Where to Eat in Hillcrest, San Diego

A neon sign demarcates

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Looking for a place to eat in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego? Here are some suggestions for dining in this revived area of San Diego. Mind you, this isn't exclusively focused on fine dining. It's simply a subjective list of places to try while in this part of San Diego. Now, get out and eat!

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Bronx Pizza

111 Washington St, San Diego, CA 92123, USA
+1 619-291-3341

Pizza is subjective and everyone has a favorite place, and pizza shops are a dime a dozen in every neighborhood. And then there's Bronx Pizza. If you're a fan of thin crust, New York-style pizza where they are called pies, look no further than this iconic take-out joint. These pies are commonly available by the slice: cheese, pepperoni, "porko," mushroom, pepperoni/mushroom, Bronx deluxe, veggie, sausage, Primavera, artichoke, tomato/garlic, eggplant, pesto, and whitestone-spinach, -mushroom, and -pepperoni. Cash only.

02 of 12

Hash House A Go Go

3628 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103-4220, USA
+1 619-298-4646

It's always busy and the portions are huge, and the parking sucks. But Hash House A Go Go is such an institution because it takes comfort food, tweaks it, and turns it on its head. Flapjacks include flavors like Snickers, butterscotch almond, apple cinnamon, mango coconut, and strawberry Frosted Flake. There's also sage fried chicken, stuffed meatloaf, one pound stuffed burgers, and a slew of hashes like mushroom, artichoke hearts, sundried tomato, and fresh spinach.

03 of 12

Bread & Cie

350 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103-3041, USA
+1 619-683-9322

The cinnamon rolls. And the turnovers. Oh, and the bread. All flaky, crusty, delicious. Bread & Cie is the city's most distinctive producer of artisan bread, supplying the bread to many local restaurants. In fact, if you've been dining out and have said, "Yummy bread," it was probably supplied by Bread & Cie. Baked seven days a week in a European stone hearth oven using age-old artisan bread making techniques. The sheer variety of bread and pastries make it worth visiting, but there are also soups, sandwiches, and salads on the menu. Order some coffee and pastries and imagine you're having a leisurely meal in Paris.

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Jimmy Wong's Golden Dragon Asian Bistro

414 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103-3116, USA
+1 619-296-4119

Back in the day, Jimmy Wong's Golden Dragon was one of the few places besides Denny's where you could find food late at night (or early morning). And it's still open until 3 a.m. every day. It's been renovated to be a little more upscale and less tattered than it was in the good old days, but it still serves up good Chinese food. The neon dragon sign out front is still one of the coolest ones in town.

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Urban Mo's Bar & Grill

308 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103-3009, USA
+1 619-491-0400

Urban Mo's Bar & Grill used to be Hamburger Mary's. The name may have changed a few years back, but it's still the place to go in Hillcrest if you want to experience, shall we say, the gay atmosphere of the neighborhood. As the restaurant says, Urban Mo's is a hetero-friendly gay restaurant that makes the best hamburgers in San Diego, hands down. They're colorful. They're fun. They're the best time you'll have on any given afternoon, and an even better time in the evening. And they believe that cocktail glasses should be adorned with plastic farm animals. It all spells out fun, yes?

06 of 12

Crest Cafe

425 Robinson Ave, San Diego, CA 92103, USA
+1 619-295-2510

Every neighborhood should have a signature diner that has comfort food. Crest Cafe fits that niche perfectly for Hillcrest. The stalwart diner serves up a lineup of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, from burgers and homey comfort food ​to Mexican specialties. Not a greasy spoon diner, Crest Cafe is more of a relaxed and cozy place that serves up decent food at not too bad prices.

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La Posta

3980 Third Ave, San Diego, CA 92103-3003, USA
+1 619-295-8982

Every neighborhood has to have a taco shack, and Hillcrest has many, but one of the favorites is La Posta. If you're not looking for it, you'd probably miss it. Unless you're driving around late at night, looking for a place to get a carne asada burrito. Then you'll notice La Posta because there is always a late-night crowd seeking to satiate their after-hours munchies.

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Khyber Pass

523 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103, USA
+1 619-294-7579

These days, the only thing we associate with Afghanistan is the ongoing war tearing through the country. But it may be a surprise that it's the origin of some tasty dishes as well. Khyber Pass serves up the favorite dishes from the Near East, Turkey, Afghanistan, and India presented in a chic colorful ambiance. Enjoy the healthy, fresh ingredients blended with exotic spices created to excite your senses. The Nasery family opened the Khyber Pass Restaurant over 16 years ago after coming to the United States to escape the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

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Busalacchi's Ristorante

The Busalacchi family is the first family of Italian eateries in San Diego, with seven restaurants around the city.  And Busalacchi's Ristorante is the flagship dining room. Old school traditional Italian fine dining and service is what you'll find at Busalacchi's. It ain't a pizzeria - or Olive Garden, for that matter - but it ain't too pricey either.

3683 5th Ave. (between Anderson Pl & Pennsylvania Ave)
San Diego CA 92103
(619) 298-0119

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Amarin Thai

3843 Richmond St, San Diego, CA 92103, USA
+1 619-296-6056

Thai restaurants are like taco joints - everyone has their favorite one. Amarin Thai is a favorite of a lot of people and it's not the most obvious, situated on a side street in Hillcrest. But it serves up some authentic, fresh Thai food at very good prices. What more can you ask?

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La Pizzeria Arrivederci

3789 Fourth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103, USA
+1 619-542-0293

La Pizzeria Arrivederci is one of those places to go if you feel like pizza or straightforward Italian food and want to feel cool in an urban setting. Thin crust pizza, spaghetti bolognese, good wine - it's a good place to spend a leisurely meal when you don't have to be anywhere right away.

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Yakitori Yakyudori

1611 4898 Convoy St #101, San Diego, CA 92111, USA
+1 858-268-2888

Yakitori is the Japanese variation of the kabob. In Japan, the skewers served up are primarily chicken, and at Yakitori Yakyudori, they serve up along with grilled chicken they serve up a variety of meats such as pork and beef. By grilling items on skewers, fat and oil content is reduced but increases the juicy flavor. But it's not just your standard meat cut skewers they grill up - here you can get everything from chicken hearts and gizzards to beef tongue and even quail egg. 

3739 6th Ave. (between Evans Pl & Pennsylvania Ave)
San Diego, CA 92103

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Best Food in Hillcrest, San Diego