Local Guide to San Diego – Restaurants

Where to Eat In San Diego

San Diego is full of great restaurants and constantly getting new foodie establishments. Check out these new and fun places to eat with your friends and family in Mission Valley, Hillcrest, and Little Italy. We love seeing the new developments around our neighborhood, and especially fell in love with the Piazza della Famiglia in Little Italy.  Go check it out!

Food That Gives Back

Shake Shack – Delicious hamburgers, chicken burgers, and hot dogs. Be sure to try their cheese fries! And for dessert, 5% of sales of their concretes (frozen custards blended with mix-ins) are donated to I Love A Clean San Diego. Open 11am-7pm. Located at 675 Camino De La Reina in Mission Valley.

Tacos Libertad! – A not-for-profit taco shop, where all proceeds are donated to a different local charity each month, with a guaranteed minimum of $3,000. Their delicious flour and corn tortillas are handmade in-shop. They offer vegetarian, seafood, and meat options including octopus and duck. Open late afternoons/night, and closed on Mondays. Located at 1023 University Ave in Hillcrest.


Salt and Straw – Just opened in December 2017, Salt and Straw comes to us from Portland Oregon. They create small-batch ice creams by hand with locally sourced ingredients, offering many unique and gourmet flavors including our favorites: Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons, and Chocolate Gooey Brownie. Yum! Open 11am to 11pm. Located at 1670 India Street in Little Italy.

New Places

Piazza della Famiglia– Transport yourself to Europe in this beautiful cobblestone street closed off from cars where visitors can stroll around or sit and enjoy a coffee or lunch with friends. Adorned with a beautiful fountain and overhead lights, it’s a gorgeous spot to enjoy the outdoors in San Diego. Located in Little Italy on Date Street at India.

Little Italy Food Hall – Just opened in June 2018, the Food Hall houses six food stations and a full bar, with seats located both inside the food hall and outside in the piazza. Current stations include Mein St. Asian Kitchen, Not Not Tacos, Ambrogio 15, Roast Meat & Sandwich Shop, Wicked Maine Lobster, and Single Fin Kitchen. Open 11am to 10pm daily. Located in the Piazza della Famiglia in Little Italy.

Restaurants Coming Soon…

North Italia– Offering traditional Italian meals made from scratch daily in their open kitchens. We’re excited to try their pastas and pizzas! Founded by Fox Restaurant Concepts, which also founded True Food Kitchen. Located next to Bloomingdale’s in the Fashion Valley Mall.

Blanco tacos + Tequila– Specializing in street-style tacos and tequila drinks, Blanco also comes to us from Fox Restaurant Concepts. Located in the Fashion Valley Mall where California Pizza Kitchen was, near the AMC theater.

Farmer’s Table– A popular spot in La Mesa, Farmer’s Table is opening a second location in Little Italy’s Famiglia della Piazza. Offering Sicilian-inspired seasonal menus with locally sourced organic ingredients, and drinks including their signature Bloody Marys. Located at 550 West Date Street in Little Italy.

San Diego Events Calendar – August 2018

Check out our August calendar of events full of fun San Diego activities! Don’t forget the free admission days for local museums, a great way to spend these humid and hot summer days indoors and with air conditioning!


Local Guide to San Diego – Walking & Hiking

Explore San Diego’s great outdoors and take advantage of our beautiful spring weather with this list of fun walking and hiking trails. We hope our Local Guides help you discover new local adventures and rediscover old favorites.


Liberty Station – Dirt and paved paths follow along a boat channel in the San Diego Bay offering views of Downtown and close up views of planes taking off from San Diego International Airport. The paths are flat and great for a casual stroll along the waterfront. Stop for lunch at one of the many shops in Liberty Station and take a peek at the USS Recruit, which was a landlocked US Navy training ship and is located at the southern end of the path. Dogs are allowed on leash. Park in any of the parking lots on Historic Decatur Road and walk east towards the water. Located at 2455 Cushing Road in Point Loma.

Lake Murray – Three miles of paved trail offering great scenic views of the lake. Walk, bike, or rollerblade alongside the lake on the mostly flat path, which is great for any skill level. Dogs are allowed on leash, and the wide path is great for strollers. We recommend bringing sunscreen since most of the trail is uncovered. Open seven days a week. Located at 5540 Kiowa Drive in La Mesa.

Seaport Village – Filled with over 50 shops and 17 restaurants, Seaport Village is a fun spot for many activities, including walking. Walk north along the Embarcadero to see the Victory Kiss statue and the USS Midway Museum, or walk south to the Marina Park and the Convention Center. Located at 849 West Harbor Drive in San Diego.


Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve – A beautiful park area with eleven miles of trails including a botanical trail and horse trails. The main hiking trail is a 1.4 mile trail called the Way Up Trail that climbs over 1,000 feet in elevation and offers some incredible views from the top. Enjoy a picnic at the several picnic areas overlooking the Olivenhain Dam and Reservoir. Dogs are allowed on leash, and are allowed off leash at the top of the Way Up Trail on weekdays. Located at 8833 Harmony Grove Road in Escondido.

Cowles Mountain – Situated inside Mission Trails Regional Park, Cowles Mountain is the highest peak in the San Diego City limits. The trail starts at around 900 feet in elevation and climbs to the peak at about 1600 feet in elevation. The trail is about 1.5 miles from start to peak and the views from the top are spectacular with a 360 degree panorama view of the greater San Diego area. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed. Trail entrance located at the corner of Navajo Road and Golfcrest Drive in San Diego.

Cedar Creek Falls Trailhead – A very challenging hike but worth the effort. The trail starts at the top of a small peak and descends about 1,000 feet over the course of around 3 miles, ending at Cedar Creek Falls. The waterfall is over 75 feet tall and falls into a large pool of water, which is at varying levels throughout the year. The return hike is back up the same trail, and can be grueling at times as there is no shade and it is entirely uphill. We recommend hiking this trail in the cooler winter and spring months, bringing tons of water and conserving it for the uphill hike, and leaving your dog at home even though they are welcome on leash. Permits required before entering the trailhead. Located at 15519 Thornbush Road in Ramona.

San Diego Events Calendar – June 2018

Check out the fun activities San Diego has to offer this month in our Calendar of Events! Be sure to take advantage of the free museum days listed at the bottom of the second page. What activities will you be doing this month?


What Is A Granny Flat And Why Is Now A Great Time To Build One In San Diego?

What is a granny flat?

A “granny flat” is an additional living unit added to a property that already has an existing residence. Granny flats often have their own entrance, bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas. A granny flat can be used as an income producing rental unit or simply a place for guests and family to stay with a little more privacy from the main house.

Other names for granny-flats include “in-law suite”, “rental unit”, “guest house”, “companion unit”, or “accessory dwelling unit”.

The additional unit can be created by adding onto an existing home, an existing home can be divided in a way to create multiple living units, or a new living unit can be built as a separate structure, often in a backyard. Granny flats are commonly built above a garage, or located in a basement or attic where it is easy to section off the living quarters.

Why is now a great time to build a granny flat in San Diego?

Until late April 2018 the cost to build a granny flat was more than $40,000 in government fees alone for some San Diego residents, according to NBC News San Diego. The large cost in fees in addition to the cost of construction were sometimes seen as prohibitive, discouraging some residents from building granny flats. Fortunately, the San Diego City Council voted at the end of April to lower the cost of building granny flats by more than 60% by waiving three of the required government fees to build granny flats.

The measures approved by the City Council make it easier to build granny flats and speed up the permit process for the construction of new homes. According to Mayor Kevin Faulconer, the move is designed to remove “barriers to encourage the construction of new units that San Diegans can actually afford”, by lowering fees and making it easier for residents to build more living units.

Housing prices in San Diego have been going up for years and according to City officials the average price to buy a home in San Diego now exceeds $550,000 and the average rent is now over $1700 making San Diego one of the most expensive cities to live in the country. Adding granny flats increases the available housing inventory, which should help lower the cost of rents in San Diego, or at least help slow the increase.

Benefits to having a granny flat

  • Privacy and separation from main home and granny flat
  • Can be income-producing if rent is charged to those living in the granny flat
  • Rental income can serve as passive income to help pay down the mortgage faster
  • Rental income can be saved to buy another income-producing home faster


What do you think? Would you build a granny flat? Let us know by leaving a comment.