Eating Solo in San Diego
A recent transplant from the Atlanta chowhound scene, I've moved out here without my regular dining companion, until he starts a new job out here in a few months. I'm currently located pretty near UCSD, where I enjoy a staggering array of grocery store options, but haven't had much success with the restaurant scene so far.
I'm looking for places relatively nearby where I can either A) get good takeout, or B) eat solo in a casual atmosphere, without feeling too out of place. I certainly wouldn't flinch at sitting alone at a sushi bar, but I've never been comfortable being the patron who sits down at a table with a glass of wine and a book before ordering...
I don't mind driving a fair distance, but if it's takeout, I'd like to stay within a reasonable radius such that my food won't get cold before I get home! As for budget, I'm a grad student, so moderate to inexpensive suggestions are the most welcome.
I like sitting at Oceanair's oyster bar downtown at 4th and J. It is very good food and a fun scene.
I dine alone quite a bit in San Diego, and find the small ethnic places are easier for single women diners. (Don't know what your gender is!) Take out from 99 Ranch Market and Mitsuwa is good and very cheap for grad students I am transitioning from grad to employed, and haven't experienced the freedom of a consistent paycheck yet. I did get out to Super Cocina, awesome food, very warm and friendly staff, and it is fun to make faces at the babies who are out late with their families. If you are compelled to read, The San Diego Reader can usually be found at the entrance to most places. San Diego CH's like to argue about the restaurant reviews in The Reader! Good luck and hope you make some dining-out friends.
I eat solo plenty of times and only eat at casual environs (particularly at the bar). Couple of places I can recommend to you:
1. Bernini's Bistro--La Jolla
2. George's at the Cove--middle, bar level in La Jolla.
3. Jordan Restaurant at Tower 23--Pacific Beach
4. Il Fornaio--Del Mar...very sociable and nice view.
5. Donovan's--La Jolla. Go for HAPPY HOUR--complimentary filet mignon sliders. Order a salad. Professional crowd.
6. 3rd Corner--wine bar bistro in Ocean Beach.
7. The Vine--wine bar bistro in Ocean Beach...very good food.
8. Cafe Chloe--wine bar bistro downtown.
9. World Famous--nice young crowd and very good, inexpensive food. Happy hours every day (i.e. Monday = all appetizers 1/2 price; Wednesday = $1.50 lobster tacos). Pacific Beach.
I eat out quite frequently on my own and agree with KatMom that ethnic restaurants are easier dining solo.
1. Jimmy Carter's Mexican Restaurant on Washington
2. Bronx Pizza on Washington
3. Luigi's Pizza (cook came from Bronx pizza) on 25th & B St
4. The Cottage in La Jolla
5. The Big Kitchen in South Park - for breakfast/brunch on weekends - sit in the section with the "u" shaped counter
6. Aesop's Greek Restaurant across from UTC
7. Bay Park Fish Co on Ashton and Morena
8. Just Fabulous Kensington
9. The Liar's Club in MB
10. El Zarape Mexican Restaurant on Park Blvd towards Adams
re: RB Hound
Aesops manager treated me very badly about a year ago. I ended up getting double charged on my cc bill and he acted as though it were my fault. Same $ amount, same day, minutes apart. Fourtunately I still ahd my original reciept. He interrogated me, like I ordered $26.71 of stuff twice, said it would take three days for them to check all billing, to call or come back then and when I told him I would sit there until he straightened it out. He never apologized for their error.
I've never gone back.