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Jul 12, 2007 07:38 PM

NYer coming to San Diego for a visit, loves your recs

Hello left coast CHers! I am a NYC girl, getting ready to explore the culinary offerings of San Diego. I will be more or less on my own for some of the time (about three days), so am looking for establishments that would be suitable for solo dining. Casual, ethnic eats are what I am really looking for (particularly typical of southern Calif.). I will not have a car, so reachable by some other mode of transport (shuttle, walk, short cab ride) from hotel in the city center is a must. Budget is not too much of a concern. I would also like recommendations for one really trendy, fun restaurant to make a reservation at (with great food, of course!) I thank you in advance, can't wait to get there!

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  1. hey .. there are so many things to search.. how old are you? Where are you staying?.. There are so many.. tell us some more so we can help..

    4 Replies
    1. re: karenc

      Wow-- and I thought I was telling quite a bit! I'll be staying downtown, not too far from the convention center. I guess I would really appreciate some recommendations for local favorites and specialties. For instance, I would love to try some excellent SoCal-style Mexican. I am an adult professional, however, this will be mostly vacation for me, so I prefer to just relax and go casual (even hole-in-the wall). I am not sure what my age has to do with it, though.

      1. re: vvvindaloo

        The age thing is because downtown can be very sceney/clubby for mid-twenties to early thirties and there are places that are geared towards that population and places that are more mellow. I think we just trying to gage what you would be comfortable with. For example if you wanted to be in the late 20's 30's scene on a Friday night but want great food then I would suggest Stingaree or Confidential if you prefer a more mellow atmosphere then I would say Oceanaire or Cafe Chloe.

      2. re: karenc

        I think there are a couple of other pretty recent threads that have a lot of good recommendations for downtown, so you might want to do a search. The problem is that casual ethnic eats are pretty scarce in that area. You might actually want to consider getting a car to increase your options.

        For good Mexican, I recommend Las Cuatros Milpas or El Porvenir - both in Barrio Logan. I think they both close pretty early and the neighborhood is a little depressed, so probably best to go during the day. I also like Dao Son for Asian noodle dishes and Vietnamese spring rolls - it's in University Heights on El Cajon Boulevard, a short cab ride away. Others recommend Super Cocina in City Heights for Mexican, though I haven't tried it yet. I also like Saffron (Thai) for the spicy noodle dishes and the grilled chicken, at the foot of Washington on India Street. All of these places are within fifteen minutes of downtown.

        For good food in downtown proper, I'd recommend Cafe Chloe - a short cab ride or somewhat long walk away, Red Pearl Kitchen, Oceanaire Seafood Room (good happy hour at the oyster bar) and the Cheese Shop Deli. I also hear that Molly's in the Marriott is very good.

        I also have a list of my local favorites on my blog, at - a good number of them are downtown. Good luck and have fun!

        1. re: Alice Q

          Downtown can be quite the happening not sure if you were looking for the rooftop hip atmosphere such as Stingaree,J Six,the Ivy .. or the W.... another good option would be Dobsons for a great dinner and able to sit at the bar or dine with a very friendly staff. Its very small so very comfortable. Also Candelas in the Gaslamp is great for a Mexican nouvelle experience.Over at Seaport village is Sallys at the Hyatt for sitting on the patio and a lovely view,very good food too.

      3. As others have mentioned, downtown SD isn't exactly overflowing with ethnic fare. Also, not totally sure what you mean by "typical of southern Calif.". I would say the only ethnic food that matches that description would be our distinct brand of Mexican food. Most people here are from elsewhere.

        In any case, there are a few spots worth mentioning.

        Bandar - This is a Persian restaurant on 4th, just north of F St. The food here is very tasty, the cornish game hen kebabs especially so. Great basmati rice.

        Alambres - Upscale (in pricing, anyway) taco shop, also on 5th between E and F St.

        Chopahn - Afghanistani food, they're on 6th, just south of F St.

        The Cheese Shop - Good sandwiches.

        If you're staying near the convention center, then all the places I listed are going to be a short walk away.

        1. Thank you everybody, for your time and effort!