Top 10 Eats Near UCSD

I consider myself quite the muncher; dare I say it … I’m a verified foodie. Thus in my past four years at UC San Diego, I’ve indulged in a number of local establishments, many within a four-mile radius of campus. With the knowledge I’ve gained from the countless dollars spent at various restaurants, I’ve compiled a list of my Top 10 Eats Near UCSD. I’ve organized them according to location and tried my best to include a wide variety, so you have choices depending on your mood and price range. I also threw in my go-to order in case you want to know the best thing to get. So without further ado, eat up:


Westfield UTC 

Take the 201 from UCSD and head to UTC for some pretty delicious grub. Here are my go-to restaurants at the mall. 

  1. Ramen Nagi 

4301 La Jolla Village Dr Suite 2033, San Diego, CA 92122 

If you hate lines, this place isn’t for you. But if you’re willing to chill by the Koi Pond for 45 minutes while using markers to circle your order, I say it’s worth it. The broth is rich, the noodles are chewy, and the service is quick as soon as you get inside.

Emily’s Order: The Original King – Spice Level 5


  1. Shake Shack

4309 La Jolla Village Dr, San Diego, CA 92122 

I know this is basic, but wow does Shake Shack know how to make a good burger. I order using the app to skip the line and I love myself that soft bun and smash burger style. 

Emily’s Order: Single Shack Burger Well Done with a side of Crinkle Cut Fries and an extra side of Shack Sauce for dipping. 


The Shops at La Jolla Village

  1. CAVA 

8849 Villa La Jolla Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037 

I’m sorry, I know it’s another chain, but damn do I love CAVA. I mean, a build-your-own-bowl that gives you a variety of dips is something I will always sign up for. Unfortunately, the wait is always tremendously long and grievously slow, but I can’t say I’d recommend online ordering as 7/10 times, your order will be wrong. Nonetheless, I just love CAVA so much that I still return despite its many quirks. 


Emily’s Order: Greens and Grains Bowl with Baby Spinach and Lentils. Topped with hummus, tzatziki, and crazy feta. Throw in some fire roasted corn, broccoli, more feta, pickled onion, onion and tomato, tomato and cucumber, and pita chips. And you must not forget garlic dressing on the side. 


La Jolla Village Square  

  1. Ike’s Love and Sandwiches 

8657 Villa La Jolla Dr #101, La Jolla, CA 92037 

My oh my, never have I been so titillated as when I placed an Ike’s Sandwich into my mouth for the first time. She’s girthy and delicious and you gotta get her extra dirty. That dutch crunch bread is life changing. 

Emily’s Orders: Barry Bonds (TURKEY, BACON, SWISS), 5 Ikes (PASTRAMI, MACK SAUCE, PURPLE SLAW, GOUDA), or the Meatless Mike (VEGAN MEATBALLS, MARINARA, PEPPER JACK). Make sure to order your sandwich extra dirty.  


  1. Urban Plates 

8707 Villa La Jolla Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037 

This is my go-to place when my parents come down for lunch. It’s convenient, it’s easy, it’s a bit pricey, but it’s solidly delicious food. As long as my parents are picking up the tab, I’m trying to dine here. 

Emily’s Order: Grilled Chicken Breast with Chimichurri Sauce and a Side of House Salad and Roasted Potatoes.


Villa La Jolla Plaza 

  1. Calvin’s Korean Chicken 

3211 Holiday Ct #101a, La Jolla, CA 92037 

Tucked away near the Domino’s Pizza, behind the Nordstrom’s Rack, is quite frankly a must-try fried chicken restaurant. I LOVE Korean fried chicken, and this place does it pretty well, if you ask me. Considering the proximity to campus, it’s really hard to beat. It is important to note that they do not offer dine-in options. 

Emily’s Order: Wing Box (4 wings (Devil Garlic Flavor), vinegar slaw, waffle fries, and furikake rice).


Renaissance Towne Center

While it feels a bit farther from campus, the bites to try here are an absolute must. I insist!

  1. Chicago Fire Grill

8935 Towne Centre Dr #109, San Diego, CA 92122 

Oh my goodness. This place is so simple yet so delicious. I first came after watching one of my classmate’s videos featuring the owner and since then it’s a definite fave. The prices are great and the food is delicious. Can you really beat a $10 Burger, Fries, and Beer?

Emily’s Order: $10 Burger, Fries, and Draft Beer

  1. Vitality Bowls 

8935 Towne Centre Dr Ste 107, San Diego, CA 92122 

I’ll be real, I hate scooped smoothie bowls. I want the bowl freshly blended. I want options. I want something that feels real fresh. If you feel this way, you gotta try Vitality Bowls. With any purchase of a bowl, you can also add a Power Panini for only $6. I really love a good deal.

Emily’s Orders: Dragon Bowl with Granola or Blue Bliss Bowl 

Von’s Shopping Center – Off Regents Road

  1. Primos Mexican Food 

7770 Regents Rd #109, San Diego, CA 92122 

I mean, their whole gig is overstuffed burritos and delicious Mexican eats, so how can you go wrong? I love myself a Monster Burrito, but be forewarned, these burritos measure to about a foot long. Be prepared to make yourself comfortable on the porcelain throne after a night with this burrito. Or, split it with a friend to save your ass the agony. 

Emily’s Order: Monster Mexi Cali Burrito (Steak, Adobada, Melted Jack Cheese, Fries, Chipotle Sauce, Guacamole, Onions, and Cilantro Sauce) 

Regents Marketplace 

  1. Earlybird Breakfast Burritos 

4150 Regents Park Row UNIT 170, La Jolla, CA 92037 

Real close to campus but in an area I rarely venture is a somewhat pricey but overall delicious breakfast burrito. They also serve churro waffles, which I have yet to try, but I have never had a bad breakfast burrito from here. It takes a minute, but be patient, they’re wrapping it with love. 

Emily’s Order: Eat Like a Bird Breakfast Burrito (3 eggs, tater tots, crispy tortilla strips, mozzarella cheese, black beans, guacamole, cilantro, tomato, pickled red onions, salsa verde) and I add bacon.

While this is my current list, I haven’t tried everything around here. So if you didn’t see one of your favorite restaurants listed, let me know in the comments.


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Sarah He, Co-Webmaster & Photographer
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I'm a simple woman, Mrs. Fundamental like I play for the Spurs
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Hana is a fourth year Cognitive Science major.
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