San Diego After-Midnight Diners

I have not eaten at all of these places. If I have eaten there, I’ll try to provide a capsule review. Honestly, the quality of the food is not important. Its mere existence is what counts. Quality is an ephemeral extra that those of us awake at three in the morning consider a luxury, if we consider it at all.

All of these places claim to be open after midnight, and, more importantly, to serve food after midnight. They all have, or claim to have, tables or counters where you can sit down and eat your food. If you know otherwise, or if you know of places that I have not listed here, please, Suggest an After-Midnight Diner.

Locales

City Heights

Denny’s Restaurant No. 7680

24 hours
4365 University Avenue
619-280-1121

Etna Restaurant

Open to 3:00 AM but only until 2:00 AM weekdays.
4427 El Cajon Boulevard
619-280-1877

Etna’s is a great place to go after a movie. Friendly place, very nice pasta and hot sandwiches, and the soup’s pretty damn good too after it’s been stewing all day.

Clairemont

Denny’s Restaurant

24 hours
4280 Clairmont Mesa Boulevard
858-270-5059

El Cotixan

24 hours
4676 Clairmont Mesa Boulevard
858-483-9758

Krispy Kreme

Open to 1:00 AM but only to 11 PM Sunday thru Thursday
4180 Clairmont Mesa Boulevard
858-273-4581

The red light district for donuts reached San Diego a few years ago. Donuts and milk, look for the red light, and if you’re willing to eat on the street the drive-thru is open twenty four hours.

Taquerias Cotixan

24 hours
4370 Genesee Avenue
858-571-8843

Vallarta Express

24 hours
4277 Genesee Avenue
858-569-6945

College area

Pita Pit

Open to 2:00 AM but until 3:00 AM Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
5131 College Avenue
619-265-7482

Trujillo’s Taco Shop

Open to 1:00 AM but until 4:00 AM Thursday thru Saturday
5119 College Avenue
619-583-4182

Coronado

Avenue Subs

Open to 2:00 AM
878 Orange Avenue
619-435-4668

Night & Day Café

24 hours but 2 PM Monday, 10 PM Tuesday/Sunday, 2 AM Wednesday/Thursday
847 Orange Avenue
619-435-9776

Odd hours. Interesting idea; a morning cafe for half the week, and a late-night cafe the rest of the week. Only open 24 hours on the weekends now, though.

Downtown

BASIC

Open to 2:00 AM
410 10th Avenue
619-531-8869

The full name is “Basic urban kitchen and bar”.

Brian’s 24

24 hours
828 6th Avenue
619-702-8410

At the lobby level of the Ramada St. James. Note that their web site says that they’re open twenty-four hours except Monday through Thursday. According to the people at the restaurant, they’re now 24/7.

Broadway Pizza

24 hours
1008 Broadway
619-232-6264

I’m getting conflicting reports on this one. Some people say it’s open to 3 AM, some that it’s open to 5:30 AM, but most seem to agree that it’s open 24 hours. Guess I’ll just have to head down there myself some night at 4 AM just before I bed down for the night.

DW’s Pub-San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina

Open to 1:00 AM
333 W Harbor Drive
619-234-1500

Denny’s Restaurant

24 hours
2137 Pacific Highway
619-239-8938

Dick’s Last Resort

Open to 12:30 PM
345 4th Avenue
619-231-9100

They stop serving food depending on how busy they are, but generally between 12:30 and 1, according to the woman I talked to.

Kansas City Barbeque

Open to 1:00 AM
610 W Market
619-231-9680

La Puerta

Open to 1:00 AM
560 4th Avenue
619-696-3466

They’re open until 2 AM every night, but they stop serving food at 1 AM.

Maryjane’s Coffeeshop

Open to 3:00 AM but only to 10 PM Sunday thru Thursday
207 5th Avenue
619-764-6950

“Retro-style TV Dinners served daily!”

On Broadway

Open to 1:00 AM
615 Broadway
619-231-0011

Asian cuisine and sushi are available after midnight on Friday and Saturday, but you have to dress up to get in. This isn’t the place to go when you just escaped the downtown prison cell through San Diego's alligator-infested sewers. There’s also a minimum age: don’t bring your under-21 crib here. Finally, not only is it expensive (drinks alone are $8) but there's a $15 cover charge. If you’re sad that you missed the seventies, relive your Studio 54 fantasies here, but otherwise you may want to look for a less frantic atmosphere for your late night dining. The kitchen stays open until 1 AM, but the rest of the club stays open until 2.

Subway

Open to 3:00 AM but only to midnight Sunday thru Thursday
950 5th Avenue
619-234-7829

Subway

Open to 3:00 AM but only to midnight Sunday thru Thursday
422 Market Street
619-234-9999

Sultan Shawarma

Open to 3:00 AM but only to midnight Sunday thru Wednesday
543 4th Avenue
619-231-1824

Nice place for chicken and hummus late at night. I’ve got some reports that it closes early if there’s no event happening downtown. And by early, I mean 9 to 10 PM.

T.G.I. Friday’s

Open to 1:30 AM
743 5th Avenue
619-234-4393

The bar stays open until 2, but “last call” for food, according to the woman I talked to on the phone, is 1:30.

Yacht Club-San Diego Marriott

Open to 2:00 AM
333 W Harbor Drive
619-230-8910

Golden Hill

Humberto’s Taco Shop

24 hours
1015 25th Street
619-231-8433

Hillcrest

Brian’s American Eatery

24 hours but only until 10 Sunday thru Thursday
1451 E Washington Street
619-296-8268

Brian’s is the place. They’re only open twenty four hours on the weekend, and they’ve recently changed: bucking the Hillcrest trend, the weekend now starts on Friday. It’s too bad; they used to be a good place to go on Thursdays after movies. In my circle of friends Brian’s is best known for their corned beef, but the apple pie à la mode runs a close second.

Cali Deli

Open to 2:00 AM but only to 10 PM Monday thru Thursday, 8 PM Sunday
3852 5th Avenue
619-564-7328

City Delicatessen

Open to 2:00 AM but only open to midnight Sunday thru Thursday
535 University Avenue
619-295-2747

City Deli only stays open late on Friday and Saturday night. But you do get a pickle jar at each table, and the chicken pot pie is great.

Donut Star

24 hours
601 W Washington Street
619-542-1809

It’s got grease, sugar, and flour. And it’s open twenty four hours a day, every day. So what if the building is pink? At least they have their own parking.

Hong Kong Restaurant

Open to 3:00 AM
3871 4th Avenue
619-291-9449

During the day their food is probably pretty average, but I wouldn’t know. We generally come here about one in the morning, and by then the food tastes great. (The leftovers even taste good the next afternoon for breakfast.)

I like the moo shu, although as I recall they spell it differently. If you do take home leftovers, make sure you put any sauces on your food before you ask for it to be boxed up. Otherwise, you ain’t gettin’ any.

La Fuente

Open to 3:00 AM
1227 University Avenue
619-295-6447

La Posta de Acapulco #8

24 hours
3980 3rd Avenue
619-295-8982

Surprisingly good Mexican food even during the day, and unbeatable at three in the morning when you’ve just finished the great American comic book.

Lalo’s Tacos Etc.

Open to 3:00 AM but only 1 AM Sunday thru Thursday
1266 University Avenue
619-294-6810

Nunu’s Cocktail Lounge and Grill

Open to 1:15 AM
3537 5th Avenue
619-295-2878

I’ve been a big fan of Nunu’s for a long time. They’re a friendly neighborhood bar on the order of the Billy Goat in Chicago, or the bar in the small town I grew up in. But I haven’t put them on the list because they’ve kept their kitchen’s closing time word-of-mouth. Well, last night I was in and they finally put up a sign: open until 1:15 AM every day. The burgers and fries are fine; the BLT and the cheese sandwich are a delight.

Pink Noodle

Open to 3:00 AM but only to midnight Sunday thru Thursday
406 University Avenue
619-298-2929

Saigon on Fifth

Open to 3:00 AM
3900 5th Avenue
619-220-8828

Saigon had a sign in their window about being open until three a couple of years ago; they never turned it on and stayed open only until midnight. It appears that they are now open late again. Fortunately if they flake out again there are two other restaurants open until three within the same block.

Santana’s Mexican Grill

24 hours
719 W Washington Street
619-574-8710

Subway

Open to 2:00 AM but only to midnight Sunday thru Thursday
3886 4th Avenue
619-296-1734

Taste of Italy

Open to 1:00 AM but only until midnight Sunday through Thursday
1013 University Avenue
619-688-0333

The Asian Bistro

Open to 3:00 AM
414 University Avenue
619-296-4119

This used to be Jimmy Wong’s Golden Dragon. While they no longer look like a storefront out of Chinatown, they still have the wonderful old sign out front.

The Ruby Room

Open to 4:00 AM but only to midnight Monday thru Thursday, 4 PM on Sunday
1263 University Avenue
629-487-9383

Yakitori Yakyudori

Open to 1:00 AM
3739 6th Avenue
619-692-4189

What the? This place is practically next door to me and I have never seen it.

Kearny Mesa

Denny’s Restaurant

24 hours
5445 Kearny Villa Road
858-277-7272

Emerald

Open to 1:00 AM but only until midnight Sunday thru Thursday
3709 Convoy Street
858-565-6888

Another wimpy weekend-only after midnight place, they do have good dim sum.

Grandma Tofu & B.B.Q.

Open to 2:00 AM
4425 Convoy Street
858-277-2220

Hinotez

Open to 1:00 AM
7947 Balboa Avenue
858-565-4244

They don’t update their web site; it still has their earlier closing time. Last order is at 1 AM, but they stay open until 2.

In-n-Out Burgers

Open to 1:00 AM but 1:30 am on Friday and Saturday
4375 Kearny Mesa Road
800-786-1000

Korean Hometown Restaurant

Open to 2:00 AM but closes midnight Monday thru Thursday, earlier on Sunday
4688 Convoy Street
858-279-6888

Min Sok Chon

Open to 1:30 AM but 4:00 AM Friday and Saturday
4620 Convoy Street
858-560-8168

Studio Diner

24 hours
4701 Ruffin Road
858-715-6400

These folks are out in the middle of an industrial park-type area, but if you enjoy diners they’re worth tracking down. The simple sloppy joe (“sloppy bob”) is surprisingly satisfying; the vanilla malt may rival Hodad’s; the onion rings are very greasy (which, also was surprisingly satisfying). And they have good chili, good BLTs, and some strange thing called a Monte Cristo which is a deep-fried turkey sandwich.

Super Sergio’s

Open to 2:00 AM
4125 Convoy Street
858-560-6902

The drive-through is open 24 hours, but they close the dining area for cleaning from about 2 AM to 5 AM.

Tajima

Open to 3:00 AM but closes 9:30 or 10:30 Sunday through Wednesday
4681 Convoy Street
858-576-7244

Their late-night menu is ramen-only; it starts at 11 PM.

Tea N More

Open to 1:00 AM but only to midnight Sunday thru Thursday
7380 Clairmont Mesa Boulevard
858-571-2926

Yakyudori Yakitori & Ramen

Open to 3:00 AM
4898 Convoy Street

Very good ramen.

Yokohama Yakitori Koubou

Open to 2:00 AM but Not open Mondays
3904 Convoy Street
858-277-8822

La Jolla

Bella Romas

Open to 2:00 AM but closes 11 PM Sunday thru Thursday
6830 La Jolla Boulevard
858-459-0121

Subway

24 hours
8650 Genesee Avenue
858-678-0129

T.G.I. Friday’s

Open to 1:00 AM
8801 Villa La Jolla Drive
858-455-0880

While they are open until 2 AM, they start to close up much earlier; if you arrive after midnight, you’ll need to be careful that your food actually shows up. Ours did eventually.

The Room/Il Forno Bistro

Open to 2:00 AM
909 Prospect Street
858-459-5010

The Spot

Open to 1:00 AM
1005 Prospect Street
858-459-0800

Linda Vista

Carl’s Jr.

24 hours
845 Morena Boulevard
619-297-9249

Rose Donuts

24 hours
5201 Linda Vista Road
619-294-8856

“Stop by around 4/4.30 am and the apple fritters will be deliciously hot.”

Santana’s Mexican Grill

24 hours
1525 Morena Boulevard
619-276-6010

Taquerias Cotixan

Open to 3:00 AM but only to 1 AM Sunday thru Wednesday
5201 Linda Vista Road
619-543-1220

Little Italy

Subway

Open to 3:00 AM but only to midnight Sunday thru Thursday
611 K Street
619-525-0022

Miramar

Rigoberto’s Taco Shop

24 hours
7094 Miramar Road
858-271-0170

Mission Beach

Saska’s

Open to 2:00 AM but only to 1 AM Sunday thru Thursday
3768 Mission Boulevard
858-488-7311

This is the kind of service I like: they don’t even start serving their late-night menu until 11 PM. And you can’t beat both sushi and steak, though some of that might not be available while they’re serving their late night breakfast specials. I will, of course, have to find out. If you don’t hear from me, send for Jacques Cousteau.

Mission Hills

Lucha Libre

Open to 2:30 AM but only to 11 pm Sunday thru Thursday
1810 W Washington Street
619-296-8226

Mission Valley

Dave & Buster’s

Open to 1:00 AM but only until midnight Sunday thru Tuesday
2931 Camino del Rio North
619-280-7115

Denny’s Restaurant

24 hours
1065 Camino del Rio South
619-295-4676

Denny’s Restaurant

24 hours
7676 Friar’s Road
619-297-0657

In-n-Out Burgers

Open to 1:30 AM but only until 1:00 am Sunday thru Thursday
2005 Camino del Este
800-786-1000

T.G.I. Friday’s

Open to 12:30 PM but only until 11 PM Sunday through Thursday
403 Camino del Rio South
619-297-8443

They’re open until one on the weekends, but my guess is that they stop serving food earlier.

National City

Super Sergio’s

Open to 3:00 AM
1631 Sweetwater Road
619-474-2553

Note that the drive through is open 24-hours. Also note that this place has the nickname “Friday night fight club”. Caveat Emptor.

Normal Heights

Lestat’s Coffee Shop

24 hours
3343 Adams Avenue
619-282-0437

The food selection isn’t high, but if you need to get wired at four in the morning, where else can you turn?

Roberto’s Taco Shop

24 hours
3462 Adams Avenue
619-563-0438

North Park

Carl’s Jr.

24 hours
3008 El Cajon Boulevard
619-283-7653

Colima’s Mexican Food

Open to 2:30 AM but Open to 3 AM Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, 4AM Friday
2302 University Avenue
619-297-2715

Denny’s Restaurant

24 hours
2445 El Cajon Boulevard
619-298-7046

Florencia’s Pizza & Ristorante

Open to 2:00 AM
3017 University Avenue
619-325-7499

Jack in the Box

24 hours
2886 El Cajon Boulevard
619-283-3412

“24 hour walk up windows, with a few tables on a patio. They rock. Especially when you’ve been tattooing all night and you’re starving to death, and riding a motorcycle.”

Lucha Libre

Open to 2:30 AM but Only to 11 pm Sunday thru Thursday
3016 University Avenue
619-487-1520

Rudfords Restaurant

24 hours
2900 El Cajon Boulevard
619-282-8423

I’ve eaten here once and was not impressed. However, I did still respect them in the morning. They are open twenty four hours every day, unlike most other places. If you need something to eat and its so late you don’t even know what day it is, Rudford’s is the place to go.

Saguaro’s Mexican Food

24 hours
3753 30th Street
619-291-7746

Taco Bell

Open to 2:00 AM but Open to 3 AM Friday and Saturday
2626 El Cajon Boulevard
619-296-5277

Ocean Beach

Roberto’s No. 11

24 hours
4770 Voltaire Street
619-523-1162

South Beach Bar & Grille

Open to 1:00 AM
5059 Newport Avenue
619-226-4577

The 3rd Corner

Open to 1:00 AM but not open Monday
2265 Bacon Street
619-223-2700

Sounds interesting: a full bar, lots of wine, and “a plush lounge or comfy patio”. Wine’s their specialty, and to go with that they have a lot of cheese dishes.

Pacific Beach

Denny’s Restaurant

24 hours
800 Garnet Avenue
858-270-0590

Good Time Charlie’s

Open to 1:00 AM but only until midnight Sunday through Thursday
910 Grand Avenue
858-274-3834

Hoboken Pizza

Open to 2:00 AM but only until 11 PM Monday
1459 Garnet Avenue
858-270-7766

They also deliver during the same hours they’re open.

In-n-Out Burgers

Open to 1:30 AM but only until 1:00 am on Sunday thru Thursday
2910 Damon Avenue
800-786-1000

Nick’s At the Beach

Open to 1:00 AM
809 Thomas Avenue
858-270-1730

Olde City Grill

Open to 3:00 AM but only until midnight Sunday thru Wednesday
967 Garnet Avenue
858-483-4624

Santana’s Mexican Grill

24 hours
2303 Garnet Avenue
858-483-1227

Point Loma

Adalberto’s Mexican Food

24 hours
1868 Rosecrans
619-224-4440

Denny’s Restaurant

24 hours
1601 Rosecrans
619-223-8946

Santana’s Mexican Grill

24 hours
1480 Rosecrans
619-226-2033

Winchell’s 105

24 hours
1501 Rosecrans
619-222-1653

South Park

Turf Supper Club

Open to 2:00 AM but only until midnight Sunday through Tuesday
1116 25th Street
619-234-6363

You end up cooking your own food here on an indoor grill, which makes for getting to know your fellow regulars. Good cocktails also. Very popular, and with good reason.

Sports Arena

Denny’s Restaurant

24 hours
2137 Pacific Highway
619-239-8938

Denny’s Restaurant

24 hours
3920 W Point Loma Boulevard
619-223-8946

Denny’s Restaurant

24 hours
3704 Camino del Rio West
619-295-9200

Du-Par’s

24 hours
3711 Sports Arena Boulevard
619-224-4454

Apparently famous for their pies, but they look like a full-service 24-hour diner.

Florencia’s Pizza & Deli

Open to 2:00 AM
3615 Midway Drive
619-222-4239

In-n-Out Burgers

Open to 1:30 AM but only until 1:00 am on Sunday thru Thursday
3102 Sports Arena Boulevard
800-786-1000

Santana’s Mexican Grill

24 hours
3742 Midway Drive
619-523-9517