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good restaurants around UTC area

I've only been in San Diego for about 3 months now and still could not find good restaurants in the UTC area. Does anyone have any recommendations for any time of food (Japanese, Italian, Chinese, American, anything!!)?


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  1. Sure!- I've had good lunches at Tutto Mare. For me, that's about it. Lots of people like Roys and Roppongi as well.


    1. Donovan's Steak House.

      Roppongi is on Prospect in La Jolla, not UTC unless there is a new outpost I don't know about.

      Did you mean Japengo?

      1. Duh, not Roppongi, Cafe Japengo.

        It's north of I8, way out of my territory. ; }


        1. There are a lot of eateries in the UTC/Sorrento area, but they are mostly high-volume, high-turnover, popular-priced places. Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes you want something better without having to drive for miles and miles.

          Donovans and Tutto Mare have already been mentioned. The other one that can do some very nice stuff is the Brasserie (The WineSellar and Brasserie)-- though you might not consider that the UTC area. I haven't tried the relatively new Harry's Bar & American Grill, but I used to really like the one in Century City. Good luck.
          . . . jim strain in san diego.

          1. The Renaissance Center has three places worth going to on occasion:

            Barolo - Italian, can be very good, though not really truly outstanding. Mid-range for prices (roughly $14 entrees). Some homemade pastas which are done well. Decor is poor.

            Edo Sushi - Doesn't look like much, but ask the really fun guys behind the bar what is good and they'll lead you the right way, especially if you share your saki. Again, a very, very solid place with good value. Definitely worth a visit if you live in the area. In terms of comparison I think the food is substantially better and cheaper than Japengo. Japengo has a 'scene', but I find it ordinary, trendy, and overpriced. For me, sushi in UTC is Edo.

            Le Peep - Okay, its a chain and there are many better breakfast places in SD. But, for a neighborhood chain place the food is good - better than you might think. When you don't want to drive to the Mission and wait it is worth it to have a nice breakfast on the covered patio. The OJ and coffee are usually good as are the dishes served in skillets (blanking on the name). And you can bring your dog, but you might have to wait for one of the tables in the 'dog allowed' section.

            3 Replies
            1. re: rotochicken

              The dishes served in skillets at Le Peep are called (drum roll) "skillets". :)

              When I lived in that area, I liked to go to BJ's from time to time. Decent food for a chain, and a few good beers on their menu. Rock Bottom was very hit and miss, but they always had a few good beers on tap (unlike many of their sister restaurants) - I think the local influence helped in that respect.

              I'll have to give the Miami Grill a try - it sounded interesting. I always thought that was a stupid place for a brewpub, so maybe it will do better than the various incarnations of the brewpubs that went in and out of the place over the past 6 years.

              1. re: RB Hound

                Miami Grill isn't a brewpub. They call themselves Cuban/Asian fusion, but I prefer their Cuban food over the Asian dishes. The first one is in Poway and we like going there. We try to avoid it on weekends because it gets crowded.

                1. re: leanneabe

                  I'm sorry; I wasn't clear. I wasn't saying that Miami Grill was a brewpub, but the space in which it occupies had been brewpubs prior to that, at least three different ones to my best recollection.

            2. Barolo: Good north Italian restaurant with house made pasta

              Wired: Small "french" style bistro (for breakfast and lunch) in the same Renaissance Center as Barolo

              Chicago on a bun: I have never eaten any Chicago style sandwich outside of SD so I can't compare how authentic they are but I liked them. Also in the Renaissance Center.

              Le Peep: Also in the Renaissance Center. Good for breakfast and lunch.

              Cafe Japengo: Good place for asian-fusion food and sushi

              Roys: Good high-end chain.

              Sammy's Woodfired Pizza: Not bad for a small chain with very good tapas. Same shopping mall as Roys.

              Bristol Farms: It's a big upscale supermarket but has also a small restaurant inside which has some good food. Some nights they have also some winetastings or invite chefs from other restaurants for special dinner etc.

              1. I haven't been in a couple years, and it's a chain, but Fleming's had some good steaks if you're a carnivore.

                1. I work in the area, and have a lot of rec's for lunch places. In the mall, there is a new place called Miami Grill (I think) stoped in while shopping and had some amazing empanadas, also the Ahi Poke was solid, fusion style with Avo, but still good. As stated above Donovan's is the best steak you can get outside of home cooked in SD. I also agree with the Edo rec.

                  1. I'm surprised nobody mentioned Daily's Fit and Fresh. It's healthy dining (the owner is a cardiac surgeon), but prepared tastefully. It's next to Le Peep.

                    1. I strongly 2nd Edo Sushi--way better sushi and not so "sceney" as Cafe Japengo. And not so overpriced. Go to Japengo if you want Asian fusion, non-sushi food.

                      Donovan's is the best steakhouse around, Fleming's a good 2nd.

                      Z Pizza in the Ralph's/Trader Joe's complex has good pizza. BJ's Pizzeria for Chicago style deep dish pizza. Sammy's for stronger flavored pizzas and pastas than California Pizza Kitchen (also in UTC).

                      Whole Foods for all good, gourmet take out--salad bar, hot food bar, burrito bar, pizzas, sandwiches and their prepared food bar. Dangerous place to go when you're hungry. I think their food is better than Bristol Farms.

                      Roy's is good Asian fusion.

                      Winesellar and Brasserie is in the Sorrento Mesa area, north of UTC.

                      1. say no to Donovan's.

                        twice i've gone, twice my steak has come out badly.

                        and from personal experience im not the only one

                        i will give you a nice lil surprise place to eat for lunch.
                        The ralph's off villa la jolla drive. DELICIOUS sandwiches.

                        Also rock bottom has a good happy hour

                        1. For pizza, just on the other side of the 805 is Bonjurnio's (sp) posted about it earlier, one of the guys from Bronx pizza split and open a joint with his brother.

                          1. Following up on the Miami Grill comments, this is the second restaurant for these folks (the first is in Poway). I have been going to the Poway location since it opened maybe 1 1/2 years ago. Cuban, Jamaican and a mix of other stuff. Really good and a tremendous value.

                            1. Also agree about the Baralo posts. Been there many times. Always get the penne norcina (penne, crumbled sausage, cream sauce, and a hint of truffle oil). It's quite tasty. If only their bread was better...


                              1. Three points:

                                I believe the weird little French place has closed. Perhaps I am thinking of the wrong place. Perhaps it has re-opened. However, the little French shop/counter/wine tasting place between Chicago on a Bun and Barolo was closed a month or so ago.

                                Daily's is closed on weekends, I believe, for what its worth.

                                And, Barolo's website is www.barolos.com. A little odd, since they call themselves 'Barolo'.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: rotochicken

                                  The French place which is closed was a small shop selling cheese and wine (forgot the name). The French breakfast/lunch place names Wired is still open (at least it was two weeks ago).

                                  1. re: honkman

                                    Ah! I never realized that place had a French slant - I always assumed it was like a coffeehouse with a name like 'Wired'. If is is open on weekends I will stop in.
                                    Sorry for the confusion.

                                2. Wired is definately still there and very worth a visit. They have real french bread, best I've found in San Diego. Apparently gets flown in from Paris 3 times a week.