San Diego’s Inexpensive Eats

Cash-conscious travelers can savor a variety of cuisines in restaurants located throughout the San Diego region. Following is a short list of eateries that are local favorites due to their delicious food, generous portions and low prices.
Family Friendly Favorites

  • 101 Cafe, named for its location fronting the original site of historic U.S. Highway 101 that runs along San Diego’s northern coast is the oldest restaurant in Oceanside. Its 50s-style diner menu features all-day breakfast, lunch and dinner, with most entrees priced under $10.
  • An Hawaiian-themed breakfast and lunch spot set along the boardwalk in Pacific Beach, Kono’s Surf Club is most famous for its affordable and generous all-day breakfasts, including breakfast burritos, sandwiches and French toast. Kono’s hasn’t changed their prices in several years, with most items priced under $5.
  • Since the original Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza opened in 1989 in La Jolla, their woodfired oven-baked gourmet pizza has become a favorite throughout the region. Sammy’s children’s menu, for ages 10 and younger, is a favorite with kids and parents alike and costs just $5.95.
  • The Old Spaghetti Factory, located in downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, is known for great family dining and complete meals at a great value. The restaurant was recently recognized by Parents magazine as “one of the top 10 family friendly chains in the United States.”

Local Seafood for Less

  • Situated in the hub of Point Loma’s sport fishing docks, Point Loma Seafoods dominates the casual end of San Diego’s seafood offerings. Family-owned and -operated since 1963, this full-service fish market serves fresh-from-the-ocean fried seafood, sandwiches, smoked fish, chowders, sushi and seafood cocktails at a great value.
  • Located in the center of posh La Jolla, El Pescador has been serving fresh seafood salads and sandwiches for more than 30 years. Guests can enjoy unique specialties for minimal prices like a char-grilled yellowtail sandwich and char-grilled Scottish salmon salad with lemon butter.
  • Overlooking Mission Bay, Bay Park Fish Company serves up a bounty of fresh seafood. Guests can order from an extensive menu and dine in the newly expanded dining area or purchase fish from the retail counter. Most menu items cost less than $10, and portions are quite generous.

Save on South-of-the-Border Flavors

  • El Indio, located near downtown San Diego, has been serving diners since 1940. Famous for their house-made tortilla chips and rolled tacos with guacamole, this road-side taco shop serves San Diego classics like the California burrito stuffed with carne asada, fries and guacamole. Visitors order at the counter and then eat inside or on the open-air patio, located across the street.
  • Ralph Rubio is credited by many with bringing the fish taco to San Diego in 1983 when he founded the first Rubio’s Mexican Grill in Mission Beach. Since then, Rubio’s has introduced other affordable menu favorites like grilled mahi mahi burritos and grilled steak tacos. Guests can visit the original grill in Mission Beach or any of the more than 60 locations throughout San Diego County.
  • Located in Ocean Beach, South Beach Bar & Grill serves up fresh fish tacos that earned recognition from Bon Appetit magazine in 2007 as among “America’s Best.” Their top seller, the marinated and grilled mahi mahi taco served on a petit flour tortilla, paired with an icy local brew and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean behind the bar is beach food at its best.

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