Ocean View Drinks + Dining
Start your evening off at the Manchester Grand Hyatt (Top of the Hyatt) and if you go to the elevators on the left of the lobby you will find the elevators for the Harbor Tower. Take the set that takes you to the 40th floor and turn right out of the elevators then left and follow the hallway down to a set of doors and you enter to Top of the Hyatt. You will find a lounge up there with views across Coronado Island. It is beautiful! They make amazing drinks up there. Make sure you check the times before you go.
Right below in the shadow of the Manchester Grand Hyatt, you can walk around Sea Port Village where there are many shops and you can look at all the beautiful yachts and boats in the marina.
After your drinks at the Top of the Hyatt and your stroll around the seaport village, head over to the Fish Market for a great seafood dinner. If you want a little higher-end seafood meal just take the elevator up stair to Top of the Market. You can ask to be seated on the patio and overlook the ocean. If you go in the afternoon the sunset is amazing. At the Fish Market, there is a sushi bar off to the right-hand side, it’s really small, so it’s easily missed, but it’s incredibly fresh and a place you won’t forget.
Old Town Dining
The best Mexican food is in Old Town at the Old Town Mex Café. Trust me when I say Old Town Mex Café is authentic Mexican food. If you are in the mood for Japanese food, there is an amazing sushi place called Harney Sushi in Old Town too. It is a little overpriced but is very good. While you are in Old Town stop by the haunted Whaley House Museum. If you take a short ride to the top of the presidio there is the Mission San Diego de Alcala with beautiful grounds. If you go during the weekend don’t be surprised if someone is getting married there.
In Balbo Park, there is an amazing restaurant called the Prado. It is very easy to go have lunch or dinner and then get to stroll around Balboa Park which is a beautiful night or day. Some museums are free on certain days of the week. My personal favorite Is the Museum of Man. The exhibits they get from around the world are amazing. Make sure to pop over to see the pandas on loan from China at the San Diego Zoo. They are unlike anything else in the zoo.
Like most major cities in the United States, San Diego is split up into several smaller areas. Not too far from the Gaslamp Quarter and Balboa Park is the neighborhood called Hillcrest. The residents of Hillcrest think of this area as an urban village with a small-town feel. It’s known for its wide array of award-winning restaurants, trendy stores, fabulous salons and spas, medical offices, two major hospitals, and the largest concentration of gay and lesbian-owned businesses in the city.
If looking for a unique and tasty twist on Mexican food, then one must try Ortega’s Bistro. The authentic Puerto Nuevo-inspired menu includes Baja-style lobster, fresh guacamole prepared at your table-side, and other regional specialties while sipping decadent pomegranate margaritas. The restaurant’s spacious atmosphere and design capture the festive Mexican traditions and tasteful flavors of Puerto Nuevo. Though there is lots of space inside to sit comfortably at a table or the bar, outside sitting is also available. There is one handicapped spot located right outside the door and accessible restrooms inside as well. More good Mexican food in Hillcrest is found at Baja Bettys on University Avenue. This has a Mexican flare-style breakfast buffet. There are no stairs. While this place is super fun to hang out with your friends and have a mimosa. Just a fair warning that it is a local weekend brunch favorite and will be packed if you decide to go on a weekend.
If you are in the mood for something sweet then you have to check out Extraordinary Desserts, which lives up to its name. Be prepared to wait in line for a bit but it is worth the wait. The philosophy of the head chef is that desserts should taste as good as they look, so an experience at Extraordinary Desserts is a treat for the senses. The menus change daily to keep with fresh seasonal ingredients. Freshly brewed Lion Kona Coffees and Mariage Frères teas are available to accompany these delicacies. It is not just desserts that draw crowds to Extraordinary Desserts, one can indulge in a variety of menus including one for a European Breakfast, Paninis and cheeses, and bar foods. So yes, there is also a bar serving beer and wine too. There is indoor and outdoor seating available, which sometimes is hard to get since this place is so popular. Near the seating area indoors is a small display of unique gifts.
Snooze an A.M. Eatery is great for breakfast and is located off 5th Avenue in Hillcrest. As a native of San Diegan, I have eaten at many places here in the 30 years I lived there but Snooze is by far my favorite. They have amazing bloody marys and as far as food goes I would say their French toast and eggs benedict with prosciutto. Just a block over on 4th there is a restaurant called Arrivderchi best Italian in all of San Diego. The goat cheese ravioli and mushroom ravioli are to die for. You can sit indoors or outdoors. Inside is very small so while their food is worth it, if you need accommodations I would recommend calling ahead and letting them know.