EL CAJON, CALIFORNIA literally means "The Big Box," and it has taken on that nickname with many of the residents. It's one of the larger cities that surrounds San Diego, with nearly 95,000 residents at last count, and still growing! It's the home of Gillespie Field Airport, as well as Taylor Guitars, and Solid Gold Pet Food. There are many great schools and colleges in the area, including Cuyamaca College, San Diego Christian College, and Grossmont College. If you're coming into the area for school, for business, or just for fun, you'll want to check out these wonderful bars and restaurants in the 92019, 92020, 92021, 92022, and 92090 zip codes!
Hooley's Irish Pub
is one of the coolest hangout spots in all of El Cajon, with their huge selection of draft beers and wonderful mixed drinks. The bartenders really know what they're doing here and that's what keeps us coming back for more. We are big fans of their Corned Beef Tacos, but really you can't go wrong with anything on the menu. Lots of Irish favorites that will really fill your tummy. You'll find this great Irish pub on Jamacha Road between Campo Road and Cuyamaca College Drive West.
Ottavio's Italian Restaurant
is well known for their wonderful Italian food, but we consider this our go-to place for the freshest and largest salads in town! If you're a big salad fan like us, you'll want to take advantage of this place for that reason! Beyond that they've got really great foccacia, and a whole host of incredible pasta dishes that will really make your mouth water. The service is excellent and the ambiance is really beautiful. Very romantic spot for those special date nights! You will find Ottavio's on Jamacha Road near the intersection with East Main Street.
Black Angus Steakhouse
has gotten our recommendation for many years, and the reason for that is the high quality steaks and seafood that they consistently serve up every time we go. Some say the prices are a bit high but we think they're on par for a nice steakhouse, and you definitely get what you pay for here. We love the blooming onions, the fresh delicious salads, and of course the steaks. We're typically the Filet Mignon type, but even the New York Strip Steak melts in your mouth here! Very highly recommended! You can find Black Angus Steakhouse on Graves Avenue near the intersection with Hart Drive.
Ali Baba Restaurant
has a wide array of food available for the hungry diners who always pack the establishment, with the menu consisting of steakhouse favorites and Mediterranean food. The decor here is a little bit over the top, but that only lends more kitschy charm to your dining experience. If you can appreciate that like we do, you'll really enjoy your meal here. The quail is our favorite dish on the menu, and the combination plates to split with the other diners in your party are also a great deal and nicely varied! You will find Ali Baba Restaurant at 421 East Main Street.
Hacienda Casa Blanca
is a Mexican restaurant in El Cajon that we simply cannot get enough of. It makes a great first impression with lovely authentic decor, and then they seal the deal with some of the very best Mexican food that you'll ever be served. They've even got breakfast here, and a fabulous all you can eat champagne brunch on Saturdays and Sundays! Come in on Thursdays and Fridays for their awesome karaoke nights. We recommend the margaritas, and we think the tortillas here are some of the best we have ever tasted. You can find Hacienda Casa Blanca on North Johnson Avenue near the intersection with Amele Avenue.
Boardwalk Family Entertainment Center
is a cool spot to bring a bunch of your friends or possibly bring the kids for a fun birthday celebration. Pizza, laser tag, all that good stuff, and all in one place! The pizza is pretty good and the buffet is not bad either, but the real attractions here are the indoor rides including a small roller coaster, bouncy houses, video games, a carousel, and of course lazer tag and bowling. This is a step up from those other pizza-and-fun type places, so give it a shot! You can find it on Fletcher Parkway near the intersection with North Marshall Avenue.
Pat & Oscar's Restaurant
is your go-to spot in El Cajon if you love great Italian food. It's a very family friendly restaurant, great for dates and families with kids alike, and since it's located at the mall, the location couldn't be more convenient after a long day of shopping. We love the ribs, and the Caesar salads are fantastic. They've got lemon chicken that will really tickle your tastebuds, and don't forget about their pizzas and pastas too! Everything is great here including the service. You'll find Pat & Oscar's Restaurant at 375 Parkway Plaza.
Downtown Cafe Bar & Grill
is one of the trendier spots in El Cajon, with a beautiful outdoor seating area that we love to take advantage of every chance we get. The drinks are nice and strong and very good tasting, and the food is wonderfully prepared and served piping hot and fresh. We'd most highly recommend the stuffed calamari, and the fish and chips is also a great choice. They've got live bands playing here too, which makes it a nice choice for a date! You can find Downtown Cafe Bar & Grill on East Main Street between Rea Avenue and North Magnolia Avenue.
Tabu Sushi Bar & Grill
... we get excited just hearing the name! This place has been serving up the freshest and most delicious sushi or as long as we can remember, and we can't imagine taking a trip to El Cajon without visiting at least once! They've got a lot of vegetarian options here, much more than any other sushi restaurant we've ever visited, and that's one of the reasons that we recommend it so highly. The chefs are truly experts at their craft, so all the specialty rolls are fantastic and definitely worth trying. Really great wasabi too. You can find Tabu Sushi Bar & Grill on Jamacha Road between Jacoby Road and Whitestone Road.
El Cajon Grand Cocktail Lounge
has undergone some major improvements in recent years, so if you haven't visited in a while, it's about time that you give it another shot. We love the new updates, but what we love the most about this place is that the high quality service and friendly staff remains unchanged. Everyone that works here goes out of their way to make sure that you have a really wonderful evening. For some of the best drinks in town, definitely try El Cajon Grand Cocktail Lounge. Located on East Main Street between Avocado Avenue and Taft Avenue.