Contributed by: Dani Klein | Last Date of Travel: April 2013
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.
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 in La Jolla closed down in 2013 after this post was written.
- 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.
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.
- 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
- 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
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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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.
My wife will be in SD next month, will share with her.
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.
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.
From the guidelines of http://www.ok.org/v1/Content.asp?ID=69
Permanent supervision, or hashgachah temidis, is required for all meat establishments. We do not make any distinction concerning the ownership of the establishment. Even if the owner is an Orthodox Jew conversant in the laws of kashrus, we will not certify his establishment without a mashgiach temidi.
Please note that only Ralphs of La Jolla has permanent supervisor (mashgiach temidi) all others rely on the owner to be an Orthodox Jew
Because San Diego is a challenge in finding kosher foods we are delivering now for 8 years to the clients. Most Clients are out of town. We are now taking orders for sufganiot and/or latkes.