Neighborhood Guide: National City
The South Bay city has restaurants with decades of history and green space for the whole family.
National City This Month
Live music at Cafe La Maze
1441 Highland Avenue
3200 D Avenue
So good we almost don’t want to give away this low-key Filipino eatery that serves generous portions in a cafeteria-style space. Traditional fare like lumpia and kare-kare (oxtail stew) are on the menu. The combo plates, served with rice or noodles, are a wallet-friendly option.
2720 East Plaza Boulevard
A playground, picnic space, and adjacent skate park fill this recreational area, which also hosts the annual Mabuhay Festival in June to celebrate Filipino culture.
12th Street and D Avenue
Napoleone's Pizza House
Napoleone’s Pizza House
If the old-school pies and hefty torpedo sandwiches weren’t enough to get you in the door, singer Tom Waits once worked at this family-run pizza restaurant, open since 1958, and penned a song about it: “The Ghosts of Saturday Night (After Hours at Napoleone’s Pizza House)”.
619 National City Boulevard
Mi Tierra Super Taco
What this taqueria may lack in decor and ambiance it more than makes up for with sizable California burritos, delicious menudo, and tortillas so good we could do even without the filling.
1835 Highland Avenue
National City Golf Course
This relaxed, nine-hole course is a great beginner green, with a par 5, five par 4s, and three par 3s. They also offer FootGolf, a soccer-golf hybrid perfect for kids.
1439 Sweetwater Road
Niederfrank’s Ice Cream
This legendary ice cream shop has been making popular flavors like coffee almond fudge and their own waffle cones in-house since 1948. They even have a few flavors spiked with Stone Brewing Co. beer.
726 A Avenue
Hanaoka Japanese Restaurant
It may be located in a strip mall, but this independent eatery has been serving the area for 30 years. Their menu spans teriyakis, curries, ramen, and sushi. The caterpillar rolls and katsudon are favorites.
1528 Sweetwater Road
The Mongolian beef and egg drop soup are popular at this hole-in-the-wall Chinese spot, but it’s the salt and pepper chicken wings that have earned the restaurant a loyal fanbase.
1132 East Plaza Boulevard