Give the guy some credit for doing something worthwhile. He may not be perfect but deserves credit. I have family in Breezy Point and can understand his desire to help. Cut him some slack.
There is a wonderful place in Carlsbad where you are always welcome....they serve great food and wine! They will also gladly serve your friends! It is private but open to all from Breezy Point and their friends.
Agree with the Cafe Chloe recommendation. There are a few ok places in Gaslamp and Little Italy. It is a touristy area with some fun bars....food is mostly just ok.
Another fun spot is the Prado in Balboa Park. It is not walking distance but is a unique San Diego experience and the park is a must La Jolla is also a great San Diego experience with some good restaurants. I can make recommendations there too. Our food in SD does not come close to New Orleans or New York but our weather and views are amazing.
If you have a car, I also recommend Market in Del Mar. Your friends in Carlsbad love it!