, but the menu was fun and offered tons of variety and room to play with different proteins and cheeses!
Each time, I ordered their “keto bowl”, but tried different types of protein and cheese each time. My favourite was the chicken tinga and queso fresco.
There you have it – a list of the must visit restaurants in San Diego if you love delicious, real food!
Do you live in San Diego? Or have you travelled there before? Is there any other restaurants you would add to this list?