Picking the best meals of 2023 is too difficult, so here are some honorable mentions (Part I)

I’m working on a list of my top 10 favorite meals in 2023, but it’s so hard to finalize my choices because I tasted so many amazing dishes in the past year! While I finish my decisions, here are my honorable mentions in San Diego and Los Angeles from the first half of the year.

These aren’t ranked, but are instead listed by chronological order. Follow me on Instagram to stay tuned in for when I drop the honorable mentions from the second half of 2023, and my top 10 meals of the year.

Havana Grill
1652 Camino Del Rio N, San Diego, CA 92108

Every meal we had from Havana Grill, because you can’t go wrong with Cubano sandwiches.

Lauren J. Mapp

Kin Len - Thai Street Eats
3934 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

All the meals from Kin Len, my new favorite Thai restaurant in San Diego, have a special place in my heart — especially whenever we order the delicious, cigar-shaped crab Rangoon.

Lauren J. Mapp

2196 Logan Ave #A, San Diego, CA 92113

The Califas taco from ¡SALUD TACOS!, because as a California burrito aficionado, sometimes I just want a few bites of the same vibe.

Lauren J. Mapp

Nomad Donuts
3102 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

I am legitimately obsessed with the salmon lox sandwich from Nomad Donuts. I always get it served on the rosemary sea salt bagel, which pairs perfectly with the fresh, in-house cured salmon cut into thick slices. 

Lauren J. Mapp

Harland Brewing Co. — South Park
2953 Beech St, San Diego, CA 92102

Every time I dine at Harland in South Park, I tell myself I’m going to get something different, but I always end up getting this Smash Hash breakfast sandwich. The pretzel bun is filled with a crispy hash brown topped with eggs, melted cheese and a delicious bechamel sauce.

Lauren J. Mapp

Wayfarer Bread & Pastry
5525 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037

Wayfarer Bread is the only place where I’ve ever had a pastry with potato slices on top of it (bottom right hand corner) and if you haven’t tried it yet, you’re definitely missing out.

Lauren J. Mapp

Pizza Kaiju 
Market on 8th, 41 E. 8th St., National City, CA 91950

I wish my husband still worked in Barrio Logan so I could have an excuse to grab slices of this Sisig pizza from Pizza Kaiju in the Market on 8th Street in National City more often.

Lauren J. Mapp

Grand Central Market, 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

If there was an Eggslut in San Diego, you know I’d be picking up breakfast sandwiches and truffle tots there all the time. Luckily LA isn’t too far away.

Lauren J. Mapp

KazuNori Sushi: The Original Hand Roll Bar
421 Main St., Los Angeles, CA 90013

There was a long wait for seats at KazuNori Sushi the first time we went to LA last year, so we ordered some bento boxes to go, and we loved every bite. I especially appreciated how the fish in each roll wasn't overwhelmed by sauces, avocado or other ingredients.

Lauren J. Mapp

6245 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 103, Los Angeles, CA 90048

I’m not sure having eggs flown in from Italy daily really is the key to this magical pasta from Uovo, but it sure is delicious.

Lauren J. Mapp


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