Many nearby restaurants can be found in the San Diego Restaurant Guide.
Some restaurants we’ve enjoyed over the years:
South Beach Bar and Grill – Ellen’s personal recommendation – If you like fish tacos this place is worth the drive. Be sure to try at least one classic Baja style taco. After 10pm they have $2 tacos and $2 pints (the pear cider is a nice crisp accompaniment) so it is great for a late night meal. To get to it, you will travel through Ocean Beach, a surfer community that is frozen in time in the 1960’s and fun place to explore. Located at 5059 Newport Avenue.
Hodads – Perhaps not your typical “tango fare”, this funky burger joint is a fun glimpse of Southern California hippie surf culture. Also located in Ocean Beach at 5010 Newport Avenue.
Island Palms Blue Wave Restaurant is a great spot for lunch. It is a short walking distance from the Kona Kai (the Festival Hotel). They have a beautiful outdoor section with a nice view, right on the water which is ideal if the sun is shining. Yak recommends ordering The Wedge Salad, then the Kobe Beef Burger as an entree. Yak suggests that you avoid the Fish Tacos, go to South Beach Bar and Grill for those. Located at 2051 Shelter Island Drive.
The Living Room is the closest independent, local cafe. They have breakfast and lunch menus. 1018 Rosecrans Street.
Better Buzz Coffee is a bit further away. They have excellent coffee and espresso drinks. Their menu offers bagels, scones, pastries, muffins, and other sweet treats. 1480 Rosecrans Street.
The closest Starbucks to the Kona Kai is located at 1552 Rosecrans Street.
Bakery & Lunch
Con Pane Rustic Breads and Cafe bakes their breads daily. It’s a great place for lunch, and not far from the Kona Kai. 2750 Dewey Road in the Historic Decatur district of Point Loma.
Pomodoro Ristorante Italiano has been a popular spot for San Diego Festivaleros. Nicely priced and delicious food. It is less than a half hour walk from the Kona Kai, with adequate parking outside if you decide to drive. They are quite adept at putting together big tables for festival groups. 1101 Scott Street.
Pizzeria Pummaro not to be confused with Pommodoro listed above. Great Pizza, prepared by hand, and they claim the ingredients come straight from Italy. Just the Italian accent on their voice mail is enough to make you crave Pizza. Less that a half hour walk from the Kona Kai. 1101 Scott Street.
Old Venice Restaurant is nearby and great for lunch or dinner. If the weather is nice, ask to be seated on the patio out in back. 2910 Canon Street.
Supannee House of Thai is close to the festival venue and offers great Thai food at reasonable prices. One of their best dishes is the Mango Curry and comes with your choice of added stuff. Make a reservation if you will be dining in, online or by phone (619-795-8424). 2907 Shelter Island Drive.
Steak & Seafood
Island Prime & C-Level – two restaurants, one location, spectacular views of the San Diego bay and downtown skyline from both. Island Prime is the more formal, romantically lit dinner side of the restaurant. C-Level is the more relaxed, but still elegant, lounge side with dining. Both offer excellent steak and seafood creations. 880 Harbor Island Drive.
Puerto La Boca – Argentine Steak House serving both lunch and dinner. 2060 India Street.
Brigantine Seafood Restaurant is a local San Diego steak and seafood chain. Casual atmosphere and close to the Kona Kai. 2725 Shelter Island Drive.
Old Town San Diego
El Agave Restaurant and Tequileria serves Mexico City nouvelle cuisine, and they boast a selection of over 2,000 tequilas! They have a private party room that can accommodate up to 28 people. Located on the southern outskirts of Old Town at 2304 San Diego Avenue.
Casa Guadalajara makes their tortillas fresh, right before your eyes. They have dining indoors, in the bar, and on an outdoor patio under the shade of a giant pepper tree. Try some of the Mexican seafood dishes. Located on the north-western edge of Old Town at 4105 Taylor Street.
Casa de Reyes is located in the heart of Old Town San Diego. This is what drinking margaritas and savoring some antojitos on the patio of a hacienda is all about. Live mariachi music and folklorico dance shows on the weekends. 2754 Calhoun Street.
North Park, San Diego
For the more adventurous foodies that don’t mind driving a bit out of the way, North Park is fast becoming the foodie destination of San Diego. There are literally too many great places to eat and drink to list here. The center of activity is around the intersection of University and 30th St, far from tourist areas and among the locals. We suggest you use the public parking structure just south of the intersection, because finding parking on the street can be difficult. The North Park Scene web site can help you wade through the long list of restaurants in the area.