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Jun 8, 2007 08:08 PM

Casual Sat. night dinner in San Diego (PB)?

My husband's buddy is in town, visiting from Florida. He used to live in San Diego a long time ago. My husband tells me he's a "meat and potatoes" guy and his favorite meal would probably be chicken fried steak, but I think he's remembering the days when they were hanging out in their 20's. Now in his 40's and traveling frequently, I doubt this guy is still eating lots of chicken fried steak. I do know that the two of them used to take road trips to Baja and they both love good, authentic Mexican food.

Anyway, I've been tasked with making a res for our friend, his wife and us (including our 2 kids) tomorrow night somewhere in or near PB, where they're staying. I don't get to PB much anymore, so I'm wondering where can we go that's good, not too fancy, and somewhat unique to the area? My choices would be The Fishery, Bay Park Seafood or even Gringo's, but my sense from my husband is that those are not quite right...maybe too upscale or too oriented towards seafood.

My husband mentioned World Famous, which I know nothing about, but when I searched the board, it sounds like it's pretty mediocre. It's looking like my husband wants to re-live his youth (he's probably the one who has a hankering for chicken fried steak!), but my fear is that this guy's wife may be disappointed if we take them to a completely divey place....I haven't met her, but my sense is that she's on vacation, and she wants to be wined and dined a little. On the other hand, if the food is really good, a semi hole-in-the-wall place could be the ticket.

As you can see, I'm agonizing just a bit over this - any and all thoughts/suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.

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  1. Maybe Cantina Panaderia or Mamma Mia's? The latter is fairly new, but has received much praise on this board.

    8 Replies
    1. re: phee

      Thank you, phee, for the recommendations. Yes, I had read about Mama Mia, and it sounds wonderful, but for some reason, just didn't strike me as quite right for this occasion. Still, it may work well, so I'll definitely keep it in mind. Cantina Panaderia seems a little too fusion-y for this guy, and I've read a couple comments about loud noise levels and inattentive service, which turned me off. Thanks again. Any others?

      1. re: susan3733

        Some restaurants you might consider are:

        - Latin Chef: Peruvian cuisine. I haven't eaten there but it got very good reviews on CH. And I wouldn't consider Peruvian food as too exotic

        - Chateau Orleans: Cajun food. It might be a bit more exotic but I think even a "meat and potatoes" guy can find something there.

        - Lamont Grill: Neighborhood restaurant with reasonable food. Nothing outstanding but also nothing really bad.

        - Tony Roma: Chain but you can be sure that there is nothing exotic.

          1. re: naven

            I may be in the minority here...but I don't think that world famous is THAT horrible. The view is amazing. The service, generally very friendly and competent for PB. The food is semi decent. If you don't go in expecting it to rock your world it might be right up your ally. They also are fairly family friendly and straddle that line between more formal and not so much. I really love their mussels and have for 10 years. I really think it might be just right. Especially since it gives you that remember when vibe...

            1. re: jturtle

              Thanks, all, for the opinions and ideas. Still thinking about it, so feel free to keep it coming...thanks again!

              1. re: susan3733

                Near by is Bully's, on LJ Blvd in Bird Rock. Prime Rib is hard to beat in the area and sounds kinda what you are looking for. Also in the same area is Bueamonts (sp), I've had a decent burger, steak looks good, and the apps were solid. Good CFS can be found at Harry's in the village (Breakfast/Lunch). Enjoy your visit.


              2. re: jturtle

                Agree with you jturtle - World Famous isn't horrible and like the Poseidon up in DM, it's really all about the show outside. Sure, their lobster tacos and mussels are decent, but the parade of boardwalkers backed by a beautiful sunset over the ocean is the reason to go there.

              3. re: naven

                Uneven food but consitently good sangria at Costa Brava.

        1. definitely head up to Bully's over World Famous. I stopped going to the Fishery after the health food violations. If you can't make dinner take him to Kono's. Great hearty breakfast with a view.

          1. How about JRDN. It's an upscale version of meat and potatoes. It may be a little upscale for the kids depending on thier age, but last time I was there I spotted a few kids. Is TD Hays still around? If it is, it's in the same genre as World Famous.

            1. If it's not too late, try Fred's Mexican Cafe, that's definitely not too upscale, although finding a seat can be a pain if you go later in the evening.

              Rocky's Crown Pub serves a pretty great burger, but isn't a place for kids =/

              Oh yeah check out Saska's, it's in Mission Beach, I've always enjoyed that place. It's got a real old school dark atmosphere and decent steaks.

              1 Reply
              1. re: dabizomb

                Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions. We'll probably try out a few of them on our own over the next few weeks, but for dinner with my husband's buddy we ended up at Gringo's because they were the only place that would take a res for 7:15, and we didn't want to face the prospect of a long wait somewhere (those of you with kids who get antsy will understand).

                We had a better-than-expected meal. Three of the five in our party had carne asada burritos, which they reported as "delicious" and our friends from Florida had some sort of steak and grilled shrimp entree, which they said was "great". I had the combo plate of grilled fish taco and shrimp enchilada. I got it because I was in the mood for the taco, which was very good (fresh mahi mahi, lightly grilled and not dried out, with cabbage, salsa, and some white creamy-tangy sauce, with a lot of lime flavor). The shrimp enchilada was bland, but that was kind of expected. It was filled with little tiny shrimp with tons of melted cheese rolled in a tortilla. The rice and beans that came with it all were better than most, and had a smoky flavor.

                The margarita I had was kind of watery, but tasted okay.

                So, all in all, it was a decent choice...I wouldn't rush back again, but it was convenient and good for Cal-Mex food. One other note is that the place was packed, filled with lots of 30-something good-looking people, all decked out, and it was very noisy. We had a good time, but it was more about just hanging out with our friends and having a decent meal...if we had been expecting a fabulous Mexican meal, we probably would've been disappointed, but it was just fine for what it was.

                Thanks again for the recommendations!!

              2. The Kensington Grill is always good.