The Top 10 Comfort Food Restaurants in San Diego

With the wind picking up, a slight chill in the air and the holidays just around the corner, it’s time for comfort food. Those deliciously nostalgic meals that take us back to our childhood. We begin to salivate just reading the menu: mac n’ cheese, fried chicken, spaghetti and meatballs, chili, biscuits and gravy, chicken pot pie.

Since comfort food often has a high caloric content, we thought it would be fun to pedal to some of our favorite comfort food restaurants, enjoy a tasty treat, and then cruise on home with a full belly and a big smile. 

As San Diego is home to over 4,000 restaurants, there’s quite a bit to choose from. Here’s our favorite places serving up some of the best comfort food, all easily accessible from major bike routes throughout San Diego county.

Top 10 Comfort Food Restaurants in San Diego

  1. Urban Solace 
    After 10 years in North Park, Matt Gordon is still drawing crowds at Urban Solace for their Bluegrass Sunday Brunch. Pedal down 30th Street, just south of University, for some of the best buttermilk cheddar biscuits around. The image of Ron Burgundy over the bar will make you smile every time you walk through the door. If you happen to be pedaling in North County, check out Urban Solace’s sister restaurants- Solace and the Moonlight Lounge and Sea & Smoke.

    Urban Solace, 3823 30th Street, San Diego | Menu | phone: 619.295.6464

  2. Studio Diner
    The neon lights and 1940’s vibe make this one of our favorite stops post-ride. If you’re pedaling out to climb up Scripps Poway Parkway, maybe coming south along  Kearny Villa Road, the Studio Diner is welcome respite. The first few sips of a chocolate milkshake make you forget how tired your legs are. You sink down into the booth and smile as you bite into your juicy cheeseburger. 

    Studio Diner, 3823 30th Street, San Diego | Menu | phone: 858.715.6400

  3. Night & Day Cafe
    The ride along the Silver Strand from Imperial Beach northbound to Coronado is worth every pedal stoke to the Night & Day Cafe. Even when fighting a headwind. Your reward awaits when you find a bar stool at the counter and order a breakfast sandwich or a bowl of chili. The cafe is pretty small, so expect to have conversations with the Coronado high school football player on the bar stool next to you.

    Night & Day Cafe, 847 Orange Avenue, Coronado | Menu | phone: 619.435.9776

  4. Crack Shack
    While pedaling through Little Italy, it’s hard to miss the giant chicken gawking at you from the other end of a bocce ball court. With Celebrity chef Richard Blais at the helm, the Crack Shack feels like Southern comfort food with a California twist. There’s no need to wonder if the chicken or the egg came first as both are treated equally here. From the Malibu Barbie Q to the Romaine Calm, every item on the menu is delicious. Pedaling north of the 56? No problem. Check out their Encinitas Boulevard location. They even deliver!

    Crack Shack, 2266 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego | Menu | phone: 619.795.3299

  5. Peace Pies 
    Comfort food doesn’t have to be unhealthy. The crew at Peace Pies is serving up raw, vegan, gluten-free and soy-free pies, salads, wraps, entrees and desserts. It’s hard to resist the Milky Way Mylkshake, the Loving Lasagna and the Cosmic Coconut Cream Pie. Pedal over to their Ocean Beach or Encinitas locations, or find ’em at your local farmer’s market.

    Peace Pies, 4230 Voltaire Street, San Diego | Menu | phone: 619.223.2880

  6. Underbelly
    If we’re feeling a bit under the weather, a nice bowl of Underbelly Ramen seems to do the trick. That simmering broth filled with a soft-boiled egg, oxtail dumplings, beef brisket,  hoisin-glazed short ribs, scallions, sesame seeds, seaweed and bean sprouts is perfect after a ride on a chilly fall day. Pedal to their North Park or Little Italy location.

    Underbelly, 3000 Upas Street, San Diego | Menu | phone: 619.487.9909

  7. Soda & Swine
    If meatballs and marinara sauce are your favorite go-to when the temperature starts to drop, look no further than list of options at Soda & Swine. You can sample a few different types of meatballs by ordering a Skillet of Three, or go big and add spaghetti. It’s impossible to eat just one. Find them by pedaling through Liberty Station or on 30th & Adams Avenue.

    Soda & Swine, 2750 Dewey Road #104, San Diego | Menu | phone: 619.501.9989

  8. Betty’s Pie Whole
    ‘A pie-wrangling, karaoke-singing Southern lady’ is how Betty is described. Her pies? Outstanding. There are no pre-made or canned fillings up in here. That means real fruit they prepare themselves, local eggs and pure cream. You also get your own individual sweet or savory pie, or if you’re feeling lucky, try the Hunt’s Chicken Chipotle Chili. Betty’s Pie Whole is definitely worth the extra miles if you’re pedaling up the coast.

    Betty’s Pie Whole, 155 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas | Menu | phone: 760.230.6781

  9. Ballast Point
    We couldn’t close out the list without including one of the finest craft breweries that got its start in San Diego. Ballast Point not only serves up incredible beer, they also make a mean butternut squash ravioli and deliciously crispy brussels sprouts. From the original location in Scripps Ranch, Ballast Point has grown to 7 locations! You can pedal to their Little Italy location, or if you’re north of the 52, check out their Miramar brewery, which has a huge outdoor patio.

    Ballast Point, 19045 Carroll Way, San Diego | Menu | phone: 858.790.6901

  10. Basic
    If your ride takes you through the heart of the East Village, we recommend finishing up at Basic. Their simple, thin crust brick oven pizza is hands down one of our favorites. If you’re adventurous, try their Mashed Potato and Bacon Pizza. Feeling guilty for not eating more greens? Order a Basic Salad and enjoy the candied walnuts, crumbled gorgonzola and sliced pears. Not cruising through the downtown area, you can check out their sister restaurant, Urbn, in North Park, Encinitas, El Cajon and Vista. 

    Basic, 410 10th Avenue, San Diego | Menu | phone: 619.531.8869

    Wherever you end up, we hope your meal brings back all the good memories of having a home-cooked meal made with love. Have a favorite of your own? Leave us a message and let us know!

    Meredith McConvill is a volunteer with Outdoor Outreach, and the Co-Founder of Top Rope Media. She enjoys rock climbing, snowboarding and cycling in Southern California, or wherever her work projects take her.

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