While it’s known for its gorgeous coastline, high-end shopping, and general glamour, La Jolla restaurants are among the best in San Diego. You can easily find seafood, Japanese fusion, trendy cafes, ocean views, Mexican, fine dining, and so much more in my seaside community.

It’s always hard to come up with a list of the best restaurants in La Jolla because we have so many good options. However, these are places that I personally frequent with my family and 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 out-of-town guests to showcase our seaside jewel. It’s across the street from La Jolla Cove beach. Each of its three levels features a different theme and menu.

Ocean Terrace, the open-air dining space on the rooftop, is one of my favorite places for lunch with a view. Level2 is a nice bar with outstanding craft cocktails and happy hour specials. The lower level is now a space for experiences like the restaurant’s current Guest Chef Dinner Series.

I recommend making reservations, especially during weekends and summer. You can pay a $50 table fee plus a guaranteed spend to sit at the coveted tables against the glass wall, where you’ll have panoramic views of the Cove.

Is it worth it? I think the decision truly comes down to how much that $50 is worth to you. Many people in my neighborhood consider these tables the best in the house and would gladly pay extra for them.

What to order: The menu changes with the seasons. I order Fish Tacos and the famous Black Bean Soup which are always on the menu. 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 opened in 1941 and has been one of the best restaurants in La Jolla since then. Its seasonal menu of French and California-style seafood and chefs have received multiple awards and accolades.

Thanks to its location in the sand at La Jolla Shores Beach, the restaurant has one of the best views in La Jolla. At high tide, waves crash against the windows. You can experience this crazy event during seasonal High Tide dinners and breakfasts. Request a table against the glass if you dare.

The formal dress code was scrapped in exchange for smart California casual. Nice jeans are okay but beachwear isn’t. We also like going to happy hour in the bar, which has an equally stunning view.

The La Jolla restaurant is in the same complex as La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, a perk for hotel guests and members.

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

NINE-TEN is one of my favorite restaurants in La Jolla and has been since we moved here. It is located inside the Grande Colonial Hotel at 910 Prospect Street, hence its name. Although the menu changes with the seasons, some popular dishes are available year-round.

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 a long time and trained under highly respected names like Wolfgang Puck. He was even on Food Network’s Iron Chef Ameria.

Try his “Mercy of The Chef” dinner, a six-course tasting meal for your table. Wine enthusiasts will appreciate the wide variety of rare wines in the cellar. The best time to visit is on Wednesdays when wine bottles are half-price.

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
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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. We like dining on its nice outdoor terrace, which overlooks La Jolla’s downtown.

The 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 like pizza, try the simple but delicious Margherita or the more unique Sicilian Pistachio. If you’re feeling particularly indulgent, the Duck Sugo Orecchiette pasta dish is for you — I ordered this last time I ate there.

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
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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 restaurant in Pacific Beach.

The dishes rotate weekly depending on what seafood is the freshest on the market at the time. It’s one of the more 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. 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

Find A.R. Valentien inside The Lodge at Torrey Pines, my favorite hotel in La Jolla. The restaurant 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 it’s also popular with families.

You’ll want to make a reservation to be sure you can get in, even for the popular breakfast and weekend brunch. For locals, I recommend making yourself a spa appointment at the hotel and finishing with lunch here. They sometimes offer packages like this.

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

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

My plate of oysters at Happy Hour on the patio at Eddie V's La Jolla.
Some oysters we had at 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
Visit Online

Locals love Queenstown’s botanical-themed restaurant, which has a beautiful interior filled with plants (mostly artificial, but still impressive). I keep forgetting to take photos when I go because the interior design is noteworthy.

An open-air bar area is a nice place to sit with a specialty cocktail. Thanks to a deliberately low markup, the wine prices are reasonable, with good bottles available for $30-40, which is rare in La Jolla.

What to order: While it’s known for New Zealand burgers, we mostly see people ordering salads, steak frites, shareables (I like sweet potato fries), and other comfort foods like fish and chips or mac and cheese.

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
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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 more full-service experience than some of our other burrito shops.

The colorful atmosphere keeps things fun and cosmopolitan. The menu offers a great combination of light starters and classic tacos. Depending on where you sit, you can watch your fabulous food being made fresh in the open kitchen.

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

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 at your table. 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 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. They still have a functioning fish market if you want to cook something at home 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
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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. It’s always busy there. They don’t take reservations and ask for tables to be returned within 90 minutes especially if people are waiting in line to eat.

The food and coffee drinks are outstanding. You can also order mimosa flights! I like that you can 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 kids, with colorful sparkles and marshmallows coating cereal in a bite-sized chunk.

What to order: Gosh, it’s hard to narrow down their fantastic menu. The lemon curd pancakes are really popular. You can upgrade them to add unicorn dust (sweet sparkles and flourish). I haven’t tried it 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). In my experience, the lines do not move quickly. 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 delicious battered and grilled versions of San Diego’s famous dish, the fish taco. However, Camaron (spicy shrimp) tacos and carne asada fries are my favorites. When I want something lighter I order the 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 a few blocks from 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. After you try it, you’ll crave the dipping sauce and fresh bread combo like I do.

Top off the meal with one of their many artisan wines. Inside, you can see your food being made in the exhibition-style kitchen and wood-fired pizza oven. Outside, there are a handful of tables on the street and a cute covered patio in the restaurant’s backyard. Gluten-free pasta is 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 for dessert.

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
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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 incredible ocean view from the patio only enhances the Aloha vibes. The menu is a mix of traditional Hawaiian and contemporary Californian fare. 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). When you visit the Barefoot Bar, be sure to try their famous Mai Tais, served in a traditional 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 restaurant sits on a cliff above La Jolla Shores Beach, near Scripps Pier, and the view is spectacular.

The breakfast and lunch menus offer healthy choices made with sustainable and organic ingredients. Breakfast is available from 8–11:30 a.m. on weekdays. Brunch happens all day on the weekends. These are two different menus, so make sure that what you want is available when you got.

If you are going on a Saturday or Sunday, arrive early to find parking. Be prepared for a potential wait because seating is first-come, first-served. They don’t accept reservations. 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

The famous coffee cake at The Cottage restaurant in La Jolla.
The famous coffee cake

This popular La Jolla restaurant is a favorite among locals, especially for breakfast and lunch. It is only open for dinner seasonally.

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. 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 which we use on yogurt parfaits.

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 in the Village. Its historical architecture makes it a cute and cozy brunch spot, and the menu is super indulgent or healthy — your choice.

Grab a seat on the outside patio to get the full experience. It’s a fabulous spot for weekend mimosas (they have a mimosa flight even) and one of the best La Jolla breakfast places. 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 to help work off your meal.

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

This restaurant has two parts: Harumama in the front and Blue Ocean Sushi in the back (which has a view of La Jolla Cove).

Harumama serves Asian fare inspired by Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cuisines. The adorable animal-shaped buns are popular on Instagram.

As you might expect by the name, Blue Ocean Sushi specializes in fresh ocean flavors. The sushi and sashimi are excellent.

What to order: The animal-shaped dim sum is popular, like Pig (pork and caramelized onions) or Koala (strawberries and cream). We LOVE the Flying Pig Ramen. 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. It’s really been there forever and doesn’t have a touristy vibe to it. One can eat a lunch or breakfast item for under $10 which is refreshing. 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 also easy to get takeout, 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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