10 Best Restaurants in San Diego's South Bay



San Diego's South Bay represents National City, Chula Vista, Bonita, Imperial Beach and South San Diego communities including San Ysidro. As you can imagine, an area this large is home to quite a few restaurant choices. Because it's located near the Mexican border, of course, Mexican cuisine is quite common and so good that people drive across San Diego County to eat it. However, diners can find a wide range of cuisines.

Aqui es Texcoco tops the list for its outstanding and traditionally-made lamb barbacoa that was recently featured on the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods and is roasted in a fire pit for seven hours. But not to worry, while it's popular, it still feels a bit like a hidden gem.

If you'd like to go with upscale-casual, the SEA180 restaurant inside the new Pier South Resort in Imperial Beach is a Cohn Restaurant featuring a wide range of seafood with the quality this group is known for. It's located next to the beach with lovely ocean views as well as contemporary decor.

There is also Tacos el Gordo which serves up Tijuana street style tacos that have been lauded as some of the best in San Diego. They're small (as is the style) but heave with filling.

Whatever you choose, you won't go wrong at these best restaurants in San Diego's South Bay.




The Waterfront Grill sits on Pier 32 in National City and serves seafood with a pretty view over the marina. Pay at a register first and the food is delivered to your stable. The menu is full of sandwiches, fresh salads and tasty appetizers that...  Read More




If you're looking for really great pizza in the Imperial Beach area, here's your place. Seacoast Pizza is family-run and New York style (though a slightly thicker crust) which is hard to find in San Diego. Toppings are generously applied and you...  Read More




Located in a Chula Vista strip mall, Italianissimo Tratorria is known for truly authentic Italian food in a casual atmosphere. From the time the complimentary crusty bread with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and butter arrive to the Zabaglione...  Read More




Located next to the Imperial Beach pier, this little French cafe is famous for its cooked-to-order pretzels (try dipping in either Nutella or nacho cheese), croissants and other pastries. The owner was a French chef for 40 years and still makes...  Read More




SEA180 is a Cohn Group restaurant located inside the new Pier South Resort which sits right on the beach in Imperial Beach. Due to the southern location, it's a lesser known gem but that's probably to the benefit of current fans. The menu is...  Read More




Tacos el Gordo is run by a family who has been in the restaurant business for over 40 years. The tacos has been lauded as the best in the United States by a national publication and locals tend to agree. They're Tijuana street style tacos which...  Read More




Romesco is described as "Mexi-Med" cuisine which is basically a menu created by popular chef Javier Plascencia with authentic Mexican recipes prepared utilizing Mediterranean techniques. Tucked away in busy Bonita shopping area, the restaurant...  Read More




Owner Katy Fallon's love of Imperial Beach is reflected in her seaside cafe (literally just steps from the beach), which is a local favorite. When not catching waves, she's usually there making sure customers enjoy their hearty breakfasts and...  Read More




TJ Oyster Bar in Chula Vista serves fresh Mexican seafood dishes that will make your heart sing. The variety of seafood tacos and burritos is staggering. The traditional fried fish taco is a favorite but guests can also opt for oyster, stingray,...  Read More




Texcoco brings Mexican-style lamb barbecue to the US, while respecting and maintaining the authentic flavors, recipes and traditions. They keep it authentic by preparing the same way it has been for hundreds of years – by slow-roasting the...  Read More


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Meet 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...  More About Katie

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