One of the best things to do in Hillcrest is to take a food tour with Bite San Diego. You get to experience a handful of restaurants and get all of the best local tips!
Photographing and eating gourmet food is one of our passions, in addition to traveling. We cook a lot at home, but we like to try out a new restaurant in San Diego at least once a week.
Our San Diego restaurant website has been great motivation for us to venture out to different areas of San Diego county. Since it could take the rest of our lives before we even scratch the surface of all the food options in San Diego, the next best thing is to take a few tours where we can taste a handful of restaurants at once.
We first learned about Bite San Diego through a friend and the hardest part about booking a tour was deciding which location to try; Hillcrest, Little Italy, North Park, Coronado or Julian.
Italian food is hard to say no to, but Hillcrest and North Park are both known for their amazing restaurants. In the end, Hillcrest won because the tour availability worked well with our schedules.
The tour began near Balboa Park at a little Mexican Restaurant called Jimmy Carter’s. We arrived early and our table for fifteen was already set up in the back with chips and salsa waiting. We were served tostadas with tender shredded beef (my favorite dish from this stop) calamari tacos with a delicious jalapeño cilantro cream sauce and cheese empanadas.
Bite San Diego: The Best Food Tour in Hillcrest
Being the first stop, everyone was hungry, so thankfully this restaurant didn’t skimp on portions. We weren’t full yet, but felt satisfied enough to walk twelve blocks to Lotus Thai, the next restaurant on our tour.
Lotus Thai served delicious Meing Rice Noodle in Lettuce Wraps, Thai Corn Fritter and Chicken Satay. We washed it all down with a sweet Thai iced tea. This restaurant has very unique decorations. We especially loved the bathroom sign.
Our third stop, Empire House, was our favorite restaurant of the bunch. I loved how the owner came to our table to speak about the history behind the opening of this restaurant, their struggles and how they overcame the restaurant voodoo curse of this location.
We tasted their BBQ Bacon Burger, glazed with house made red-miso bbq sauce, bacon, havarti cheese, garlic aioli, lettuce, and pickled red onion on a seeded bun. The pickle on the side is homemade and the perfect crunchy texture.
After Empire House, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to eat any more, but once we arrived at Brazen BBQ and were introduced to their pulled pork and brisket, I knew I had to make room. The owners of this restaurant make their own rubs and sauces from scratch and have won quite a few awards for their meats and sauces.
We made a quick stop at Kona Coffee before heading to our last stop at Lotus Cafe & Juice Bar. This was the perfect ending to our day with a hummus plate, a taste of their carrot, nutmeg and cinnamon smoothie and a vegan chocolate, peanut butter cupcake.
Even though this tour ended around 4 pm, we were full enough to not even think about dinner. This was the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon and I’m looking forward to trying another one of these San Diego food tours.