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San Diego zoo area for a late lunch?

  • g

Will be there on Tues or Wed next week. Thanks!

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  1. There are many options in the Hillcrest neighborhood, just northwest of Balboa Park and the zoo, especially along University Avenue east and west of 6th Avenue -- Afghan (Khyber Pass), New York-style deli (City Delicatessen), Indian, Chinese, Brazilian, bakery/sandwich shop (Bread & Cie.), etc. etc. etc.

    1. There is an a pretty nice looking restaurant inside the zoo called Alberts. I've never eaten there. Does anyone have an opinion on it?

      1. I ate at Albert's a few years ago, and it was pretty good then. I have no idea how it is now, however. Another suggestion would be The Prado, which is right in Balboa Park. It's good, and would be well-suited to a late lunch.

        1. I go to the zoo once a month w' the grandkids . Never knew about Alberts. Can you tell me where it is? Type of food,etc.

          2 Replies
          1. re: kitchenhag

            Albert's is in the center of the zoo in the treehouse area. There is a cafeteria type place above it but Alberts is a little hard to find because its below the main level. Food looks good. Heres a link to the menu:

            1. re: stonedes

              I will give it a try next time we're there....thanks for the link

          2. The Prado is just south of the zoo in the main part of Balboa Park near the Space Museum. You can easily walk to it from the Zoo's main gate. Eclectic menu - but enough standards to please everyone. Ideal for a late lunch, be sure to ask to sit outside.

            1. These are all a short drive from the Zoo.

              Jimmy Carters Mexican resteraunt on Washington offers a great selection of specialties from the interior of MExico.

              You can to Bronx Pizza on Washington Avenue, they sell by the slice and if you are with Kids, it is pretty easy and fast.

              Bread and Cie on University Ave, has great sandwiches. They can also pack a box lunch to go, which is great for a picnic. They have adult and kid style sandwiches.

              Whole Foods has a food bar that is always good. They also have a microwave in the dining area that will allow you to heat something of your own choosing.

              Mandarin Dynasty has good Chinese food on the corner of University and Normal Streets, near the Zoo.

              Let us know what you choose.

              1. Whatever you do-do not eat at Jimmy Carters!!! There is Park Blvd Cafe, near Adams Ave. Or a great new New York pizza place opened up on 25th, I think the cross street is B(its across the street from turf club-By far the best pizza in town so far-not as greasy as Bronx, although it holds a soft spot in my heart, sorry guys. It's a little further than some other places but so worth it.

                2 Replies
                1. re: foodforthought

                  I like Jimmy Carter's Mexican Cafe. It used to be one of my favorite spots when I lived in Mission Hills. I wouldn't recommend it as a lunch spot for someone going to the zoo (too far), but I'm curious about why you are so strongly opposed.

                  1. re: srk

                    I am also suprised as to why someone would have so much opposition to Jimmy Carters Mexican Resteraunt. I have always found the food to be very good and also offer good value with good service. They are extremely considerate to those with kids and thye have some great original items.

                2. I used to live and work in the neighborhood near Jimmy Carter's and I didn't like it either. This was a few years ago - they seemed to have more of an Indian theme back then. Sounds like they have since switched to Mexican? Maybe it has changed, but I found it disappointing then.

                  As far as dining near the zoo, I'd recommend the Prado, for the convenience and the setting but also for the food - I ate there on Christmas Eve and it was pretty good. I don't know what their hours are for serving lunch - you might want to give them a call. There is also the cafe in the SDMA Sculpture Garden, run by Waters Catering. It has a great setting and good food, but is very casual, almost takeout style. I don't know their hours and I suspect they probably close by 2 PM or so, especially on a weekday.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Alice Q

                    There are two Jimmy Carter's locations. The one in Hillcrest/Mission Hills is called Jimmy Carter's Mexican Cafe, and serves Mexican food only. Not only is the food decent, but they actually sell GOOD beer. It's wonderful being able to have a nice IPA instead of bland and insipid Mexican light lagers.

                    Jimmy Carter's on 5th Ave (and Spruce, IIRC) is more of a diner, with burgers, sandwiches, Asian and Indian items at lunch, and more of a dressed up menu for dinner. Like the Mexican Cafe, they also feature a good selection of local microbrew and decent food. I enjoyed many a lunch there when I lived in Banker's Hill.

                  2. Ah - I didn't know there were two of them. It's been at least five years since I ate at the Bankers Hill location, so it may have improved since then.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Alice Q

                      I never had any complaints with the Banker's Hill location. I used to regularly get lunch there about 8 years ago, when I worked in the area, then as recently as 3 years ago when I lived nearby. I went there once for dinner, and wasn't too impressed. I think it's better suited for lunch.

                    2. I'd always heard that Jimmy Carter's was a decent little diner, so it's not like I was expecting gourmet-and I'm referring to the 5th Ave. location. First, it had almost every American version of international themed fair you could think of, which usually tells me to beware. My friends and I took the safe route and chose the hamburgers and sandwiches. For easy food, it wasn't good. And nothing that went to the other tables around us was any more appealing. I wasn't expecting much, and that's what I got. Maybe I was hoping a little more Mission Cafe, Cafe on Park "comfort food". It was more Denny's. BUT I didn't take notice of the beer selection, and that usually adds a point or two.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: foodforthought

                        Their Indian food was surprisingly decent. They make their own chutneys, and some of them are quite good. But overall you are correct, it's more of a diner than anything else. At the time I used to go there, our only other close options were in Little Italy. Eat enough Grab-n-Go, and ANYTHING becomes a welcome respite.

                        1. re: Josh

                          I have a friend who eats 'dinner' every Friday at Jimmy Carters on 5th. Tried it a several times and always find it amateurish diner food at best. They are fortunate, that there is not another place to eat close by. I think the moderate prices is what keeps their regulars coming in.

                          1. re: nutrition

                            Yeah I only had dinner there once, wasn't impressed. I've heard good things about breakfast.