Literally steps from the cruise port overlooking the bay, this award-winning restaurant has been serving seafood since 1946. It is a brilliant place to catch a sunset and is known for excellent service, however, the casual decor is a little bit dated--some say that's part of its charm. The vibe is kid-friendly. Popular menu items include clam chowder, crab cakes and various fried seafood. The sun dried tomato butter that comes with fresh bread is amazing. Plenty of TVs play sporting events in the bar. The Star of the Sea event center is part of the restaurant and popular for weddings and other special occasions.
Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: It's on the bay steps away from the cruise port and a great place for casual seafood.
Katie's expert tip: You aren't going here for an upscale experience. Go for the view and decent seafood.
Playing off the success of the La Jolla location, this Puesto in the revitalized police headquarters retail zone is bigger and more upscale with less focus on fast-casual food. Here, the attention turns to craft cocktails, plated presentation and lingering over margaritas. Tacos are everywhere in San Diego, but these kick it up a notch with sustainable, quality ingredients and a twist of cheese fried on to the tortilla... don't cringe, it's delicious. Bright, contemporary art meshes with rustic wood tables. There's seating indoors on two stories as well as on a patio. Still, you go for the tacos more than anything. Vegetarians opt for squash blossom tacos while meat-lovers gravitate to chicken al pastor or the lobster taco.
Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: Puesto serves some of the best street tacos in San Diego in an upscale-casual environment. You get what you pay for.
Katie's expert tip: Why not pair your amazing street taco with a craft cocktail or margarita? You can, here.
Family-owned and operated since 1950, Filippi's Pizza Grotto is a go-to spot for Italian food in Little Italy. This casual restaurant is famous for mouth-watering pizzas (locals rave about the cheese) and monumental meatball subs. There can be a wait, but it's one locals are willing to endure. Walk through the deli and into the restaurant and feel immediately transported into Italy with Chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling and a rustic vibe. Beer and wine are on offer. Large portions feed stomachs and provide good value for money. Parking can be tricky so plan time to find a spot.
Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: In addition to awesome pizza (oh, the cheese), cruise goers may want to stock up on salumi, cookies and Italian favorites to bring on board.
Katie's expert tip: If you like meatball subs, they are excellent here. Big, too.
Also, located in Little Italy near the cruise port, Buon Appetito is known for being small yet intimate and famous for homemade ravioli, lasagne, risotto and gnocchi that prides itself on being similar to a San Francisco-style eatery. They have a quaint bar with 50+ wines available. Try the lobster tail ravioli simmered in vermouth and served in a saffron sauce or linguine with clams, bay scallops, shrimp and mussels in a red or white sauce. Most importantly, don't miss out on the homemade tiramisu for dessert. They're known for excellent service though be mindful that it can get busy during peak times because it's such a local favorite.
Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: It's a San Francisco-style Italian eatery with excellent price points and warm ambiance that has won the hearts of locals.
Katie's expert tip: The creamy burrata cheese appetizer on fresh spinach and roasted tomatoes is truly divine.
The cruise ships port very close to Little Italy which means awesome Italian food is easy to find. Bencotto means a meal "well done" or cooked perfectly. Voted Best Italian Restaurant by San Diego Magazine three years in a row, Bencotto puts a uniique spin on traditional Italian cuisine by offering dishes designed to share. The atmosphere is contemporary though mixed with the feel of an Old World kitchen. Pasta is the signature dish and guests can order it al dente or cooked to their liking choosing also between eight sauces. Bencotto is located in the "Q" building in Little Italy. A take-out menu is also available.
Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: "Pasta Your Way" gives guests the ability to choose pasta type, how they like it cooked and sauce in Little Italy near the cruise ships.
Katie's expert tip: Don't skip dessert which features tiramisu and panacotta, of course.
For the times you crave fresh seafood in a family-friendly atmosphere, the Fish Market will do. The restaurant offers a huge menu ranging from sushi to smoked fish to fresh filets. The daily fresh-catch board boasts as many as 16 choices as the restaurant has the area's largest selection of premium seafood. The relaxed space features maple tables and panoramic Bay views, and reasonable prices only bolster the place's stellar reputation. A retail fish market on site offers fresh seafood for sale as well as restaurant menu items on a to-go basis. Upstairs, Top of the Market offers fine dining.
Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: Go for fairly-priced premium seafood in a casual, family-friendly atmosphere.
Katie's expert tip: A to-go order may come in handy before boarding your ship. Call ahead to save time.
Hop in a cab for a roughly 5-minute drive from the cruise port to Island Prime and C Level, the more casual dining restaurant of the pair. The restaurants sit on stilts over the San Diego Bay and it's a popular spot for dinner or drinks, with the kids or without. Expect California cuisine celebrity chef Debra Scott and craft cocktails paired flawless service. Popular orders include hazelnut-crusted diver scallops with goat cheese and elephant garlic risotto cakes. Lobster lovers should indulge in the "Study in Lobster" which includes sherry bisque, lobster lollipop, and lobster roll on house made brioche. Both restaurants have an excellent gluten-free menu. C Level does not take reservations.
Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: It's about three miles from the cruise port, but worth it for the bay views and excellent California cuisine.
Katie's expert tip: Try the ahi tuna stack with fresh crab, avocado, papaya-mango salsa & caviar.
Ruths Chris is located at the base of the Wyndham San Diego Bayside, across the street from the cruise port. The upscale restaurant is famous for prime steaks that come out sizzling in a heap of butter, elegant steakhouse decor, fairly relaxed ambiance, top-notch service, and an impressive wine list. The restaurant enjoys a lovely view over the San Diego Bay to Coronado with a little bit of outdoor seating, too. In addition to steaks and Maine lobster, other favorites include crab-stuffed mushrooms and chocolate sin cake. There is also a set menu where $45-55 gets you a 4-course meal. Note that valet parking is $6.
Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: Located across the street from the cruise port, this is one of San Diego's best steak houses.
Katie's expert tip: The piping hot steak sizzling in butter and chocolate sin cake are worth the extra treadmill time.
Located upstairs from the more casual Fish Market, this refined venue offers views from Point Loma to the Coronado Bridge, along with cuisine that is nothing short of spectacular. An incredibly broad offering of seafood might include Norwegian salmon, Alaskan halibut, New Zealand mussels, or Chilean sea bass that is all flown in daily. The romantic setting features crisp linens, flickering candlelight, refined service, and exhibition-style cooking. Pasta and steaks are also served, along with an expanded wine list. Service is always attentive. The restaurant is considered one of the best in Southern California. The dress code is smart casual.
Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: Go for a romantic, smart-casual seafood lunch or dinner with panoramic views.
Katie's expert tip: Social hour (happy hour) is Monday through Friday from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and includes $1.50 oysters on the half shell.
This Eddie V's location in the revitalized police headquarters is a big one. Occupying the space of the former courthouse, this location sports a two-level interior including mixed woods, glass accents, a 20-foot wine wall, three private dining areas and a V Lounge with live jazz daily. The vibe is of an elegant steakhouse or supper club and a meal here is a splurge that very few people complain about. Service sparkles as do the steak, while crab cakes, lobster bisque, bananas foster, crab fried rice and fresh seafood filets do not disappoint. Seafood arrives fresh from all over the world. This restaurant is perfect for date night.
Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: Eddie V's may be a splurge but mouthwatering steaks and seafood are worth it.
Katie's expert tip: While the fresh bread with sea salted butter is amazing, pace yourself. You have to make it to