Where to Eat Near the San Diego Convention Center

This Top 10 list of restaurants for show attendees focuses on good food available within three blocks

The Gaslamp Quarter near the San Diego Convention Center holds an abundance of bars and restaurants.
Union Kitchen & Tap in the Gaslamp Quarter.

Heading to the San Diego Convention Center for the Travel & Adventure Show (January 19-20, 2019)? You won’t want to do it on an empty stomach, so Junkets & Jaunts is serving up a list of recommended restaurants that are within easy walking distance.

The Travel & Adventure Show is a chance for travelers to get information all in one place from experts affiliated with more than 200 destinations around the world. There are also dozens of educational seminars, including travel celebrities Peter Greenberg, Pauline Frommer and Josh Gates.

Junkets & Jaunts will be there. I’m excited to meet fellow travel aficionados—and for me it’s a short walk to the convention center from my downtown San Diego home.

As a downtown denizen, I’m familiar with the layout of the city and have dined at most of the area restaurants. There are some great hotel eateries, and the Gaslamp Quarter entertainment district includes more than 200 restaurants, bars and other establishments.

There are plenty of options, and lots of lists available. I’ve picked 10 spots that have good food and are also easy walking distance (within three blocks in all directions) of the convention center.

So if you park your car at the underground lot at the convention center, and want to come early (before the show opens) for breakfast, run out for a quick lunch, or stay afterward for dinner, here are your best bets:

Tin Fish San Diego.

Tin Fish

Walk out the front doors of the convention center and go straight across Harbor Drive toward the large Gaslamp Quarter sign. Just to the right (before the Hard Rock Hotel) is the indoor-outdoor-seating for Tin Fish. Lunch and dinner. It’s a perfect spot to run out for a quick fish taco lunch. 170 Sixth Avenue

Marina Kitchen

Located adjacent to the convention center, inside the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina hotel. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and happy hour. Large, contemporary bar, comfort food and a fantastic panoramic view of the San Diego Bay. 333 West Harbor Drive

Tequila Bar & Grille

Like Marina Kitchen, part of the adjacent Marriott hotel. Tequila Bar & Grille is outdoors (it can get windy) and is next to the hotel pool. Lunch and dinner. The menu is Baja influenced, and includes bar food like panko-crusted fish tacos and carne asada fries. 333 West Harbor Drive

Sally’s Fish House & Bar

One block north (left out the front doors) of the convention center, past the Marriott and on the back/bayside of the San Diego Manchester Grand Hyatt. Lunch, dinner and happy hour. Upscale seafood and sushi eatery, also serving steaks and an extensive wine list. 1 Market Place

Fox Sports Grill

Exit the convention center and go one block south (right) to the Hilton San Diego Bayfront hotel. Lunch and dinner. Serving everything from ahi poke and popcorn shrimp appetizers to tri-tip sandwiches and barbecue ribs. 1 Park Blvd, Suite 101

The Broken Yolk.

The Broken Yolk

Three blocks from the convention center is one of the best breakfast places in town. The Broken Yolk is also open for lunch (no dinner service), but go for the reasonably priced, big portions of pancakes, waffles or breakfast burritos. 355 Sixth Avenue

Union Kitchen & Tap

UKT is two blocks from the convention center on a straight shot out the front doors onto Fifth Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter. Breakfast, lunch and dinner served on weekends. Indoor outdoor seating. The menu includes burgers, shrimp-and-grits and a great selection of craft beers and cocktails. 333 Fifth Avenue

The Field Irish Pub

The Field Irish Pub.

This authentic Irish Pub is three blocks straight up Fifth Avenue from the convention center. Serving breakfast lunch and dinner on weekends. Go for a shepherd’s pie or a whiskey chicken boxty. Top if off with a Guinness or an Irish coffee and enjoy the friendly ambiance. 544 Fifth Avenue

Oceanaire Seafood Room

Oceanaire is only open for dinner after 5 p.m.—but the 5 to 6 p.m. happy hour deals at the bar are extremely reasonable and tasty. The restaurant is upscale, but serves the best “Maryland-style” crab cakes in town. 400 J Street (between Fourth and Fifth avenues)

Joe’s Crab Shack

This chain seafood spot is behind the convention center, on the bayside right before you get to Embarcadero Marina Park South. Lunch, dinner and happy hour. Peel-and-eat shrimp or crab buckets galore. 525 E. Harbor Drive  J&J

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