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LA Chowhound visiting San Diego

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I'm going to be in Downtown San Diego, around 5th and B St, for a few days later this month and was hoping to get some restaurant recommendations. I'm looking for ethnic food and good happy hour, preferrably not too dear. Can a girl eat well without having to drive far from the downtown area? Thanks.

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  1. Downtown is hit and miss, but there are a few good spots. How far are you willing to drive? And is there a particular ethnic food you crave?

    3 Replies
    1. re: phee

      I'll have a car with me but it would be nice if I didn't have to drive very far.
      I like anything ethnic as long as it's authentic: vietnamese, Thai, Mexican...
      Doesn't have to be a nice place. I'm more about food than the atmosphere. thanks.

      1. re: HungryKat

        You're going to find downtown disappointing given those criteria. There are few spots there that aren't simultaneously good and affordable.

        There are two pretty decent middle-eastern places that aren't super pricey, though. Bandar, on 4th and F St (across from Horton Plaza) has good Persian food and is reasonable. Another good place, more generically middle-eastern, is Marketplace Grille, on 5th, between F and G, I believe.

        For Thai, I've had good meals at Royal Thai, which is also on 5th, but further south near Market St.

        Downtown is so expensive, rent-wise, that there isn't the kind of presence of authentic ethnic spots like you have in other metropolitan areas. The good Asian places are found in other neighborhoods. Downtown's restaurant culture primarily exists to serve conventioneers with expense accounts.

        That being said, there are a few other spots, like Cafe Chloe and Chopahn Afghan Cuisine, that offer good value for money.

        1. re: HungryKat

          For authentic ethnic, you might want to travel up to North Park/University Heights, just a short hop on 163 up to Washington Street and East to Park Blvd. A few blocks up El Cajon Blvd., Dao Son has very good affordable Vietnamese and Japanese noodle dishes, and excellent spring rolls and egg rolls. El Zarape on Park Blvd serves good quick Mexican food, fish tacos and the like. Mama's Lebanese is also very good. In that same neighborhood you also have Soltan Banoo - Persian cuisine, and Pomegranate Russian Georgian restaurant. You may also want to look into Super Cocina in City Heights for authentic Mexican.

      2. I'd recommend Chive, Red Pearl Kitchen, Cafe Chloe and Oceanaire Seafood Room (if you like oysters!) Excellent food and drinks - except Cafe Chloe which serves only beer and wine. Last time I was there they were offering an interesting taste and sip menu, a small portion of an appetizer with a taster portion of wine or beer. I think it's only available until 6 though.

        Laurel up in Bankers Hill also has an interesting happy hour called 7 at 7 - seven drinks and seven appetizers all at seven dollars each. The value of these options varies and the dishes were a little hit or miss. Nice atmosphere though.

        Another option a little farther afield is the Guild, in Logan Heights - they serve good reasonably priced small plates and soju cocktails.

        www.aliceqfoodie.com

        2 Replies
        1. re: Alice Q

          I second Cafe Chloe. We ate there four times in the last four weeks and every time it was great and very relaxing.

          1. re: Alice Q

            I'll second Guild and Cafe Chloe and, what the heck, Chive. I like and generally recommend Oceanaire but, after all, it is part of a chain.