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Dec 17, 2006 09:37 PM

One dinner and two breakfasts or lunches in San Diego


LA hound and Cal grad here, driving down to San Diego to see Cal play in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 28th. My husband and I will be arriving sometime during the afternoon on the 27th depending on his work schedule that day, and we'll be driving back to L.A. at our leisure on the 29th. Looking for recommendations for dinner on the 27th and breakfasts or lunches for the 28th and 29th. On the 29th we could conceivably eat in La Jolla or somewhere else on the way back to L.A.

We're staying at the W and obviously we'll have a car, but it might be fun to have a meal within walking distance of our hotel if possible. Upscale Mexican or seafood might be nice for dinner. We are open to other cuisines, but not looking for sushi as we eat plenty of that in L.A., not looking for a steakhouse, and my husband doesn't like Thai food. Price is no object.

I scanned the board briefly and my interest was piqued by Chilango's. Can someone please describe it? On our last trip to the area a couple of years ago we ate at an upscale Mexican restaurant with a garden and loads of tequila bottles on display, but I cannot recall the name of the restaurant.

Thanks for the help.

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  1. Loads of tequila bottles? Sounds a little like El Agave on the fringes of Old Town.

    Here's the link for Chilangos -
    Candelas is donwtown on 3rd or 4th and also does upscale Mexican.

    Go for breakfast at Cafe 222, 2nd and Island or possibly Cafe Chloe. Richard Walker's Pancake House is also downtonw, but my experience there wasn't all that promising, even if there is a line out the door.

    Other good breakfast places to try would be Cantina Panaderia, any of the Mission Cafes, the Original Pancake House on Kearny Mesa, or even Perry's though this one's sort of like a gussied up truck stop, hash browns are great here. Breakfast is the one meal that San Diego does consistently well no matter where you go.

    Oceanaire at 4th and J does well with seafood. Stick to the straightforward, grilled fish entrees and you'll be fine. Good oyster bar, very large portion size on the sides, suitable for sharing. The green beans with hazelnuts were stellar the last time I had them. Top of the Market has it's fans as well.

    For informal seafood, for lunch perhaps, there is always Point Loma Seafood or Blue Water Grill (on India St.)

    2 Replies
    1. re: DiningDiva

      I will second the review of Point Loma Seafood. There WILL be a crowd and parking is limited but it's worth it. The food is as fresh as you can get. I swear it tastes like they grilled it minutes after catching and cleaning it.
      Another place I'd recommend if you're looking for an upscale dinner is The Prado at Balboa Park. I've had nearly every entree, appetizer and dessert ever served at the restaurant and have NEVER been disappointed and I tend to be a picky eater.
      Enjoy your time here!

      1. re: DiningDiva

        Yes - El Agave! As I recall it was pretty good.

        The menu for Chilango's looks promising. Along a similar vein, we are big fans of Babita here in San Gabriel. The chef/owner is from Sinaloa but he does great plates from other Mexican states as well, as well as an incredible chile en nogada during pomegranate season. If you ever get up here, definitely give it a try.

      2. If you're willing to drive for breakfast, I'd suggest Hash House a Go Go in Hillcrest on 5th Avenue- enormous and delicious breakfasts that will fill you beyond belief! Since you're looking @ weekdays, there shouldn't be much of a wait. Parkhouse Eatery on Park Blvd in University Heights is another favorite of mine for breakfast.

        Go Bears!!! Let's hope they do better @ the Holiday Bowl this year than the last time they made an appearance!

        1. I'd also recommend Prado in Balboa Park. It's a great restaurant, lovely ambiance, and located in an interesting area of the park to stroll before or after dinner.

          Another upscale place to dine is Bertrand at Mister A'at 2550 Fifth Avenue - 12th Floor,
          Take the elevator to the top floor and feel as if you are top of the world. You will be amazed at the panoramic city views at this romantic San Diego restaurant. The outdoor balcony wraps around 3 sides of the building. Dinner entrees range from $26 to $45 and do not include soup or salad.