While it’s known for its gorgeous coastline, high-end shopping, and general glamour, La Jolla restaurants are among the best in San Diego.

Whether you’re looking for seafood, elevated Japanese fusion, trendy cafes, unbeatable ocean views, Mexican, or an all-out fine dining experience, there’s something in my seaside community for you.

This list of best restaurants in La Jolla is narrowed down from a very long list of excellent restaurants near me, including many we personally go to on our own and with friends.

1. George’s at the Cove

Village of La Jolla • California • $$ – $$$
Address: 1250 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-454-4244
Reservations: Yes (highly recommended)
Ocean View: Yes (best from Ocean Terrace)
Visit Online

Lunch with friends on the George's Ocean Terrace rooftop La Jolla restaurant with ocean views.
Lunch on a sunny day at George’s Ocean Terrace (not pictured is the outstanding ocean view).

George’s at the Cove is where many La Jollans take their out-of-town guests to showcase our seaside jewel. It’s located across from La Jolla Cove, and each of its three levels has a different theme and menu.

Ocean Terrace, on the rooftop, has pretty ocean views and more casual dining (we love it for lunch with a view), and Level2 is more of an upscale bar with outstanding craft cocktails and a happy hour.

Make a reservation, especially during peak season in the summer. You can now prepay your reservation to guarantee premium seating for lunch or dinner. It’s basically a $50 table fee plus a guaranteed spend to sit at the coveted tables against the glass wall. You’ll have panoramic views of the Cove. Is it worth it? It depends on how much that $50 means to you, but I can tell you these are the best tables in the house and plenty of people in this neighborhood would spend the extra cash for them.

What to order: The menus are seasonal, but top recommendations include the Fish Tacos (fancier at California Modern, whereas Ocean Terrace fish tacos are more traditional), Black Bean Soup, and Grilled Octopus. For drinks, the La Jolla cocktail with chili-infused tequila is one of their more popular choices.

2. The Marine Room

La Jolla Shores • California • $$$
Address: 2000 Spindrift Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone number: 858-459-7222
Reservations: Yes
Ocean View: Yes, one of the best in town if not the best
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Seared ahi and a glass of white wine against the window with the ocean behind.
Seared ahi with a view (Photo courtesy of The Marine Room)

The Marine Room has been a local institution and one of the best restaurants in La Jolla since opening in 1941. Its seasonal menu and chefs have received multiple awards and accolades.

The view is one of the best in La Jolla since it’s at sea level, adjacent to the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, and built on the sand at La Jolla Shores Beach.

Waves crash against the windows at high tide, which they celebrate during their seasonal High Tide dinners and breakfasts.

It’s elegant dining yet approachable (business casual dress is recommended) with a fantastic happy hour in the bar. The seasonal menu is a carefully crafted mix of French and California-style seafood influences.

What to order: Everything is undeniably delicious, but you won’t want to miss the lobster bisque and center-cut filet mignon.


Village of La Jolla • California • $$$
Address: 910 Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-964-5400
Reservations: Yes
Ocean View: No
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Dining room at NINE-TEN La Jolla restaurant.
Photo courtesy of NINE-TEN

Located in the Grande Colonial Hotel on (910) Prospect Street, NINE-TEN is one of the best restaurants in La Jolla for a menu determined by what is in the season while keeping some guest favorites on the menu.

It’s perfect for a night out, whether it’s a celebration or just a date night. The veteran Executive Chef, Jason Knibb, has been at the helm for the past decade and trained under highly respected names like Wolfgang Puck.

Try his “Mercy of The Chef” dinner, a six-course tasting meal for your table. It’s also a perfect place for wine enthusiasts with an incredible cellar of eclectic, hard-to-find, and value wines, especially because Wednesday means that bottles of wine are half-priced. The hotel offers valet to all guests and visitors to NINE-TEN restaurant.

What to order: The Jamaican Jerk Pork Belly is a nod to Chef Knibb’s Caribbean roots. Save room for dessert because the Half Baked Chocolate Cake is one of the best desserts in La Jolla.

4. Catania

Village of La Jolla • Coastal Italian • $$$
Address: 7863 Girard Ave #301, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-551-5105
Reservations: Yes
Ocean View: No
Visit Online

The bar area at Catania in La Jolla.
The ba

Located in the La Plaza shopping center at the corner of Girard Ave and Wall Street, Catania delivers higher-end Italian in a relaxed atmosphere with a nice outdoor terrace that overlooks La Jolla’s downtown.

Their menu offers everything from decadent dishes to crowd-pleasers like their wood-fired pizzas. Fun fact: They are known for their specialty meatballs.

What to order: If you’re looking for pizza: the Margherita is simple but always delicious, and the Sicilian Pistachio is good when you want something a little more off the beaten path. If you’re feeling particularly indulgent, the Duck Sugo Orecchiette pasta dish is for you.

5. Himitsu

Village of La Jolla • Japanese • $$$
Address: 1030 Torrey Pines Rd G, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-263-4463
Reservations: Yes
Ocean view: No
Visit Online

Delicate sashimi on a large white plate on a table at Himitsu.

Himitsu offers highly authentic Japanese cuisine in the form of traditional nigiri sushi and tapas-like plates. Executive chef Mitsu Aihara has been crafting sushi for a long time, including at the award-winning Sushi Ota, and only opened this restaurant after receiving a blessing from his mentor, so he’s serious about the quality of his food.

The dishes rotate weekly depending on what seafood is the best and freshest on the market at the time. It’s one of the intimate La Jolla restaurants with an 8-person bar and a 20-person outdoor patio.

What to order: The Himitsu Roll (Spicy Salmon and Crab, Scallop, Jalapeno, Cilantro Aioli, Lemon Zest) and the Sashimi Salad (Tuna, Albacore, and Yellowtail are go-to’s. For the lighter palate, go for the Seared Maine Scallop. Lunch offers a selection of Donburis.

6. A.R. Valentien

Torrey Pines • California • $$$
Address: 11480 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-777-6635
Reservations: Yes
Ocean View: Yes, mostly from the patio
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A.R. Valentien interior, the signature restaurant of The Lodge at Torrey Pines
Photo courtesy of A.R. Valentien

Located in the lovely California Craftsman-style boutique hotel, The Lodge at Torrey Pines, A.R. Valentien is named for the 20th-century California artist whose works are exhibited throughout the restaurant (and elsewhere in museums around San Diego).

Seasonal menu items are mostly locally sourced, and diners can sit inside or dine al fresco on the intimate patio overlooking the pool and golf course. It’s a great spot for date night, though popular with families, too.

You’ll want to make a reservation to be sure you can get in, even for the popular breakfast and weekend brunch.

What to order: I love the Ancient Grain Bowl for lunch, which you can also get on the hotel’s room service menu. The rotating selection of farmhouse and artisanal cheeses and Brandt Beef Prime Rib Eye is also a favorite.

7. Eddie V’s La Jolla

Village of La Jolla • Seafood • $$$
Address: 1270 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-459-5500
Reservations: Yes
Ocean View: Yes
Visit Online

A plate of oysters at Happy Hour on the patio at Eddie V's La Jolla
We like happy hour on the patio.

One of the most popular fine dining La Jolla restaurants is Eddie V’s. It’s popular for date nights, but we also like the happy hour on the Pacific Ocean view patio.

You’ll dine on some of the finest seafood and hand-cut steaks with panoramic ocean views in the cozy dining room, intimate bar (with live jazz music), or the outdoor terrace.

What to order: Order the Oysters and Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes appetizers. I also love the Georges Banks Scallops entree and an Iceberg Wedge BLT salad.

8. Queenstown Village

Village of La Jolla • Classic New Zealand • $$
Address: 1216 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-454-5888
Reservations: Yes
Ocean View: No
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A favorite of locals since it opened (I will take photos next time I go), Queenstown’s botanical interior (so many plants — mostly artificial, but they look amazing) is just as good as its menu. They’re known for New Zealand burgers, but we mostly see people ordering salads, steak frites, the shareables (particularly good sweet potato fries) and other comfort foods like fish and chips or mac and cheese.

You can also take a seat in the bar area for a specialty cocktail, but what we like is that the wine isn’t marked up as high, so you can get a really good bottle for about $30-40, which is nearly unheard of in La Jolla.

9. Puesto

Village of La Jolla • Mexican Street Food • $$
Address: 1026 Wall St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-454-1260
Reservations: Yes
Ocean View: No
Visit Online

Top-down photo of eight different Puesto tacos.
Photo courtesy of Puesto

This is a great choice for a casual lunch, family dinner, or group outing. Puesto is an artisanal Mexican La Jolla restaurant that offers a little more of a full-service feeling.

The colorful atmosphere keeps things fun and cosmopolitan, and the menu is a great combo of light starters and classic tacos. All the while, you can watch your fabulous food being made fresh through the open kitchen.

Ask for blue corn tortillas, which are gluten-free, and they have a robust plant-based menu. Pair a variety of craft margaritas with your great food. They’ve recently expanded their patio seating.

What to order: Start off with one of their unique guacamoles—the Nogada is a good one as long as there are no nut allergies. For tacos, there are basics like Al Pastor and Carnitas, and then more unique options like Maine Lobster and Mushroom. They also have the traditional battered and fried Baja Fish Tacos that San Diego is famous for. Kids can get a combo of two mix-and-match tacos and an agua fresca (flavored water). I’m also a fan of their kale Caesar salad.

(We actually order delivery from Puesto all the time via Doordash and it arrives in good shape, as an FYI.)

10. El Pescador Fish Market

Village of La Jolla • Seafood • $$
Address: 634 Pearl St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-456-2526
Reservations: No
Ocean View: No
Visit Online

Seafood salad at El Pescador market.
One of my favorite salads — I will take a better photo next time.

El Pescador started as a small fish market in the 1970s and now has a full menu of prepared seafood. It’s known for having some of the freshest fish around and is beloved by natives and visitors alike.

Whether you want ceviche, a sandwich, a salad, a burrito, some tacos, or a full-on plate of food with sides, if it’s got fish in it, you can get it here.

It’s a casual spot but no hole-in-the-wall; this counter-order seafood-centric restaurant is clean, spacious, and polished. In addition to prepared food, they still have a functioning fish market if you want to cook something yourself later, which is what we do.

What to order: The Local Sea Bass Burro, Calamari Steak, and El Pescador Sandwich (Dungeness Crab, Medium Shrimp, Bay Shrimp, and Smoked Salmon) are some of the more noteworthy choices. I always order the El Pescador Salad, which is basically the ingredients on the El Pescador Sandwich on lettuce.

11. Sugar and Scribe

Village of La Jolla • American (with some Irish flair) • $$
Address: 7660 Fay Ave UNIT I, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-274-1733
Reservations: No
Ocean View: No
Visit Online

A recent protein scramble I ordered — also love the gold flatware

If my friends are meeting for breakfast in La Jolla, we usually choose Sugar and Scribe even though it’s busy and they don’t take reservations. The food is outstanding, as are the coffee drinks, though you could order a mimosa flight. We like that you could indulge in a full Irish breakfast (a nod to Chef Maeve’s heritage — you may have also seen her on the Food Network) or a protein scramble. If you’re gluten-free or vegan, it’s also no problem.

It’s also a place that locals stop into for desserts to-go and to special order cakes. The unicorn clusters are always a hit with the kid, with colorful sparkles and marshmallows coating cereal in a bite-sized chunk. Note that they ask for a 90-minute table limit because they are so busy.

What to order: Gosh, it’s hard to narrow down their fantastic menu. The lemon curd pancakes are really popular and you can upgrade them to add unicorn dust (sweet sparkles and flourish). I haven’t tried them yet, but others rave about the Scotch egg.

12. Taco Stand

Village of La Jolla • Mexican • $
Address: 621 Pearl St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-551-6666
Reservations: No
Ocean View: No
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A plate of tacos and a Coke at Taco Stand restaurant in La Jolla.
Excellent tacos (Photo courtesy of Taco Stand)

If you want a solid taco or burrito, head to Taco Stand. It’s inspired by the taco stands of Tijuana and Baja Mexico and busy for a reason.

It’s best to go early to avoid peak lunch and dinner crowds (or opt for takeout). Tortillas are handmade, while sauces and guacamole are prepared daily in-house.

You can also order tacos protein style, which means in lettuce instead of a tortilla. It’s on our list of kid-friendly San Diego restaurants because local kids and their parents love the food here equally.

What to order: They have deliciously battered and grilled versions of San Diego’s famous dish, the fish taco. However, Camaron (spicy shrimp) tacos and carne asada fries are a favorite in addition to vegetarian Nopal tacos. Those with sweet tooths should save room for fresh churros or refreshing paletas.

13. Piatti La Jolla

La Jolla Shores • Italian • $$
Address: 2182 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone number: 858-454-1589
Reservations: Yes
Ocean View: No
Visit Online

A wood-fired pizza on the table at Piatti, a popular La Jolla Italian restaurant.
Wood-fired pizza is a specialty.

Piatti is a charming Italian eatery in the heart of La Jolla Shores by the beach. In addition to lunch and dinner, you can join them for a full Italian-style breakfast. Everything on the mouthwatering menu is amazing, but the dipping sauce for the fresh bread is what you’ll be dreaming about for the next few nights.

Top off the meal with one of their many artisan wines. If you want to sit inside, you can see your food being made in the exhibition-style kitchen, which includes a woodfired pizza oven, but otherwise, there’s plenty of outdoor seating on the cute covered patio. They do have gluten-free pasta available.

What to order: We like the Herbed Cauliflower Cakes (waiter-recommended). Choosing between pizza and pasta is a tough call, but I’m a fan of the basic Angel Hair and Pappardelle with shrimp. And, you have to finish with Tiramisu.

14. Duke’s La Jolla

Village of La Jolla • Hawaiian • $$
Address: 1216 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-454-5888
Reservations: Yes
Ocean View: Yes
Visit Online

Festive surfer-themed interior of Duke's La Jolla.
Photo courtesy of Duke’s La Jolla

Inspired by the foods and spirit of Hawaii, Duke’s is a fun place to take the family. The Aloha vibes are only made better by the incredible ocean view from the patio. It’s a mix of traditional Hawaiian and contemporary Californian fare, so you’ll find quality no matter what you’re craving. And they have the famous Hula Pie.

What to order:  Besides the mouthwatering Poke Tacos and Kalua Pork Sandwich, you can always get a traditional Hawaiian plate lunch (ribs and chicken or the daily catch with steamed jasmine rice, macaroni salad, bok choy macadamia nut slaw). If you decide to visit the Barefoot Bar, make sure to grab one of their infamous Mai Tais served in a classic tiki-shaped glass.

15. Caroline’s Seaside Cafe

La Jolla Shores • California Cuisine • $$
Address: 8610 Kennel Way, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-202-0569
Reservations: No
Ocean View: Yes
Visit Online

Caroline’s Seaside Cafe is the essence of California cuisine. The view is spectacular as the restaurant sits on a cliff above La Jolla Shores Beach, near Scripps Pier.

The breakfast and lunch menus are packed with healthy choices, and everything comes from sustainable and organic sources. On the weekdays, breakfast is available from 8–11:30 a.m., and brunch goes all day on the weekends (these are two different menus, so make sure that what you want is available that day).

If you’re coming on a Saturday or Sunday, give yourself time to park and expect a line since it’s first-come, first-serve (no reservations are accepted). Gluten-free bread is available for sandwiches.

What to order: The Seasonal Chopped Salad and Roasted Vegetable Wrap are perfect when you need something light for lunch (though salads come with delicious herb rolls and butter). For breakfast, dig into their Mediterranean Egg Scramble or plate of Giuseppe’s French Toast. They also bake their own bagels every morning, which you can top with cream cheese or jam.

16. The Cottage La Jolla

La Jolla Village • American • $$
Address: 7702 Fay Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-454-8409
Reservations: No
Ocean View: No
Visit Online

This sweet little La Jolla restaurant is highly popular with locals, especially for breakfast and lunch (it is open seasonally for dinner). Formerly a residential home, The Cottage even has a white picket fence around the dining patio, which used to be the front yard.

The menu is decadent, and the servings are generous, so you might want to share (or not). Because it’s so well-loved around La Jolla, don’t be surprised by long lines on the weekends, but they usually set out coffee and snacks for those waiting on weekend mornings.

What to order: The top two orders are the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes and Stuffed Brioche French Toast. For savory lovers, the Benedicts will be your go-to, or I also like Soy Chorizo Hash. You can also bring home a bag of their famous granola.

17. Brockton Villa

La Jolla Village • California • $$
Address: 1235 Coast Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-454-7393
Reservations: Yes
Ocean View: Yes
Visit Online

The Crab Ipanema Benedict and mimosa at Brockton Villa, a popular La Jolla breakfast restaurant.
A recent Crab Ipanema Benedict

First built in 1894 as a seaside vacation bungalow, Brockton Villa has one of the best ocean views of La Jolla Cove you’ll find in the Village. The historical architecture makes it a cute and cozy brunch spot, and the menu is super indulgent (or healthy if you like).

Grab a seat on the outside patio to get the full experience. It’s right next to the Cove, so it’s easy to take a stroll and get a closer look at the famous La Jolla seals and sea lions that like to lounge on the rocks. It’s a fabulous spot for weekend mimosas (they have a mimosa flight even) and one of the best La Jolla breakfast places.

What to order: The House-Made Beer Brined Corned Beef Hash is a top order, and the Coast Toast, their take on French toast, is so popular it’s available at every meal. For dinner, the Ginger-Chili Glazed Atlantic Salmon is a favorite.

18. Harumama and Blue Ocean Sushi

Village of La Jolla • Asian • $$
Address: 1250 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-999-0323
Reservations: Yes
Ocean View: Yes
Visit Online

Character buns and Asian fare at Harumama La Jolla restaurant.
Photo courtesy of Harumama

The dual-concept restaurant overlooks La Jolla Cove with Harumama in the front and Blue Ocean Sushi in the back.

Harumama serves Asian fare that draws inspiration from Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cuisines. They are famous for adorable animal-shaped buns that are popular on Instagram.

As you might expect, Blue Ocean Sushi focuses on fresh ocean flavors where you can order excellent sushi and sashimi.

What to order: The animal-shaped dim sum is popular, like Pig (pork and caramelized onions) or Koala (strawberries and cream). The Flying Pig Ramen is also excellent. At Blue Ocean Sushi, aside from the raw items, try Scallops with black rice risotto.

19. Brick and Bell Cafe

Village of La Jolla • American • $
Address: 928 Silverado, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: 858-551-0928
Reservations: No
Ocean View: No
No website

Brick and Bell is a counter-order favorite La Jolla restaurant among locals because it’s really been there forever and doesn’t have a touristy vibe to it. It’s refreshing that one can eat a lunch or breakfast item for under $10. A grab-and-go fridge has cut fruit, drinks, and some pre-made sandwiches and salads, or you can order freshly made.

Tip: If you’re ever hosting an afternoon tea, they bake mini scones that you can order in advance for pick-up. They still run on the larger size for a scone, but people love them.

What to order: I’d order a scone, of course. My daughter loves the turkey chipotle sandwich (you don’t see this on the online menus) and lemonade.

20. Burger Lounge

Village of La Jolla • American • $
Address: 1101 Wall St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone:  858-456-0196
Reservations: No
Ocean View: No
Visit Online

The exterior of the Burger Lounge in La Jolla.
The La Jolla location (Photo courtesy of Burger Lounge)

Although they claim to be “just a neighborhood burger joint,” Burger Lounge serves more than your average fast food stop. Focusing on simplicity, their ingredients are locally sourced, fair trade, organic, and small batch.

Even though the food is simple, the menu is highly customizable, and you can eat there or take out. There are also plenty of options for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free diners.

Can’t choose between classic french fries and their tempting onion rings? You’re in luck, as you can go half-and-half (I do). They also have a gluten-free menu and a Paleo burger. It’s easy to get take-out also but call ahead otherwise there can be a wait.

What to order: The classic Lounge Burger is the most popular option–but the Turkey Burger and Alaskan Cod Sandwich are always options for those who want a healthier choice. The quinoa burger is both vegan and vegetarian, and they have salads to choose from as well. If you’re gluten-free, ask for your burger as a lettuce wrap instead.

Best La Jolla Restaurants by Cuisine

So, now that we’ve covered the big list of greats, here are some helpful tips when you want to find restaurants in La Jolla offering a specific cuisine.

We have many fantastic options, so I’ll list up to three per category. Stay tuned for separate articles featuring every category.

Best Place for Italian in La Jolla

We’re talking excellent pizza, pasta, seafood, and Italian wine lists.

  • Piatti
  • Catania
  • La Dolce Vita

Best Mexican Food in La Jolla

San Diego excels at authentic Mexican food. Get your carne asada burrito or fish taco fixes in these spots.

  • Puesto
  • Taco Stand
  • Bahia Don Bravo

Best Thai Food in La Jolla

Great restaurants serving up Thai Food near me include a couple of options in The Village and one by my house in a small strip mall on Mount Soledad.

  • Aroi
  • Spice & Rice
  • Turmeric Thai

Best La Jolla Restaurants with a View

These are understandably ocean view restaurants with delicious food.

  • George’s at The Cove (any of the three dining options)
  • The Marine Room
  • Duke’s

Best Seafood Restaurants in La Jolla

From casual to upscale dining and seafood cocktails to lobster tails.

  • El Pescador
  • Eddie V’s
  • The Marine Room

Best Breakfast Restaurants in La Jolla

Grab your bacon and eggs (maybe a mimosa, too) at these great options for breakfast.

  • Brockton Villa
  • The Cottage
  • Sugar and Scribe

Best Takeaway Restaurants in La Jolla

For the times when you want to take a sandwich, taco, or burger to the beach or your hotel.

  • Burger Lounge
  • Taco Stand
  • Cheese Shop

Best Vegan Restaurants in La Jolla

Rest assured that you can find vegan items on menus throughout San Diego. But, in La Jolla, only one truly stands out as an all-vegan menu. Get the vegan nachos, and you won’t be disappointed.

  • Trilogy Sanctuary

Where to Have Brunch

Weekend brunch in our seaside community is always a good idea.

  • The Med at La Valencia Hotel
  • The Cottage
  • Brockton Villa

What is your favorite La Jolla restaurant?

See also: 30 Fun Things to Do in La Jolla and Free Things to Do in La Jolla

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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