Credit: Novo Brazil Brewery
Credit: Novo Brazil Brewery

9 Restaurants in Chula Vista That Will Take You on a Global Food Tour

Attention Foodies: Chula Vista Is Worth the Trip

Ah, Chula Vista. Nestled between San Diego and Tijuana, this South Bay suburb is not a place many visitors would think to go when it comes to good eats. But those in the know will tell you that Chula Vista is home to some of the best tacos on this side of the border–not to mention how Mexican and other Latin influences have made their impressions on Italian, Japanese and Mediterranean cuisine in the area. From birria-topped pizzas to elote smothered in black mayonnaise, here are some of the best places to eat in Chula Vista. Best Restaurants Chula Vista


Tacos El Gordo

Credit: Josie Gonzales

If there’s just one place you’re going to eat in Chula Vista, make sure it’s at Tacos El Gordo. This family-owned institution is known for authentic Tijuana-style street tacos on handmade corn tortillas. From adobada sliced fresh off the trompo to carne asada grilled right before your eyes, there’s a reason all three San Diego locations typically have lines out the door. Pro tip: come with a group and split up between each line for meat if you want more than one kind of taco.


Best Restaurants Chula Vista

StarBread Bakery

A newcomer to SoCal, StarBread Bakery recently opened its doors to the community of Chula Vista. This Filipino bakery is a great spot to get delicious pastries to bring to a potluck or family party–or to just treat yourself!. StarBread hails from the Bay Area, where they became known for their Señorita Bread, a dinner roll-pastry mashup slathered in butter, sugar, breadcrumbs and always served warm, fresh out of the oven. You can also find doughnuts, malasadas and cupcakes here! 



Pizzeria El Jefe

Credit: Michel Torres Marketing

Your friend wants pizza, but you want Mexican food. Porque no los dos? Pizzeria El Jefe serves up the best of both worlds. Their Mexican fusion pizzas are created on a hearty buttery crust and topped with birria, carne asada and other unique flavors that will surprise you. The cute mom-and-pop shop has a small bar and affordable meals, perhaps making it one of Chula Vista’s best-kept secrets—until now. We recommend the El Jefe Special, which comes with a pizza of your choice, six wings and six Jefe’s balls (think garlic knots), all for under 30 bucks.


Best Restaurants Chula Vista

Tiajuana Food Court

Credit: Josie Gonzales

Imagine a mini food hall where you can find all your favorite types of Mexican food. That’s exactly what you can expect at Tiajuana Food Court! Taqueria El Poblano, El Cacho Fish Taco Stand, The Burrito Factory and Sakana Sushi Bar and Grill have got you covered no matter what you’re craving. Plus, Tiajuana Cervezería has a great selection of beer and wine to wash it all down. Afterward, head back in line to order dessert from La Creperia Nutilda.



Izakaya Naruto

Credit: Diego Lozano / Unsplash

If you’re craving sushi or a satisfying bowl of ramen, then Izakaya Naruto is the place to go. The restaurant is almost one of those “blink and you might miss it” spots located in an unsuspecting business plaza, which is probably why they have a huge red arrow on their sign pointing to the entrance. Izakaya Naruto is a Chula Vista favorite for casual Japanese food influenced by global flavors. To see what we mean, try the Chula Vista pho-men or the cajun tuna roll.



Novo Brazil Brewing Co.

Novo Brazil Brewing Company is an outlier when it comes to Chula Vista breweries. From their headquarters out in Eastlake, CEO and Master Brewer Eduardo Petanga’s Brazilian soul shines through every batch of award-winning Otay IPA and Chula Pils Pilsner along with every nook and cranny of the brewery. They recently opened a 12,000-square-foot bar, restaurant and brewery at the Otay Ranch Mall, just down the street from their original location.


Best Restaurants Chula Vista

Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro

Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro serves up elevated Mexican cuisine that is made using Mediterranean techniques. A great spot for happy hour or date night in Bonita, Romesco is big on their tapas menu. From the Roadside Ahi Tuna Tostada to grilled octopus and bone marrow sopes, the restaurant quickly won the hearts of locals and out-of-towners alike. Specialty cocktails like their tamarindo martini and mezcaloni are absolute musts when you dine in.


Best Restaurants Chula Vista

Grind House

Credit: Eric Casas

Located in Chula Vista’s historic Third Avenue Village, Grind House is a low-key punky spot to hang out at during all hours of the day. From specialty coffee and espresso in the morning to happy hour micheladas and all the noshables in between, Grind House has something to please everyone. The peanut butter cup latte or the Mexican mocha pair well with a veggie egg breakfast sandwich. Before you leave, order a Cubano to go for lunch.


Best Restaurants Chula Vista


Hellote is definitely one of those places you might have a hard time finding if you don’t know where to look. Located behind a taco shop off Fresno Ave and Main St in south Chula Vista, Hellote is an Insta-worthy outdoor spot that takes elote to the next level. From a black ash mayo with crushed pork rinds to green serrano mayo with green nopales churros, Hellote is an absolute must-try for foodies on the hunt for the next best thing.

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