Best Restaurants at Old Town San Diego

Best Restaurants at Old Town San Diego: A Food Lover’s Ultimate Guide
Looking for where to eat in Old Town San Diego?

Have no fear—this guide has you covered. The restaurants in Old Town are situated right in the heart of the area in quaint little buildings that often date back to the turn of the 20th century. With its delightful weather, eye-catching architecture, and tantalizing aromas wafting in the air, Old Town is a foodie’s dream come true. Let this list be your ultimate guide to where to eat.

Harney Sushi

If you’re in the mood for sushi, look no further than Harney Sushi. They offer a wide selection of fresh seafood and delicious appetizers like edamame. If you’re not hungry, they also serve up some fantastic house-made iced tea, perfect on a hot day or when enjoyed with your favorite sushi roll.

Café Coyote

One of the restaurants in Old Town that has become a staple of the area is Cafe Coyote. They are most known for their excellent Mexican food but also offer some fantastic American dishes. For an appetizer, try the bacon-wrapped shrimp or the house-made chips and salsa with guacamole.

Casa Guadalajara

If you’re looking for authenticity, look no further than Casa Guadalajara. They offer indoor and outdoor dining where you can soak up the Old Town sun while enjoying guacamole made fresh tableside. And if you’ve never had Mexican-style strawberry lemonade, this is the place to try it.

Old Town Mexican Cafe

If you’re in the mood for delicious, authentic Mexican food served in massive portions (you’ll need to bring your stretchy pants), look no further than Old Town Mexican Cafe. They offer a variety of dishes, all sure to please the pickiest palate. In addition to their amazing food, they also serve a variety of delicious margaritas.

El Agave Restaurant & Tequileria

El Agave Restaurant & Tequileria is the spot for some of the best Mexican food in San Diego. Their extensive menu has everything you could imagine, so large groups will be sure to find something they can eat no matter their tastes. Each dish is prepared with quality ingredients and is sure to leave you impressed. If you’re looking for a dish with a little kick, try the Chile en Nogada, made with pomegranate seeds and walnut sauce.

Pizza Bella

Why settle for just any pizza when you could have the best? With delicious-tasting food, a cozy atmosphere, and reasonable prices, Pizza Bella Vista is the perfect place to go with friends or family. They’ve got some traditional Italian dishes and your usual American fare, so there’s something for everyone here. Oh, and their deep-dish pizzas are to die for.

Perry’s Cafe & Bakery

Whether you’re looking for a place to grab some breakfast or want to pick up a little snack, Perry’s Cafe & Bakery is the place to go. They’ve got everything from pastries and bread to sandwiches and salads. If their food wasn’t enough, they also offered coffee and tea drinks that would leave you wanting more.
If you’re looking for the best restaurants in Old Town San Diego, these top picks won’t disappoint. So pull up to the table and enjoy. Bon appetit!

Encuentro Cafe former The Congress Cafe

The restaurant with the highest rating with over 100 reviews.

Address: 3941 Mason St, San Diego, CA 92110

Located in the heart of San Diego’s vibrant and historic old town San Diego neighborhood, Encuentro Cafe (formerly known as The Congress Cafe) is a charming and inviting eatery blends contemporary style with a touch of vintage charm. The cafe offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere, making it a popular gathering spot for locals and visitors.
Encuentro Cafe is renowned for its delicious and innovative menu, featuring a diverse selection of freshly brewed coffees, artisanal teas, and flavorful dishes inspired by local and international cuisines. Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty breakfast, a light lunch, or a delightful afternoon treat, you’ll find something to satisfy your cravings at this beloved neighborhood cafe.
The interior of Encuentro Cafe is stylish and cozy, with comfortable seating, rustic decor, and an eclectic mix of artwork adorning the walls. The friendly and attentive staff add to the cafe’s welcoming ambiance, ensuring every guest’s pleasant and memorable dining experience.
In addition to its delicious food and drinks, Encuentro Cafe is committed to using high-quality, locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, reflecting its dedication to supporting the community and promoting sustainable practices.
Whether you’re seeking a relaxing spot to enjoy a leisurely brunch, catch up with friends over coffee, or unwind with a good book, Encuentro Cafe (formerly The Congress Cafe) offers a delightful and inviting oasis in the bustling heart of Little Italy.

Based on the reviews, Encuentro Cafe (formerly The Congress Cafe) is in the old town of San Diego. The area is highly regarded for authentic traditional southern California Mexican food, but this place features excellent Venezuelan cuisine. Customers rave about the flavorful dishes, with the Latin Lover, Venezuelan Arepas, El Vainero, Tequenos, and Fried Plantains receiving particular praise. The food is consistently rated 5/5 for quality. The service is generally friendly and attentive, though a few reviews mention occasional delays in receiving drinks or sauces. The cozy and peaceful atmosphere of the cafe, especially the outdoor patio, is widely appreciated, making it a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike. Vegetarian and vegan options are available and highly recommended. However, some customers find the restaurant’s location and entrance challenging, and a few mention that the seating can be too close or awkwardly positioned. Parking is available but can be limited due to the famous location in Old Town San Diego. Overall, Encuentro Cafe is celebrated for its exceptional food quality, warm service, and inviting atmosphere, making it a must-visit dining destination in the area.

Based on the reviews provided, here’s a summary of the customer attitudes toward Encuentro Cafe (formerly The Congress Cafe):


  1. Food Quality: Customers consistently praise the delicious and authentic Venezuelan cuisine. The dishes, such as the Latin Lover, Venezuelan Arepas, El Vainero, Tequenos, Fried Plantains, Huevos Rancheros, and yucca fries, received high recommendations.
  2. Service: The majority of customers have positive experiences with the service. They appreciate the friendly and helpful staff who are knowledgeable about the menu and offer great suggestions. Some reviews specifically mention the staff being patient, kind, and thoughtful.
  3. Atmosphere: The ambiance of the cafe is highly praised. The outdoor patio is described as cute, peaceful, and cozy, making it a relaxing spot for customers to enjoy their meals.
  4. Vegetarian/Vegan Options: Several reviews highlight the large vegetarian selection and recommend the vegetarian offerings.
  5. Wheelchair Accessibility: The cafe has a ramp for entry, making it accessible for people with mobility challenges.
  6. Parking: Although some customers find parking to be somewhat challenging due to limited street parking, others mention that it’s usually easy to find a spot within a short walking distance. Free street parking and ample parking across the street are available.


  1. Service Speed: A couple of reviews mention that the service can be slow at times, with delays in receiving drinks or sauces, and occasional forgotten items. However, these comments are less frequent compared to the positive feedback about the service.
  2. Ambiguity in Location and Entrance: Some customers find it challenging to locate the restaurant, with the entrance not being very obvious from the sidewalk. Additionally, a few reviews mention that the seating can be too close, and one customer found their seating experience to be awkward due to the server’s positioning.
  3. Mixed Atmosphere Reviews: While most customers love the atmosphere, a few comments indicate that the seating can be too close, and one review mentions that the atmosphere could be better if not for some areas being closed off due to rain.

In conclusion, Encuentro Cafe generally receives overwhelmingly positive reviews from customers who appreciate the delicious Venezuelan cuisine, friendly service, and cozy atmosphere. The few negative comments are primarily related to occasional service delays, seating arrangements, and challenges in locating the restaurant.

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