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Sit-down Mexican recs in SD

mliew May 7, 2007 04:30 PM

Now that Chilangos is gone, does anyone have any recommendations for a good sit down mexican restaurant in SD? A place similar to Chilangos would be nice, but even a place with good "americanized" mexican food would be alright. I've heard mixed reviews about El Agave in Old Town. I would like to give them a try but I just hate Old Town because of the crowds and lack of parking.

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  1. s
    srk RE: mliew May 7, 2007 04:53 PM

    Jimmy Carter's Mexican Cafe (near Washington/Goldfinch in Mission Hills) is worth a try. It's not the kind of place you'd drive for miles to go to, but it sounds like you're in that area already.

    1. DiningDiva RE: mliew May 7, 2007 08:06 PM

      There's Candelas in the Gaslamp...parking's even worse. Take the trolley to Old Town and walk to El Agave, plus they're actually on the fringes of Old Town, it's not quite as bad. Since Delaware North took over OT patronage has dropped dramatically, you might not find it quite as congested as it used to be.

      2 Replies
      1. re: DiningDiva
        oerdin RE: DiningDiva Jun 7, 2007 11:31 AM

        I'll second the suggestions that some of the restaurants outside the park on San Diego street are pretty good. The restaurants in the park itself, the ones run by Delaware North, are total garbage and should be avoided at all cost. I so wish they'd bring back the local company which used to run the concessions so I could go to Casa de Bandini again. That was a great restaurant which Delaware North replaced with some crap restaurant serving refried beans straight out of a can. When will the park service learn that people in New Jersey know NOTHING about good Mexican food?

        1. re: oerdin
          littlestevie RE: oerdin Jun 8, 2007 04:03 PM

          so so true. While casa de bandini may not have been great, it was good, and always a lot of fun. It and the old casa de pico space now look like a ghost town. We have switched over to El Fandango mainly cuz they are local and it has a nice patio (though they did just nuke it and I am not sure when it will reopen). I hope that plaza de posada goes into the tank and the park service realizes that they made a huge mistake. DN runs the food consession at Petco if that gives you any idea.

      2. Ms. Verde RE: mliew May 7, 2007 09:46 PM

        Brand new,very authentic Mexican place just opened (May 5th) in North Park. It's called El Comal, connected to ones in Chula Vista and on Imperial. Just finished eating there tonight and we were VERY impressed. They took over the site of Tazoblanco, a cuban place on Illinois, one block north of University, between 805 and 30th. They are off the beaten track--this site has not been very successful for prior places, but the food was great and they have a full bar!.
        We had a Yucatan style pork stew , cochinita, which melted in our mouths, homemade sopes and handmade corn tortillas. They put out a fresh pico de gallo style salsa with hohum chips. The salsa was spiked with lime and delicious. They have a variety of soups, fish dishes and even a goat dish! We will try one of those next time., if I can bear to miss the pork stew. Give this place a try and help them get started. Given the location, they will need word of mouth traffic to make it.

        17 Replies
        1. re: Ms. Verde
          maestra RE: Ms. Verde May 10, 2007 06:25 PM

          Can you please give an address or cross streets?

          1. re: maestra
            DiningDiva RE: maestra May 10, 2007 11:07 PM

            Go to the intersection of 30th and University. Go East on University a few blocks to Illinois St. (if you get to the 805 you've gone to far). Turn left onto Illinois, and the restaurant will be on your left about a 1/3 of the way up the block. Parking might be harder to find than the resto.

            1. re: DiningDiva
              Jim Strain RE: DiningDiva May 11, 2007 08:50 AM

              Thanks for the directions, but you missed a golden chance to say, "Advance token to Illinois Ave." :-) Anyway, it sounds like this one's worth a visit.

              1. re: Jim Strain
                DiningDiva RE: Jim Strain May 11, 2007 10:09 AM

                Ack, Jim, you're right! I can only blame it on the fact I was dead tired when I posted last night. At least I got the directions right ;-)

                1. re: DiningDiva
                  Joseph RE: DiningDiva Jun 6, 2007 09:53 PM

                  Have you tried out this new place, DD? Are they the real deal?

                  1. re: Joseph
                    DiningDiva RE: Joseph Jun 6, 2007 10:19 PM

                    Not yet, I almost went last Saturday but got side tracked with a spray paint project. It is on my radar and Kirk and I have talked about the branch on Imperial.

          2. re: Ms. Verde
            mikec RE: Ms. Verde May 11, 2007 01:59 PM

            Thanks for the heads up! Just in time for Ray at Night... ;-)

            1. re: Ms. Verde
              mangiatore RE: Ms. Verde Jun 6, 2007 10:26 PM

              I heard good things about this place from my buddy and his Mexican girlfriend (if that means anything). They insist on taking me.

              1. re: mangiatore
                mikec RE: mangiatore Jun 7, 2007 09:32 AM

                My wife and I tried this about two weeks ago and I'd forgotten to follow up. Had the Conchinita Pibil and wife had the pork (ribs?) in green sauce. Both were very good. Definitely worth going back to. Most of the specialties were $10 and incuded acceptable rice and beans. Zingy salsa fresca (as described by Ms. Verde above) and what looked like freshly made chips (maybe we got lucky, as we were there relatively late on a slow week night and they had to make them fresh...).

                BTW, has anyone tried the new Mexican restaurant in Hillcrest in the Uptown center, the one that replaced Bombay's old location? I perused their menu (but forgot their name) and they had various regional mexican specialties, including conchinita pibil, but their prices were high ($15-ish for most entrees).

                1. re: mikec
                  Alice Q RE: mikec Jun 7, 2007 08:04 PM

                  I think you might be talking about Mama Testa - if so, there have been a lot of discussions about it on this board. It's a little more expensive than fast food, but very good.

                  1. re: Alice Q
                    jturtle RE: Alice Q Jun 7, 2007 08:51 PM

                    This one is actually on 5th almost at Washington Street. New place!!! I really wonder if it is the Chilango's guys since it is so close to the old location and the timing seems right. Someone mentioned it to me this past weekend and said it was like her mom's cooking (they are hispanic) but as said above expensive.

                    1. re: jturtle
                      Alice Q RE: jturtle Jun 7, 2007 09:16 PM

                      Ah - I see - so it's in the old actual Bombay location - not in the old Bombay Express location (which is where Mama Testa is.)

                      1. re: jturtle
                        DiningDiva RE: jturtle Jun 8, 2007 08:39 AM

                        Turtle, 5th and Washington or Uptown center as suggested by Mikec? I've got acquaintances from a Oaxaca trip coming into town this weekend and we were casting about for a Mexcian place for lunch on Sunday. This sounds like it might be right up our alley. Any chance you remember the name or can give me more specific directions?

                        I, too, was wondering if the guys from Chilangos might open up soemthing else. Their closure sure has left a hole in the upscale Mex scene. I went to dinner at Ortega's earlier this week and - will wonders never cease - found a parking spot right in front of the old Chilangos. It was during happy hour and they were doing a brisk business. Prices on the white board for happy hour rolls sushi were dirt cheap. However, when I left the place was virtually empty, even Brazil by the Hill had more people in it and they hardly ever have very many customers.

                        1. re: DiningDiva
                          mikec RE: DiningDiva Jun 8, 2007 10:10 AM

                          D'oh, I meant Village Hillcrest not Uptown.

                          1. re: DiningDiva
                            jturtle RE: DiningDiva Jun 8, 2007 11:51 AM

                            I live a few blocks away and will drive by to find out the name this afternoon! I love vacation.

                            1. re: DiningDiva
                              jturtle RE: DiningDiva Jun 8, 2007 03:24 PM

                              The name is La Madera. From the street the outside looks nice and inviting, almost country french in style. But keep in mind I only saw it while driving by.

                              1. re: jturtle
                                DiningDiva RE: jturtle Jun 8, 2007 04:48 PM

                                Thanks. If I end up there on Sunday, I'll post a report. The couple that are coming to town cooked with me for a week in Oaxaca, and all of use were cooking with Rick Bayless (very cool). We're all pretty knowledgable about what good Mexican food should be :-) and I'd really, really like to find a suitable replacement for Chilangos..

                  2. s
                    stangoldsmith RE: mliew May 11, 2007 10:00 AM


                    It's Americanized and busy with tourists but Casa Guadalajara has always been good when I've gone. They are related to the ex-Casa De Bandini.

                    They are located by Old Town but have their own parking lot off of the road to Old Town off the 8.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: stangoldsmith
                      DoctorQuality RE: stangoldsmith May 11, 2007 02:59 PM

                      Ponce's and the new Cantina Mayahuel are both on adams ave. mayahuel is a really nice place with a bar and patio and have been very happy with their service and food.

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