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Sep 23, 2006 06:52 AM

San Diego recommendation in downtown?


I will be in San Diego this winter for a short trip staying at the Holiday Inn on Harbor Drive. The exact address is:

Holiday Inn San Diego-On the Bay
1355 N Harbor Dr
San Diego, CA 92101

Can anyone suggest good breakfast, seafood and mexican places near by? Thanks.

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  1. Will you have a car?

    Many of our favorite places are outside of downtown; that area tends to be more expensive and touristy.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Joseph

      Yes, I think I will. Any good eats for about 15 minutes drive?

      1. re: huitse

        Many of the board-favorite places will be within that radius, if you don't mind putting a few miles on the rental car.

        San Diego has many good traditional American breakfasts, as well as some more inventive options. We like The Mission for latino-inspired breakfasts as well as American brunches (they also have a location downtown, I think). http://www.sandiegosundaybrunchmaster... has a whole list of the many brunches in town. We like Just Fabulous for brunch or dessert. Or search this board:

        For Mexican, in order of increasing price, try El Zarape for excellent $1 fish tacos among other San Diego/Baja style things; Mama Testa for good DF (Mexico city) tacos (be adventerous); Super Cocina for real Mexican home-style meals, and Chilango's for a high-end dinner.
        Any taco stand ending in "-berto's" (Roberto's was the original) will have local carne asada burritos (all meat with guacamole-based sauce) and california burritos (carne asada plus fried potatoes; worth trying once), as well as the ubiquitous fried fish tacos.

        Check out this thread for seafood:
        Blue Water Grill might be what you are looking for. I would avoid Point Loma Seafoods; it wasn't bad, but there are better options.

        If you are in to sashimi and sushi or hong-kong style seafood there are also some choices in those areas: Sushi Ota and China Max are consistently mentioned. Kirk's blog has good reviews of many asian places:

        You might want to consider trying some Vietnamese food while you are here; it is probably the strongest ethnic food community, especially close to downtown. Kirk has reviews; I like Thien Thanh for full meals. Pho Ca Dao specializes in beef rice noodle soups (they also some other soups), and there are several good Banh Mi sandwich places with amazing prices.

        If you like coffee, try Caffe Calabria in North Park; by far the best espresso, and they roast their own beans.


        1. re: Joseph

          Great suggestions, I will definitely try these. Thanks!

    2. The Mission in Ocean Beach has an excellent breakfast.

      2 Replies
      1. A Joseph indicated a lot will depend upon whether or not you've got a car. Assuming you don't...........

        You are within walking distance of Little Italy on India St. Here are a few suggestions:

        - For a quick bite or lunch try Pete's Meats for (what else) a meat sandwich
        - For a glass of wine and appetizers try Il Sogno di Vino
        - For a relatively decent cup of coffee or mocha try Urban Grinds
        - For a nice Italian meal try Vincents
        - For a red checked table cloth type of meal try Filipi's, which, FWIW, is a San Diego institution having been around for about 50 years.
        - There are about 35 restaurants on India St. of varying degrees of quality and pricing. Many have their menus posted on, or close to the sidewalk. Most are Italian but there is an Argentinian restaurant down at India and Grape that's been getting a pretty decent buzz.

        Kettner Ave. is closer to you than Indias St., and you'll find Bud's specializing in Cajun and Creole food. The Waterfront is also on Kettner which is a dive bar gone respectable. It's no longer a dive, with the redeveloment and gentrification on the downtown area the business crowd has gradually pushed out the riff-raff. But you can get a respectable burger there.

        You can grab the Blue line trolley at the County Center/Little Italy stop or Santa Fe Station and take it a few more stops to the Gaslamp District. There are even more restaurants in the Gaslamp than there are on India St. Be forewared that this is one of San Diego's primary tourist draws. Meals are pricey and while some are very good, others are a lot of flash and no substance.

        Cafe Chloe, Chive and Cerisse all get thumbs up from a lot of the posters on this board. Candelas serves upscale Mexican food in the style of Mexico City. It's actually pretty good, a little on the pricey side, and not what most American's think of as Mexican; i.e. tacos, burritos, enchiladas, or the combo plate special. There are a number of trendy see and be seen bars and lounges including Confidential, Stingaree, House of Blues and the JBar.

        For breakfast try Cafe 222, Soliel @ K which is located on the first floor of the Marriott by Petco Park, or JSix which is located in the Solamar hotel. Or you could try Richard Walker's Pancake House a recent transplant from Chicago. I ate there a few weeks ago and blogged about it here - - in an entry dated August 7th (you'll have to scroll for it if you check it out, the link seems to have disappeared)

        For seafood, there is Oceanaire Seafood Room, the Fish Market, Top of the Market or even Tin Fish, which is right across from the Convention Center.

        You are well within walking distance of downtown San Diego's other tourist trap, Seaport Village. There are a number of forgettable restaurants in there, but on a day with nice weather it's not a bad place to visit to simple hang out and watch the world go by.

        You are also close to the Grand Hyatt Manchester and the Marina Marriott, both of which have hotel restaurants, Sally's and Molly's respectively, turning out pretty good food. I used to recommend people go up to the bar at the Top of the Hyatt, but have heard recently of a couple of bad service experiences there.

        Enjoy your trip.

        3 Replies
        1. re: DiningDiva

          Thanks, this is great stuff.

          Quick question, is "Fish Market" a chain restaurant? Because we also have Fish Markets here in the SF bay area.

          1. re: huitse

            Yes, I believe it may be. Top of the Market more formal and upscale and is the better of the two options, the downstairs restaurant is more casual.

          2. Also on India Street, inside Solunto's bakery, you can gert a great breakfast or lunch...with *really* fresh bread...

            1. I think that Ciero's Pizza downtown had some damn good NY style Pizza, just as good as Bronx (which I frequent). It's on 6th and Market streets. Here is their website:


              Cheap, good, and quick. Who could ask for anything more?