Six Hidden Gem Restaurants in San Diego You Need to Explore

If you’re anything like me, you love discovering new restaurants throughout our beautiful city. But to be honest, searching online ends up showing the same few hot spots over and over again. What we all really need to know: where are the hidden gems???

Well I have you covered, sharing six of my favorite restaurants in San Diego, often tucked into the nooks and crannies of the coolest neighborhoods. From crazy unique cocktail bars, an all vegan-raw cafe with a cheesecake to blow your mind, and a cozy neighborhood pizza joint that makes you feel like family.

Check out some of our favorite restaurants in San Diego you may have never heard of:


949 2nd Street

Locally owned and baked fresh every day, this is truly a neighborhood gem that has a devoted group of local patrons. From freshly baked pastries to exquisite desserts and light lunches, Darshan is the bakery you never knew you were missing.

They have a great array of gluten-free and vegan options. Though, let’s be real—if you’re lucky enough not to be gluten-free, you would be remiss to skip their almond croissants or fresh-made sandwiches!


860 West Washington St.
Tel: 619 458 9929

Located in Mission Hills, this hidden gem serves organic, farm-to-table food alongside vintage, reclaimed décor. Upon entering this intimate eatery, the rustic ambiance evokes the feel of a real farmhouse, from a treadle sewing machine to a 40-year-old table-top recovered from the ocean.

It’s country-chic meets farm-to-table menu, and it’s definitely a fresh feel for San Diego.

Executive chef and owner, Alberto Morreale (hailing from the Fig Tree family of restaurants), brings a mix of rustic Italian, innovate combinations, and curated farm-fresh eats into a unique dining experience that you won’t soon forget. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


133 Daphne Street
Tel: 760-479-0996

Ocean Beach
4230 Voltaire Street
Tel: 619-223-2880

Located in two of San Diego’s favorite surf-crazed neighborhoods (Leucadia and Ocean Beach), Peace Pies is a raw vegan restaurant that packs in major flavor with every bite.

Visit on a beautiful day and sit in their outdoor courtyard, complete with a ceiling of winding fig vines, a hand-painted mural, and succulents galore. The staff is laid back, and every dish is handmade with patience and care.

Pro tip: save room for dessert and pick up a vegan cheesecake (or three) or any number of the insanely delicious treats.


2602 Del Mar Heights Rd
Del Mar
Tel: 858 461 0946
Locations in Del Mar, La Costa, and Temecula

Located in a neighborhood shopping center that wouldn’t leave you expecting nutritious, delicious dining options, Bushfire Kitchen is truly a hidden gem.

This local and organic-focused restaurant boasts a broad menu that includes an array of gluten-free, vegan, and paleo options.

With top-notch sourcing, their protein choices include free-range chicken, American Heritage Duroc breed pork, and grass-fed beef. Their outdoor patio with TV screens is perfect for a big group or watching a weekend game. Bonus points: they have an expansive beer and wine list.


897 S Coast Hwy 101

Tucked away in the Lumberyard in coastal Encinitas, this cozy pizza kitchen is a perfect casual date spot.

With rustic Italian appetizers, delicious (and bountiful) salads, and their signature wood-fired pizzas, it’s an affordable, relaxed atmosphere that’ll leave you feeling like part of the family.

Beer-lovers rejoice, their rotating taps highlight local breweries and some smaller unknown brewers that are a fresh taste of your city. Bonus points: Blue Ribbon has one of the best gluten-free crusts we’ve found.


1503 30th Street
Tel: 619 546 9653

Neo-victorian decor, metal music, and a vegan menu? You could definitely say Kindred is not your run-of-the-mill vegan spot.

Don’t go there expecting a boring green salad or to leave hungry: the food is a twist on classic bar food, just veganized.

With an open-air dining room, some crazy bathroom decor, and a bar that doubles as an art installation, you’ll be both visually and gastronomically entranced. They serve some of the most unique (and strong) cocktails we’ve found in San Diego!


See you there, San Diego!

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