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Nov 28, 2006 08:53 PM

Birdrock area

I just moved to North PB, and when I recently drove through Birdrock a few places perked my interest.

I saw:

Bahia Don Bravo
A Thai place, not sure on name
JJ's Pizza
Su Casa, up near nautilus st.
and a chinese place, also up near nautilus st.

Can anyone give me some recs in the area, or let me know whether any of the places I mentioned above should be avoided

thanks in advance

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  1. I ate at Su Casa once awhile ago and it was ok Mexican food but nothing special. If you live in LJ it is worth a try.

    1. Bahia Don Bravo is a local taqueria chain. The two that I've eaten at were actually pretty good.

      Bully's is a sister restaurant to the flagship (for lack of a better term) resto in Mission Valley. The prime rib is hard to beat, and if you're over 35 (at least in MV that's the age) the Happy Hour is excellent. Bartenders do know how to mix a cocktail.

      1. Is that vegi Indian restaurant still in that area. I think I remember it being named Galoka? I had gone there one night a few years back and thay had really great food, live music and drinks.

        1. I don't know why it is, but Birdrock has always been a tough area for restaurants. At various times in the past, the area has been home to some really good eateries (Cindy Black's, El Chalan Peruvian, and the Birdrock Cafe come to mind, but there have been other good ones, too). None of them, though, have really lasted all that long. Two that have lasted, but have morphed into something else are Su Casa and Bully's.

          There was a time, about 30-some years ago, when Su Casa was thought by many to be the best Mexican restaurant in town -- at least among those with fine-dining aspirations. There was a dimly lit and nicely upholstered bar, and the food was certainly more ambitious than the "number 1 taco and enchilada combo" that was prevalent then. The specialty, as I recall, was a very good version of enchiladas suizas and their guacamole was almost as good as I make at home. Moreover, the place had its own parking lot. Times and tastes change, though, and the place fell out of fashion. They've stayed in business through all those years, but the last time I ate there (over five years ago), the food was as Honkman described it, "ok Mexican food but nothing special." They still have their parking lot, though.

          Also a lotta years ago, Bully's La Jolla was one of the places we went when we got a craving for some serious meat in nice surroundings. It wasn't uncommon to see among the patrons a number of faces you would recognize from the local news shows or from San Diego Magazine. Bully's East, out near the stadium is where you might run into half the Chargers defensive roster. Anyway, Bully's La Jolla got old. The last time we tried the La Jolla location (and I admit it was years ago), it was like walking into a beer joint. The bar was dominated by a pool table and the restaurant side just seemed kind of threadbare. Since it's still open, however, I'm assuming it must have been renovated since then.

          Both Su Casa and Bully's were once destination dining spots, but seem now to be reliable if unspectacular neighborhood places. Birdrock is such a tempting location, though, you can bet that it will continue to attract ambitious restaurateurs willing to try again.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Jim Strain

            Ahh, Cindy Black' THAT was a restaurant.

            And wasn't OceanFresh in Birdrock, long years ago?

            1. re: Jim Strain

              Has anyone tried Maitre'D? I always wondered about that place.

              1. re: stevuchan

                Maitre D has been around for twenty years. I am unsure if they are still open on a regular basis. The venue is great for private parties. The restaurant used to be run by Louis Zelejack and his partner. Louis was the Maitre'd at the El Bizcocho at Rancho Bernardo Inn and also at Arnauds in New Orleans. He was a great old school hospitality guy. I am unsure if he is still running the place, as he has to be in his late 70's by now. The food (this is going back 15 years) is old school continental.

                1. re: buzznutter

                  I recently saw people milling about out front, so I assume they are still open. There web site has the Menu and states they 1 seating nightly, reservations required. I've lived in the area for many years and have never stopped in. Thanks for the info.


                  1. re: stevuchan

                    I've been to Maitre'D. We went a few months ago. It was pretty good, and completely bizarre (in a good way).

                    The host is a little odd, as is the decor. The interior made me think of Miss Havesham's house from Great Expectations. It was decorated with a lot of jewel-encrusted whatnots and shiny things. It made me think of New Orleans Square at Disneyland.

                    A nearby table had these large glowing objects on plates set in front of them, which were so large it was hard to tell what their purpose was. Then when we were served the same, we found they were swan ice sculptures with that held a cup of palate-cleansing sorbet, with a light buried somewhere in the base of the sculpture.

                    At the end of the meal, since it was my birthday, the host brought us a bottle of fruit infused vodka encased in a flower-decorated ice cylinder and he poured me a snort.

                    The food was quite good. It's a pretty cool place, with a very unique character all its own. It is expensive, so keep that in mind. Also, their clientele dress up, so lots of dinner jackets and nice dresses.

                    1. re: Josh

                      One thousand thank you(s). I have added it to a schedule.

            2. Interesting Tamale at the Bahia Don Bravo in Bird rock, kind of open faced, I like it a lot. Sadly Galoka is long gone, as is Chuck's Cuvee (old Bird Rock Cafe). The installation of the roundabouts put a lot of place out of business, mostly due to parking issues. Redevelopment is underway. I was unimpressed with the Thai place not bad, not great. JJ's serves average pizza, better bet is Pernicono's (sp) on Turquoise right next to the world famous (or infamous) West End. Bully's went through a rough patch, change in meat provider, but they've been back for a while now and better than ever. Prime rib for two, is still under $30, salad still mostly iceberg, soft brow bread is nice. Lupi is solid Italian fare with a reasonable wine list, Gnocchi is top notch, with a gorgonzola cream (have to request it, on menu is with Quatro Fomange) recently had the rabbit special and it was fantastic, ask Ruffo, the friendly owner, for a wine recommendation he always has something good that's not on the list. Su Casa is solid mex-american fare, table side guacamole, combos, some interesting soups (a non traditional siete mares, which was really good) and a decent crab enchilada. Mandarin House is the Chinese place, and the only one that delivers up the hill, it was horrible (only had delivery once); I've heard good things about dining in, but it's hard to go back.

              For Thai a better bet is to drive up Mount Soledad and try Pattaya Thai, it one of the better Thai places in town. It's on Soledad Mountain road next to the Liquor store, it's kind of hidden, From N. PB head towards the monument and hang a right at the second light on top of the hill, keep an eye out on the left side of the road. It's worth finding.

              There are a lot of other choices French Gourmet is good, Lalani's on Cass does a good Hilo style Moco, Latitude 32 has the best hot dog at the beach (All Beef Vienna, Polish, Fire), and Willy is in the process of putting in a kitchen next door. Turquoise coffee is solid. The Turquoise Cafe and Bar Europa has a good meat and cheese plate, and a reasonable wine list. La Playita taco shop also on Turquoise is a good taco shop, best items are the Chile Verde burrito and the Shrimp Diabla burrito I rarely stray from those two, they also have excellent fresh chips for a dollar a bag (big bag), I never but chips at the grocery store, these are way better.

              Hope this helps and welcome to the neighborhood.


              2 Replies
              1. re: stevuchan

                Did you ever tried the Cajun place (forgot the name) on Turquoise close to French Gourmet(which has a great bakery with European style pastry) ?

                1. re: honkman

                  Yes, many times. It's Chateau Orleans. The popovers with honey butter keep me comming back. I'm a certified New Orleans junkie (is it May yet?), the food is OK, service is good. Buds is better in my opinion, but if I want to stay local it works. Wednessday is a good night half off all wine. Blue plate specials are also bargain. I pack my own Crystal hot sauce, as they a often out.