There are tons of remarkable desserts in San Diego – let’s go now! These are the top best picks for San Diego sweets. Pictured above is VG’s donuts. Special shout out to J. Liu who has lived in San Diego for almost a decade and provided most of these recs! Items are listed with the neighborhood in parentheses. Anything in italics is on my to-do list.
($$, Balboa Park, Little Italy, Cakes): With two locations, you can’t go wrong at this dessert cafe. These colorful treats are extremely appealing to the eyes and very decadent and luxurious to the tummy. Pretty big portions for cake slices and cookies.
($, Point Loma, Bakery & Cafe): Get some fresh sandwiches and delicious baked goodies here at this place. Nearby the San Diego International airport, why don’t you drop by before you leave? Trust me, you won’t regret it.
2b. Bread and Cie
($$, Hillcrest, Bakery & Brunch): Bread and things made with bread are the main attractions here for mornings till afternoons. Open till 7pm on weekday and 6pm on weekends, this bakery has solid sandwiches, soups, and pastries.
($, Pacific Beach, North Park, Ice cream): With two locations and offering 100+ flavors of Tropical Dreams 18% butterfat premium ice cream from Hawaii, this ice cream shop is Instagram-worthy for its flights of ice cream. You can get several little cones for a great price!
($, Poway, Ice cream): They make their own Dole Whip, which is pineapple soft serve with pineapple juice, in addition to selling super premium ice cream from Hawaii. Creamy and delightful, this ice cream is sure to please.
($, Normal Heights, Ice cream, Frozen Yogurt): With all the classic ice cream flavors, this homemade ice cream shop is a local favorite with good vibes.
4. Viva Pops
($, Normal Heights, Popsicles): Open daily at noon, these fancy pops come in flavors like Creamy Coconut, Vietnamese Coffee, Strawberry Basil, Lavender Lemonade, Strawberry Basil, and Mango Chili.
5a. VG Donuts
($): Cheap, delicious donuts with Sunday morning lines. Crowded on weekends and they run out quick in the mornings because they are SO GOOD!
5b. Donut Bar
($): Open at 7am in downtown and there will be a line. Go early because they usually sell out before their stated close time at 1pm. ~$3/amazing donut. Also a brunch place. Feel free to reserve your donut online the day prior for next morning pick-up.
5c. Nomad Donuts
($$, University Heights, Donuts): Come to this cute shop for the ube taro coconut donut or green tea black sesame donut or other very unique and delightful flavors. Flavors change daily.
($$, Del Mar, Chocolate): Chuao is a San Diego chocolatier that sells bon bons, truffles, chocolate bark, chocolate bars, and chocolate boxes. With tons of innovative flavors like bacon, strawberry waffle, caramel apple, cinnamon cereal, and honeycomb at various sizes, you’ll find something you like and great souvenirs for friends and coworkers.
($$, South Park, Dessert, Cafe): This chocolate confectioner has a bistro attached to it. You can go for delicious brunch & dinner and get avocado benedicts, garlic parmesan biscuits, and beautifully made and decorated chocolate bon bons.
($$, Sorrento Valley, California French): This cafe is famous for truffle fries on Yelp but they have tons of European cakes and pastries to eat too. Not open on Sundays and closing early at 2:30pm Mon-Sat, it’s recommended for breakfast and brunch as well.
($$, Solana Beach, Creperie): A perfect pit-stop while walking down Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach, you can get fresh sweet and savory crepes at this tiny, low-key, local cafe. Or just stop for a nice, cool, refreshing drink. I did.
($): Fresh coffee from fresh roasted and then freshly ground coffee beans. This place has award-winning coffee that you must try. Indie and very laid-back environment with local artists playing on the weekends.
8b. Caffe Calabria
($, North Park, Cafe): This quaint, casual cafe serves high quality coffees from South & Central America, teas. Stop by for nice drinks and maybe a light pizza.
Are you a vegan or do you just want more delicious donuts? Try Donut Panic ($,): For the vegans and non-vegans alike. Vegan donuts are available Wed, Sat, and Sun after 9am. Daily flavors usually include maple ‘bacon’, earl grey, the homer (vanilla bean with sprinkles), rose cardamom, and something citrus-y!
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