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ATTN: Comic Con Attendees (San Diego)

Do yourselves and all of us a favor, and put your requests here, so that we don't have a bazillion threads all asking the same questions. I see we've already had 3 or 4 threads devoted to this.

To kick things off:

If you want cheap food that's decent, hit up Tin Fish or Ciro's Pizzeria. Ciro's has a special - two slices and soda for $6. That's some of the cheapest grub near the Con, and their pizza is good.

If you want stuff that's more in the moderate ($10-20) range, try Royal Thai, Bandar, Chopahn, or Alambres.

$15-20ish: Trattoria Mare e Monte, Cafe Chloe, Gaslamp Strip Club.

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  1. I was so thinking that someone needed to do this!

    For fancier hit up Oceanaire for super fresh seafood and good sandwiches can be found at the Cheese Shop.

    1. we're eating at rama on thursday night. we'll have a car, looking for someplace casual and not too $$$ for an early dinner friday.

      7 Replies
      1. re: woofer

        What type of food? Are you all adults? I would suggest South Beach for fish/calamari tacos etc...very tasty and in Ocean Beach which isn't too far from downtown and gives you a very San Diego feeling. It is casual and a little rowdy but really tasty.

        If you want something a little more upscale Piatti in La Jolla is nice...

        1. re: jturtle

          it's just me & my husband. rowdy is not for us. we have to go to a party @ 10pm later that night. not looking for anything asian, othewise we're open.

          1. re: woofer

            Josh, good call on putting up this thread!

            woofer, if you want casual, there's a good taqueria in Hillcrest, not far from downtown called Mama Testa's. Nothing but tacos here, but what a variety!

            If you like Mexican AND authentic, there's Super Cocina further east on University. Believe me, it's nothing fancy at all, but the food is amazing. They don't have a website, but I'll let you read a very glowing review from a man who knows his food:

            I'd recommend the Guild, which is not too far from the convention center, but on a Friday night, they might be a bit busy. Depending on how early your dinner is, it might be fine.

            1. re: phee

              we're from l.a so mexican is not really desired and the taqueria is probably too casual.

          2. re: woofer

            Downtown, Cafe Chloe, Chive or the Guild would probably fit the bill. I also have a list of places I recommend on my blog at www.aliceqfoodie.com - many of them are downtown or in the surrounding area.

            1. re: woofer

              If Mama Testa's is too casual, Cafe Chloe might fit what you're looking for. Casual in a European bistro way, not to pricey and you can get stuff to snack on and leave room for the 10 pm party. They have really good pomme frites.

            2. Thank you! I was suprised not to find a San Diego only thread and appreciate just making it easier for us out-of-towners by putting some recommendations here. I am eager to visit your beautiful city and eating my way through it as much as possible! When you are ready to come to the Twin Cities, I'll be sure to send you to great food finds!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Abacus

                Thanks - that's very nice of you. Hope you enjoy your trip!

              2. Got any easy Sunday breakfast places? I'm sure we'll run into a Starbucks, but if there's something unique to SD between Horton Plaza and the Convention Center, that'd be nice to know about. Thanks for your help!

                7 Replies
                1. re: ITurnedOutTV

                  Cheese Shop. One block south of HP...on Fourth at Market...same building that has the Hooters

                  (there is a *$ kitty corner that sells the breakfast sandwiches, BTW)


                  1. re: Cathy

                    Thanks! The Cheese Shop looks like a great option. Can you help me interpret your second line there? I don't know if you hit the wrong keys or if it's some kind of code I don't know, but I can't figure out what "*$" means!

                    EDIT: Oh, duh, I get it. Starbucks. Of course I figure that out as soon as I posted!

                    1. re: ITurnedOutTV

                      Sorry, was typing that reply and my phone was ringing.... I understood it, anyhow.

                      I wasn't sure if you knew that *$ does breakfast/sandwiches out here-$2.95 each and pretty good. There is a poster inside and a small handout. 5 flavors. I sometimes get the ham/egg/cheese in the afternoon-cheap lunch.

                      1. re: Cathy

                        I think that's a new staple at all the Starbucks. I noticed they've changed up the food menu in recent weeks. They have a nice new selection of pre-packed salads, too. The mozzarella/tomato is particularly good for lunch.

                        Anyway, if the Cheese Shop isn't too crowded, we'll probably head there. Thanks again!

                  2. re: ITurnedOutTV

                    Cafe 222. There are long to very long waits after about 9AM on Sat/Sun though.

                    1. re: mikec

                      Cafe 222 is across the street and down one small parking lot from the Convention Center. Good, cheap breakfasts and lunch. Get there early.

                    2. re: ITurnedOutTV

                      Cafe Chloe. Their Croque Madame is one of the great brunch dishes.

                    3. Any upscale places near the convention center that those of us on the company dime should check out?

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Kiley79

                        If I was on the company dime:
                        Molly's is very nice even though it is in a hotel.
                        Stingaree is great but turns into a club after 9 or 10 but is doing really good food.
                        Oceanaire is a great seafood restaurant (the chef is on Top Chef)
                        and Morton's always does a good job.

                        1. re: Kiley79

                          Company dime--Oceanaire for sure. If you want a supper club atmosphere, Anthology just opened. There's been a few reviews on the board.

                          Slightly further north is Laurel and Mister A's. Mister A's has great view of the city.

                          1. re: Kiley79

                            Candelas, on 3rd. Good place for upscale Mexican food. Also, they have weekend breakfast and I had the best green chilaquiles in years here. I was surprised at how few people go there for breakfast. Excellent service.

                            1. re: logovo

                              How do they compare to the chilaquiles at Super Cocina?

                              Super Cocina
                              3627 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92104

                          2. This'll also be useful for people going to Siggraph the week after! My favorites from my last SD trip were the fish tacos and al pastor in Ocean Beach, and Mexico City cuisine from Chilango's in Hillcrest. It's usually a pretty bad idea to eat at the Convention Center for these things... bring some granola bars, and save your $$$ for the off-hours.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Raedia

                              Alas, Chilangos is no more. Good Mexico City style food can be found at either Candelas on 4th St. downtonw and not too far from the Convention Center, or at Casa de Madera on 5th St. in HIllcrest.

                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                I had a fanfreakintastic mole at Casa de Madera last month. Subtle, harmonious, smooth flavors, wow! Generous bartender--ask for extra salt if that's your way with margaritas. I'd recommend this place.

                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                  Did you know that the chef left Casa de Madera a week or so ago? Her last day was July 14 - I wonder if anyone's eaten there since then? http://aliceqfoodie.blogspot.com/2007...

                                  1. re: Alice Q

                                    Thanks for the heads up, Alice. That's disappointing, but I'll be waiting to see where she goes.

                                  2. re: DiningDiva

                                    Aw. nuts! I'm sorry to hear about Chilangos- we were really looking forward to that again this year - but I'm glad that you were able to suggest some alternatives! I'll definitely look into Casa de Madera.

                                    1. re: Raedia

                                      Good idea to bump this thread - Nippon Sushi and the Cheese Shop are great lunch options in walking distance. The Cheese Shop's "Rusty Bagel" was my go-to conference lunch - melted Pepper Jack Cheese, avocado, sprouts, tomato & red onions.

                                2. If you're looking for a fast breakfast downtown, there's the recently opened Richard Walker's Pancake House on Front Street. Here's a link to their web site:
                                  You can check out their menu online, as well.
                                  It's not really a place you can sit and chat, though. They're very good about moving people in and then out to get the next customers in. There's usually a line but it moves quickly, especially if you're a small party (they'll pull people out of order from the line and into the restaurant when they're able to sit a two-top that's opened).
                                  If you do go, order the specialty pancakes or crepes, which is what they're known for. When I went, we ordered standard diner fare, the Santa Fe omlette for me and the corned beef hash & basted eggs for my friend, both of which I wouldn't consider anything special. The corned beef hash does taste like it was made from scratch and did have a good flavor but we thought the portion was small considering how huge their specialty pancakes are. The omlettes aren't your standard folded omlette either. They're light and almost foamy and cooked (baked?) in a skillet, then flipped over and brought to the table. For diner food, they're slightly more expensive than your typical diner joint, but then if you get the specialty pancakes, you get a good amount for your money.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. I've picked through the threads... mind if I ask a few specifics? I'm very excited about trying Chopahn (I'm an Austin, TX resident at the moment, and I've been deprived of Afghan restaurants for too long), but I was hoping for additional suggestions.

                                    In particular:

                                    Vegetarian-friendly (i.e., has at least one vegetarian dish) choices?

                                    Uniquely San Diego experiences? (I don't even know what this would mean, granted.)

                                    Good Indian restaurants? (I see there are a few around the convention center, but what's worth trying and what's overpriced, under-spiced and Americanized?)

                                    Anything else worth trying that hasn't been mentioned?

                                    Also, although I plan to be on foot around the convention center most of the time, if there's a must-go spot, I'll gladly take a cab.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: amfreed

                                      re: Indian, I have not tried anything around the Gaslamp area, but the best Indian is about 20 minutes north of the area in the Miramar Area. Punjabi Tandoor and Surati Farsan Mart.

                                      1. re: amfreed

                                        There are some newer Indian restaurants downtown where I haven't eaten, so I can't say if they're any good or not. I can say that Star of India and Royal India are both wastes of time and money. Daantaat is right, the best Indian is found far from downtown.

                                        If you eat fish, then I'd say it's worth taking a cab up to Blue Water Grill for fish tacos.

                                        Vegetarian friendly downtown, I'd suggest Royal Thai as an option. There are other thai places down there where I haven't eaten, but I've had passable Thai food here. It's quite close to the Convention Center.

                                        1. re: amfreed

                                          You'll want to go north to the Miramar area for Indian food - expensive cab ride.

                                          Vegetarian friendly can be found in the North Park area @ 30th and University (a cab ride but quite reasonable). There you can try Spread, Urban Solace, Rancho's Mexican Food, Veg N' Out, Ritual Tavern, Toronado (for beer and food) among others. All have veg. options with Rancho's being primarily vegetarian and Spread / Veg N' Out being completely vegetarian.

                                          I'd say the "Fish Taco" as being uniquely San Diegan. The best place for that is probably Mariscos German truck on 35th and University (cab ride, close early evening) although Tin Fish (mentioned above) and Rubios (chain, but if you've never had a fish taco you'll be very happy - located downtown) would work in a pinch.

                                          We also brew the best beer in the world -- and have a local syle called the "West Coast IPA" or "Double IPA" - essentially a double hopped incredibly strong IPA. A little goes a long way. Try Downtown Johnny Brown's for that - located Downtown on the plaza where 3rd and B St. meet.

                                          Have fun! We'll be there all four days!

                                        2. This thread is great! Thanks for bumping. Arriving tomorrow and already have plotted out some places. Come say hi if you're around the floor - I'm with the Udon crew (ha ha ha, apropos, non?) across from the Capcom booth. Ask for Jen XD

                                          I'm sad I missed out on Chive. Tin Fish, Oceannaire, Nobu and Jsix are likely targets this year! Maybe Mangu and a side trip to Chocolat....

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: jlunar

                                            Will do. Already in line for preview night, well ok, not yet. But soon.

                                            Try Fish Market sushi bar over Nobu. Much better and cheaper.

                                            1. re: jlunar

                                              Oooh! I think we are going to Chocolat. Very excited. We're arriving Wednesday as well. I'll look for the Udon Crew.

                                              1. re: jlunar

                                                It was nice seeing you there, jlunar; and thanks for the Japanese candy! I was there with my DH and two kids, so things got so hectic that we missed out on seeing you before we left.
                                                We also missed out on Chocolat. Did you get to go and how was it?

                                                1. re: Michelly

                                                  Did not make it! :( Things were crazy for us too, packing up and getting things together.. So, the only place I actually made it to was Nobu. Had wanted to go upstairs and try the other place too, but alas... stuck behind booth on chair all weekend... le sigh.

                                                  Your welcome on the candy! It's one of my favourite kinds. :)

                                              2. Thanks for the recs!
                                                A business deal just fell through, so although we're still going to the Comicon, we're going to need your handy list of inexpensive but decent eateries.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: Michelly

                                                  Our yearly bump for our favorite time of year...

                                                  1. re: Ewilensky

                                                    Would it be possible for someone to provide updates about which of the restaurants are no longer open? Several of the links provided in this thread appear to be dead.

                                                    1. re: Jwsel

                                                      Reviving a year old general thread seems to me to be a bad idea - too many things can change. One should just start a new one.

                                                      1. re: RB Hound

                                                        A one-year old thread might be okay. But most of the posts in this thread are from 2007.

                                                2. so i'm guessing that we can't bring food or any beverages such as water or soda into the con or the lobby of the convention center?

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: nikabbylove

                                                    I haven't been this year, but I remember bringing in outside food and drink in previous years.

                                                    1. re: Josh

                                                      awesome thank you! i'll make sure to stop by the store tonight and pack up some stuff for tomorrow.

                                                      1. re: nikabbylove

                                                        Yes. You can bring food and beverages into the Con. Have fun!

                                                  2. Kabob shop is realy good and cheap!

                                                    Neighborhood for good beers moderate pricing.

                                                    Cafe Chloe has best Mac and cheese in town but on the expensive side.

                                                    All downtown!!!

                                                    Cafe Chloe
                                                    721 9th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101