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Jun 28, 2007 12:48 AM

Ethnic cuisine in DT San Diego?

Hello!! A friend from NJ and I (AZ) are visiting for a few days in August. I LOVE almost every cuisine. I'd say one of the very few Food Network shows I DO NOT ENJOY watching is "Bizarre Foods," and not bec. of the topic of eating "bizarre" foods, but because the host forced himself to eat something he clearly couldn't stand the first time he tried it... such as putrid meat stored in its own putrid fat. But back to my post...

I am in search of great ethnic restaurants in downtown area (Filipino?? and everything else- Thai, Japanese, Indian, Mediterranean, Lebanese, Vietnamese, etc.). Any great vegetarian restaurants? We won't have a rental car; will just go on foot or use complimentary shuttles, taxis, and street peddlers (?). Fresh seafood is also a must (crabcakes, sushi/sashimi, etc)!! Best desserts?

So far, recommended eateries are:

Cafe on Park
Hash House
George's at the Cove
Taste of Thai
Sushi Deli (although I read some bad reviews on

Any thoughts? Any suggestions that trump those above? Please help!
Thank you!!

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  1. Better ethnic food is out and away from the downtown area. The area primarily caters to tourists (read: mostly average, high priced food). I think Taste of Thai is average and pretty Americanized. Not bad if you are really desparate for Thai. Really good downtown eats are Oceanaire, Cafe Chloe and Palm Steakhouse. Bandar has good Persian, large servings.

    Convoy Ave is about 10 minutes away from downtown and has a decent selection of Japanese, Chinese, Korean places. Do a board search for "Convoy" and you'll pull up lots of posts. There is a terrific sushi place on Convoy, Izakaya Sakura (in the Original Pancake House complex). In the same complex is Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ. There's a long thread on the BBQ and many posts on Sakura. Both will easily outdo Sushi Deli. My sense of Sushi Deli is cheap sushi and so-so quality.

    Sushi Ota in Pacific Beach, about 10 minutes north of downtown also has very good sushi. Definintely make reservations if you want to go.

    Convoy Ave, PB and La Jolla (where George's is) require a taxi.

    3 Replies
    1. re: daantaat

      Thank you, daantaat, for your input! I will definitely put your suggestions on paper! I'm glad to scratch a couple of restaurants (Sushi Deli and Taste of Thai) off our list!

      1. re: daantaat

        Well, you can take the trolley to Fashion Valley then catch the 120 which goes through Linda Vista and Kearny Mesa. Much cheaper than a taxi.

        1. re: Green_Turtle

          For Vietnamese and Mexican, you can catch the 7 bus, which goes through lovely Balboa park and turns east at University, past Hillcrest to North Park and City Heights. El Salvador restaurant, Super Cocina and several good Vietnamese places are down there, past the concentration nicer restaurants in North Park.

          Even faster is the 15 from downtown on Broadway; it is a semi-express bus that takes the freeway up to El Cajon Blvd, center of the Vietnamese community in City Heights. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes from downtown to the eastern neighborhoods on the bus. I highly recommend the trip.

      2. My sister was in town this past weekend and we had a nice lunch at Mama's Lebanese, (@ 4237 Alabama St., below El Cajon Blvd. b/w the 805 & 163). Bread fresh off the sajj, and baba ganouj from eggplant grilled in-house - not canned.
        Also went by Venissimo Cheese and Sausage King just SW of there, (754 & 811 W. Washington - just go West on El Cajon). They've probably got the best selection of cheeses from around the world in SD. The latter has handmade (largely pre-cooked/smoked sausages and salume) from a sweet, older couple of German-American 43-year industry pros. Those two places are a block apart and will largely set you up for a fantastic picnic in nearby Balboa Park.