IMPERIAL BEACH, CALIFORNIA is located in San Diego County, and it's one of the larger cities in this area, with just about 30,000 residents at last count in 2006. There are lots of great spots for surfing and beach volleyball, and you'll enjoy the beaches and the pier too. We love visiting the city during the US Open Sand Castle Competition each summer, and that's only one of the many great events that bring more and more people into the city each year. If you'll be visiting for one of those events or simply to enjoy some great food and drink, these are our top picks for bars and restaurants in the 91932 zip code.
Beach Club Grille - CLOSED
is one of the best restaurants in Imperial Beach, with a delightful Greek flair and very large portions that will keep you coming back to fill up that hearty appetite of yours! We are big fans of both the hamburgers and the gyros, and we particularly enjoy their salads. They've got a good selection of Mexican and Spanish delicacies as well, but trust us when we say that the Greek food is really the standout item here. Any of the Greek items on the menu will be a great choice for you. You can find Beach Club Grille on Seacoast Drive between Dahlia Avenue and Donax Avenue.
Tin Fish Imperial Beach
is a fabulous seafood restaurant that we just discovered recently, but already it's become one of our favorites in the city. They're known for their fabulous crab cakes, delicious breaded shrimp, and of course that crisp flavorful cole slaw. That goes well with anything on the menu. We really love the oysters on the half shell too, and the salmon tacos and fish and chips are also noteworthy and definitely worth a try. The prices are incredibly affordable too. You'll really love this place, especially when you discover how great the service is. It's located on Seacoast Drive near the intersection with Elm Avenue.
Aroma Thai Restaurant
is your source for the freshest and most delicious flavors of Thailand right here in Imperial Beach. It's tough to find really good Thai food, especially when you have tried the real thing, but this place is definitely one of the best. We adore the green curry, and the curry rice is also really wonderful. Definitely try the tiger cry steak... that one blew our minds. The waitstaff is very attentive and friendly, and the atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable yet elegant. You can find Aroma Thai Restaurant on Seacoast Drive between Donax Avenue and Dahlia Avenue.
El Tapatio Restaurant & Catering
El Tapatio is known as much for its catering as it is for the fabulous restaurant dining experience. Their Mexican specialties are some of the most authentic that you'll ever find in the area, and everything is just spicy enough to heat up those tastebuds without burning down the house! The salsa is probably the hottest thing they've got, so if you really enjoy the heat be sure to pile that on. It's so good! The catering is fantastic too, with the utmost attention to detail and just the best food you could ever have for a private event. You can locate El Tapatio on Palm Avenue between Silver Strand and 3rd Street.
Jack in the Box
... Yes, we're including a fast food restaurant on this list, because quite frankly it's such a California tradition that we couldn't bear to leave it off the page! Jack in the Box is of course one of California's best known chains, which has been serving happy customers since the early fifties. The burgers are so thick and delicious, and you just can't beat their fries. If you're in a hurry and don't have time to dine in an actual restaurant, why not pull through that infamous drive thru and grab a quick bite to eat? You can find this Jack in the Box location on Palm Avenue near the intersection with 9th Street.
is another place that some may classify as fast food, with its hamburgers, hot dogs, and other American favorites, but we just think it's a great Imperial Beach tradition! We really love the chili cheese dogs here which are really piled up with lots of gooey goodness, and the service is always fast and friendly. Gotta love the ice cream cones dipped in chocolate too! We can't think of a better way to chase those hot dogs. Visit the world's largest hot dog chain on Palm Avenue between Florence Street and 13th Street!
... OK, one last fast food place and then we'll return to the really good stuff! We can just never resist Carl's Jr when we're in the Imperial Beach area. We swear, it's better than all the other locations in Southern California! It's cheap, fast, and it certainly has longevity, having stood the test of time since the 1940s... who doesn't love those big juicy burgers at Carl's Jr? Enough said! Just pull up to that drive thru and get what you're craving. This one's located on 13th Street between California 75 and Donax Avenue.
is one of the coolest little sushi joints that you'll ever step foot into. It's so casual and fun, it doesn't matter if that foot is clad in a flip flop. That's right, a sushi restaurant where you can really chill. Come as you are. We love it. Their tempura and teriyaki are truly delicious, as are all the specialty rolls and all the classics too. We most highly recommend the rainbow roll! It's so delicious. You can find Meijo Sushi on Palm Avenue between Carolina Street and Rainbow Drive!
I B Forum
is a great little cocktail bar where you can also indulge in some really great steak and other specialties. They've got all your classic favorites here, including some truly wonderful hamburgers piled high with grilled onions, flavorful mushrooms, and bleu cheese! The fries are great too, and we really enjoy the fried zucchini here. The service can sometimes be a little slow, and the grill closes early so arrive a little early and give yourself some extra time. It's worth your patience, trust us! The selection of beer is great and the waitstaff is very friendly. You can find I B Forum on Seacoast Drive near the intersection with Imperial Beach Boulevard.
Crystal Cove Cocktails - CLOSED
not only has a gorgeous name, it is a beautiful place to spend an evening over some really great mixed drinks. They've got a very nice selection of beer and liquor, and their drink specials always have fun names and great prices! What will really strike you is the comfortable atmosphere, so you can really let your hair down after a long work week and just enjoy your evening out. They've put some money into fixing up the place lately too, so if you haven't stopped in for a while, do so soon. You can find Crystal Cove Cocktails on Palm Avenue near the intersection with 10th Street.