The sheer quantity of Petco Park food and beverage options available borders on the absurd. No matter the budget or craving, any visitor can find satisfaction within the stadium. Fans can also bring in food from home or neighboring restaurants, if so inclined.
As such, this will not be an all-inclusive guide; such an endeavor would take most of a book to do properly. No, presented here are recommendations based on one fan’s quest to try everything in the park, organized into some sort of list for relatively easy perusal.
Best Petco Park Food You MUST Try
Petco has a special relationship with local San Diego restaurants, many of whom have opened locations within the ballpark. Their menus inside are generally sparser, but the food is no less delicious. The following recommendations provide some of the most solid grub the park has, which easily fill that dinner or lunch need during a game.
Speaking of Mexican food, no discussion is complete without Lucha Libre. Even outside of Petco Park, they are known as one of the top Taco Shops in San Diego. This outlandish restaurant on the Main Concourse offers huge burritos and the best carne asada fries in the ballpark, all due to their Secret Chipotle Sauce. They’re also famous for shrimp, as in their surf and turf burritos and, my personal favorite, the Surfin’ California Burrito: Carne asada, shrimp, fries, avocado, cheese, and salsa fresca in a tortilla bigger than most people’s heads. This is always a solid choice, although it may require a friend or two to finish.
San Diego’s barbecue destination offers baby back ribs, a tri-tip sandwich, and excellent sides including macaroni salad and onion rings. By far their best option, however, is the Broham pulled pork sandwich—preferably with a large side of coleslaw—drowned in Phil’s barbecue sauce. The ensemble is mouth-watering and best devoured with a fork and a stack of napkins.
On the western Toyota Terrace sits the Brigantine, a seafood staple in the area. They offer fried or grilled fish, clam chowder, and oysters, alongside several local brews. Their fish tacos are superb, particularly after adding a special red pepper sauce, and the fried oyster basket might be the best in the county.
Next door to Brigantine, this local chain provides great Mexican food. They have an awesome surf and turf burrito—an intense combination of beef and shrimp—and great carne asada nachos. They also offer one of the best tacos: A blue-corn tortilla loaded with tender beef. As with Brigantine, don’t forget the hot pepper sauce.
For pizza fans, look no further than Buona Forchetta. They provide a variety of options by the slice or the entire pie, and their flaky thin crust tops any ballpark competitor, thanks to an on-site, wood-fired oven. Located behind Home Plate, this place offers the perfect snack—or even family meal—to many hungry patrons. As a further recommendation, make sure to pair a slice with the Swingin’ Friar Pale Ale, available in nearby Beer Alley.
A local burger chain, originally founded in Ocean Beach and a favorite haunt of Blink-182, Hodad’s fits in well at Petco Park. Their burgers are huge and delicious, with masses of toppings. Their fries and onion rings—or both, the ‘frings’ option—are the perfect complement. Locations are found on the Main Concourse and the upper level, and they are generally busy, but very fast. These burgers pair perfectly with the .394 San Diego Pale Ale, a staple of the ballpark.
The Market offers great sandwiches, wonderful desserts, and a surprisingly good selection of wines from their primary spot on the Main Concourse. However, the item I most highly recommend is their tri-tip nachos, affectionately called the Cardiff Crack nachos. Chips smothered in cheese, sour cream, barbecue sauce, beef tri-tip, and green onions present an irresistible combination. These are also available from carts throughout the stadium, and make a large meal for one or a killer snack for two or three.
Best Sit-Down Restaurants at Petco Park
Many of the places mentioned above maintain seating areas, but are, to my mind, best eaten in one’s seat, where both the game and the food can be enjoyed simultaneously. However, when arriving early at the ballpark—the gates open up to two and a half hours prior to the first pitch—it can be nice to enjoy a more restaurant-style experience before the game. The best locations to do so are discussed in this section.
Blue Water Seafood Market
Inside the Still on the Toyota Terrace, Blue Water serves the best seafood in the park. The poke bowls and sashimi platters are outstanding, and the place offers canned or freshly made cocktails from Cutwater Spirits. They also have excellent grilled fish tacos. There is an outdoor patio overlooking the field, in addition to indoor seating, and the restaurant can be a great place to watch the game. Make sure to try the gin and grapefruit tonic from Cutwater: It’s an ideal companion to any of the fish.
Wonderland Ocean Pub
A bit different, this restaurant sits at the extreme southern end of the ballpark on the upper tier. Disconnected from the stadium bowl, it gives sweeping views south over the Bay to Coronado and the Pacific beyond, and even into Mexico on a clear day. Patrons can track the game via televisions throughout the place, the seafood on offer is spectacular, and the pub carries an excellent array of local brews. This is also the best spot to catch a sunset during a game.
Board and Brew
Like Wonderland, Board and Brew is outside the main seating area with views overlooking San Diego Bay. This local staple is well known for salads and sandwiches, particularly their Turkado masterpiece. Containing turkey, avocado, and vegetables on a sourdough roll, this sandwich may not sound like much, but it always hits the spot. Combined with the chill, surfer atmosphere of the place, it’s possibly the most relaxed dining option in the park.
The only true sports bar in Petco Park, the Loft offers an unparalleled experience in the stadium. It’s laid-back, electric atmosphere complements the pool and full bar, and the heavy sandwiches and smothered sausages are second to none. With great views down the first-base line and plenty of televisions to follow the game, the Loft is recommended for most visitors to Petco. They also host post-game celebrations following Padres wins, a new tradition not to be missed.
Snacks and Cheap Eats at Petco Park
Attending a game at Petco can be expensive, but there are ways to minimize costs without cutting flavor. Below are some cheaper delicious snacks—many large enough to count as meals on their own—that can lower the price of a day at the park.
Local favorite Tarantino delivers hot dogs and sausages ranging from standard ballpark franks to foot-long Polish sausages. They are perfectly grilled, with the largest variety of toppings imaginable. I like to smother mine in chili, cheese, and onions, although any toppings are great. These hit the spot any time of day, and can be found at concession areas and stand-alone carts on the lower level and the Toyota Terrace.
Despite being a western city, San Diego offers wonderful cheesesteaks and sub sandwiches through the Gaglione Brothers. These are nearly identical to those found back East, right down to the cheesesteaks smothered in Cheez Whiz (honestly, don’t knock it ‘til you try it). Cooked to order and sizzling on arrival, the Brothers provide one of the best quick bites in the ballpark, with locations on the lower and upper levels. Their subs are better than most, too.
I would be remiss not to mention Baked Bear, the ultimate in sweet treat among the Petco Park food choices. From the Main Concourse, they offer specialty ice cream sandwiches, where patrons choose the fresh-baked top and bottom cookies (or brownies for a richer experience), and the ice cream filling from an array of decadent options. The sandwiches are about four inches thick and beyond delicious. Pro tip: Mix-and-match the top and bottom cookies to double the flavor combinations.
The recommendations here tend to focus on specialty items, but more standard ballpark fare abounds throughout the stadium. There is excellent lemonade—with perfect pretzels and churros—on every level, and all the usual soft drinks and mineral water found at such venues. Crack Jacks, popcorn, peanuts, pistachios, and a variety of candy options abound as well. For dessert, Dippin’ Dots and soft-serve ice cream can be found anywhere, and several of the concession stands offer cookies and brownies.
Petco Park offers a truly staggering variety of dining options within its walls. With these recommendations, first-time visitors and long-time fans alike should feel confident in enjoying some of the best the ballpark provides.
In addition to this guide, a final recommendation: Download the indispensable MLB Ballpark app and link to the Petco Park section. In addition to providing restaurant menus and map locations, the app gives information on all aspects of Petco Park and the San Diego Padres.
Petco Park Food – The Best Ballpark Restaurants and Meals was written by Ben J. Byard for SanDiegoExplorer.com
Last Updated on March 25, 2021 by Maria Haase