Restaurants in La Jolla Shores are my favorites, and this isn’t just because they are close to our house. What I really enjoy is the sense of community that I feel when I’m there. As I think you know, La Jolla is San Diego’s favorite beach area, and there are plenty of places to eat – but none of them are in a neighborhood frequented primarily by locals. This makes La Jolla Shores the perfect place for authentic travelers who want to connect with our relaxed, beachy culture.
In my first article about restaurants in La Jolla Shores, I mentioned a popular new juice bar, two Mexican food options, and my favorite local bistro. Here are three other great places to eat:
Italian restaurants in La Jolla Shores – Piatti
In addition to a following of locals, Piatti also draws a fair number of people from other areas of San Diego – probably more than any of the other restaurants in La Jolla Shores. They come for the sophisticated Italian food, a chance to sit in the shade of a huge tree in the patio, and the bar – where locals connect over offerings from the extensive wine list.
Popular dishes include grilled polenta with black Italian kale, penne pasta with lamb, and hot salami pizza. The menu varies seasonally, and I always look forward to fall when I can order the delicious butternut squash ravioli. My favorite lunch item – any time of the year – is the roast lamb panini.
A couple of tips about Piatti: make reservations ahead of time, especially during the summer. Try to get a table in the patio because the indoor dining area gets really noisy. If you’re hungry and there’s a long wait for a table, ask if you can sit at the bar. Don’t take it personally if the waiter gets a bit snarky.
Italian restaurants in La Jolla Shores – Osteria Romantica
Longing for Italy, but no time for a trip? You’ll feel like you’ve arrived as soon as you walk in the door at Osteria Romantica. In this colorful trattoria, checkered tablecloths, traditional ceramics, and copper pots hanging on the walls are very reminiscent of Napoli, Roma, Lucca and oh so many of the places we all adore in Italia. And la musica? My mother was a huge fan of Pavarotti, and she’d love the fact that his voice fills both rooms of this bistro.
Fabio Speziali opened Osteria Romantica in 2004. He grew up near Lake Como, but serves dishes from all over Italy. The cioppino and osso bucco are two of the more popular items on the dinner menu, but I usually order the lasagna because, well, it’s just so good.
Two tips: On Tuesday night Fabio offers 50% discount on bottles of wine. Also, it’s not officially on the menu, but at lunch time I order the Caesar salad and ask the adorable waiter (who sounds like he’s FOB from Italy but isn’t) to put a piece of “the freshest fish in the kitchen” on top. I never know what I’m getting, but it’s always wonderful.
Italian / multi-cultural food and fun - Barbarella
Barbara Beltaire is the life of the La Jolla Shores community. At Barbarella, her popular restaurant, every holiday is celebrated with colorful, oversized decorations. These include inflated santas and turkeys and beach balls that dance on the roof and spooky skeletons that blow in the wind. In addition to seasonal decorations, colorful flowers bloom in her window boxes year round. And once a year she throws a big birthday bash for anyone named Barbara.
The breakfast menu includes huevos rancheros, frittatas, and croquet madame. At lunch, diners have a choice of everything from a Barbarella burger to pizza, pasta, nicoise salad and more. Dinner options include steaks, seafood, pizza, pasta, and some great salads.
All the restaurants along Avenida de la Playa in La Jolla Shores offer sidewalk seating but I think Barbarella’s is the most comfortable – and the most colorful.
I originally planned to write about all the restaurants in La Jolla Shores in one post. Then it became two, and now I realize I need a need a third. So stay tuned for Part 3, which will be about burgers, and sushi, and yummy scones.
BTW, I love Fabio Speziali’s description of Avenida de la Playa: “A short walk from the beach, one main street with a few stores and restaurants. It has the look and feel of a town square…a simple but wonderfully comfortable setting.”
Category: Southern California