From the foodie favorites of 30th Street to posh eateries downtown, Balboa Park is surrounded by some of the best restaurants in San Diego. While there are excellent spots inside the park—including The Prado and the Sculpture Court Café—dozens of other buzz-worthy restaurants can be found less than a mile from the park grounds. Here are 8 eateries in Banker's Hill:
Pizzicato, 2420 Fifth Avenue
The pizza joint on Fifth has joined the venerable ranks of Basic, Bronx, and Pizzeria Luigi—arguably the best places in San Diego to grab a slice. At Pizzicato, find thin, crispy pies topped with ingredients that include prosciutto, gorgonzola, and sesame marinated shrimp. To keep it simple, try the basic “New Yawk Cheese” pie.
The Marketplace, 2601 Fifth Avenue
A favorite lunch destination for many people who work at Balboa Park, the deli is known for its inexpensive and fresh sandwiches and salads. Perfect for quick to-go orders.
Cucina Urbana, 505 Laurel Street
All menu items are $20 or under at this ultra-popular Italian spot. Good for lunch or dinner, offerings include pizza, paninis, pasta and seafood. Complement the truffle parmesan fries with a glass of wine (bottles are served at retail price with a $7 corkage fee).
Hane Sushi, 2760 Fifth Avenue
If you’re looking for top-of-the-line fish, a quiet atmosphere, and consistent service, head to Hane. Menu includes sushi, sashimi, tempura, and traditional Japanese appetizers. Another great Banker’s Hill sushi restaurant is Azuki Sushi, located at 2321 Fifth Avenue.
Wet Stone Wine Bar & Café, 1947 Fourth Avenue
The cozy wine bar offers light fare and some of the best white sangria in town. Happy hour is Tuesdays through Saturdays from 5-7pm and Sundays 4-6pm. Oh, and parking is a cinch.
Papas & Tacos Mexican Food, 2239 First Avenue
If this is your first visit to Southern California, you gotta have a burrito from a hole-in-the-wall Mexican spot. Five years ago, I had my first San Diego breakfast burrito from Papas & Tacos. To this day, I remember the taste.
Bertrand at Mister A’s, 2550 Fifth Avenue, 12th Floor
On the other end of the culinary spectrum is this fine dining establishment that features a panoramic view of the San Diego skyline and the San Diego bay. A favorite for anniversaries, birthdays, and classy business lunches, the restaurant’s menu includes lamb, prime beef short ribs, and various seafood dishes.
Jimmy Carter’s Mexican, 3172 Fifth Avenue
The standard menu is decent but the regional Mexican specialties on its specials board are what keep locals coming. Casual and colorful, it's an excellent pick for families and groups of friends.