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San Diego for 4 days, please edit on my food itinerary

  • j

Hello, I'm from Boston/NY looking for some rec's for my 4 days in SD (starting tomorrow). I'll be staying at Del Mar in Coronado

Day 1: From airport - drive straight to Super Cocina for late lunch
(maybe pick up some fish tacos to nurse the jetlag with). Any suggestions for takeout fish tacos in the Del Mar area (the brigatine? Miguels Cocina?)

Day 2: Going to Seaworld with the toddler - probably will do lunch (blech) at Seaworld because it is most convenient - Early dinner at
a sushi/Japanese joint - trying to decide between Kaito or izakaya sakura or Yu Me Ya. Are these places worth the drive to Encinitas? Are there really great sushi/Japanese places on the way back from Seaworld to Coronado? I also remember someone reccomended Cantina Panaderia which is near Seaworld?

Day 3: Day at the Del/beach: Lunch at Terrace, Cocktail at Peohe's. Dinner at Coronado (this is not flexible as we are attending a wedding there)

Day 4: Free/Flexible Day - Brunch at the Del. Haven't quite figured out this last day. I can either get Fish Tacos somewhere and find an activity to do around it. Trying to balance some toddler/grandparents friendly activities with chowdish food. Head over to Long Beach airport after dinner.

Option 1: Balboa Park - check out Extraodinary desserts, still need a dinner option on the way over Long Beach
Option 2: Fish Tacos - at El Zarape? but need to find some activity near it
Option 3: La Jolla, El Pescador Fish Market
Option 4: Mission Bay Park (would need rec's of places to eat)
Option 5: Seaport Village (same as above)

Other questions:
1. Couldn't find any "Must go places" in the Del Mar area so would love a few - but if nothing is really "worth" it then it is okay as I have a car.
2. Phil's Barbeque - is this worth going to? I spent 2 years living in Houston and really miss barbeque - Boston and NY just don't really compare. So I would be interested to try if you guys think it is comparable to TX

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  1. Just a note: Izakaya Sakura is very good, but only if you want Japanese atmosphere and authentic food. There are no California rolls or similar American style sushi rolls. It's not in Encinitas, but on Convoy, which is between the 805 and 163. There is no outside signage, so be sure to have the address.


    1. Option 3, La Jolla, is a good bet. El Pescador has tasty food (but the atmosphere is lousy). La Jolla has many good chow options though, if you want something more sit-down oriented.

      Also, in Del Mar I've had good meals at Cafe Del Mar. It's not anything special, but is unpretentious and straightforward non-chain fare. It's been there for a long time, under the same ownership. A lot of locals eat there.

      1. jayk, just to clarify, are you staying at the Hotel Del in Coronado, or in Del Mar, a relatively upscale community in San Diego just north of La Jolla. In reading your post I *think* you're staying in Coronado, but you keep mentioning Del Mar.

        There is a reason Californians are married to their vehicles, distances between things are not short. Such is the case with Coronado and Encinitas where you're considering sushi. They are not in close proximity to each other and on a week night that drive can be brutal. As ed has mentioned, Sakura is on Convoy St. which is much closer than Encinitas. However, if you are in Del Mar, then Encinitas is just a few freeway exits to the north up the freeway.

        If you are in Coronado, you can take the water taxi (from the dock by Peohe's) over to downtown where there are quite a few reliable options.

        Several people on this board like The Brigantine for fish tacos, and there is one in Coronado. The Brigantine is a local chain which can range from extremely good to "oh my god why did we come here", depends on the day, the servers and who's in the kitchen. Their fish tacos will be more upscale than El Zarape.

        If you do Balboa Park on your optional day there are lots of options for dinner in Hillcrest which is about 2 miles north of the park. There are about 115 restaurants in a 9 block area. Most of them are pretty respectable. It's heavy on Sushi and Asian, Mexican and Italian. California Cuisine is in Hillcrest and flies under the radar here, but is very good.

        Seaport Village is basically in downtown and within walking distance of many restaurants. Tin Fish (more fish tacos) is a short walk away, as is the Gaslamp, plus there is trolley access which can get you to Little Italy PDQ. There are always requests for downtown and Little Italy, you can do a board search for those.

        If you're flying out of Long Beach, allow yourself plent of time to get there. It is about a 1 12/ - 2 hour drive from SD with moderate to light traffic. Sometimes it can take longer to get out of San Diego County than it should take to get to the destination all together.

        Enjoy your trip, the weather should be great this weekend.

        1. At Super cocina -- dont be afraid to ask to try any of the Guisados. They will gladly give you a taste -- just ask.

          The fish tacos at the Brig in Del Mar are excellent - nice view of track as well.

          Sushi Ota is near Mission Bay.

          1. Since you lived in Houston, I think you would be dissapointed in Phil's. They do not cook low and slow over a hard wood fire.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Captain Jack

              Thanks for mentioning this, I forgot to include that in my reply.

            2. Thanks for the input guys.
              I'm staying in Coronado - sorry about the confusion - I typed the question last night at 2:00am but forgot to send it before I left for bed...
              Regarding Japanese - the more authentic the better - we are taking my in-laws who are of Chinese descent - but grew up in Japan after the Communist took over. He is very "old school" Japanese. We have a hard time with sushi/Japanese food with him because he is really picky. Another question is how baby friendly is Izakaya Sakura? Is it just a sushi bar? are there tables? If there are tables we will be fine but if it is just a sushi bar then we probably will have to skip it. We will be trying to go on a Friday so maybe we will have to avoid Encinitas (traffic reasons).

              Thanks for the info on Long Beach - didn't realize it might take 2 hours to get there. Are there places to eat dinner around there? or enroute?

              So are the Mexican restaurants in Coronado not worth it?

              2 Replies
              1. re: jayk

                When I go to Izakaya I see lots of families with small children eating there. Its surprising to see in a small place with such a "calm" atmosphere but it seems to work there.

                1. re: jayk

                  Sakura is not just a sushi bar. Not only does it have tables, but the cooked food from the kitchen is usually as outstanding as the sushi. Picky old-school Japanese should love it.


                2. When I last visited SD, I had dinner at the Terrace in the Del Coronado Hotel once. Delicious! I highly recommend the seafood appetizer (for two). And the cheesecake was really really a NY version.

                  View is gorgeous, too.

                  I also had dinner another night at Il Forniao, looking out at the bay. It's beautiful in the evening, with the downtown (?) city and boat lights dancing across the water.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chica

                    I agree with chica - if you go to the Del then eat on the terrace. The view of the ocean and being outside is hard to beat.

                  2. On Coronado, the main mexican place for active duty military to go to lunch (for Hail/Farwell dinners) is Miguels Cocina...its in the courtyard of the El Cordova Hotel...1351 Orange Ave. Not bad, good prices.

                    Sakura has tables. Its in the parking lot that has the Original Pancake House on Convoy Street....all the way back- northwest corner...NO signage, just an open door....

                    There are lots of places to eat between here and Long Beach. The only places you won't ahve food at an exit are when you pass through Camp Pendleton/just north of Oceanside and then the southern part of Orange County.

                    1. I do recommend TAKA downtown for the best sushi. Phil's BBQ is the bomb call in your order while heading there to avoid the long wait. Nati's in OB is a good mexican food.

                      1. Day2: You will not want to drive from Sea World to Encinitas for dinner after a day with a toddler, especailly on a Friday. Go to Izakaya Sakura in Convoy, much closer than Encinitas.

                        1. Natis makes tacos like mom used to make-with ground beef-....it has a definite following...

                          1. Don't get me wrong, Super Cocina is great. But Chilangos is much closer to the airport and IMO the food is more unique.


                            Also, Kazumi-san serves many Japanese people (the Sony execs in Mexicali bring him over twice a year) and the sushi is super. Also much closer to Coronado.


                            The Brigantine in Coronado goes under the Miguel's name.

                            Happy eating...

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: hungrylawyer

                              The Brigantine and Miguel's in Coronado are seperate restaurants. They are close to one another.

                                1. re: young_chower

                                  Prices are moderate. You can eat well and get out of there for under $20 including a beer. They have half price specials on Monday.

                                  Here's their web site http://www.chilangosgrill.com/
                                  It does not, unfortuantely, include prices, but there is a page for special deals you could check out

                              1. Sushi Ota is in Pacific Beach, just off the 5 freeway on Mission Bay Drive. Theoretically "close" to Sea World and has very good sushi. Izakaya Sakura is about 5-10 min further away on Convoy Ave (and NOT in Encinitas, thus the drive is very do-able). I could see a 2 year old being there without any problems--it is a much more casual place than Sushi Ota.

                                Cantina Panaderia is in Pacific Beach, just north of Sea World. Great breakfast and casual lunch for cheap ($10-15 person), would be fine for kids.

                                You are asking about places in Del Mar, but by the way your post is written, it is not clear if you mean places around the Hotel Del Coronado or Del Mar itself. Del Mar is a separate city/town, about 30-40 minutes north of the Hotel Del Coronado. And yes, there are a few places in Del Mar that are worth going to if you're in the area.

                                For places on the way to Long Beach, you might want to do a search on the LA Board because you'll be passing through Orange County on the way up. If you want something quick and fast, there are a few In-and-Out Burgers just off the 5 freeway. There's one in Carlsbad off the Palomar Airport Road exit and another in Manhattan Beach (LA County). Keep in mind traffic can be brutal, depending when you travel.

                                1. Seaworld will let you bring a picnic lunch! Get some great takeout and bring it with you.

                                  1. The prices at Chilango's are fairly moderate. They have a $6.99 luch deal that is agrewat deal: cup of soup, (entre about 6-8 shoices), agua fresca and ice cream. Dinner is less than $15 p/p plus drinks.

                                    1. Hi! Thanks for the posts everyone. Just came back from my trip:
                                      Super Cocina - probably not the best place to take in-laws who are not Chowish - especially straight from the airport. I think it was "too authentic" for them. Though I thought it was delicious and ended up splitting another plate with DH. Birria and carnitas was esp memorable.
                                      Izakaya Sakura - Booked 5:00 table. Didn't know that the sushi chef doesn't come until after 6:00!!!Ordered some hot foods cooked by Mexican chef. Oden wasn't that great, but oysters were okay, zuchinni w/pork was pretty tasty. Most memorable, tako with wasabi, ika soba, sea urchin. Saw some people at the bar ordering exotic stuff. Was jealous.
                                      Also had lunch at Terrace and cocktails at Del Mar. Food/drinks not memorable but the ambiance was. Nice way to spend a couple hours in the afternoon.

                                      1. Some great places in and around SD:

                                        $ - under ten per plate
                                        $$ - under twenty
                                        $$$ - over thirty

                                        1) Great Tacos - Mama Testa in Hillcrest $
                                        2) Great Breakfast - The Cottage in La Jolla $$
                                        3) Great Sushi - Sushi Ota - Pacific Beach $$
                                        4) Great Dining - Nine-Ten in La Jolla $$$
                                        5) Great Burgers - Hodad's in OB $
                                        6) Great Pastries - Eduard - A Taste of Europe (I am biased, since it is my place!) - East Chula Vista $
                                        7) Great Ambiance - The Marine Room in La Jolla $$$
                                        8) Great Comfort Food - Crest Cafe in Hillcrest $
                                        9) Great BBQ - Phill's in Mission Hills $$
                                        10) Great Gelato - Gelato Vero in Middletown/Mission Hills $

                                        Other Great places:
                                        Cafe 222 (Gaslamp) -- great breakfasts $
                                        Dobson's (Gaslamp) -- great bar & grille $$
                                        Bronx Pizza (Hillcrest) or Lefty's (North Park)-- great pizza $
                                        El Pescador in La Jolla - great fishery $
                                        The Linkery in South Park - great sausage $$
                                        Vagabond in South Park - great bistro food (Moule Frites!) $$
                                        Region in Hillcrest - great story (closing before end of the month, but we restaurateurs in town owe them a great debt of gratitude for their slow cook revolution in the city!!) $$

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: PastryLover

                                          I imagine you have good taste in pastries. What places would you recommend up in central or northern San Diego?

                                          BTW, this would be a great post to add to this thread:


                                          1. re: Joseph


                                            I don't get much to the north county for pastries, but here are some places that I can comment on:

                                            VGs-great donuts
                                            Champagne - a little over priced but decent

                                            In the central city:

                                            Extraordinary Desserts - get's a lot of pub, but a bit over priced

                                            Just Fabulous - recently rid itself of their main pastry guy Marcelo, so the quality may be off...

                                            Bread & Cie - best artisan bread in the city

                                            Con Pane - 2nd best artisan bread in the city

                                            Bread on Market - I hear good things about it, but I haven't made my way down yet



                                        2. PastryLover - what is VGs? Where?



                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: maureen

                                            VGs is a little hole in the wall donut shop in Cardiff by the Sea, just off of Pacific Highway.

                                            This is a blurb from some website I just Googled:

                                            "Hardly a soul is alive who hasn't heard of VG Donuts, a landmark of Cardiff-by-the-Sea. It is referred to as the Cardiff City Hall where “decisions are made”. Started in 1967 by the Mattee family, the third generation is now selling delicious donuts to the public. When the business was purchased no one thought about the name which happened to be the initials of the former owner's daughter so they decided to keep it and call it Very Good Donuts, and that they are."

                                            It is in a non-descript strip mall, not exactly on PCH, but you can probably see it from PCH. Donuts are really fresh in the morning and later on in the evening. If you hit them at the right time, they'll give you donuts right from the baking sheet.

                                            It is not at all high-end, but the donuts are quite good.

                                            Coffee is blah though.

                                            Good people watching as you see the local surfers, business folks and regulars from Del Mar to Carlsbad coming by for their fill of treats.