We all get those midnight cravings, but most restaurants and cafes close down well before you and your friends drive around seeking out a taco or a cappuccino. San Diego might not have the sleepless party vibes of New York and Los Angeles, but it has its fair share of essential late-night eats.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has permanently closed the doors of a few signature late-night businesses, while others have modified their hours. And, due to the current nature of dining out, keep in mind that hours change frequently, and some restaurants are limited to take out due to labor shortages, COVID-19 restrictions and other obstacles.
But whether you’re a late eater, in the midst of finals or you need a food break during your night out, check out our list of diners, cafes and restaurants offering late-night food in San Diego to satiate your hunger or slake your thirst.
Founded in 1949, this North Park classic serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner all hours, every day of the week, every day of the year. Rudford’s Restaurant has something for everyone, but it caters to those who adore a home-cooked meal made from scratch.
What more could you need in a late-night eatery than a retro diner with a solid history of fostering community by dishing out all-American favorites?
Address: 2900 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego
The Asian Bistro
Jimmy Wong’s Asian Bistro is for those who salivate over a bit more flavor than a typical West Coast diner offers. From drunken noodles and lychee strawberry martinis to curry and Thai lemongrass margaritas, The Asian Bistro combines a range of Asian dishes to deliver comfort food to San Diegans. So, head over Sunday-Monday until 12:30 a.m. or Friday and Saturday until 2:30 a.m.
Address: 414 University Ave., San Diego
Infamous and beloved for its generous portions of comfort food, Brian’s 24 definitely fits the bill for late-night eats in San Diego. After all, if it isn’t comfort food, you’re most likely not craving it at 1 a.m. on a weekday. Brian’s 24 began as a father-son duo in 2008 and is now owned by a new family with over 50 years of cumulative hospitality experience.
Head here for more of a SoCal brunch feel rather than a retro diner atmosphere. They’ve got matcha and avocado toast, a nice selection of vegan and vegetarian options and a balance of savory and sweet. It’s all topped off with flamboyant cocktails made for morning consumption. If all of that fails to appeal, they also have curated a list of comfort bites for night owls.
Brian’s 24 is no longer open all hours of the day. Its late hours are Thursday-Saturday, 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. It’s open until 2 p.m. on all other days for your sacred brunch.
Address: 828 6th Ave., San Diego
If you’re in doubt, get pizza. Head over to Ciro’s Pizzeria to stuff your face with New York-style pies, delicious appetizers, stromboli and a few mouthwatering dessert staples. The Gaslamp Quarter might be the best place in San Diego for a night out, and Ciro’s definitely backs up that claim.
Thursday nights might be the absolute best time to cue your pizza cravings since signature dishes are 50% off. However, they have some finicky hours, so check their website to make sure it’s open when you’re planning to go.
Address: 536 Market Street, San Diego
La Puerta loves tacos, tunes and tequila. If you share those three passions, you’ve come to the right place. Quality Mexican food and drink paired with the perfect playlist makes for a wonderful stop on your night out in San Diego.
La Puerta serves up Sinaloa-inspired food, all of which is crafted with fresh ingredients. Even the drinks are freshly squeezed. So, while you might be in for a bit of a wait at this Mexican joint, it’s undoubtedly worth the anticipation. Its flagship location in Downtown is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to midnight, and Saturday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to midnight.
Address: 560 Fourth Ave., San Diego
Turf Supper Club
Another old institution where the locals love to feast at night, Turf Supper Club is a grill-your-own-steak cocktail lounge that won’t kick you out until 2 a.m. However, if you don’t know the first thing about steak, the Club offers some advice on the menu:
“We suggest the ol’ touch test when grilling steaks and burgers. A rare steak or burger will feel like your cheek, medium rare like your chin, medium like the tip of your nose, and well done like the bottom of your shoe.”
Come here for a bar that stretches wall-to-wall with stools, a piano, red interior, antique photos of horse races and old Hollywood icons, cringe (or classic?) wallpaper and more. The best part, at least for piano lovers, might be the live piano bar every Sunday from 8-11 p.m.
Address: 1116 25th Street, San Diego
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