Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Dining in San Diego


Bashful3
 Share

Recommended Posts

I think he left about 6-8 weeks ago.  Heard a rumor he landed at 1500 Ocean at the Del, but don't quote me on that.

I was wrong. Nathan Coulon landed at the restaurant in the new Ivy Hotel downtown. Probably a good thing, most of the word-of-mouth I've heard about the resto in Ivy is that it's pretty bad. Suspect Nathan will be able to rectify that.

Edited by kalypso (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

sd is a paradox. given all that produce grown in surronding areas like carlsbad and the wealth to support fine dining, sd's dining scene has always been not as good as it should be.

:hmmm: That's a rather provocative comment, care to back it up with some examples.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Sure-

It's mostly chain food city down here. There's nothing wrong per se with chain food, but there's little great about it. Look at San Francisco. There are few chain places to eat there. If you want a great Italian eaterie.... you go to North Beach or to Union Street or Lombard or to Judah. Not hard to find with almost no leads. And here in San Diego? Bucca de Beppo? Olive Garden? Fridays? Mimi's Cafe? There are some good places... don't get me wrong. BUT--- there are so many mediocre places and places that are downright AWFUL (ketchup on linguine?) that this is NOT known as a food city. I challenge you to name 4 good French bistros in this town. Other than perhaps La Bastide... I have yet to find a really good one. There isn't a good Basque place anywhere. There are few places that offer Chinese that rivals the WORST in San Francisco's Chinatown. Or even equals a fair place in Los Angeles' Chinatown. After 7 years on the road... the best this town has to offer is Mexican, is casino buffet and is chain cooking. Things other than that can be good, but are priced like New York, but fall very far short for ambiance and for value. And-- I'd love for anybody to prove me wrong, because I've been here for going on 5 years, and the two best meals I've had were Sunday brunch at the Del, and a churascorria in Tijuana (Pampos do Brasil).

hvr :angry:

"Cogito Ergo Dim Sum; Therefore I think these are Pork Buns"

hvrobinson@sbcglobal.net

Link to comment
Share on other sites

HRV - do you get to downtown much? Because there's a lot of choice for your exemplar of italian food.

We dont have one of the A+-list restaurants here, and we may be the largest US city to lack one (unless LA only made it to the A-list), but we do have rather a variety of independent places to choose from.

I do not understand the constant derision of restaurant options in San Diego. If I had the cash, I'd invite Docsconz and his family out here for a week of eating at my expense. If he panned the place, then I'd have to believe. But in my experience, the city and its surrounds are not a festering conglomeration of bad food / bad cooking.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok' I'll chime in here. Being a Chef here in SD and knowing most all of the top Chefs mentioned here and then some, I've got to say that yes the dining scene is not what it could be in San Diego. A couple of reasons are that geographically SD is quite large, there is not just one area that has many great places to eat (ie NYC, Chicago, etc..). Also the media is very apt to promote the "best of" based on advertising dollar$ and not on what truly is good. Another reason is that the expectations and pallettes of most diners is very low. For the most part most people that come into the restaurant that I work in are not adventerous, do not they find delight in the simplicity of the preperations of the fine local produce (ala Chez Panisse). I would also say that the lack of consistant, quality service plays into the equation. Too many laid back surfer dudes, college students and the others for whatever reason have ended up in the hospitality industry that hav ebad attitudes. With all this being said there are some great places to eat like Nine-Ten, Cafe Chole, Market, Jack's just to name a few. Like everyone one else, I'm bummed Nathan left Modus.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sure-

It's mostly chain food city down here.  There's nothing wrong per se with chain food, but there's little great about it.  Look at San Francisco.  There are few chain places to eat there.  If you want a great Italian eaterie.... you go to North Beach or to Union Street or Lombard or to Judah.  Not hard to find with almost no leads.  And here in San Diego?  Bucca de Beppo?  Olive Garden?  Fridays?  Mimi's Cafe?  There are some good places... don't get me wrong.  BUT--- there are so many mediocre places and places that are downright AWFUL (ketchup on linguine?)  that this is NOT known as a food city.  I challenge you to name 4 good French bistros in this town.  Other than perhaps La Bastide... I have yet to find a really good one.  There isn't a good Basque place anywhere.  There are few places that offer Chinese that rivals the WORST in San Francisco's Chinatown.  Or even equals a fair place in Los Angeles' Chinatown.  After 7 years on the road... the best this town has to offer is Mexican, is casino buffet and is chain cooking.  Things other than that can be good, but are priced like New York, but fall very far short for ambiance and for value.   And-- I'd love for anybody to prove me wrong, because I've been here for going on 5 years, and the two best meals I've had were Sunday brunch at the Del, and a churascorria in Tijuana (Pampos do Brasil).

hvr :angry:

Dude, are you sure we live in the same city :laugh:

No, San Diego is not a fine dining city and if it ever is, I'll be the first to eat my words. But...we are going on day 63 of a major kitchen remodel (down to the concrete floor and wall studs. We've eaten out a lot and only 4 meals (Coco's, IHOP, Original Pancake House and Baker's Square) were National chains, and 3 meals (Anthony's, The Brigantine and Perry's) are local chains. The remainder have been indy operations. Adn, my god, we're located in that dining wasteland known as the East County

The Original Pancake House is #2 on the Best Breakfast list, Cafe One-Three up on Park Blvd. one block south of El Cajon is #1. The worst meals were Anthony's and The Brig, and they were mostly bad because of the service.

My 88 year old mother has been one of the diners and oldsters are not exactly known for being adventurous, but I have to say she's been a pretty good sport about things. I am currently in Florida, but off the top of head here are some of the places we've been where we've had decent to very good meals.

Blue Water Grill - On India, sorta next door to El Indo

Cafe One-Three

Chopsticks Inn (La Mesa, old school Chinese/American)

Ra*ka*de*ka

La Trattoria (in Santee of all places

Scootz (Santee, fabulous broasted spuds)

Perry's in El Cajon for breakfast

Fish Merchant in San Carlos

the Little Fish Market

Ranas.com in Casa de Oro (even more of a wasteland than Santee)

Trattoria Antica

Jayne's Gastropub

Mayahuel

None of these are fine dining spots to be sure and none of then them are ever going to rate a Michelin star, but they are serving up some remarkably decent to good food in weird, wonderful and unexpected locations.

Edited by kalypso (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm looking for restaurant recommendations for a business dinner. There are about 8 of us and we are staying at the W hotel for 3 days of meetings. I am looking for recommendations for dinner within walking distance of the hotel for 1 and possibly 2 evenings. The restaurant should be fine dining with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients, a good wine list and options suitable for the one non-meat eater in the group. A seafood restaurant is OK - but we get lots of great seafood here in Vancouver so it isn't high on list of needs.

I would also appreciate any other recommendations you have for quick, easy and good food so I can escape the hotel and my colleagues for lunch and/or breakfast. And, (last request) very important to someone from Vancouver, is there anywhere close-by for truly great coffee/espresso?

Many thanks,

Cheers,

Karole

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A few doors down from the intersection of 30th and University, on the east side of 30th is Urban Solace, a new restaurant that has only been open a couple of weeks.

I stopped in for lunch today with a friend and had quite an enjoyable meal. The interior is stylishly elegant and when this place hits it's stride it will be a sophisticated addition to the growing cadre of good dining options in North Park. For a restaurant open only 2 weeks they're doing a lot of things right. Some of the recipes still need a little tweaking, but not by much. For example, the orange zest in the orange honey butter didn't really go with the green onions in the cheese biscuits, but the biscuits are good enough to eat plain. This is a not a difficult fix.

They're open 11 am - 11 pm. I'd encourage everyone to try this place at least once. There is loads of potential, I think it will only continue to get better and better the longer it is open.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm looking for restaurant recommendations for a business dinner.  ...  I would also appreciate any other recommendations you have for quick, easy and good food so I can escape the hotel and my colleagues for lunch and/or breakfast. And, (last request) very important to someone from Vancouver, is there anywhere close-by for truly great coffee/espresso?Many thanks,

I'm not so good at business-dinner recommendations, or downtown recs in general, as I usually haunt lower-budget areas. But for escapes from business-meeting mode my strategy would be to walk a couple blocks west of your hotel to India Street, and then north a few more blocks into Little Italy. At the very least, you'll find several sidewalk-cafe venues for coffee and etc. to check out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm looking for restaurant recommendations for a business dinner. There are about 8 of us and we are staying at the W hotel for 3 days of meetings. I am looking for recommendations for dinner within walking distance of the hotel for 1 and possibly 2 evenings. The restaurant should be fine dining with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients, a good wine list and options suitable for the one non-meat eater in the group. A seafood restaurant is OK - but we get lots of great seafood here in Vancouver so it isn't high on list of needs.

I would also appreciate any other recommendations you have for quick, easy and good food so I can escape the hotel and my colleagues for lunch and/or breakfast. And, (last request) very important to someone from Vancouver, is there anywhere close-by for truly great coffee/espresso?

Many thanks,

Well this location is a little bit tough for good options within walking distance, the closest things are on India Street, as another poster mentioned, and being in Little Italy most of these are Italian. I would recommend Indigo Grill as a non-Italian option http://www.cohnrestaurants.com/cohn/cohnre...ants/indigo.php

If you want to venture further into downtown there are a host of other options but this might require a short cab ride.

www.signonsandiego.com is a good site for some recs.

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Probably a cab ride rather than a walk, Chive gets good words here.

The gaslamp/central downtown area is definately a cab ride, albeit a very short one.

There are a myriad of good choices down there, and as mentioned Chive is excellent.

Some others I personally like:

-Taka (japaneese)

-Osteria Panevino

-Flemings

Some that are just ok but might be good settings for a business dinner with a group:

-JSix

-The Palm

-Ra

-La Strada

-Aqua al duo

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've had a couple of good meals recently at places that haven't been mentioned here so I thought I'd give them a mention. Neither is fine dining and both are family owned, neighborhood type of places. They aren't cheap eats, but neither will they break the budget.

Sabor Latino

This is a sorta new, mostly Mexican, place in San Carlos that took over the space formerly occupied by Ana Maria Peruvian. I'd call it contemporary Mexican more than traditional or alta cocina. Traditional items have been updated and given modern twists but fall far short of the creativeness of alta cocina. My limonada was fresh squeezed lime juice that was refreshing though it could have used more sweetener and there wasn't any on the table. The tortilla soup that is a choice with entrees was excellent. Though the menu says chicken broth, the base was really a creamy soup infused with a subtle smoky hint of chipotle. Finshed with crisp, thin strips of corn tortilla, fine dice of avocado and a sprinkling of cotija cheese, it's simply one of the best versions I've had in San Diego. The beans and rice accompanying the entrees are standard but both the puntas de filete a la tampinquena and the chicken mole were pretty good. The beef tips had been sauteed in a fresh tomato sauce with onions and serrano chiles. The mole, which a bit sweet for my taste, was well balanced and a nice match with the chicken.

Sabor Latino is located in a small Spanish-style shopping center at the corner of Navajo Rd. and Lake Murray Blvd.

El Comal

I'd heard a lot about El Comal and was anxious to try it. I was craving some good Mexican soup yesterday since the weather had finally turned a little bit chilly from our usual "sunny and 72* standard. A friend and I were actually on our way over to Cafe on Park for a late breakfast but were put off by the length of the wait so we changed gears and went over to El Comal for lunch.

El Comal is located in a converted old house on Illinois about a half block north of University Ave. in North Park. The place is quaint and charming and even though the menu has English translations, the wait staff doesn't speak a lot of English; I was liking this place already :biggrin: 3 table salsa and a basket of chips hit the table pretty quickly. We like the chunky salsa with fresh tomatoes, onion and a mild chile kick. We both loved the salsa verde with the pronounced flavor of roasted green chile. The 3rd sauce was, I think, chile de arbol based, and while good, it lacked some balance and was our least favorite. I think it would probably work well as a condiment for tacos, quesadillas, huraches , etc.

One of my favorite things from the Mexican kitchen are the soups, especially the ones that are an entire meal. I selected the Tlalpeno and my friend the Albondigas. Both soups were served in deep narrow soup bowls along with a smaller bowl of rice to be added to taste, a hot corn tortillas. Mine also came with the ubiquitous plate of chopped onion, cilantro, lime quarters and chopped serrano. My soup was chock full of juilenned carrots, zucchini, garbanzo beans and 2 nice pieces of chicken still on the bone. I would have liked the chicken broth to be a little richer, but still it hit the spot. My friend's albondigas were well seasoned and I thought the beef broth that they came in was pretty good.

Caldo de Res, Siete Mares and Posole Rojo/Posole Blanco are other soup options. There aren't a lot of "combination" plates here, but there are a lot of corn based antojitos and entree plates that sound pretty interesting that I want to go back to check out.

With Chilango's now gone, Sabor Latino and El Comal offer viable alternatives, though neither is quite as polished or sophisticated as was Chilango's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

If you haven't yet tried Papplecco on the fringes of Little Italy, go. The gelatos are lovely, smooth, creamy, rich, robustly flavored and so decadent considering there's only about 110 calories per cup. Espresso is wonderfully rich and full-bodied with nice crema. The serve a delightful iced coffee drink that comes in an oversized martini glass. In addition to coffee and gelato there is a short selection of salads, bruschettes and panini. The pear salad with assorted cheese, walnuts and "green sauce" (read really well balance pesto) is perfect for lunch. I'm pretty sure the pears are soaked in prosecco. I've only had the brushette Napoli with tomatoes, pesto and pine nuts, but is was light and refreshing and the tomatoes actually tasted like tomatoes.

The owner is charming, the ambiance is European, the gelato outstanding. It's at the corner of State and Cedar. Make a short 2-block detour east from India St and Little Italy and you won't be disappointed.

Edited by kalypso (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

What areas of San Diego will they be in? Price points? Any styles preferred?

Market, located in Del Mar is a recent opening of note, supposedly very good but I have not been yet. They also recently opened a Hard Rock hotel downtown with an outpost of Nobu, if that is your scene.

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A couple of rec's in each price point would be great. Also if there are things that arn't readily available here in NYC such as mexican food, that would be wonderful.

I'm not sure where they are staying but they are the type that will travel for good stuff.

Thanks again,

Toby

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A couple of rec's in each price point would be great.  Also if there are things that arn't readily available here in NYC such as mexican food, that would be wonderful.

I'm not sure where they are staying but they are the type that will travel for good stuff.

Thanks again,

Toby

Glad I could help, some info on where they are staying would be of great help since San Diego is very large and spread out.

Downtown has many good choices, but also many overpriced tourist traps. I mainly know the downtown area, beach areas and La Jolla and Del Mar areas as that is where I lived when I was down there.

First I would do a search in the forums and look up one of the many topics on San Diego, there should be quite a few.

A few places I like:

Taka - Japaneese, downtown

Panevino - Italian, downtown

Chive - Contemporary american, downtown

Indigo Grill - Latin, Little Italy/downtown

Tratoria Acqua - Italian, La Jolla

Oceanaire - seafood, downtown

Del Mar Pizza - self explanatory

Saffron - Vietnameese/Thai - Mission Hills

Rama - Thai, downtown

The Field - Irish pub, downtown

Monsoon - Indian, downtown

Most of the good mexican places are of the cheap shack variety.

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I need some food and drink reccomendations for a friend who is going there soon.  And another question, how are the drinks at the Hotel Del Coronado?

Thank you in advance,

Toby

San Diego is a big and spread out over a large geographical area, a car is essential as rapid transit is neither rapid nor especially efficient.

The North Park corridor has a lot of new and interesting restaurants starting with

The Linkery a place devoted to sustainable and locally grown products...including some of San Diego's finest craft beers.

Also in North Park are

Urban Solace stylish new place

Aperitivo - 30th & University (couldn't find their web site)

Alexander's - across the street from The Linkery

The Commonwealth Cafe

Heaven Scent Desserts

If downtown try

Stingaree and if your friends aren't into a "scene" have an early dinner and split before the tragically trendy arrive

Confidential

Dussini

JSix

Molly's Okay, this is in a hotel, but it's incredibly good.

The Ivy another hotel, but currently one of the hottest spots in downtown and the gaslamp

Cafe 222 for breakfast, at all cost SKIP Richard Walker's Pancake House

If in Little Italy

Songo diVino nice for a glass of wine and a quick app.

Mona Lisa or Pete's Meats for great sandwiches to go

Papplecco (State & Cedar)

(most of Little Italy is over priced and over rated Italian tourist food)

For Mexican, well unfortunately, San Diego doesn't really have great Mexican food. We've probably got more taco shop per square inch than anywhere else in the world, but good Mexican is hard to find

Candelas upscale alt cocina Mexican

El Agave in Old Town, if mole is the choice, this is the place. Can be inconsistent

Mama Testa Taqueria devoted entirely to tacos from every state in the Mexican republic. The Mojados de Carne are exceptional (a soup really, rolled tacos cut into lengths and floating in a richly flavorful and spicy broth) or the hard shelled mashed potato tacos

El Comal Since the closure of Chilango's this is the closest thing I've found to mid-range, not dumbed down Mexican food. On Illinois a 1/2 blk. north of Univeristy

Super Cocina - the only place in SD to go for homestyle Mexican cooking. On University between Cherokee and 37th. Very far off the beaten tourist track, locals only. Food is served from a steam table but do not let that deter you. This is truly homestyle cooking and is very, very good. They will give you as many tastes of items as you want. Very inexpensive. Neighborhood can be a bit sketchy, especially after dark, perfectly safe during the day

If going upscale

Cavaillion

Market Many votes for best new resto in SD

Tapenade

Addison

1500 Ocean at the Hotel Del and remarkably good

Mr. A's best view in town, you get the harbor + all the planes landing and taking off, at night it's magical...and the foods pretty darn good too.

If going mid-scale

Oceaniare probably the bet oyster bar in town, strong happy hour crowd with disposable income, service can be snotty.

Nine-Ten

Terra

And if your friend find themselves in or close to Balboa Park around happy hour time they should check out 7 for $7 before 7 pm at Laurel and that would be 7 apps for $7 before 7 pm, great bargain, sexy room.

SD is not really a food destination, but if you look hard enough you can really find some pretty interesting stuff happening around town.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

great recs Kalypso...

I will enthusiastically second the following Cafe 222, Laurel, Tapenade, and El Comal.

For breakfast I also like Hash House a Go Go in Hillcrest

For pizza Bronx Pizza in Hillcrest

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

Link to comment
Share on other sites

great recs Kalypso...

I will enthusiastically second the following Cafe 222, Laurel, Tapenade, and El Comal.

For breakfast I also like Hash House a Go Go in Hillcrest

For pizza Bronx Pizza in Hillcrest

You could feed a small army at Hash House :laugh: From the same folks that brought you Hash House comes The Tractor Room an ode to red meat, game and cocktails. Tables are close together, it's a little uneven, but the cocktails and apps are great and, as with Hash House, portions are on the obscene side of generous.

I don't know that I'd recommend pizza to anyone from NYC :shock: since most of my East Coast friends lament the lack of even marginally good pizza in SD. A lot of people, however, also seem to like Lefty's in addition to Bronx. And, Caffe Calabria is getting darn close to opening their new wood burning pizza oven and Napoli style pizzas. Yeah, they've been training to make pizza in Italy, we'll see how they do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...