The 10 Best Restaurants In South Park, San Diego, California

Photo of Jed Johnson
9 February 2017

This San Diego neighborhood to the east of Balboa Park isn’t popular with tourists, but it’s certainly a hit with the city’s locals and a hotspot for San Diego’s foodies. Here is a list of the top 10 restaurants to try in and around South Park.

Pizza Margherita | © ArianeColenbrander/Flickr

Buona Forchetta

Restaurant, Italian, Vegetarian, $$$
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Buona Forchetta is one of the best pizzerias in not just San Diego but the entire country. What else would you expect from a restaurant so authentically Italian that it has a Neapolitan brick pizza oven made with clay from Italy’s Sorento region? Since 2011, this restaurant has been one of the finest places to eat in San Diego, with antipasti, wine, and desserts that pair brilliantly with the award-winning pizza.

Cafe Madeleine

Cafe, French, $$$
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This Parisian street café, featuring a Toulouse-Lautrec inspired mural and outdoor sidewalk seating in typical French fashion, is another authentic food establishment in South Park. French staples such as croque monsieur and pain au chocolat, among many other French breakfast and lunch offerings, will be sure to delight even the most seasoned patrons of French cuisine.

Hamilton's Tavern

Bar, Pub Grub, American
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This restaurant is as old as the South Park neighborhood itself and boasts that its location has the oldest continually operating liquor license in all of San Diego. With numerous accolades from Draft Magazine, Hamilton’s Tavern‘s beers are on tap feature many local Californian craft beers. Try the made-in-house sausages and the seven different types of buffalo wings to best enjoy South Park’s informal yet high quality sports bar.


Restaurant, American
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An East Coast inspired deli with award winning cheesesteak, Giorgino’s is located just a couple blocks away from South Park in neighboring Golden Hill. This restaurant has everything from Egg Roll sandwiches to buffalo wings to pastrami and cheese sandwiches, ensuring that every patron will get their New Yorker cuisine fix. With extensive beer offerings and a kale shake to finish a meal, Giorgino’s is a well-kept South Park secret you won’t want to miss.

Eclipse Chocolate Bar & Bistro

Bistro, Vegan, $$$
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Chocolate | © Lars Torngren/Flickr
Half chocolaterie, half bistro, this restaurant satisfies cravings both savory and sweet. Eclipse Chocolate Fair Trade chocolate products are sold at businesses across the country from Alaska to New Jersey but at the establishment you can enjoy a chocolate pairing with each course of a four-course meal by joining the popular South Park dining experience.

The Big Kitchen Cafe

Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, $$$
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This homey brunch spot, where Whoopi Goldberg once worked, got its namesake from the restaurant kitchen which is bigger than the restaurant seating area itself. The Big Kitchen Café is lauded for its authenticity, friendly service, and enormous portions. Traditional breakfast food is given a Tex-Mex spin with breakfast burritos and pancakes are almost larger than the plates they are served on in this South Park staple.

Benny’s Mexican Food

Every neighborhood in San Diego needs its respective no-frills Mexican option, and Benny’s Mexican Food is just that for South Park, San Diego. However, it offers the best carne asada, rolled tacos, and crispy fries with nachos in the entire city! Above-par Mexican food is to be expected from a city with such close ties to our southern neighbor, but with sizable portions and offering breakfast burritos, Benny’s Mexican Food is the cheapest way to get a filling and delicious meal in this neighborhood.

Benny’s Mexican Food, 1244 30th St, San Diego, CA, USA, +1 619 238-1740

The South Park Abbey

Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
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With over 30 beers on tap, five-dollar burgers on weekday afternoons, and dog friendly, what’s not to love about South Park’s eponymous sports bar? Affordable but not below adding gouda to your hamburger, the South Park Abbey offers tasty dishes such as calamari, blue crab cakes, and buffalo wings at competitive prices. One of the friendliest bars in San Diego, this is a South Park highlight.

Brabant Bar & Cafe

Bar, European, Pub Grub, $$$
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Belgian waffle
Belgian waffle | © Laura Thorne/Flickr
With 80+ Belgian ales, imported European cheese platters, and waffle options so numerous you’ll feel like you’re in Brussels, Brabant Bar & Cafe is a slice of Western Europe in South Park. Brabant’s signature dish, mussels, paired with a Belgian white beer, or pulled rabbit, makes this restaurant exceptionally tasty.


Coffee Shop, Coffee
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With outdoor seating under the shade of a fig tree, Krakatoa Cafe has daily vegan specials, Caffee Calabria coffee on brew, and a resident cat named Anak. A variety of breakfast and lunch sandwiches served on telera rolls compliment local IPAs and other craft beers to make this location trendy, local, and unique in Golden Hill, the neighborhood just adjacent to South Park. A five-minute walk from South Park will find you at this hipster haunt with its free wi-fi and cordial service.

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