La Mesa is a city that’s home to almost 60,000 residents and it’s just 9 miles or so east of downtown San Diego. But you don’t have to go downtown to have some fun here. You can get your share of the outdoors at Mount Helix Park and Lake Murray. If you’re up for some antique shopping, there’s the La Mesa Antique Mall.
And of course, there are plenty of great restaurants as well. If you’re moving here (or just visiting), then make sure you get to visit the following excellent eateries:
BO-Beau Kitchen & Garden
The vibes and décor here are quite unique, and the owner even describe it as “Bohemian-chic meets Industrial elegance”. But the atmosphere is quite casual and laidback, and you can eat in the dining room, at the bar, or even on the outdoor patio.
It can be lively here, but it’s never too loud. It’s a great place for meeting up with friends, catching the game at the bar, or even for a special event with family.
The menu is quite expansive, starting with the appetizers that range from escargot or bruschetta to a meat and cheese board. Then you can go with some linguini and clams, a roasted fish, or a slowly roasted pork shank. Or you can just get their Burger Royale.
For something a bit lighter, try the flatbreads, along with the salads and soups. This is a place where you can just relax and enjoy.
This place specializes in Middle-Eastern staples, with the menu featuring hummus, shawarma, tabouli, babaganuge, falafel, kibbeh, kabobs, and lentil soup. Add some seasoned fries, and it’s another good deal.
You also have wrap, pizza, and salads, along with pasta for $12. For the pasta, you can go with either cream sauce or tomato sauce, and either fettucine or penne pasta. You get your dish with sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and fresh herbs.
The fresh seafood options include fresh fish with jumbo shrimp, stuffed salmon, tilapia, trout, red snapper, catfish, and meza. They’re all served with hummus, the house salad, pita bread, and basmati rice.
With all these menu options available, you’ll feel hungry even if you weren’t before!
Bamboo Fresh Thai Cuisine
This is a family-run restaurant that takes its role seriously when it comes to offering authentic Thai dishes. And to make sure you enjoy yourself, they serve large portions yet at still reasonable prices. The menu stars some rather innovative options, but you can still find the classic Thai dishes you’re looking for.
The overall atmosphere is quite calm, simple, and relax. The service is topnotch, and you’ll appreciate the attentive and friendly staff.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try the avocado curry along with the pad Thai options. And for dessert, go with the tapioca coconut milk or the mango sticky rice. Those options are just great.
Looking for Mexican fare? If you’re in La Mesa, you should head on out to Rubio’s. They offer this fantastic California bowl that they fill up with various fresh ingredients. These include staples such as black beans, citrus rice, salsa fresca, romaine lettuce, and your choice of grilled chicken, mahi-mahi, tilapia, or pan-seared shrimp.
The traditional lobster enchilada or quesadilla is always a winner, or you can always opt for a grilled steak with some guacamole burritos.
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
Your spoiled for choices here, as the menu is truly extensive. The menu features pizza, pasta, steaks, and handcrafted burgers, and you can pick just about anything from a traditional ribeye to some New Orleans jambalaya. Try the cherry chipotle glazed salmon, or just savor the lemon thyme chicken.
The meal isn’t complete without the dessert, and in this place that’s usually one of the famous Pizookies at BJ’s. It’s ice cream with hot, fresh-from-the oven cookie, and it’s just marvelous. You can go with the cookies n’ cream, peanut butter s’mores, or the salted caramel, and there’s no wrong choice.
And yes, there’s beer.
Anthony’s Fish Grotto
You can’t call yourself a real seafood fan if you’re in La Mesa and you don’t visit Anthony’s Fish Grotto. It’s been serving fresh fish and seafood since 1946, and it’s widely regarded among the best seafood restaurants in the entire San Diego area.
The food is what matters here, and you can start with the Maine lobster trio with options such as grilled salmon, fried shrimp, coconut shrimp, or crab bites. Or you can just go with any of the pasta primavera choices.
The location is fantastic, as you have large windows that offer a fantastic view of the San Diego Bay. It’s one of the favorite places among the locals here, and for very good reasons. In fact, they don’t even really brag about it too much, especially with the tourists. The locals would rather just enjoy the place for themselves.