Aug 21, 2023 - Sports

What to eat at San Diego Padres' Petco Park

A woman sitting in the stands at a baseball game eats a hotdog.

Kate eats an Elote dog at a Padres' game in June. Photo: Kate Murphy/Axios

At San Diego Padres' Petco Park, you can watch a baseball team in a lively stadium in the heart of downtown and enjoy "the best food and beer selection in baseball," according to USA Today's 2023 rankings.

Driving the news: With new dishes at the ballpark this season and local favorites on the concourse, I wanted to see what the hype was about.

What I ate: In June, I went to a Padres game with friends from out of town, so we tried a variety of snacks, cuisines and, of course, dessert.

Elote dog

  • This Tijuana-style, bacon-wrapped hot dog served on a brioche bun would be amazing on its own. But the street food special does it bigger and better, topped with grilled corn, cotija cheese, Tajín chili-lime seasoning, a creamy "fuego sauce," lime crema and fresh cilantro.

Price: $19

Where to find it: Barrio Dogg and Elote Mexican Street Corn carts on the main concourse near section 100.

Pro Tip: The Elote Mexican Street Corn cart also serves an Elote Especial, that adds Tajín-flavored Pop Rocks and a chicharron-carnitas-stuffed jalapeño pepper to their traditional street corn off the cob.

Tri-tip nachos

  • The tri-tip steak from Seaside Market in Cardiff-by-the-Sea is a local delicacy, but at Petco Park that famous "Cardiff Crack" elevates a classic ballpark snack.
  • You'll probably need a fork to tackle these nachos, topped with a hefty serving of the juicy tri-tip, smooth queso, tangy barbecue sauce, green onions and sour cream.

Price: $18

Where to find it: Seaside Market is on the main concourse near section 105, but there are kiosks serving the tri-tip on the 100 and 300 levels.

Kurobuta pork buns

  • The ballpark version of Din Tai Fung's pork buns were good but just don't do them justice.
    • The Chinese and Taiwanese chain's dishes – like steamed dumplings, wontons and bao – are best when served fresh and shared among the table.

Price: Two buns for $10

Where to find it: Din Tai Fung in the stadium's Mercado section

Churro

  • Instead of the standard ballpark snacks from vendors walking through the stands, I tried the two-foot-long churro from my seat on the third baseline.
  • It wasn't the best — a little dry and too crispy for my taste — but it's fried dough covered with cinnamon and sugar, so it was still fun to eat.

Price: $6

Where to find it: A seat-side vendor or Lane's Lemonade Stands throughout the park.

🍦Pro tip: If you want a sweet treat, go for the Mister Softee soft serve in a helmet or an exotic popsicle from Holy Paleta. The lavender lemonade would be my pick.

One thing I wish I got: Hawaiian short rib bowl at the Kona Big Wave Patio, formerly The Bud Patio, near Section 227 in right field.

  • This features marinated short rib bites over rice with green onions, pickled daikon and carrot, Japanese furikake seasoning and Big Wave sauce.

Other local favorites: Don't miss these local bites at Petco Park.

🍻On tap: Is it really a ball game without a cold beer?

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