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San Diego's Fabulous Hillcrest

This fashionable artsy neighborhood has it all but we're eating, reading and eating some more.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 0.4 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview :  Hillcrest is a neighborhood that has everything but for this guide, it's lunch, dessert, dinner, dessert, snack, dessert and a few... more »

Tips:  Parking is tough in Hillcrest, which is why you'll start at City Deli. It offers validated parking in the Pernicano's lot.... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Pernicano's

Mr. Pernicano is an odd old man. He is still a minority owner of the San Diego Chargers. He owns three restaurants in San Diego, including this one. Oh, and this one has been closed for years, although the parking lot recently opened for business, much to the relief of area drivers who previously wasted time (and gas) driving around waiting for... More

2. City Deli

City Deli has been around since the early 80s but the recipes have been around much longer. The owner's Bubbie (Yiddish for grandmother) passed the recipes to him.

All the food is good here but I recommend the New York-style pastrami and the chicken soup.

The owners proclaim that their desserts are fat, sugar, guilt and truth-free. There... More

That's how they spell it in... uh... Hillcrest!

So you've had a meal and probably a dessert. So now it's time for (it's always time for) chocolate.

This place can sometimes have slow service but it might be because the chocolate is so tasty. It's also hard to find a seat.

It's worth the wait and any hassle because you will get great... More

4. Babette Schwartz

You're going to need a break from all the eating -- and there's a Greek Restaurant next -- so go shopping. Babette Schwartz has a few secrets for you: 1. She has better taste than you; 2. Even though the things are inexpensive and cute, you will not be able to find them anywhere else, so but them here; 3. She's a he.

Seriously, though, the stuff... More

I have to mention Alexi's for three reasons: 1. It's right here; 2. It is the best Greek restaurant in San Diego; and 3. The prices are also the best in town.

You can get a great meal for less than $20/person.

Oh, no. Four reasons: Alexi's mom is the cook. She's a precious little old Greek lady, who, I don't think, speaks a word of English. ... More

6. Fifth Avenue Books

OK, you need to digest. Look at you -- two meals, one dessert and a bunch of Chocolat. That's OK. Wash your hands because it's time to look at books.

Fifth Avenue Books is my second favorite book store (in Hillcrest, in San Diego, in the world). The selection is great, the layout is easy to understand and there's room to spread out and read.

... More

7. Bluestocking Books

Yes, this is my favorite book store and it's right across the street.

(A note on crossing the street in Hillcrest: it is illegal if you decide to do it in the middle and the police have been known to write tickets for j-walking.)

Now, about the books. They are great!

For a smaller store, Bluestocking seems to have a better selection. Or... More

This is the best place for dinner in Hillcrest. The food is great, the chef cares, the wait staff care almost as much and there's something called the butter burger. Yes, I said that.

The butter burger is, well... Here's a description right from their menu: "Half pound of fresh lean ground beef, stuffed with a garlic, tarragon, basil, parsley... More

9. Rite Aid - Hillcrest

OK, so you've hat a lot to eat. There's a drugstore right across the parking lot here. Just saying.