San Diego Culinary Tours

Whether you are a local or just visiting, taking a food tour is a great way to discover the hidden secrets of the city. Here in San Diego there are many types of tours that one can take, but we are going to concentrate on Food Tours also known as Restaurant Hops. There are also many ways to experience a Restaurant Hop; chauffeured by van, walking tours and now even by Segway. A great way to get familiar with the city and meet some interesting people.

Here is what we have found:

A Taste of San Diego
This is a van tour and it will touch a variety of ethnic cuisines. The cost is about $75 and they will feed you well. This tour uncovers the local favorites instead of the glitzy high profile restaurants. Some “foodies” might be disappointed by that, but overall this a great way to discover the hidden gems of downtown San Diego that are off the beaten path and not so touristy. They target family owned or restaurants that have existed for a long time. Some are have been in operation for more than 75 years.
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Bite San Diego
These are walking tours that concentrate in the unique townships of Hillcrest, Downtown/Little Italy, Coronado, Old Town, La Jolla, and also in Jullian. These tours are about $45.
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So Diego Food Tours
This is another walking tour which will cover one and a quarter miles with a duration of about two and a half hours. These tours are themed like “Brothels, Bites and Booze” and “Tequila, Tacos and Tombstones”. You will visit about 3 to 5 restaurants and sample specialty drinks and signature dishes. There are anywhere between 4 and 12 people in a tour group and they only hire experienced tour guides. Many commented that night tours are better than the day tours.
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Another Side of San Diego Tours – Gaslamp Segway Taste Tour
This may be a bit pricey for some at $249 a person, but what a fun way to do a food tour – on a Segway! For the experience alone I would recommend trying it. You will visit 3 local restaurants in the historic Gaslamp district. Voted as the #1 “Things To Do in San Diego”.
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Some Final Notes about Culinary Tours
Make sure that the tour you are in is small like 6 people. The larger groups tend to lack the individual attention from the guide that smaller groups can benefit from. Some restaurants can not accommodate larger groups leaving many to feel “crowded in.” A good tour will identify you to the restaurant as a tour person in some way. This should be an opportunity for the restaurant to show you their best.

Beware that some restaurants can bail out at the last minute because they may get too busy at certain times which they can no longer accommodate tours. You should not get stressed out about this. There are many tours that one can take to discover new restaurants. Think of it as a fact finding mission to refine your future dining experiences instead of just “going out”. Tours do have certain restrictions and are meant to familiarize you with the local dining scene.

Most of all, if you had a great experience and your guide was informative, helpful and funny, give them a good tip to show your appreciation. From the comments that I had researched there are some tours that suffer from inexperienced tour guides. So having a good guide should be rewarded.

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