La Jolla Restaurants: Top 7 Local Flavor Hot Spots

This seaside community sits on a 7-mile stretch of curving coastline within the northern city limits of San Diego in California. Surrounded on three sides by ocean bluff and beaches, La Jolla began as a resort area near the turn of the 20th century. Today, this destination welcomes visitors and locals to experience California culture, including local cuisine. Read on to learn about the top La Jolla restaurants.

Top 7 La Jolla Restaurants for Local Flavor

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Bernini’s Bistro

For over 17 years, La Jollians have found Bernini’s Bistro a favorable place for a hearty breakfast, a fresh lunch, or an exquisite dinner. A relaxed dining atmosphere greets guests who come for international flavor balanced with an infusion of local ingredients.

Denizens rave about Bernini’s sweet walnut salad and unbeatable lasagna — one patron calling the latter the finest in southern California. There are vegan and gluten-free options, too. The atmosphere and friendly service remain top draws, and an outdoor dining area even provides heaters for cool evenings.

A.R. Valentien at The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Prepare for elegant dining at A.R. Valentien. For the first course, consider a salad of dungeness crab flan with curry. Dinner options include braised sea bass with melted eggplant. Then top it off with a tort or artisan cheese paired with a glass of wine.

California’s spirit abides throughout the menu and beverages, with attention to locally sourced ingredients. Dine in the sophisticated California craftsman-designed dining room or outside on the terrace with stunning coastal views.

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The Taco Stand

Inspired by taco stands of Tijuana and other genuine taquerias along Baja Peninsula, the owners of The Taco Stand want to create the real-deal taco experience in affordable, friendly fashion.

Handmade corn tortillas, grade meats and fresh ingredients are used to make guacamole and salsas from scratch daily. Besides popular tacos and burritos, The Stand also features an appetizing selection of Mexican flavored popsicles, refreshments, imported beer, and freshly prepared Rosarito-style churros. Sabrosísimo!

Girard Gourmet

This old-style deli/bakery shop — a mom-and-pop establishment — has been wowing customers for over 25 years with its everything-homemade agenda and dedication to freshness and quality.

The Goedhuyses cook and bake in European tradition, growing much of their fruits and vegetables in their organic garden in Julian, California. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see Francois Goedhuys arrive with a basket of freshly picked heirloom tomatoes or a bushel of peaches to use in that day’s Cobb salad or mixed fruit tarts. Make sure to order a Girard Gourmet sandwich or fresh salad.

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Richard Walker’s Pancake House

If a hearty breakfast with enough food to fill two people sounds good, then head to this breakfast-brunch hot spot. More than 100 menu items are made from scratch daily, including 20 different kinds of omelets, Benedicts and egg dishes.

But Richard Walker’s is not called a pancake house because of its egg breakfasts. It ranks among the best La Jolla restaurants because it knows how to cook a pancake. Choose from more than 25 gourmet pancake varieties, waffles, crepes and monthly pancake specials.

El Pescador Fish Market

In 1974, a pair of ambitious teen surfers started a fresh seafood market in Del Mar so popular that people began wanting to eat right there on the premises.

Today, El Pescador Fish Market serves mouth-watering char-grilled and sauteed seafood delights. Pulling from its local seafood catches, char-grilled items include yellowtail and squid, sea bass, swordfish, and thresher shark. Calamari steak, mussels and Manila clams are among the sauteed considerations. A delectable gamut of seafood cocktails and oysters is also offered, along with fresh seafood sandwiches and salads.

Caroline’s Seaside Cafe

Most who come to this casual setting with views of the beach and La Jolla pier also leave Caroline’s with a high regard for healthy California-style cuisine.

After ordering, patrons sit outside on the deck, where popular menu items focus on organic and sustainable sources. Find hormone-free meats and poultry while taking in the surrounding scenic beauty. Serving breakfast and lunch plus weekend brunch, Caroline’s Seaside Cafe offers breakfast parfaits to tuna melts, quiches, seasonal chopped salads, and burgers.

After reading about the top La Jolla restaurants, dive into La Jolla’s outdoor scene.