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Updated: San Diego Chowhounds pls help...


Torrey Pines was booked, and already played at La Costa so for the limited amount of time we have, decided to play on an average course (riverwalk-- dont know if any good?) and focus on the eating!

Booked an early dinner reservation for George's on the Cove, per recommendation. Will research daantaat's recs per location and fare to see what we can grab for lunch after our 7:00am round.

Haven't decided between Extraordinary Dessert or Just Fabulous (with a pit stop at Caffe Calabria) yet-- both sound delish.

Any other eats you can think of that i'm missing???

my sincerest thanks.

Hi SD Chowhounds,

This LA Chowhound is looking for some recs. Heading down there for a special occassion for only one day (next sunday) with S.O. who is a big time foodie.... and I would like a memorable time.

What are some good places for:
-lunch/brunch, not too expensive but good.

-very nice, romantic memorable dinner (he likes meat-red meat, haha) after a round of golf (haven't picked a course yet)

-dessert (i've heard of extraordinary desserts, do you second the recommendation?)

Any inside knowledge of excellent, local, tucked-away restaurants are especially appreciated. No chains, nothing we can get in LA please... I've got a very picky palate to surprise and satisfy.



PS: just driving down for the day, so with the exception of golf, we're not limited to staying in any particular area- although we don't have much time to travel too far with just a day trip either...

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  1. Well let me advise staying in the northern part of the county. If you haven't golfed at La Costa Resort I recomend it. Green fees aren't to bad and it's a beautiful course. But the real attraction of the area is the new little gem tucked away right next to the resort. On the other side of La Costa Ave. is Red Dahlia which is a realitivly new restaurant but it's really worth checking out for a great, cheap option in a great part of San Diego.

    1. if you are combining golf and food, do both at the Torrey Pines Lodge on the Torrey Pines Golf Course. Their in-house restaraunt, AR Valentien, has terrific food and was mentioned in the LA Times West Magazine Restaraunt Issue a few years back when it opened. Will not disappoint. I think it's open for dinner only. Other good options for dinner in La Jolla are Tapenade, Nine-Ten and George's on the Cove (downstairs dining only).

      If you will be in the La Jolla area, the best breakfast/brunch and won't break the bank options are Mission Cup Cafe or The Cottage. Both can get crowded at peak times. For lunch, Piatti's in La Jolla Shores does nice Italian food at moderate prices. I have also heard that Barbarella's, across the street has good food.

      4 Replies
      1. re: daantaat

        We have tried Extraordinary Desserts. The name is not an exaggeration, but Extraordinary Prices would be equally valid. The newer location downtown is very stylish and very busy on the weekends.

        However, if price is included in your equation, or you want to eat somewhere a bit more intimate, I recommend Just Fabulous in Kensington. The plates don't have the gold leaf and ostentatious touches found at ED, but it is a nice, intimate spot out in a quieter neighborhood. And the food was just as good.

        I hope another San Diegan can confirm my impression; I haven't eaten at the Hillcrest location of E.D., and have only had dessert at these places a couple of times.

        There is also a third place that recently opened in North Park, called Heaven Sent Desserts. Alice Q and friends did not recommend it, but it may have improved.

        1. re: Joseph

          I can absolutely second the recommendation for Just Fabulous, it is, indeed, just that. Great desserts without the attitude.

          I've also eaten at Heaven Sent in North Park, not worth the drive in from La Costa or La Jolla. Prices are extremely steep - $12 for a plated dessert - for the area and not everything works or is worth that price. The scone was heavenly, the sea salted oatmeal cookie was so salty you couldn't eat it. The SD Reader and U/T have both reviewed it. Naomi Wise, who doesn't like much of anything, didn't like it because they don't use butter in their baking. Maria C. Hunt, who likes almost everything, liked Heaven Sent.

          If you're in the area try Caffe Calabria instead. Very good coffee with good desserts (and light food) at reasonable prices

          1. re: DiningDiva

            I forgot about Caffe Calabria. It is not a dessert or food destination, but it has the best espresso and brewed coffee in the county.

            If it fits into your schedule, drop by after dinner and before dessert at Jus Fabulous. Even if you don't like straight espresso anywhere else, sit down and drink a double-shot (regular) with a glass of sparkling mineral water on the side. It is a revelation; rich and almost sweet.

            Calabria also roasts coffee (in a big room next to the cafe; you can look in through windows in the partition and see the men at work during the day), and it is worth the trip to pick up a lb or two. The cafe is a (money-losing) labor of love for the owners, but what a love it is.

          2. re: Joseph

            I agree with Just Fabulous/Kensington - the desserts are wonderful. Extraordinary Desserts has some very good things but they are getting too expensive and the desserts are becoming becoming too "restaurant sophisticated". I don't know what other term to use to explain complicated, more sophisticated, unusual flavor blends to some of their desserts. These blends do not always work.

        2. Extraordinary Desserts is just that. Check out their website before you go to get an idea of what a wonderful experience you'll have. Yes, it's pricey, but it's worth it. It's not an everyday kind of place! My mom still raves about it, and I haven't lived in SD in years. It's got a great atmosphere, and of course, everything from the desserts to the coffee and tea are out of this world.

          My, how I miss San Diego!!

          1. THANK YOU for all the great recommendations- I will be looking into tee times at both La Costa and Torrey Pines to see what they've got. I've compiled all the recs and started brainstorming a way to make all this happen-- Keep the great suggestions coming!!

            THANKS AGAIN.
            (I'll be sure to report back)

            1. Riverwalk is a 'resort style' course, short and fun. Torrey Pines is awesome but its almost impossible to get a tee time.

              Consider lunch at Con Panne in Point Loma, at the intersection of Rosecrans/Canyon St. Its a 10 minute drive from Riverwalk. Great sandwiches and bread. The PB/Toffee cookies are worth the visit alone.

              ED is overrated. The cakes look better than they taste and cost a small fortune. You are better off ordering dessert at Georges rather than driving to ED and waiting in line for dessert.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sdnativa

                THANK YOU for your suggestions!


              2. If you're already going to be in La Jolla for dinner, another dessert option to consider is Michele Coulon Dessertier:
                7556 Fay Avenue, Suite D
                La Jolla, CA, 92037
                Tel: (858) 456-5098

                It's a well-known establishment and has incredibly decadent desserts!

                Riverwalk GC isn't too far from Hillcrest and all of the wonderful options you have there. There's also a relatively new restaurant in South Park called Vagabond that's been getting rave reviews- I haven't been there yet, but I'm dying to try it. You might want to give them a call and see if they're serving lunch (it's not clear from their website):

                Another wonderful option in the same neighborhood as Vagabond is the Linkery: http://www.thelinkery.com/

                Neither is very far from Cafe Calabria, so you could drop by there after lunch. This has made me very hungry- I wish I was going golfing with you!

                1. Vagabond does, indeed, serve lunch and it might be a better bet at lunch than dinnger. Be forewarned that it is a VERY hot and VERY LOUD (as in it would be helpful to know sign language) space. Lunch is more peaceful.

                  1. I really recommend the following places for dinner:

                    Nine Ten in La Jolla at the Colonial Hotel on Prospect. This place is out of this world...for a meat eater the espresso braised short ribs are as close as it comes to heaven. Everything I have ever eaten there is amazing from start to dessert (original things you don't find elsewhere). Atmosphere is elegant and romantic at night.

                    Region in Hillcrest. This restaurant is part of the slow food movement and only used fresh local ingredients. The dishes are seemingly simple because of the limited ingredients but every combination is just perfect...their menus change daily based on their ingredients. Desserts are also very original and quite tasty. Atmosphere is urban/french country.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: iLoveFood

                      I agree completely with both choices (Nine-ten and Region).

                      However, I am crushed to report that the espresso braised short ribs have been replaced on the menu. I thought that dish was incredible - and for light eaters it made an almost full entree for $12. It has been replaced by a port wine braised short rib with potato foam and truffle emulsion ($13). Still a really, really good dish, but not as good as the espresso braised version IMO. But, change is good and I don't feel the need to order that as a first or second course every time.

                      And, as always at Nine-ten - get dessert.

                    2. Linkery for lunch, followed by coffee at Cafe Calabria is a great suggestion.

                      I think Region is very overrated and wouldn't recommend it to anyone, but Nine-Ten is awesome.

                      I also would say that Extraordinary Desserts usually lives up to their name, with few exceptions. Not every cake they make is transcendant, but they have some that are always stellar. If you like chocolate (and really, who doesn't?) then the Noiramel and the Caribe are both awesome and never disappoint. Another aspect of Extraordinary Desserts that's overlooked is their incredible ice cream - if you see the all-too infrequent mascarpone cheese or sour cream flavors make sure to give them a try. Extraordinary Desserts also pours Kona coffee, though you do pay for it.

                      I would avoid Heaven Scent desserts - they are not worth the money. ED is around the same price and far superior.

                      George's does have good dessert - they have both traditional styles, and experimental. I had a pretty interesting chocolate tart with sea salt and smoked almonds. It was interesting, but really didn't do that much for me. I'd rather have a slice of EDs Caribe, which is served atop a pool of swirled strawberry and passionfruit coulises.