Places To Eat Near Seaworld San Diego – San Diego Zoo is our most popular attraction that I talk to people daily about because I offer discount San Diego Zoo tickets. One frequently asked question is which San Diego Zoo restaurants are worth planning your day around. After all, it’s a big park, and it can take a while to get from one side to the other.
The answer is that you can buy typical theme park food and drinks to keep you fueled for a fun day of exploring exhibits. However, you can taste famous San Diego craft beer and fish tacos while you are in some establishments. We are members, so I will update this post regularly as conditions change and new food debuts.
Places To Eat Near Seaworld San Diego
Look for unpublished deeper savings on tickets through my partnership with aRes Travel, an authorized San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance ticket seller.
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Yes, if your budget permits! We are in difficult times, for sure, but I like to remind visitors that the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is a nonprofit organization that helps save animal species worldwide.
This means that every dollar you spend at the zoo goes, of course, to overhead and animal care, but also conservation. That’s it, and they need our help now more than ever.
Seaworld Offers Allergy Friendly Dining Options
If you’re the type to study menus and where to eat before arriving at attractions, you should know this.
Whether casual dining locations are currently open depends on attendance levels. This means that there are a lot of casual dining options, but which ones are open can change on any given day. If it’s peak season, most of them are open.
The best way to find out which San Diego Zoo restaurants are open is by checking the San Diego Zoo app on the day of your visit. You can also call the General Inquiries number at 619-231-1515.
One place where you can enjoy a fine dining experience on any day is at the signature San Diego Zoo restaurant – Albert’s.
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At any time or season, I would tell you to make a reservation at Albert’s Restaurant at the San Diego Zoo if time permits. When I know our visit overlaps lunch, I like to sit on the patio here, which has a small waterfall.
Many people visit San Diego just to experience the San Diego Zoo, so I like to point out that Albert’s serves our top regional dish – the fish taco!
As a resident of San Diego, I have eaten many fish tacos and can say that the ones served here are pretty good. Especially paired with a local craft beer, a craft cocktail from the full bar, or in my case, lately, a Chardonnay. Another notable entree includes the delectable Albert’s Ancho-Dusted Crispy Chicken Sandwich.
Albert’s offers full-service dining and is the only San Diego Zoo dining outlet to do so. You can also join for a lovely brunch where the French toast is very popular. Make reservations through OpenTable.
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I think the best strategy is to focus on enjoying your day at the zoo. In fact, that’s what we did for many years until I figured out where I or kids liked to eat.
However, keep an eye out for some of these places. They are mentioned here because they fulfill a need, open early or offer popular snacks.
San Diego Zoo Sandwich Company is usually the only casual dining outlet open early in the morning, starting at 8:30 yes, this is before the zoo opens to the public but, when operational, some tours start at 8:30. Right next to the entrance.
Here you can find counter-order coffee, snacks, sandwiches and salads. If you need an early bite, check to see if it’s open. One of the signature sandwiches is curry chicken on naan, but they also have standard deli sandwiches like Italian torpedoes and even grilled cheese or kids meals.
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If you like cookies or fresh fudge, this is your place. You’ll find these delicious desserts at the San Diego Zoo Kids Store on Front Street.
This is conveniently near the exit, so if the kids are not ready to leave, perhaps mention that they can pick up a fun cookie for the road, although it is obviously dangerously close to souvenirs, they might ask you to buy. The gourmet coffee drinks are also pretty good. (Note: This was a Nestle Toll House Cafe by Chip.)
If you don’t have time for a sit-down meal at Albert’s, then Sabertooth Mexican Grill is the next best choice. This cafeteria-style spot offers Mexican cuisine, including salads, wraps, local beer, and some pretty massive burritos, including two San Diego classics—the carne asada burrito and the California burrito.
I recently ordered carne asada tacos. As a San Diego resident, I’ve eaten a ton of carne asada tacos, but these are actually very good with generous portions of meat. You can pair your Mexican food meal with a Cadillac margarita, wine or craft beer.
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Hua Mei Cafe is mostly open and is named after the first panda born outside of the United States. Through collaborative work between Chinese and American scientists, Hua Mei was born at the San Diego Zoo in 1999 and the world watched her grow up on the panda cam. I remember the red banners rolling down with her name on her 100th birthday (which is traditionally the day she names panda cubs) – I still have the documentary on VHS.
Hua Mei relocated to the Wolong Panda Reserve in 2004, which we visited before the Chengdu earthquake. The giant pandas at the San Diego Zoo have all returned to China, but the Hua Mei Cafe remains and kids like to eat here. It’s mostly American-Chinese food, but you can order a burger. The most popular dish by far is Orange Chicken.
There is also a little soft serve ice cream place called Hua Mei Cones. I personally think it’s some of the best soft serve in town but if you want to go big, you can dress it up. Super Sundaes can include warm churro crumbs, caramel sauce and whipped cream, for example.
Tip: Red pandas still live in the Lost Forest and they are adorable. There is also a panda-centric gift shop next to Hua Mei Cafe.
Seaworld San Diego And Beyond
One thing the new eatery is a little different is offering family meals that include a pizza feast, a bucket of corn dogs and a bucket of hot dogs. You can also find fruit salad and a delicious vegan burger, but the focus is clearly on Hebrew National Gourmet hot dogs.
This is where the good stuff awaits. If you need a quick pick-me-up during your zoo visit, kettle corn in a variety of flavors found here is a hit. You can also order a churro, ice or local draft beer.
It is on the way to the children’s zoo (which is still under construction) and Skyfari aerial tram near the reptile house, so perhaps avoid young eyes if you are not ready for them to ask for sugar.
Sweet Shack’s current claim to fame is the donut burger. It is also known for a pretty good Monte Cristo sandwiches, shakes and other fried goods.
Special Dining Events
You can find our famous local craft beers in several places, including Zoo Brew (Location: Lost Forest) which also serves mini donuts and coffee, Bamboo Bar (Location: Asian Passage), San Diego Craft Beer & Margaritas (Location: Front Street ), and Boardwalk Beer Garden (Location: Australian Outback) to name a few.
Yes, you can bring outside food into the San Diego Zoo. Large coolers are not permitted but you can bring your own small coolers, snacks and things to eat.
Basically, if you can carry it on your person (or in a stroller), it’s okay. If you have dietary restrictions, consider bringing your own food (more on this below).
Leave the glass, alcohol and straw at home. Straws at the zoo are a big no-no for animal safety reasons, which is also why you need to be extra careful to avoid dropping wrappers and other litter. You’re visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids who need a straw, sippy cups and water bottles with straws attached to the lids are okay. I cover this and more in my San Diego Zoo Tips post.
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Vegetarian options are available at Albert’s and all casual dining restaurants at the San Diego Zoo. If you have an ingredient or gluten sensitivity, you can request an ingredient list.
However, one of the reasons you are allowed to bring your own food to the San Diego Zoo is because as a nonprofit, they do not have the ability to customize dishes according to dietary restrictions at the time of ordering.
Albert’s Restaurant menu items are marked vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free. If you have food allergies, they ask that you alert your server, as here they can moderate
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