ConShark

San Diego Comic-Con is one insane circus that literally encompasses the entire downtown portion of San Diego.  The average con-goer’s basic enemy is those crazy lines! Food can be the worst of them all.

If you’re looking to satisfy those hunger pangs outside the convention walls, here are a few places that everyone visiting San Diego should check out.

Breakfast

If you’re getting into town early, or deciding to take your time in the morning rush of the con, get on over to:

Richard Walker’s Pancake House

East Village
520 Front St (between Island Ave & Market St)
San Diego, CA 92101
Website | Yelp | (619) 231-7777

This breakfast joint offers this gem: the baked apple pancake! It looks like a cluster of sugary perfection, but don’t be afraid, because it’s some of the best pancakes in the city. The lines tend to get pretty crazy, but give yourself at least 30+ wait time to get in and you won’t be sorry!

The Donut Bar

Downtown
631 B St (between Kettner Blvd & India St)
San Diego, CA 92101
Website | Yelp | (619) 255-6360

You cannot go wrong with a donut! You. Just. Can’t. They have a really unique selection here with flavors like Snickers cheesecake, maple bacon (a staple) and tiramisu. Lines also can be quite big for this place AND they do sell out for the day – once they’re gone, that’s it. Get there early!

Coffee & Art

Gaslamp
777 6th Ave (between G St & F St)
Ste 105
San Diego, CA 92101
Website | Yelp | (619) 501-8458

A tiny little spot that has a great basic cup of joe down! If you are into Americanos, espresso shots, and a good Chai, this is your place. The Acai bowls are great and don’t skimp on the fruit.

Lunch
Basic Pizza
Pizza at Basic. Photo by Kimberly Vardeman.

Pizza at Basic. Photo by Kimberly Vardeman.

Gaslamp
410 10th Ave (between Island Ave & J St)
San Diego, CA 92101
Website | Yelp | (619) 531-8869

We got hooked on this place after a Tumblr meet-up at SDCC 2013 and have been back many times! Their pizza is a lovely thin crust with tons of toppings to choose from plus a great beer selection and mixed drinks menu. These guys give generous portions and the price is really reasonable: an average small pizza will run you $13 and feeds 2-3 people. 21+ after 8pm.

Pokez

East Village
947 E St (between 10th Ave & 9th Ave)
San Diego, CA 92101
Website | Yelp | (619) 702-7160

Southern California is known for it’s Mexican food, and San Diego has the best. This place kills it in the California burrito department, but they have amazing vegan and vegetarian options as well. Try the potato and mushroom burrito and you will love every bite. Prices are super affordable and the portions are HUGE!

Burger Lounge

Gaslamp
528 5th Avenue (between Island St & Market St)
San Diego, CA 92101
Website | Yelp | (619) 955-5727

Little Italy
1608 India St.
San Diego, CA 92101
Website | Yelp | (619) 237-7878

Yes, it’s a chain. But if you are in need of a quick grab and go lunch, the ingredients in this place are superb. Vegetarians and vegans have many protein options and the fries and shakes are pretty damn delicious here.

Dinner
Sushi Deli 2

Gaslamp
135 Broadway (between Front St & 2nd Ave)
San Diego, CA 92101
Website | Yelp | (619) 233-3072

This is a mini-chain around SD and they have some really outstanding rolls! The San Diego roll is a personal deep fried delight, along with the Kaity roll that is a simple avocado, salmon, cream cheese combo. The prices again are pretty decent with basic rolls ranging from $5-7 and specialty rolls from $8-11. The lines around lunch really get bumping, but the service and tasty menu is worth it.

Bencotto Italian Kitchen

Little Italy
750 W Fir St
San Diego, CA 92101
Website | Yelp | (619) 450-4786

If your hotel route has you on the outer edges of downtown toward Little Italy, you are in luck! Some of the best food in SD can be found here. Bencotto is a personal favorite of mine with delicious squid ink pasta and gnocchi to lose your mind over. This place is small and can pack a crowd on a Friday night, so plan accordingly. Beautiful atmosphere for a good sit down dinner after a busy con.

UnderBelly

Little Italy
750 W Fir St
Ste 101
San Diego, CA 92101
Website | Yelp | (619) 269-4626

You wouldn’t think ramen would be found in the Italian district of San Diego, but it is, and it’s some of the best. The small restaurant offers partially outdoor seating, with their own windows folding down into tables. They offer dishes with traditional tonkotsu broth, as well as vegan miso options and gluten free noodles.

Ciro’s

Gaslamp, East Village
536 Market St (between 6th Ave & 5th Ave)
San Diego, CA 92101
Website | Yelp | (619) 696-0405

The pizza is real New York style at this stop. Ciro’s has a great selection of pie by the slice as well as whole pizzas available also for delivery. The beer selection has a variety of types from Stones to St. Archers and plenty more. Affordable and quick is the best deal at this place!

 

Are you hungry yet? We’ll see you in San Diego!

 

Featured photo, at top, by Christian Ronnel (ianmartinez on Flickr).