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Find San Diego Convention Center Restaurants that Match Your Tastes

San Diego Convention Center visitors have a wide variety of dining options to choose from. If you’re staying at one of the cheap downtown hotels near the Convention Center, you can find great seafood, steaks and sweet treats from some of the best dining establishments in town. However, with so many restaurant options, how do you know where to start? The Marina Inn offers a brief breakdown of some of the top restaurants in the area, categorized by price and occasion, to help visitors with their decision on where to dine!

Five Star, Fine Dining near the Convention Center | Business & Corporate Occasions

If you’re visiting the convention center for business, there is no better place than the Gaslamp Quarter for impressing VIP guests. While the following restaurants may be pricey, they’re sure to make an outstanding impression in terms of quality of food, ambiance and service.

  • Donovan’s Prime Steakhouse. Located in the Gaslamp Quarter, Donovan’s Prime Steakhouse is one of the most popular dining destinations among locals and tourists. As its name suggests, Donovan’s offers exceptional steakhouse fare, featuring about a dozen prime cuts. Not interested in their prime steaks? Worry not, as their seafood options are just as impressive. If your conference concludes early, we also suggest that you head over between the hours of 4pm and 6pm Monday through Saturday for their Martinis Hour where Martinis and Signature Cocktails are available at a discounted price and prime steak sandwiches are served at no additional charge.
  • Oceanaire Seafood Room. If seafood is what you crave, there is no better place to go than the Oceanaire Seafood Room, located a few blocks from the convention center. Setting the standard for fine dining, Oceanaire offers a menu of some of the freshest seafood, which is all sustainably caught and is flown in from around the world. Their offerings are based entirely on market availability, ensuring that their menu is always fresh and seasonally inspired. Their quality products are only further complimented by the restaurants exceptional customer service and soothing ambiance.
  • Fogo de Chao. If you dine frequently with your business clients, Brazilian steakhouses are probably familiar. While San Diego is home to two, the newer of the two is Fogo de Chao, which is found in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter. For a set price, the restaurant offers 16 various cuts of meat ranging from filet and lamb to chicken and pork, all available to patrons in unlimited amounts. Also included is a trip to their extensive salad bar that includes fresh produce, salads, charcuterie, cheese, olives and much more. This restaurant will not only satisfy your gluttonous side, but will surely leave all members of your party satisfied, no matter what their dining preferences.

Casual Convention Center Restaurants | First-Time Tourists & Visitors

If you’ve never been to San Diego, there are some hidden gems in the city that you should definitely check out. While they’re always popular options among locals, they’re sometimes skipped by first-time visitors. Aren’t you glad we’re here to help?

  • Hard Rock Café. For diners looking for a more laidback atmosphere with just a little bit of rock ‘n roll thrown in, the Hard Rock Café is the place to see and be seen. Live music, great food and an impressive selection of rock memorabilia make the Hard Rock Café a great stop after a day at the Convention Center. This is also a great option for tourists, as the restaurant provides a bit of insight of the history of the city.
  • Spike Africa’s. Although popular among locals for its causal vibe and affordable pricing, many visitors second guess visiting the restaurant for its unique name and what some may say unique décor. However, those who give it a chance never regret their decision, embracing the seafood inspired menu. If you head over during happy hour, you can also take part in their discounted drinks and appetizers and $1 oysters. They also have a bottomless mimosa brunch that often resonates well with out of town conventioneers, as long as their day is cleared of work of course.
  • Currant American Brasserie – A classy Fresh restaurant located in downtown San Diego, Currant offers a unique and delicious dining experience without breaking the bank. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, their new French/American menu has something that is sure to satisfy your taste buds. They are recognized for their unique popcorn offerings that are a mix of sweet and savory as well as their impressive service.

Convenient & Quick Eateries by the SDCC | Busy Conventioneers

When attending a Convention, you may not have all the time in the world to grab lunch. If that’s the case, head to these restaurants for a quick bite, snack or something sweet to hold you over until your next meal.

  • La Puerta. If you’re looking for good Mexican fare in a pinch, La Puerta is the place to go. The fun, yet casual atmosphere, not to mention their delicious small plates and entrees keep patrons coming back for more. If you’re not from California, the recommendation is always the carne asada fries, but you really can’t go wrong with anything you choose. Be warned that this Mexican eatery is often crowded so call ahead or be sure to check happy hour times so you don’t arrive right in the middle of them!
  • Meze. This Greek dining spot is heavily influenced by Mediterranean flavors however is one of the best places for brunch in the area. Because of its prime location a few blocks from the Convention Center, just outside of Petco Park, conventioneers favor this eatery for a quick bite to eat. There are also ‘standard’ breakfast offerings for those not so interested in trying new foods.
  • Heavenly Cupcake. Does your long day at the Convention Center have you graving something sweet? Heavenly Cupcake is located just a short drive away and offers up a wide selection of treats that are baked fresh daily. Flavors change weekly, so if you want to discover what they have, you’ll have to contact them directly or check out what’s baking on your own.

Which Restaurants near San Diego Convention Center will you Visit?

With more than 100 restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter alone, the list above is only a very small selection of the countless options that conventioneers have. However, one great option for finding restaurants near the San Diego Convention Center is to consult your convention center packet. The Convention Center frequently partners with local restaurants, helping you navigate to a quality restaurant, while also providing you with the opportunity to enjoy discounts.

To learn more about restaurants near the Convention Center or to reserve hotel accommodations for an upcoming stay, contact the Marina Inn. As an affordable downtown hotel, we invite guests to enjoy our convenient location near the convention center, discounted hotel rates and clean and spacious rooms. Contact a Reservation Manager for rates and availability.

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