Defining a best restaurant near Qualcomm Stadium is a tough task, because it often depends on what brings you to the stadium area of San Diego. The "Q", the stadium's nickname, is home to the NFL's San Diego Chargers and the SDSU Aztec football games, but nearby neighborhoods are popular places for business stays, home to San Diego's best shopping and residential areas.
The other determinant is how far you're willing to walk to the stadium or from a trolley stop, if applicable. Though there's plenty of fast food options near the stadium, options within a short walk are slim. McGregor's Bar is walkable and a festive pre-football game choice as it's a sports bar by nature. Outside of McGregor's, you're looking at dining in the Mission Valley, Mission Gorge, Grantville or even the North Park neighborhoods a mile or two away.
If reliant on the trolley, consider eating in Oggi's or Gordon Biersch in the Mission Valley area and then hopping back on to Qualcomm Stadium trolley stop. Keep in mind that San Diegans are avid users of the Uber taxi app. Either this mode of transport or your own car enables an easy journey to any of these restaurants.
Rudford's Restaurant, an institution since 1949, is one of the few remaining historic diners in San Diego. Don't come here expecting haute cuisine. Instead, get ready for big portions of no-frills comfort food at reasonable prices, 24 hours a day. Unlike East Coast-style diners, the menu is only a few pages long, but patrons don't seem to mind. Try biscuits and gravy, chicken fried steak, a turkey club or a even a salad. Located in the North Park area, it's just a few miles from Qualcomm Stadium. The bottomless coffee just might come in handy after a festive football game. (92104)
San Diego Brewing Company
San Diego Brewing Company brews beer about five unfiltered beers on-site adding a few seasonal brews here and there. The good news is that their beers are free of preservatives, with some containing only 4 ingredients. Otherwise, there's a long list of other beers on tap, including other local breweries. The bar area is separated from the dining area, which is a perk for families. The food menu was recently revamped and is getting better reviews than its former offerings. All in all, there's standard bar food plus salads, pizza and wings... the wings are excellent. It's about 1.5 miles to Qualcomm Stadium and is walkable, if you dare. ((619) 284-2739)
Gordon Biersch is a chain brewery located in Mission Valley. It's a pretty big restaurant and good for large groups though it can get really busy in here. Expect authentic German lager crafted on-site using only malted barley, hops, yeast and pure, filtered water. The food menu has gourmet salads, burgers, full entrees, desserts, light fare and even a small gluten-free menu. The extensive menu is available for browsing online including pricing information. Families love it and there's an outdoor patio. It's really more of a restaurant with less emphasis on the bar. Service can be patchy, but it's mostly good. Walk to Gordon Biersch from the Hazard Center trolley station (it's about 1/2 mile away). ((619) 688-1120)
Located about 1.5 miles away from Qualcomm Stadium, Cafe 21 might seem like an odd pre-game choice but, trust us, it's a great option for any reason. This extremely popular restaurant is Turkish and if you don't order the baklava... well, let's just say you should. The restaurant is so popular that they added a second location in the Gaslamp Quarter. The dishes are great value for money with brunch (try the bananas foster stuffed french toast and the prosciutto omelette) as a popular time to go. At dinner, try the flat iron steak flat bread and the kabobs. Tea lovers will appreciate the extensive menu, but those craving a tipple will find plenty of craft cocktails, craft beer, wine and sangria. This cozy restaurant doesn't have a parking lot so park on the street. ((619) 640-2121)
Oggi's Pizza and Brewing Company
Oggi's is a popular pizza chain around San Diego that has a sports bar vibe. This location in Mission Valley always has games on loads of flat screen TVs from FIFA to (American) football. They claim to not have a bad seat in the house. Pizzas, sauces, burgers, dressings and more are prepared fresh daily from scratch. And, if there are morning games, Oggi's will open even earlier than normal so call to verify if there's an early game you're hoping to catch. Happy hour happens every day except Saturday. Not in the mood for pizza? Oggi's offers gourmet salads and pasta dishes, too. Walk here from the Fenton Parkway trolley station. ((619) 640-1072)
Filippi's Pizza Grotto - Friars Road
Family-owned and operated since 1950, Filippi's Pizza Grotto is a go-to spot for Italian food in Little Italy but they've expanded to other areas of San Diego including this one in the Mission Gorge area. This casual restaurant is famous for mouth-watering pizzas (locals rave about the cheese) and monumental meatball subs. Pizza dough is made fresh. There can be a wait and service has known to be spotty in this location, but locals are willing to endure it for the food. Half portions are available for light eaters but don't skimp on the melt-in-your-mouth garlic bread. Beer and wine are on offer. Filippi's accepts to go orders for those who are headed out to sightsee or tailgate ((619) 281 - 3511)
Jayne's Gastropub is located near Qualcomm Stadium in the University Heights neighborhood. Owner Janye grew up in England where her family managed several pubs and her husband, Jon, is in the restaurant design business. Their combined talent yield a down-to-earth dining experience with fantastic good and excellent libations. The eclectic menu includes English classics such as bangers and mash, fish and chips, and lamb shepherd's pie. using local and organic produce, humanely bred meats as well as poultry and sustainable seafood. Other popular dishes include the Jayne Burger, Chorizo Mussels, Gambas Al Aljillo, Fried Chicken, Wiener Schnitzel and Spaetzle special. Note that they are closed on Mondays. ((619)563-1011)
McGregor's is an awesome sports bar in Mission Valley that's been around since 1996. Some think it's the best in town. Go to watch your favorite team play, obviously, but there's also vintage shuffleboard, four pool tables and darts. The Baja-style fish tacos are delicious and a deal on Saturdays and Mondays. Find also a hearty list of burgers and bar food that are all reasonably priced. The kitchen is open late and they serve drinks until 2:00 am every day. Looking for event space? McGregor's is already a sizable sports bar but they're happy to host your next party. ((619) 282-9797)
About Katie Dillon
Katie Dillon originally moved to the seaside community of La Jolla to attend UC San Diego. When the opportunity presented itself, she and her husband set off for a 7 year stint overseas as expats in London and Hong Kong. After traveling the world, they returned to the La Jolla sunshine, with a young daughter in tow.
Katie now writes a lifestyle site called La Jolla Mom and is the author of a book called, “Flying With Kids.” Her work can be seen on NBC San Diego, Red Tricycle, Yahoo! Shine and Have Family Will Travel, a Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts blog.
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