Eating in San Diego

Sunny, beautiful San Diego.

By population, San Diego is the second largest city in California and the eighth largest city in the United States. The city itself is 372.40 sq mi. With that many people and that much land, eating in San Diego can be a bit intimidating for a first time visitor who is trying to figure it out on their own. Thanks to my friends at the San Diego Tourism Authority, I was staying in the Gaslamp Quarter so I figured I would be dining there and in neighboring Little Italy.


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The Gaslamp Quarter is a historical district in downtown San Diego that covers 16 1/2 blocks. Restaurants, bars, hotels, shops, and residences make up this vibrant area of San Diego. The Gaslamp Quarter can best be described as a super clean (literally and figuratively) version of New Orleans’ French Quarter. Figurative means, sure there are bars and adult fun to be had but it’s not very likely that you will see someone walking down the street naked or a couple having sex in the street in the Gaslamp. What you will find is cuisine from all over the world in this area.



Saltbox Restaurant
1047 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92101

Located in the Hotel Palomar, Saltbox Restaurant is a gastropub that specializes in New American cuisine. Chef Brad Kraten is leading the charge in the kitchen to churn out a tasty, farm-fresh menu.

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The night I dined at Saltbox, I ordered “chef’s choice”. What this means is, I left it up to the kitchen to decide what I ate. Chefs and their kitchens enjoy doing this. This is their time to show off their skill and at times goes off the menu for the pleasure of the diner.

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For the most part, my meal stuck to the menu. I started with some mussels with chorizo, cilantro, tomato, and coriander sauce. Then I was served this tender, gussied up pot roast.


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Dessert is where my meal deviated off the menu. The kitchen prepared a chocolate cake that was off the menu and I seriously think Saltbox should consider adding it as a staple to the menu. It was rich, dark, thick, moist, and delicious. I also had their bread pudding, which was absolutely divine. When I was told they were serving me bread pudding I asked “You know I’m from Louisiana right?”. They knew and they brought it out anyway. I wonder if someone can express ship me some of that bread pudding. It was THAT yummy with fresh strawberries on top.

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207 5th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101

“I’m in love with Mary Jane. She’s my main thing. She makes me feel alright. She makes my heart sing.” -Rick James

MaryJane’s is a late night food diner located in the Hard Rock San Diego. The menu features breakfast all day, American classics with a slight twist. Their menu features items and prices that play on its name MaryJane’s like $4.20 Happy Hour specials and even a pot brownie minus the weed.

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My meal consisted of some yum cumin dry rub chicken wings with a cilantro lime ranch. If you’re not a fan of cumin, these wings may not be for you. I also nibbled on some house made guacamole with flour tortilla chips. Yup! Not corn, but flour. They ended up tasting like pita chips. It was weird and interesting at the same time.


little italy

Little Italy is a few blocks north of the Gaslamp Quarter.Like the Gaslamp, it features restaurants, shops, and residences but with a heavy Italian influence. It is Little Italy after all.


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iDessert by Jean-Phillipe
1608 India Street Suite 104
San Diego, CA 92101

iDessert is an innovative concept that offers desserts, shakes, and sundaes featuring meringue, gelato, cream sauces, cakes, and fruit. The “i” in iDessert comes from the fact that you place your order on an iPad and then the employees make it. The only interaction you have with an employee is when your order is done. Is this where we are heading with restaurants?
Because I was still on a meal high from the next place I’m going to tell you about, I didn’t indulge in any sweets but Brandy and Shareese thoroughly enjoyed their crepe.


750 W First St #101
San Diego, CA 92101

Have any of you ever experienced a trip where the food has been good, but nothing really blew you away? Before I visited Underbelly, I was in that state. The highlights of travel for me are the hotel, the dranks, and the food. Up until this point, I had eaten some good meals, but nothing that made me pause and thank Jesus for the creators of the meal. That is until I went to Underbelly.

I knew since we were going to Southern California, I HAD to have ramen. I didn’t know where this ramen was coming from but I knew that I refused to leave before I had ramen. While I was interviewing Chef Brad at Saltbox, I asked him for some recommendations for some ramen. He gave me two places, one I don’t remember the name of and Underbelly. I googled both restaurants and something about Underbelly’s website told me that is where I needed to go. There was a pig and a diamond and that just spoke to my spirit. I looked at the menu and it was like Jesus himself was shining a light hereunderbelly

That was all I saw. That is all I needed to know. As we were walking up to the restaurant, some Drake song was playing from inside. Right then and there I knew that God had ordered my steps and ordained this moment JUST for me! When I got to the register, Jason (my new bff in my head) took my order and suggested that I add oxtail dumplings to the Underbelly. I figured since he works there and he was cute, I should listen so that’s what I ordered. Brandy and Shareese ordered another type of ramen and some wings. I wasn’t there for some wings. I was there for the ramen. COME THROUGH UNDERBELLY RAMEN!

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Y’all! I don’t find it any coincidence that Underbelly’s website is GodBlessUnderbelly.com. Y’all! GOD BLESS UNDERBELLY! This was magical. This was delicious. This was amazing. I drank the broth out of the bowl. I had juice all over my shirt. I was a mess and I didn’t care.

Since we are all friends AND adults here, can I just be completely candid and honest about this?

This was orgasm inducing food. This was deeper than a “mouthgasm”. This was the best $*%&^)*$)%)*$%*) food I have ever eaten in my entire *$)*#)*%$#))%$#(* life! EXCLAMATION POINT! PERIOD. THE END.

WHEW! Ok now that that is out of my system. Have you been to San Diego before? Where did you eat?

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Hi I'm Jada! I'm a blogger and freelance writer. I love all things related to travel, food, and entertainment.

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