I recently had a wonderful five day trip to one of my favorite places in the world: La Jolla, California.
In between preparing to cater an at-home pre-wedding dinner I still managed to visit a couple of really great restaurants for their super fresh seafood.
Granted, I visited the same digs on my last visit to La Jolla two years ago, but this time I was able to nab some really great photos to share with all of you, because I only re-visit restaurants I’m really impressed with.
The restaurants featured in the photos below are just two of my favorites in the area, so at the end of this post I provide information and links to other restaurants, halal meat markets visited as well as favorite hotels and gift shops in the La Jolla-San Diego area.
Roberto’s Taco Shop is in Mission Beach, California at 3202 Mission Blvd (between Mission Bay Dr & Ventura Pl) in San Diego, CA 92109 Tel. (858) 488-1610
This tiny taco place is a real beach-goers dive. Passersby include tourists and locals alike, especially surfers. It’s literally a block from the Pacific Ocean so you’re bound to see people headed to and from the beachfront location. Skateboards and rollerblades are common methods of transportation here.
Roberto’s is open late and the night time crowd does attract a younger, more robust clientele so if that’s not for you, just try to get there during the day. Take your tacos outside for some real people-watching. It’s a sport at this corner.
Now, the reason we’re talking about this place: the food. Of course the meats are not (dhabiha) halal, so I obviously chose the fish tacos. I say, since you’re so close to the ocean, this is the place to get ’em, regardless.
They do serve tacos, burritos and dinner plates that come with rice and beans. The seafood items include camarones (shrimp) or pescado (fish), which is breaded and fried crispy. On a taco, which is how I ordered it, it comes with lettuce, tomato and onion. Simple- you can taste the fish. Then, decide which of the many types of salsas you’d like to pour on top.
The frijoles (beans) that come on the dinner plate are made with aceite vegetal (vegetable oil), so no need to worry about manteca (lard) being used in the cooking. The staff speaks English, so don’t be intimidated by the authenticity of flavors, smells and sights. It’s worth the adventure outside one’s comfort zone.
Fish Tacos at Roberto’s Taco Shop: Doubling up on the Tortillas
The next place on my list of Good Eats San Diego is Crab Catcher in the coastal town of La Jolla, just a few minutes north of Mission Beach. Follow the coastline and you’ll head right into the heart of downtown La Jolla. Park your car and walk along the main strip. Nestled inside of what looks like an outdoor plaza, you’ll see stores and restaurants with their fronts facing the street and their backs facing the ocean- for your viewing pleasure. Crab Catcher is just one of those places with one of the best views in town. Dine at sunset and ask for a window view. This could be what you enjoy with your food:
I’ve eaten there for appetizers, dessert and lunch so I can honestly say that not only are the views breathtaking, the food is fresh and flavorful. The staff is highly professional and caters to their customers’ needs. I like that it has the whole package. It’s as though they understand everyone’s excitement and attention towards the Pacific, leaving windows open to waft in the smell of salty ocean air mixed with scented pine from the trees brushing up against the building. What could be nicer?
Calamari Steak Sandwich at Crab Catcher
My lunch was a really unique (to me) calamari steak sandwich served inside a hearty bread on a bed of lettuce, tomato and flavored mayo. On the side came a fresh cabbage slaw salad and a choice of either blue cheese red potatoes or Parmesan fries. I felt physically satisfied by the food and emotionally, if not spiritually satisfied by the experience of the place. Just being there was calming and refreshing at once, simply to be surrounded by the beauty and splendor of the place.
Potato sides at Crab Catcher, La Jolla
Crab Catcher is located at (858) 454-9587 • 1298 Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037
Desserts at Crab Catcher, La Jolla
San Diego is no small city and there are scores of amazing things to do and see there. This post is just an overview of my multiple short, but memorable experiences there. Below are a few additional recommendations and tips based on those past trips. I hope they’ll help you find a good time, too.
Halal Meat & Grocery
North Park Produce is located at 3551 El Cajon Blvd. in San Diego, CA 92104-1548. Tel. (619) 516-3336. Large selection of meats, produce and prepared foods.
- Incredibly fresh sushi
- Warm edamame is a great appetizer
- Eat outside at night for a lovely fireside ambiance
- Wonderful Mexican food
- Artist lovers will find interesting handicrafts. I personally love the pottery shops
- Festivals at select times of the year
Coronado Island– take a drive to this small island if you have even just a couple extra hours
- Watch surfers ride the waves at some of the local beaches
- Get ice cream or have lunch at a nearby cafe
- Visit the Hotel del Coronado to see one of the world’s finest hotels
Shopping and walking around La Jolla
- At La Jolla Cove- watch sea lions, kayakers, swimmers and snorkelers or participate in water activities yourself
Drive out to Del Mar
- About a 10-minute drive from La Jolla. Follow the coastline north for one of the most spectacular ocean drives in California. Park your car and walk or jog along the beach just north of the center of town.
- For an eclectic overnight stay in Del Mar, I love Les Artistes Inn. My personal favorite is the Japanese room, but there are plenty of others to choose from. Don’t forget to check out their gardens in the back- it’s a good sampling of the amazing foliage that grows in the area and probably the closest experience to actually living there as possible.
- My favorite hotel in town. I’m definitely a repeat customer
- Excellent rooftop breakfast included with hotel stay
- Quiet area, feels private
- Top-notch customer service that makes you feel personally taken care of
- Small convenient store attached to the hotel just in case you forget anything or just want a local newspaper with your breakfast
- Breathtaking balcony room views
- Top-notch breakfast scenery on the hotel’s rooftop (food is standard continental breakfast fare)
- Some rooms have kitchenettes
- Wedding receptions can be planned to take place on the roof
- Rooms near the north end of the hotel will often come with the sound of barking sea lions…for much of the night (which can be a little annoying if you want total quiet).
But of course, this is what everyone comes here to see: