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Workday lunch in SD?

The boss and I usually do lunch once or twice a week. We have a handful of places that we always go to, but I wanted to see if y'all can add to the list. We're in the Torrey Pines area and we have about 1 1/2 hours for lunch. So, wherever we go, we have to allow for driving time and faster service. There's not much in the Torrey Pines area, so we're usually headed out to Mira Mesa and Clairemont Mesa.

Our usual places include:

Tofu House (Clairemont)
Pho Viet Cali (Mira Mesa)
Pho Tu Do (Clairemont)
Bismillah (Clairemont)

Occasionally, we'll go to Dumpling Inn or China Max. As you can see, we're not incredibly varied. Any suggestions will help! Thanks!

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  1. I work pretty close to you and I agree that the UTC area is pretty barren as far as good non-chain lunch places. Some of my favorites are:

    Nozomi (UTC, same menu as the one on Convoy)
    Porkyland (Mexican, near downtown la jolla, but prices are cheap and the carnitas is very good)
    Jeff's Burgers (La Jolla Shores, very casual beach shack type place, was recommended to me on this board, the decor and atmosphere is not the best but the burgers are pretty good considering the area)

    1. Board and brew in Del Mar for great sandwiches
      Caliente on Sorento Valley Road..yummy Mexican
      Spicy City in Clairemont...great Chinese food

      1. when you head to clairemont, in the plaza with the old pancake house is Sakura, they serve a very very good lunch, all under 10$ very reasonable.

        2 Replies
        1. re: clayfu

          I agree. Excellent lunches. I had an outstanding tempura zarusoba on my last visit. But Sakura is hard to find because they have no signs. It looks like you are walking into the Army recruiters.


          1. re: Ed Dibble

            I was at the Original Pancake House and I kept saying to BF, "There's a Japanese restaurant here! Where is it?"

            I had to come back to the CH boards and be reminded that there's no signage. I'm going soon!

        2. try le bambu, del mar heights, just west of 5

          1. Mandarin Garden in Mira Mesa has good lunch specials.

            1 Reply
            1. re: candicew

              Is that the place off of Pacific Heights Rd.?

            2. I just went to Ba Ren today for lunch and that was great. I mean, I'd been before, but it's a good lunch destination. The cold appetizers are particularly good.

              1. For a peaceful lunch with a great view the Lodge at Torrey Pines has a few outside tables for the bar that you can order off the bar menu at lunchtime, or you can go to the lower level by the driving range and order lunch from the clubhouse. The hamburgers are among my favorite burgers ever, and they make great cappucinos.

                4 Replies
                1. re: ExercisetoEat

                  Really? The boss always said he wanted to try it and it's literally a block down from us. Good to know!

                  1. re: geekyfoodie

                    if the boss is going to spring for it then you really have to go for it. the Lodge is a very good restaurant. I can also recommend the Chef's Table (assuming they still do it) for a group dinner

                    1. re: ibstatguy

                      The bar menu and the downstairs "Grill" menu (they are pretty much the same items in different locations) are actually quite affordable compared to the lunch prices at the restaurant A.R. Valentine. You can get a gourmet burger or a chicken under a brick sandwich (which I also highly recommend) for right around $10. The cappucinos were only about $3, and much better than Starbucks, and definitely on par with Peets. In the regular restaurant a bowl of soup will cost you at least $8 just for starters, however if you want to spend some $$$ you'll get a great meal there too. The restaurant can be quite accomodating if you go there a lot...I was there last week with my grandparents and we ordered hamburgers and martinis for dinner and had a great time. (Can you tell I like the hamburgers?)

                      1. re: ExercisetoEat

                        thx for the heads up on prices; have only been to AR Valentin for dinner so did not realize there was a difference and I want to try the burgers you've been raving about!

                2. Some of these have already been mentioned so I am just "seconding" those.

                  Head into Del Mar and check out:
                  Board & Brew - tasty inexpensive sandwiches
                  Bully's - good sandwiches, soup, salads and steak if you are looking for a big meal. They changed the original bully burger and I am mad about that but what can you do...
                  Pacifica Breeze Cafe - is in Del Mar Heights Plaza is the casual restaurant below Cafe Pacifica. They have good salads and sandwiches with a great view.
                  The Brig - if you go into the bar and out onto the deck you can sit with a view of the racetrack and ocean. Not the best food by far but I find that the shrimp tacos are good as are their napa nachos. Homemade potato chips with fontina, blue cheese, bacon and green onions (you can add chicken to them and they are tasty if not sinful). They also have some good sandwiches on the more expensive side for sammies.

                  La Jolla Shores:
                  The Shores Restaurant - may be fancier then you like but a great lunch (again nice views)
                  Jeff's Burgers - an old school mainstay. Quick & inexpensive.
                  Cheese Shop - great takeout sandwiches.
                  There are other restaurants down there such as Piatti & Barbarella. Be advised that parking, in the summer especially, may be tricky.

                  UC (sometimes referred to as UTC--but those of is in the know refer to it as UC!)
                  Bristol Farms - They have a great deli selection
                  Harry's Bar - might be a little expensive but it nice Italian
                  Aseop's Table - Greek

                  I miss the days when I used to be able to go out for lunch...hence all the suggestions for places with views.

                  1. Try this amazing delicatessen in Del Mar called Uncle Vito's Famous Italian Subs since 1973. It is off the Carmel Valley exit. They have amazing subs and salads. They also have their own special coffee blend from Cafe Moto that sells at a signature price of 25 cents!!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: HazelEyedGrl07

                      Hazel, can you give more specific info. re. Uncle Vito's? It sounds quite intriguing. I live in the area and have never seen it (is it near Robertos on Carmel Valley?). A google search came up empty. Thanks!
                      I work in the UTC area and agree that the lunch options are quite limited. I second the rec. for Bristol Farms. I had no idea that they had a sit down cafe and had a most delicious smoked turkey, stilton and mango chutney sandwich there the other day.

                      1. re: pooch

                        Hey pooch, I'm going to disagree with "I work in the UTC area and agree that the lunch options are quite limited"

                        Here is a list in no particular order, off the top of my head that are 10-15 minutes from my office. I feel lucky, not to mention fat, to have so many lunch options in the area. Hope this list is helpful, Cheers.

                        Sushi Edo
                        Chicago on a Bun
                        Grillers (I think, I have the name right used to be Dalies)
                        Wired Bistro
                        Nozomi Sushi
                        Bongiorno Pizza
                        Viva Chicago
                        Star of India - (Not great, but good)
                        Pico Rico - Mexican Guisados
                        Maki maki yummy box
                        2nd Robetro's on Miramar heading E from 805 - Cabeza, Al pastor, lenga, etc
                        Umenoya - Udon, and homestyle
                        Pho Viet Cali
                        Abbey's Real Texas BBQ
                        Aseops Tables
                        L&L Hawiian BBQ

                    2. Love Dumpling Inn..
                      Gualberto's at 163 and Kearny Villa Rd next to the Denny's...outstanding taco shop
                      Cheese shop in LJ Shores or Board & Brew Del Mar..take-out and eat at the beach
                      Jeff's Burgers LJ Shores
                      Roberto's @ Carmel Valley rd
                      Tio Leo's in Del Mar/Mira Mesa
                      Cafe Japengo sushi bar
                      UTC Food Court..
                      Hindquarter on Miramar rd
                      Souplantation on Clairemont Mesa/805
                      The Shores Restaurant at LJ Shores
                      Fins LJ Village Square

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Beach Chick

                        Hindquarter on Miramar has been closed for years; it is now "Crazy Buffet"- Chinese/Japanese/American. Pretty good if you choose right.

                        1. re: Cathy

                          I haven't been there in years and I was just on Miramar..HIndquarter has been there since the age of dirt..first time I throw out the name and its gone..oh well..thanks Cathy!

                          1. re: Beach Chick

                            Only reason I knew it closed was that I frequent that Starbucks right in front, BC.

                            I was sad to see it go, in a way...the sticky tables, lingering smell of cigarettes, yellow lighting...it was just kind of a reminder of how things used to be.

                        2. re: Beach Chick

                          setting aside the view, I'll take Nico's in Carmel Valley over the Robertos on Carmel Valley Rd...and I've eaten plenty of both over the years