August 30, 2019

TwitchCon Does San Diego 2019: Downtown Eats

Much to the delight of avid convention attendees and those of us at OP Group, Twitch’s annual celebration of gaming, streaming, and community returns to San Diego again after three long years. While the main course for the weekend no doubt lies inside the storied walls of the San Diego Convention Center, there are more than a few tasty side dishes in the area worth sinking your teeth into. It is with this in mind that our team here at OP Group presents to you our picks for the best things to eat, drink, and do during your visit to America’s finest city and we’re starting with where to find the best food in Downtown San Diego.

Finding the Best Food in Downtown San Diego

OP Group’s “TwitchCon Does San Diego 2019” will be a weekly blog series highlighting various restaurants, bars, and attractions that our team recommends you check out while in town for TwitchCon.

Kicking off this series is going to be one of the most hotly debated topics in the OP Group office, where to find the best food in Downtown San Diego.

Puesto – A taco taste-fest

Close-up of tacos on a plate labeled Puesto
This photo, provided by Port of San Diego is made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license

There are few ways to spark a debate in San Diego that are as heated as where to find the best tacos. If you’re looking for a tasty taco within walking distance of TwitchCon, look no further than Puesto.

Located about a half-a-mile from the convention center, Puesto is a popular choice for best food in Downtown San Diego and serves up some of the best Mexican street food in the entire city. While their drinks are delectable and the appetizers salivating, the main reason to come to Puesto is to try some of their signature street tacos.

From local staples such as carnitas and baja fish, to the Tacolandia “Best Taco” winner that is their Filet Mignon taco, Puesto is sure to leave an impression on anyone that strolls on over for a bite.

Crack Shack – A casual chicken joint

Crack Shack is a casual chicken joint located just a few miles from the convention center. Known for their high quality, locally raised, free-living chickens, fans of Crack Shack know that this isn’t your average restaurant.

Crack Shack’s menu features a wide array of dishes from their signature fried chicken to their tender chicken oysters. Those looking to settle a winner in the great chicken sandwich wars of 2019 should make a point to swing by this cluckin’ eatery.

Juniper & Ivy – A fanciful feast 

Juniper and Ivy #sandiego #eat #preflight
This photo, “Juniper and Ivy” is made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

If you’re looking for something a little fancier in your dining experience, then look no further than Juniper & Ivy. Located right next to our previous entry, Juniper & Ivy is undoubtedly one of San Diego’s most renowned dining experiences and is sure to appear on any list of the best food in Downtown San Diego

Founded by Top-Chef All-Star winner, Richard Blais and Michael Rosen, Juniper & Ivy is a love letter to San Diego focusing on local ingredients, innovative cooking techniques, and an artful presentation meant to share with your closest friends. If you’re considering a stop at this fine eatery, we recommend you take the time to make a reservation early.

Basic Bar & Pizza – A pizza party to remember 

From the fantastically fancy to the effortlessly simple, Basic Bar & Pizza bakes up some of the best pizza in the city and is just about half a mile away from the convention center. Known for it’s straight-forward approach and urban style, Basic is a no-nonsense pizza spot built into a massive warehouse from the early 1900’s.

A trip to Basic is the perfect solution for those looking for a no-frills eating experience. Grab your friends and order yourselves a couple of classic pies that are sure to leave the entire group smiling and satisfied.

Fogo de Chao – A magical meat lover’s paradise  

A Brazilian BBQ Experience at Fogo de Chao
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Few things can work up an appetite like walking around the over 600,000 square feet that make up the San Diego convention center. After a long day checking out all the booths and meeting your favorite streamers, why not sit down for an all you can eat feast of meats at Fogo de Chao.

Fogo de Chao is a Brazilian steakhouse serving up a selection of tasty meats in the traditional style of churrasco grilling. What this means for you, the diner, is that waiters, known as Gauchos, walk around the restaurant with cuts of meat on long skewers looking to serve you until you call it quits.

When you take your seat, you’re given a small card that is green on one side and red on the other. If you’re hungry, place your card green-side up and when you’ve had enough, turn it over to the red side, it’s as simple as that. However, given just how delicious everything is, you may find it difficult to turn that green card over.

Café Gratitude – A delicious vegan venture

Café Gratitude features a wide array of delicious vegan food that everyone is sure to enjoy. From vegan wraps and sandwiches to enchiladas and pasta, you’ll find this vegan venture just a couple of miles from the hustle and bustle of the convention center.

Café Gratitude seeks to nourish their patrons with the kind of love that can only be experienced from quality ingredients sourced from local farmers. A pro tip for those arriving early or staying late after the convention is Café Gratitude’s “Meatless Mondays” which features a 50% discount off of select menu items. With a deal like that, it can be hard to stay away.

Hodad’s – A San Diego burger staple 

Ocean Beach Hodad's
This photo, provided by richmbythesea, is made available under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

There are plenty of places in San Diego to find yourself a delicious burger. From the fast food favorite of In-N-Out to the half beef, half bacon, all amazing Slater’s 50/50, there’s no shortage of bountiful burgers around sunny San Diego. For our choice burger joint for ” best food in Downtown San Diego” though, it has to be Hodad’s.

A San Diego staple since 1969, Hodad’s has been serving up huge, savory burgers to locals and tourists alike for a half-century. Long considered one of the best burgers in the city, Hodad’s found fame beyond the sandy shores of San Diego thanks to a feature on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. If you’re in the mood for a good old-fashioned burger, you can grab one at Hodad’s from their Downtown location just a mile away from the convention center.

Underbelly – A ramen spot to revel in

Underbelly Ramen with Beef Brisket - Underbelly
This photo, “Underbelly Ramen with Beef Brisket” is made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A neighborhood called “Little Italy” may not be the first place you think of to find delicious ramen, however, that’s just what you’ll discover when you wander over to Underbelly. A local favorite among foodies and ramen fans alike, Underbelly features a nice selection of traditional and modern ramen dishes that are sure to please everyone’s palate.

While known primarily for their ramen dishes, this Asian eatery also serves up a savory selection of bao buns and appetizers ranging from a seafood tartare to crispy chicken wings.

Crab Hut – A salivating seafood sanctuary

Crawfish from Crab Hut
This photo, “Crawfish from Crab Hut” is made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A trip to San Diego would hardly be complete without a stop at one of the many seafood spots in the city. While locations like Blue Water Seafood and Ironside Fish & Oyster offer particularly delectable dishes, our choice has to be local favorite, Crab Hut.

People that refrain from messy eating experiences should likely skip this one, but those willing to get a hands-on experience with their food should definitely make Crab Hut a “must-visit” on their TwitchCon San Diego experience. Shrimp, crawfish, crabs, lobsters, and a lot more can all be found at this unique restaurant that combines the flavors of southern Louisiana with fresh locally grown and raised ingredients from right here in San Diego.

Brian’s 24 – A late-night safe-haven

Rounding out the list is a local favorite amongst those that have experienced the kind of fun and festivities that only a night out on the town can bring, Brian’s 24. This bar and restaurant is the go-to eatery for those looking for a spot they can count on because they’re open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

After a long day and night, Brian’s 24 is the go-to place to find some of the best food in Downtown San Diego. Order some food, a few more drinks, and be ready to share because the serving sizes at Brian’s 24 will not disappoint.


Be sure to check back in next week as we continue our “TwitchCon Does San Diego 2019” series with our selections for the best bars and cocktail lounges to grab a drink and hang out.