Trying to find a late-night eating establishment near UCSD, the University of California in San Diego, is like trying to find street parking in downtown Los Angeles. You know they exist, but they’re just impossible to find. UCSD is (in)conveniently located in La Jolla, California which is famous for its sandy beaches, mild weather, and home to rich, affluent retirees who have made it their life’s goal to make UCSD the antithesis of what college life is supposed to be. Part of that college experience is supposed to be going on late night snack runs to help fuel last minute studying and/or procrastination. Unfortunately, to do any of this, you’ll have to be lucky enough to have a car (or have a friend with a car) to escape the barren landscape that is La Jolla. Understanding that you, the poor college student, don’t have money to burn, I have compiled a list of nearby restaurants that are open late night and won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Roberto’s Taco Shop
7094 Miramar Rd # 119, San Diego, CA
Roberto’s Taco Shop is Mexican fast food chain that stays open 24 hours a day and offers Mexican food for cheap. For UCSD students, the best place to find Robertos is on Miramar Road, where there are two different Robertos that are within walking distance of each other. When driving from UCSD to Roberto’s, don’t stop at the first Roberto’s you see (next to Carl Jr’s) but keep driving a few more blocks until you see the next Roberto’s (next to a strip club!?!). Here, you’ll be able to enjoy a wide variety of tacos, burritos, and fries with a free salsa bar that includes varying salsas and extra condiments like green onions,lemons, and spicy carrots (for free! This usually costs $1 at other Mexican restaurants!) to decorate your meal. My suggestion? Grab a carne asade fries (feeds 1-2 people) or a California burrito with french fries instead of potatoes. For an extra treat, grab some green onions and ask the staff to deep fry them for a greasy but delicious side dish (that’s for free!).
2910 Damon Ave, San Diego, CA
If you’ve never heard of In-N-Out, chances are that you’ve never lived in California. Open until 1 AM, In-N-Out is the best place to grab a burger, hands down. Even though they have a limited menu (Offer only hamburgers, cheeseburgers, french fries and drinks), don’t let this fool you into thinking there’s no variety. In-N-Out has a “secret menu” for those loyal customers who understand the lingo. You can order a veggie burger (burger with no meat or cheese), grilled cheese, protein-style burger (lettuce wrapped burger), the flyingDutchman (ONLY meat and cheese), animal style (extra spread and grilled onions) and so much more. My suggestion? Order a double-double animal style with an order of fries cooked medium light. For the more adventurous, give animal style fries or aNeapolitan shake a try.
4676 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA
El Cotixan (pronounced “El Codies”) is another Mexican fast food chain that stays open 24 hours a day and offers Mexican food for cheap. Compared to Roberto’s, however, its a step below. The only advantages that El Cotixan has over Roberto’s is their
special sauce that is full of flavor and spice and free refills of horchata, a milky Mexican drink. Just in case you come here with some friends that don’t want Mexican food, Jack-in-the-Box is right across the street, which makes this a great place for friends to hang out and have a little bit of everything. My suggestion? A California burrito with french fries instead of potatoes and horchata. Nachos is also a treat, but be prepared to share them with everyone!
4646 Convoy St, San Diego, CA
Yogurt World is the place to go for yummy desserts at any time of day. Reminiscent of Pink Berry’s in LA, Yogurt World offers a variety of flavors of ice cream and toppings and charges 38 cents an ounce. Don’t think that the owners must be crazy to charge so little per ounce, a normal serving will cost at least $5 when you’re finished with it. Yogurt World’s yogurt is not as creamy as typical yogurt or ice cream and have a lot more interesting flavors than Baskin Robbin. The toppings are to die for as well, with everything from fresh fruit to cereal to mochi-like rice cakes. Word of advice before heading to Yogurt World. Parking’s a pain since Yogurt World shares a parking lot with two boba shops and a pub, all of which are very popular with the college crowd. My suggestion? A green tea and plain yogurt topped with fresh fruit and mochi-like rice cakes. But don’t forget to experiment, this place is all about customization.
Take some time out at night and explore the late night eating establishments that San Diego has to offer for UCSD students. Whether you’re craving a burger or a burrito, you’ll be able to find yourself a snack without breaking the bank.