7 Best Coffee Shops in Little Italy & Downtown San Diego

It’s a sunny Saturday morning in San Diego. You wake up to the birds chirping, the waves firing, and a craving for a fresh cup o’ joe, but not just any old coffee will do. You’re in the mood for specialty coffee – the kind you can only get at your local brewer. Lucky for you, the time for local craft coffee is now, and you have plenty of local’s only coffee grinds to choose from! 

If you’re new to the San Diego area, we can tell you that the local community truly loves their coffee. We can appreciate the value of a fresh americano, and we’ve even built our own coffee shop culture. Anyone in Little Italy or Downtown knows that craft coffee brewers aren’t hard to find, so we decided to round up a few of our favorites for you to try. 

Of course, each local coffee shop will have different things to offer. Some are known for their pastries, others for their espresso or homemade plant milk, and others have cultivated the perfect environment to meet up with friends. To give you a thorough understanding of the best coffee shops in downtown San Diego, we decided to break things down based on whatever you’re in the mood for.

Communal Coffee trailer, San Diego

Coffee Shops With The Best Coffee

If you’re looking for the best coffee in San Diego, these shops are for you. They take pride in their coffee beans and would be the ideal choice for purists who recognize the quality of a great coffee. If you fit that description or you simply want to try something new, take a look at these picks:

1. Coffee and Tea Collective – East Village

These baristas genuinely care about high-quality coffee. Coffee and Tea Collective sources their beans from Kenya, sells beans by the bag and runs two locations in San Diego. Their East Village location is light, bright, and simple, just like a cup of their famous coffee. If you consider yourself a coffee lover, give this local-owned shop a shot! 

2. Cafe Virtuoso – Downtown

South of East Village, in Barrio Logan, you’ll find Cafe Virtuoso, a coffee shop that serves both drip and espresso drinks and is known for its high-quality roasts. If single-origin pour-overs are your thing, you have to give this local shop a try! Cafe Virtuoso roasts their beans in-house and was actually one of the worldwide pioneers of medium and light roast coffee beans. 

Pour over coffee

Coffee Shops With The Best Food

If you prefer to enjoy your coffee with a snack, these are the cafes for you: 

3. Influx – Little Italy

Influx Café sits in the heart of Little Italy and serves some pretty legendary pastries, sandwiches, and coffee. This coffee shop also has a great European-style vibe where you can sit outside and enjoy your coffee while doing some excellent people-watching. 

pastries and avocado toast at coffee shops

4. Lofty Coffee Cafe and Bakery – Little Italy

Lofty Coffee is a great brunch spot on a Saturday morning and one of the best coffee shops in Little Italy, San Diego. Stop by for a caffeine boost and a delicious avocado toast while perusing the Little Italy Farmers Market but make sure to get there early. Lofty Coffee is a staple of the local community and is sure to have a long line of regulars waiting outside. Plus, you’ll be in the perfect spot to get to other activities in Little Italy

5. Spill the Beans Coffee and Bagels – Gaslamp

This shop does two things incredibly well. Can you guess what they are? That’s right, coffee and bagels! Spill the Beans serves fresh bagels and bagel sandwiches, but their unsung hero is their coffee. The espresso has an extremely pleasant flavor and is the perfect addition to any meal ordered. If you’re ever in need of a boost on a weekend morning in the Gaslamp District, Spill the Beans has everything you’ll need and more. 

Spill the Beans coffee shop, San Diego

Coffee Shop With The Coolest Vibes

Sometimes we go to coffee shops to escape from home or work for a little while. In our opinion, there’s a pretty clear list of which coffee shops in San Diego are a yes or a no when it comes to cultivating the best vibes in Downtown San Diego. 

6. James Coffee Co. – Little Italy

If you’ve never been inside James Coffee Co. in Little Italy, it’s worth checking out. The location is home to a few other vendors, including a men’s clothing boutique and a hipster card shop. Inside you’ll also find lots of seating and workstations, making James Coffee Co a great place to sit and catch up with friends over oat milk lattes. 

James Coffee, San Diego CA

7. The Invigatorium – East Village

The restaurant group behind stylish favorites like Morning Glory, Craft and Commerce, Ironside and Born and Raised have done it again with the Invigatorium. We aren’t exaggerating when we say that his coffee and breakfast spot in the East Village is completely unique. The invigatorium’s gilded, geometric exterior will welcome you into an eclectic wonderland. Expect to find lifesize dinosaurs, tropical plants, golden palm trees, art deco furniture and a Post-It Note mural. The decor isn’t the only draw here, the coffee shop has partnered with Modern Times to bring you some of the most delicious caffeinated creations from a Cardamom Cortado to an Espresso Tonic.

Coffee shop culture is here to stay, and there are tons of great options within walking distance of a Downtown San Diego apartment like Allegro Apartments. Nestled in the heart of downtown, Allegro gives you access to all of the best coffee shops, restaurants, and activities the city has to offer. To find out more about the building and available units, contact us today.