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Bashful3

Dining in San Diego

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Yo, from Philly! Hubby and I will be in San Diego for three days in late March.

I'm an adventurous eater, of all kinds of food. My husband is not, and he tends to be put off by luxurious places. I'm a seafood eater; hubby is not.

Is there a "must do" restaraunt in S. D? Can you suggest several good places at many price points for us to enjoy?f

Bashful3 in PHilly :rolleyes:

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I would have said "Georges at the Cove", but I just got back from a meal where my vegetarian wife was done wrong. After speaking to the sous chef two days before saying we didn't want a "vegetable plate", she got one that was boring as anything.

I really enjoyed Pamplemousse yesterday, but that's about 20 minutes north of the north part of San Diego (in Solana Beach).

I haven't been to WineSellar Brasserie, but wish I had. They have a wine store attached to them, and sell the wine in the restaurant for 20% more. They actually have an excellent $12 bottle on the list! (It's online).

And of course, many other, more pricey excellent bottles.


beachfan

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Appreciate your suggestions, but I left something out. We will not have a car; will be staying at a hotel in the Gaslight district. I hope that isn't total touristville in terms of food, but if it is, just let me know. I'm a big girl; I can deal with it. Thanks again.

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Being in Southern California without a car is like being in Paris without a mouth.


Edited by Beachfan (log)

beachfan

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Being in Southern California without a car is like being in Paris without a mouth.

I'd have to agree, but if you can't change that you will be close to the trolley which can quickly get you to Old Town where you'll find some interesting shops, some historical stuff and good food at Cafe Pacifica, 2414 San Diego Ave. 619/291-0122.


I'm hollywood and I approve this message.

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Appreciate your suggestions, but I left something out.  We will not have a car; will be staying at a hotel in the Gaslight district.   I hope that isn't total touristville in terms of food, but if it is, just let me know.  I'm a big girl; I can deal with it.  Thanks again.

If you can afford it, I highly recommend that you reconsider and rent a car. If you're going to San Diego, you really need to drive on the coast, go to La Jolla Cove, etc.

Unless you live on the coast and see it every day, of course. I grew up in San Diego, so I know. You must have a car if possible.

Edit: I like what they've done with the Gaslamp District. There are plenty of restaurants, but nothing stellar that I know of.


Edited by MsRamsey (log)

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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All in or near the Gaslight District:

I second Cafe Pacifica. If I remember correctly, a good wine list at decent prices.

Blue Point is very good -- you'll probably need reservations.

Baca was also good.

I wanted to try La Strada, but couldn't get in.

Croce's (yes, run by Jim Croce's widow) Jazz Bar/Top Hat is not great food, but it can be a fun couple of hours.

Bayou Bar and Grill does decent Cajun (for California), and now I see they have music.

My experience with the waterfront restaurants has not been good. Nice view, ordinary food. After two or three, I gave up.

I've been to SD three times and never had a car, so I've never gotten out of the city proper, except for a cab ride to the Zoo. But there are a lot of nearby destinations that make a car an attractive proposition. You'll have seen everything the Gaslight District has to offer in a day. Another half day to see the whales and the harbor, and you might feel like you're out of options.


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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I'd be interested in whether anyone has tried Acqua Al 2 in the Gaslamp district, it's an offshoot of a popular Florence restaurant I've been to that had an especially good primi sampler (pastas and rissoto).

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I'm a San Diego resident and I would second the suggestion that you get a car (or cab). My favorite restaurants are in La Jolla: Tapenade, 910, and Michele Coulon.

The only restaurant that I would drive downtown for is Chive (558 Fourth Ave). It's New American with some Asian and European influences.

For inexpensive Mexican food (breakfast and lunch only), go south of downtown to El Por Venir (1786 National Ave.) or Las Cuatro Miplas (1857 Logan Ave.)

Let me know if you need more information or ideas.

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In the Gaslamp, I would recommend Osteria Pane Vino for Italian, Chive for upscale, Blue Point for seafood, Candelas for excellent authentic Mexican, and Taka for Sushi. The Field is also a great Irish pub with tasty pub food.

Also, Hillcrest is a short cab ride away with some great restaurants. Laurel is upscale, Hash House A Go Go has wondeful food, and Cafe W for tapas-style food.


Edited by Fastidious Kitty (log)

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indigo grill in little italy (maybe a 10 minute ride from the gaslamp). not an italian restaurant, btw.

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I'll be staying in downtown San Diego for a week at the end of July.

I'm looking for a few restaurants and happy hour places worth checking out.

(nothing trendy or fast food) Just a list of the finest San Diego has to offer.

Thanks a lot.

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wood--I've been in the San Diego area for a week doing pretty much nothing but eating and relaxing. I'm afraid you'd have to be a little more forthcoming with your experiences, your likes and dislikes, your frames of food reference, than just asking for generic list of the best. Plus when you say nothing trendy that scares me a bit because your trends are not necessarily my sense of trends. Good cooking belies trend. I'm not in a position to tell you about the best but I can strongly recommend a few of the restaurants I've been to this week--these restaurants are very strong, with interesting, eclectic wine lists and would stand out in any serious East coast food city. I recommend them highly and I hope the locals appreciate them: Cafe W in San Diego is an incredibly stylish value: food, wine, service and ambience. If I lived around here I would eat there very often (3680 6th Ave. 619.291.0200 www.cafe-w.com); I'd also return often to Meritage in Encinitas on 101 (703.634.3350 www.meritage1.com) and Roppongi in La Jolla (875 Prospect St. 858.551.5252). Googling them would turn up lots of info from the San Diego Tribune and other sources.

You mentioned happy hour. Monday and Wednesday nights Meritage has wine lover's nights--with all bottles of wine at half price. They have a very fun, fairly priced list and also have low-stress "not a care in the world" seating on a very nice porch/patio. We did a lunch and dinner there since we're staying a few blocks away. Be sure to check out Chuao chocolatier in the same shopping center. Very very good chocolates completely unappreciated yet by the locals. When we were in the shop two different customers asked for fudge and then walked out. Might have been tourists. Roppongi is a serious, beautifully designed overtly stylish restaurant which just oozes chic from the walls and the clientele. As far as the food, while it might seem expensive, it's really not more expensive than any serious restaurant in any big food city and it was impeccable I thought--they know how to walk the fine dining CalAsian fusion line, the obligatory SoCal avocado is well-integrated, plus, they have a very nice deal daily--all of the tapas side of the menu is half-price from 4 to 6. Even that wonderful $18.95 Dungeness crab stack. Their list fairly predictable and Wine Spectatorish--we chose a nice food wine for the cuisine, the Adelsheim Pinot Gris at a higher-than-necessary but typical markup ($36.)

Roppongi had the best dessert of the entire trip--a caramelized banana dish with ice cream and a hint of orange, served in a wide bowl covered with a thin disk of nougatine--which the server deftly breaks apart into shards tableside. Not bad considering the restaurant doesn't have a pastry chef--and you could tell just by reading the rest of the dessert menu--brownie this, vanilla ice cream that. This restaurant would be amazing (nationally) if it had a pastry chef or hired a pastry consultant, so their desserts matched the interest and inventiveness of the cuisine.

I also did a bunch of the cheap but good fish taco Mexican-type stuff but you're probably not looking for a Las Olas or Juanitas Taco Shop or El Zarape recommendation. If you were you'd be better off wading through Chowhound.

I wanted to go to Parallel 33, also in Mission Hills like Cafe W, which chef and writer friends recommended, but it was closed Sunday and Monday, which was when I could have fit it in.


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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I'm just back from a weekend in San Diego. Most of the time I was stuck with my family (my sister canNOT cook -- her idea of home-baked includes the words "poppin' fresh") but we escaped for a few hours to Balboa Park.

While there, we had lunch at Prado, which proudly advertises itself on a sign outside as "voted best new restaurant." It was an excellent meal, with fresh local ingredients (awesome fish tacos, superb grilled chicken with pasta and gorganzola sauce) and gorgeous presentation. It's fancy and special without going so far overboard that one is tempted to say, "oh come ON!"

I'd go back there again.

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I went over memorial weekend.

Had a good meal at Blue Point located downtown.

Decent oysters, not a large selection though.

Really good lobster bisque.

If you make it up to La Jolla Cove, go to George's at the Cove. I know it's a household name restaurant for La Jolla but it was acutally really great. The price is very reasonable for La Jolla and everything was done very nicely. Real fresh ingredients. (Not that there should be any excuse being in San Diego of all places.)

I went for lunch. Get there when they open (i think 11am) so that you get a great upstairs outside view seat of the cove.

I had a wonderful thai lemongrass soup w/ clams, mussels, calamari, salmon, conch, and some other local fish.

They also make a great bloody mary, w/ home infused vodka.

I think the best think that I had was a taco in tijuana from some street vendor. I think it was some kind of organmeat, but I don't speak the language so I'll never know. But when you see a bunch of locals crowding around a street vendor, you pretty much know it's going to be good.

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I'd go to Cafe Pacifica in Old Town San Diego.


I'm hollywood and I approve this message.

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If you make it up to La Jolla Cove, go to George's at the Cove.  I know it's a household name restaurant for La Jolla but it was acutally really great.  The price is very reasonable for La Jolla and everything was done very nicely.  Real fresh ingredients.  (Not that there should be any excuse being in San Diego of all places.)

I went for lunch.  Get there when they open (i think 11am) so that you get a great upstairs outside view seat of the cove.

I had a wonderful thai lemongrass soup w/ clams, mussels, calamari, salmon, conch, and some other local fish.

They also make a great bloody mary, w/ home infused vodka. 

I second APPS411 regarding George's at the Cove. I've had several really good dinners there, and have not been impressed with other places in La Jolla.

It may not be super hip, but it is a nice, fancy place in a classic way. And mainly, the food is good!

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I haven't found anything high-end in San Diego that is worth recommending, but there's a fantastic seafood dive that I visit every time I'm there: Point Loma Seafood. It's on the harbor and everything is fresh and delicious. Just be sure that at least one of you orders the squid: heavenly.

Bruce

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Seeing as I live in San Diego...

_Cheap but fantastic:_

-most local hole in the wall taco shops (mine is Humberto's at 25th and Broadway)

-Point Loma Seafoods

-Mona Lisa's Italian Deli

-Gen Lai Sen Chinese food, but mostly for their egg drop soup, the best I've ever had!

-Mardi Gras Deli and Market

-Garden Grill's gyro sandwiches

-Bennigan's for potato soup (eveything else is decent but overpriced)

-Pizza Port for pizza, beer, and great caesar salad. Go for lunch and avoid the screaming hordes of rugrats and drunken surfers.

_Not too bad in terms of price_

-Sushi Itto (my favorite gyoza in town, good miso, great rolls!)

-South Park Bar and Grill

-Shakespeare's Pub (get the sausage roll and apple crisp)

-The Field, an Irish pub in the Gaslamp

-La Sevilla for tapas or paella (the paella gets pricy but delish)

-Lotus Thai Cuisine (my favorite phad thai!)

_Wallet-Ouchies_

-The Sky Room at La Valencia in La Jolla - French, expensive, jacket and tie required

-Blue Point Coastal Cuisine - For this, I forgive the Cohns for the Corvette Diner

-Asti's Ristorante

-de'Medici (3 out of 4 roomates agreed this was good - my boyfriend said it was a ripoff and his meal was not of sufficient quality. They took us at the last minute on the last reservation and the service was great, so I'd go back, but he wouldn't)

-Tratoria La Bocca - fantastic gnocchi, steak, and carpaccio, I am dying to go back

_Guilty Pleasures_

-Cinnabon at Horton Plaza

-California Pizza Kitchen at Fashion Valley

-The Spaghetti Factory in Gaslamp

-Momo Sushi Buffet in Gaslamp

-McDonald's at Lindbergh Field (they have such a high turnover that the fries are always crisp and fresh, not sitting under a heat lamp for half an hour)

-Rubio's on College Avenue for the crispy shrimp tacos

-Night and Day Cafe on Coronado

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Closing the barn door after the horse is gone...but for future recommendations:

I concur with the recommendations for both Blue Point and Prado...both owned by the same company who also own Dakota's in the Gas Lamp District. The mixed grill at Dakota's changes each day. Don't be surprised to find rabbit in the mix.

I've also enjoyed Gulf Coast Grill in North Park. Nothing too fancy, but we thought it was good. Mmmm...pork chops & jambalaya.

If you're looking for cheap eats, you cannot go wrong at any of La Torta's 4 locations. One sandwich can feed two people. Do yourself a favor and stick with the mexican tortas (carne asada, chorizo, etc). Everything is good but that's where they shine. They also have a "pepper" bar so you can embellish your huge sandwich (see the picture on the web page...it got me drooling). They also have a tasty chipotle mayo condiment that we dip our beer battered onion rings in. One drawback to the restaurant is if you want a soda, it's just a can (no fountain) so have a beer instead.

And if you're out late and want a cheap snack, there are a gazillion little mexican restaurants named Roberto's or Alberto's or Hilberto's or Royberto's, etc , scattered about San Diego. Roberto's was first...the rest are either knock-offs or are related to Roberto's. I recommend the rolled tacos for kids and the carne asada burrito for adults (no beans and rice in these burritos unless you request it...just meat, salsa and guacamole in a tortilla).

I hope you had a good time. Post about your eating experiences if you have the time.


 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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OK, first post.

Is it alright to give myself a shoutout? :smile: Anyone who comes to North San Diego would be more than welcome at 150 Grand Cafe in Escondido. A little off the beaten path from downtown and La Jolla, but not that far. Modern American cuisine, moderate-high prices. We do a prix-fixe menu Mon-Thu nights where you can pick any three courses (except multiple entrees) for 29.50. Just won a Silver Fork, opening a new lounge. I think we do a pretty good job. You be the judge, please.

I'd love to see more on San Diego in general. Anyone there?


If it ain't fried it ain't food!

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I'm going to be in San Diego on Friday, and I'm looking for high-end suggestions.

Barring any other input, I'm going to Roppongi. I'll report back next week.

Bruce

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As long as your going to be in La Jolla, maybe try Fresh. Pretty sure it's a sister restaurant of Roppongi. Had a meal at Fresh a couple weeks back and it was real good. Happy hour at Roppongi is good too, Chef Window does a good job, and the appetizers are more than enough to make a meal out of. For the atmosphere, choose the Marine Room.


If it ain't fried it ain't food!

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Bruce--if I could go back to any one, but only one, of the 3 higher end places I visited last time, and as you can tell from my post above all three were excellent, I'd pick Cafe W over Roppongi, for the more interesting, more challenging food. Plus, it's on a smaller, more charming scale which I personally like in restaurants. Roppongi is on a whole other scale, and has much more of the glitz and glamour you might be seeking in a high end meal. Wherever you decide to go, good luck!

Also, thanks to everyone else for providing suggestions for next time. Cheftoad--do you have a website up yet about your place? Have you eaten at Cafe W?


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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