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C Simril

Dining in San Diego (Part 2)

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Hello!

My husband is going to a conference in a week, and is looking for some good restaurant suggestions near his hotel:

Best Western Seven Seas

411 Hotel Circle S

He likes pretty much anything. Cheap, ethnic, gourmet are all good. He can do one really expensive dinner, but would love some great local cheap eats as well.

Also, any good coffee places, or night life nearby?

Thanks!!

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Does he have a car? Because -- I am sad to say -- that Hotel Circle is not an area known for good eats. The restaurants in the area are mostly known to provide cheap, mediocre food for convention goers while the better food in the city is in Hillcrest, downtown, and near the beaches. There is really nothing in walking distance...

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Would concur with the first comment - however - you can easily get a cab and all three areas mentioned are a very short ride away. Hillcrest is just over the hill and there are any number of restaurants with a 'wide' variety of choices - great place to get out and walk, with bookshops, cute shops (not that your hubby's into that :raz: ), etc. too. (Sorry, used to live there and partial to it!!)

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Hello!

My husband is going to a conference in a week, and is looking for some good restaurant suggestions near his hotel:

Best Western Seven Seas

411 Hotel Circle S

He likes pretty much anything.  Cheap, ethnic, gourmet are all good.  He can do one really expensive dinner, but would love some great local cheap eats as well. 

Also, any good coffee places, or night life nearby?

Thanks!!

With regard to food, Hotel Circle is often thought of as one of Dante's circles of hell. Yeah, it's not great, but it's not impossible either especially if he's got a car.

Bully's East on Camino del Rio South is a good place for Happy Hour and some sports bar type night life. It's 2 exits east of your husbands hotel. It's an old school, clubby steak house that actually specializes in prime rib. It's pretty solid from the food stand point but not particularly inexpensive.

The Better Half on University between 1st and 2nd in Hillcrest is currently running a $15 Blue Plate special. The Better Half (name because it serves only 1/2 bottles of wine) is a very good restaurant and this is a very good deal.

Terra in the Uptown shopping center is wonderful and next door to it is Aladdin's which does a very nice job with (Americanized) middle eastern food.

University between Park Blvd. and 1st Ave - a stretch that is probably 3-4 miles long - is restaurant row in Hillcrest. Parking is a pain, but there are probably almost 100 restaurants to choose from in almost every price range.

Jayne's Gastropub on 30th at Adams Ave has good food in a nice setting. I think it's a bit spendy for what you get.

Mayahuel on Adams just west of 30th serves up some really decent mole and great tacos. It's about 4-5 miles from the hotel.

There is a surfact street about a block or 2 west of the hotel that goes directly up into Mission Hills (I'm sorry I can't remember the name of it). This will put your husband very close to Parallel 33 which is at Washington and Goldfinch. Oliveto is in the same area, it's fairly new, not a lot of buzz about it yet.

Your husband's hotel is on one of the major East/West freeways in San Diego, I-8, on the North side of the freeway (the hotel is on the south side), he can find a King's Fish House (pretty decent, moderate to moderately high), Fuddruckers (don't laugh, this location is pretty good) and a Gordon Birsch.

On Friar's Rd. on the north side of I-8 are 2 major shopping centers. Fashion Valley has a PF Changs and Cheesecake Factory if he gets desparate, and truth be told, neither one is bad. There is a new restaurant called Bing Crosby (yes, like the crooner) in this complex serving fairly upscale meals. Further east along Friars is a shopping center anchored by a Ralph's and Long's. There are several small mom and pop places here. El Portal is probably the best of the lot, though the Indian place wasn't too bad last time I tried it.

Your husband can also take state route 163 north to the Mesa College Drive exit. Turn left at the top of the exit, cross the freeway and go to the first stoplight and turn right. This is Linda Vista Rd, it will eventually become Convoy St. which is where the majority of Asian restaurants in SD are located. Emerald, Jasmine and China Max are 3 of the better known, easier to find places. You can find just about anything on Convoy St.

Try these two links for local restaurants

SignOnSanDiego Click on the entertainment link

San Diego Reader Scroll down to the restaurant link

On either site you need to look at Hillcrest, East (or central) San Diego for options closest to the hotel. Hotel Circle was built a long time ago and mostly for lodging not food. It's not an easy location for food oriented people.

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I believe there is also an In N out burger on the other side of I-8. Cheap and good. Also, the Reader reviewer, Naomi Wise, seems to really like Roseville in Point Loma. It's certainly on my 'to do' list this year.

We tried the blue plate special at the better half a few weeks ago and it was great. We had a delicious meatloaf and a game-based chili with tons of flavor.

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Hello!

My husband is going to a conference in a week, and is looking for some good restaurant suggestions near his hotel:

Best Western Seven Seas

411 Hotel Circle S

He likes pretty much anything.  Cheap, ethnic, gourmet are all good.  He can do one really expensive dinner, but would love some great local cheap eats as well. 

Also, any good coffee places, or night life nearby?

Thanks!!

I hope I reply in time for your husband to go to some of my suggestions.

1. Arridavecci is a good Italian restaurant on 4th in Hillcrest.

2. Yakitori on 6th in Hillcrest is a good Japanese Yakitori place with cheap food and great beer and sake

3. Emerald Chinese Restaurant 858-565-6888 on Convoy is a good chinese restaurant. They have a special late night menu after 9pm that is really cheaper ($5 to 8 per entre)

4. Thai House on Convoy is also good

5. Celadon on 6th in Hillcrest is another good Thai Restaurant.

6. Give Blue Point 5th downtown a try. Jan 11 to Jan 16 is Restaurant week and they have $30 - 3 courses meal that you should try

7. For high end try Bertrand at Mr. A (downtown SD) for view and great french food. Good deal during restaurant week - $40 for 3 courses.

That takes care of one week.

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2. Yakitori on 6th in Hillcrest is a good Japanese Yakitori place with cheap food and great beer and sake

You reminded me of Ichiban -- are they still in business? 20 years ago, I ate there once a week....

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2. Yakitori on 6th in Hillcrest is a good Japanese Yakitori place with cheap food and great beer and sake

You reminded me of Ichiban -- are they still in business? 20 years ago, I ate there once a week....

I never been to Ichiban so I don't know.

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Both locations of Ichiban are still going strong (Hillcrest, PB). Same menu & prices, and they swear they are not affiliated. Go figure.

Hillcrest offers an early bird special M-?Th? (maybe Friday) - from 4 - ?6? sushi orders are half price, limit 4 orders per person.

As you can tell from my excellent grasp of the details, a visit to their website would be wise for planning purposes.

If husband is into steak, Hunter's is at the west end of the mission valley hotel circle circuit. Good baby back ribs too.

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I tend to hit my old haunts (Ichiban) when I'm in San Diego, but I have been asked for the following advice:

if you may have a few inexpensive places to eat that are extremely delicious...burritos, japanese, even good fresh sandwiches-or something that's decent with a location that is special to the area. Unfortunately we're holding back on the fine dining for now but we love good food. I don't eat beef or pork but I'm not a veg either. we're only there for a few days.

Should I just send to Hillcrest?

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Hillcrest is one option, but 30th St between about University and Upas is a hotbed of activity these days.

The Better Half in Hillcrest (Uni. between 2nd and 1st) runs a nightly Blue Plate Special. 3 courses - $20 not including tax, tip and beverage. Very good value for what you get

Wine Vault & Bistro (India & Washington in Middletown, down the hill from Hillcrest) does a $30 5-course meal that's probably the absolute best deal in town.

Mama Testa (Univ. between Vermont and Richmond) does all tacos all the time. Great salsa bar.

Blind Lady Ale House on Adams Ave around 30th +/- has numerous local craft brews and some pretty good and pretty economical food selections (mostly salad and pizza)

Mayahuel on Adams Ave 1 block west of 30th has one of the best selections of tequila in SD and does a fantastic housemade mole several nights a week.

On 30th Aperativo, Caffe Calabria, Urban Solace, Lefty's, Hamiltons, Ritual Tavern, The Linkery isn't exactly budget but it is one of the only fully local and sustainable restaurants in SD

The best budget sandwich in SD is at the deli in Windmill Farms in Del Cerro by SDSU. The $3.99 Lindsey Special, made to order, choice of breads, cheeses, and veggies. I believe the meat on the sandwich is turkey.

K's Sandwich on Linda Vista Rd and Mesa College Dr. in Linda Vista does a really good Bahn Mi that's really inexpensive.

Where is the person requesting the information staying and will s/he have a car.

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World Curry on Garnet, in PB.

The cafes down at the base of the pier - or on the pier - PB and OB.

the bar at the top of the summerhouse inn near La Jolla - happy hour used to be very reasonable for the view.

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I wanted to report on a few good dining experiences that I’ve had in the past 6 months or so.

the better half. They have a $20 “stressed economy” menu that is a steal, although I had opted to order a la carte for my first meal there so I could explore the menu more fully. The "tower of beets" appetizer was delicious with its crunchy green beans and gold & red beets. The savory tart du jour was excellent (I forgot what it was that day, it changes daily). I had quail as the entrée, which was a bit on the dry side and was served with a mushroom risotto; my husband had a terrific lamb shank which I would order next time. We enjoyed our meal and the ambiance very much. The wine selection (half bottles, hence the restaurant’s name) is very good and service was attentive. We will be back.

crescent heights - this place is fantastic. I started with their signature salad which was a delight (a chino farms beets and burrata salad, with prociutto and aged balsamic). Then I had an enormous lamb shank with north african flavors (couscous and preserved lemons), which managed to be both extremely hearty and quite delicate, the tart lemons balancing this extremely rich dish. The service was top notch and we will definitely be back. Too bad that they stop serving dinner at 10 pm. We are always on the lookout for good places to go after the opera (which typically ends around 10 pm).

nobu - this was my first time there; my husband had been at nobu in New York City. The ambiance is very casual (to my disappointment – I was expecting something a little more refined); it's located inside the noisy hard rock hotel in downtown San Diego. I had their signature dishes which are served family style - yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno, and back cod with miso which I enjoyed a lot. We also tried the lobster roll which was very good. For dessert, the coconut haupia was overly sweet, so the bento box with valhrona chocolate cake and green tea ice cream is definitely the way to go. They are open late so it’s a good post-opera option.

quarter kitchen at the ivy hotel – this is Nathan Coulon’s new place. He joined as a sous-chef after leaving modus, and recently took over the executive chef position. I had dinner there back in January, when they still had the “old” menu and he had not had a chance to change it much. We started with the raw oysters, and the steamed mussels that were prepared in a very delicate cream based broth. For the main course, the lobster risotto was very nicely prepared. Overall, we liked everything but thought that it was more expensive and slightly less refined than crescent heights. Service was average. We will have to come again to try the new menu.

Jay (a wolfgang puck restaurant). I wanted to like this restaurant but overall it did not leave a memorable impression. Everything was well prepared and portions were big, but it lacked subtlety I thought. And the service was average. I had the duck with bing cherry sauce for the main course, and the hamashi sashimi (with jalapenos) as an appetizer, which was nice but not in the same league as nobu.

Other places I’ve tried in the past year were blanca in Solana Beach and market in Del Mar. Of the two, I preferred market because they seemed to take themselves less seriously. The service at blanca was overly fussy in my opinion. Their concept seems to revolve around revisited American classics (shrimp cocktail, Rossini, etc) with the “latest” techniques (foams, sous-vide, “deconstructed” dishes, and the like). Regardless of the gimmicks, blanca has an excellent sous vide duck magret that I recommend – duck breast can be tough but cooked sous-vide, it was a revelation. My friends were less impressed with their Rossini steak (very skimpy on the foie gras which was just a terrine, not even a slice of lobe; truffle was only present in the béarnaise that was served on the side but did not seem to belong to the dish). We had a good shrimp appetizer. But overall, dinner was quite expensive for what we got.

Market (Carl Schroeder formerly of Arterra) seems to have a more straightforward approach. The dishes I had were a little underwhelming but I did really appreciate the fact that everything seemed to be in season, with lots of well prepared vegetables. Also, service was very attentive and we felt at home.

Regarding post-opera options / late dining, we have been dining at starlite quite a bit since it’s open late (starlite lounge on india street). The food is realty unpretentious and quite reasonable. It’s clearly not the same category as the various restaurants discussed above, however they are a few very nice options such as the steamed mussels, and their Jidori chicken which is cooked under a brick. I had an excellent grilled octopus and arugula appetizer there last weekend (not a dish that you often find on menus), which was very tender and well executed. The menu is seasonal and they make their own sausages. And their cocktails are excellent – I highly recommend their signature mule served in a copper mug.

Last but not least, whisk and ladle in la jolla. This is a real “foodie” place. First, the cocktails. They put their own spin on classic cocktails and use homemade infusions/bitters/ etc. For example their version of the sidecar had grapefruit liqueur and honey as a sweetener. For appetizers, they have a new flatbread everyday which is almost like an Alsatian flammenkuche – very thin and crisp, delicious. Their charcuterie “cutting board” is full of homemade goodies – that night it was a delicious duck and pistachios terrine (really, really good), a foie gras mousse, and a delicious cured sausage with fennel. Next, I tried the bone marrow, a rarity on menus that I could not pass by. With this kind of restaurant, you are really tempted to mostly eat appetizers. I understand that they are opening a take out place/small market next door – I will keep lobbying until they offer their terrine for sale!

Overall, there are quite a few nice restaurants that have opened in San Diego in the past few years (and I was very sad to see chive close last year). I’ve discussed nine ten and tapenade in previous posts; these are places that I’ve been frequenting regularly and always enjoy greatly. I am always disappointed that our city seems to have such a bad reputation in terms of fine dining. So I will continue to post to correct this (wrong) impression!

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nice post! El biscocho is doing some good stuff too


Edited by cjbleid (log)

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We were surprised to find that El Gran Tapa is closed on Sundays.

Its tough to find food post-opera, especially within walking distance. All recommendations perused eagerly in preparation for next season.

It would be fun to eat thematically, but I really didnt want the sort of food suggested by Peter Grimes. Perhaps Nobu after Madame Butterfly.

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Maybe British pub food would be appropriate for Peter Grimes? Or you could still follow a Peter Grimes' theme by dining out in Escondido.

We don't restrict our search to restaurants that are within walking distance of the opera - just any good restaurant that is open late (after 10 pm) would work for us!

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Maybe British pub food would be appropriate for Peter Grimes?  Or you could still follow a Peter Grimes' theme by dining out in Escondido.

We don't restrict our search to restaurants that are within walking distance of the opera - just any good restaurant that is open late (after 10 pm) would work for us!

Yakitori on 5th is a good choice for late night dining (they open till 1am). It is Japanese BBQ chicken and its parts, beef, and vegetable on a skewers. It has a great selection of Sake and Japanese beer. It is inexpensive but can get busy late at night.

Emerald Seafood Restaurant on Convoy is another place that open till midnight and had a special disconunted menu for after 9pm dining.

Sakura is a Izakaya on Convoy that open till midnght also. It had no sign outside so it is hard to find. It cater to mainly Japanese. It is located in the shopping center where Original Pancake House is on Convoy. It tuck away in the back and just look for a Japanese Restaurant with no sign.

Here are 3 more restaurant that you can add to your list.

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Hi, coming out with the family for a long weekend in a few weeks, was looking for some good recommendations. Coming from NYC, specifically looking for some things we can't get here, really don't care one bit for ambiance or anything like that, staying in La Jolla but perfectly happy to travel great distances for a good meal (we plan on shooting up to Chino farms at least twice during our stay).

We'd love to find some good fish tacos, mexican, vietnamese (I heard there were some good places?) and anything doing a lot with really local, seasonal stuff.

Lunch and dinner recs would be very helpful. Thanks! Will report back after.

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Hi, coming out with the family for a long weekend in a few weeks, was looking for some good recommendations.  Coming from NYC, specifically looking for some things we can't get here, really don't care one bit for ambiance or anything like that, staying in La Jolla but perfectly happy to travel great distances for a good meal (we plan on shooting up to Chino farms at least twice during our stay).

We'd love to find some good fish tacos, mexican, vietnamese (I heard there were some good places?) and anything doing a lot with really local, seasonal stuff.

Lunch and dinner recs would be very helpful.  Thanks!  Will report back after.

Some of the best fish tacos are at Marisco's German at 28th and Ocean View in Barrio Logan. Try the taco de marlyn, marlin, tastes almost like carnitas. Their shrimp quesadilla is pretty awesome too. There are a number of other seafood related tacos there as well. Marisco's German operates a couple of taco trucks as well. The one on University Ave. around 35th in a dirt lot next to a grocery store is very good.

Super Cocina serves about the best home-style Mexican in SD. It's on University at Cherokee in City Heights. Don't be put off or fooled by the steamtable service. The bulk of the menu are guisados and things that do best with moist heat. The owner hires home cooks to prepare the food and each woman does her own specialties. There is a rotating selection of items and almost all of them are infallibly good. They will give you a taste of anything (and everything) you want to help you make up your mind what to order.

On the next corner down from Super Cocina is Fruitlandia where you can get great smoothies and wonderfuly bionicos and fruit salads. It's a little ratty around the edges, but the fruit is pretty good.

Further down in south county is Marisco's Godoy which is a full service restaurant. Excellent seafood, usually full of families, mariachi on weekends, all locals, not tourists.

Also is Chula Vista is Aqui es Texcoco serving lamb barbacoa. It's extremely good. You can get different cuts like costilla (ribs), cabeza (cheeks), pancita (offal) and more. It'll come with fresh, hot corn tortillas and a really, really good salsa negro (which really isn't black). They also do tacos dorado, which are taquitos/rolled tacos. They come with either the lamb barbacoa or mashed potatoes. I prefer the potato ones, they're about the best rendition of the potato taco I know. Aqui es Texcoco is in a strip mall and looks like a fast food place. Don't be fooled. If you like lamb, you'll love this. It's worth the trip from La Jolla to Chula Vista

Don Vincente's is in National City and is the place to go for menudo and pozole. Really delicious on a Sunday morning. And if you get there too late - i..e after about 10:45 am there is a long wait.

Also in National City, and not necessarily a place to eat, but a fun place to visit if you're in the neighborhood is the Gonzalez Northgate Market. It's an enormous Mexican market with in-house bakery (excellent bollilos and teleras), specialty cheese and ceviche counters, tortillaria, 2 meat counters, a fishmonger, Mexi-Deli and taco shop. The food from the taco shop and deli are okay, but the store itself is the star. Great produce, not Chino or Crows Pass by any stretch, but if you're cooking Mexican they've usually got it, including the exotics.

Try El Pescador in La Jolla for fish sandwiches. Also in LJ try Nine-Ten. Love breakfast there and their burger is really good.

The Little Italy farmer's market on Saturday morning is great. Pick up a Womack chicken ($20 yikes); 1-man operation (literally) out in the Julian area. Completely organic, beyond free range, humanely slaughtered, with to-die for flavor.

The Linkery in North Park is San Diego's only completely sustainable restaurant. It's quirky and prices can be steep, but you'll know exactly from where you meal came.

Sea Rocket Bistro just down the street from The Linkery is doing the local and sustainable seafood business.

San Diego is well know for it's craft beers. Why not give one of the local places a go. You can try The Blind Lady, Ritual Tavern, Hamiltons or O'Briens.

A.R. Valenteins, JSix and the Farmhouse Cafe all get a lot of love from locals for good, well prepared, fresh, seasonal good, all of them making some use of sustainable products. Cafe Chloe downtown is also quite good.

Urban Solace was recently named best restaurant in SD. Not sure if I agree but it's a pleasant dining experience.

SD is not a fine dining mecca. In fact, most of the fine dining places here are having a hard time of it and have closed. What SD does do well are the small bistro type of places where the price points are not quite so steep and the food considered more approachable. Cutting edge food generally doesn't play well in SD, but good, straightforward, uncomplicated and "safe" food does. We're getting more places like that, and they're doing a pretty good job at it.

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Hi, coming out with the family for a long weekend in a few weeks, was looking for some good recommendations.  Coming from NYC, specifically looking for some things we can't get here, really don't care one bit for ambiance or anything like that, staying in La Jolla but perfectly happy to travel great distances for a good meal (we plan on shooting up to Chino farms at least twice during our stay).

We'd love to find some good fish tacos, mexican, vietnamese (I heard there were some good places?) and anything doing a lot with really local, seasonal stuff.

Lunch and dinner recs would be very helpful.  Thanks!  Will report back after.

If you like Chino Produce than you have to go to Market Restaurant on Via Della Valle and Mille Fluer in down town Rancho Santa Fe. You can find both of these restaurants in the web.

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Hi all - I'll be in San Diego from NYC for the first time next Thursday for a business meeting. The meeting is short, so I'll have the whole evening to spend wandering around. I'll be downtown, no car.

What I'd like to eat, predictably enough, is really good mexican food, since I have never been anywhere that has it. I'm also looking for a excellent cocktail place where I can molt comfortably with something gin based for a few hours. I read about Modus in this thread. Does that fit the bill?

I'm happy to walk about a mile at a time, about.

Thanks.

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What I'd like to eat, predictably enough, is really good mexican food, since I have never been anywhere that has it.  I'm also looking for a excellent cocktail place where I can molt comfortably with something gin based for a few hours.  I read about Modus in this thread.  Does that fit the bill?

I'm happy to walk about a mile at a time, about.

Thanks.

Modus closed last week.

If you're in downtown, you're more or less in, or close to, the Gaslamp district where there are more watering holes per square foot than pedicabs on the street. You will have your pick of just about anything.

Oceanaire at 4th and Island does a terrific clubby, oyster bar happy hour.

Top of the Hyatt (40th floor or so) at the embarcadero will provide you with a spectacular view of the harbor. If the marine layer doesn't come in early that day, you'll be able to see for miles and miles and miles.

Dobsons is good for cocktails and mussel bisque.

And then there is Candelas, one downtown and one on Coronado. Upscale Mexican in the style of Mexico City. Good to very good. You can get to Coronado via the water ferry and then it's a short walk to the restaurant which is right on the bay. Here's thelink to the Candelas web site

El Vitral is very new downtown at 8th and J. Upscale Mexican, good selection of tequila. Buzz and early review have been decent.

Downtown is pretty easy to navigate especially if you use the trolley system. There is an around downtown pass you can buy that I think is about $1. In what part of downtown is your meeting?

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