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Kosher Restaurants & Travel Advice for San Diego, California

Contributed by: Dani Klein  |  Last Date of Travel: April 2013

la-cafe-kosher-sd

La Cafe in La Jolla

Over the last 6 months, I’ve made 2 trips to San Diego on business. I was able to explore a bit and get advice from some locals. Feel free to browse our other articles on San Diego from past travelers.

Kosher Info:

During my trips, only 2 actual kosher restaurants existed in the San Diego area (neither were downtown), and I was able to try them both: La Cafe and Place Cafe at the JCC. More recently, a third opened: The Grille.

  • La Cafe: This is a nice cafe in La Jolla. On my most recent trip, all 4 of my meals were either eaten at the restaurant or delivered from the restaurant to where I was working for a $25 fee. Overall, the food was tasty with large portions. The restaurant is casual, but was nice enough to bring colleagues. It’s definitely not a fancy place though – it fit right in with the SoCal vibe. Some of the dishes I enjoyed there: fish burritos (a SoCal must try), artichoke & mixed veggie pizza, as well as their french fries and a vanilla milkshake.
the-place-cafe-jcc-sd

The Place Cafe @ the JCC

  • The Place Cafe at the JCC: Within the Lawrence Family JCC of San Diego County is “The Place Cafe“, a small eatery within the JCC complex. They serve Glatt Kosher dishes (mainly sandwiches) as well as pareve ones. In my one time eating there, I had a tasty tuna sandwich on toasted rye.
  • The Grille: a brand new restaurant directly east of downtown San Diego (i.e. not near the other locations which are north of the city).

Additionally, you can stop at the Ralph’s supermarket in the center of La Jolla which has a huge kosher market and deli called “The Kosher Experience.” Their vast selection includes a large array of wines and Israeli products.

Travel Info:

My colleagues (clients really) whom are local to the San Diego area, showed me around the area and gave some general suggestions on where to visit when in town:

  • La Jolla Cove – a beautiful natural cove by the Pacific Ocean with scenic views, places to hike and climb, view wildlife, and kayak.

    la-jolla-cove

    La Jolla Cove

  • Balboa Park – one of the largest urban parks in the nation (3rd behind Golden Gate Park in SF & Central Park in NYC); Balboa Park contains the world famous San Diego Zoo, as well as numerous museums and attractions including:
    • Museum of Photographic Arts
    • Reuben H Fleet Science Center
    • San Diego Air & Space Museum
    • San Diego Art Institute (SDAI)
    • San Diego Automotive Museum
    • San Diego History Center
    • San Diego Model Railroad Museum
    • San Diego Museum of Man
    • San Diego Natural History Museum
    • The San Diego Museum of Art

      balboa-park-san-diego

      One of the gardens @ Balboa Park

    • Numerous other museums
    • 9 theaters or performing arts centers
    • ~20 beautiful varied themed gardens
    • … plus more. There’s quite a lot to do in the park, definitely not doable in one day.
  • Lego Land
  • Sea World

Jewish Info: 

Chabad is very active in Southern California with 6 locations in San Diego proper, with a total of ~15 centers or shuls in the southern section of the I-5, some of which are able to cater upon request.

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4 Responses to “Kosher Restaurants & Travel Advice for San Diego, California”

  1. Shoshana Ohriner #

    This is so helpful Dani! We are going to San Diego on vacation in a few weeks and I had just started looking into the kosher options. We will try these out, thanks.

    May 23, 2013 at 4:15 pm
  2. My wife will be in SD next month, will share with her.

    May 30, 2013 at 10:02 am
  3. Mark Sidloi #

    I was recently in the San Diego area, though I was staying a bit north of the few establishments listed here. On Shamash.org, I found a mention that various branches of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in the San Diego area were completely kosher. I was able to find a list and there actually was one very close by. Sadly, the selection of food items at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf was quite limited and often they were out of food by the evening. I had hoped for more; a couple of years ago I was in Singapore and there is one Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf that is exclusive kosher, which sold quite a variety of meals. In any case, as with just about every location I have visited in the states, there was plenty of kosher food in the supermarkets and the local Walmarts.

    October 14, 2013 at 10:35 pm
  4. Deborah M #

    As of 3/19/14 La Cafe is no longer open. “The Place” in the JCC is open and a nice Israeli option. The Bean, also located in the JCC, is NOT certified Kosher. Additionally, a number of the CBTLs have switched over to Starbucks so if you’re in the SD area, I suggest calling any establishment.

    March 20, 2014 at 7:34 pm

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