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Aug 8, 2007 05:49 AM

Terra vs. CA Cuisine vs. ??? (San Diego)

I will be in SD for one night, and a recent thread about Terra and California Cuisine caught my attention. I checked out the menus online and both look fine. In terms of overall food and atmosphere, is one better than another?

I'll be staying near UTC (Mira Mesa Blvd. at I-805) and have a car, and these two looked like they were pretty easy to get to, even in a jet-lagged state. Or is there something else to consider closer to where I am staying (or easy to get to)?

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  1. You are staying right down the street form the Wine Sellar and Brasserie. Nice place, top knotch food.


    1 Reply
    1. re: stevuchan

      I second the rec for the Wine Sellar in that neighborhood. It's an oddball location, but the food is fantastic. There are also some good Indian and Asian places on Mira Mesa Blvd, but I don't know the particulars. You might get better recommendations if you put up a new post with a title asking about Mira Mesa/UTC restaurants.

    2. Both are very good places and you can't go wrong with them.

      9 Replies
      1. re: honkman

        Why would you want to drive down to University Ave area, when you will be ONLY minutes away from some of the best food served in SD area? Save the gas money and spent it on the food!
        I have been to both places you mentioned, and don't have a great desire to go back. Calif Cuisine was a disappointment after thinking of it for a couple of years from reading the reviews. Terra is good, but not great. No views and traffic, in addition.

        For excellent Calif cuisine, I go to Azul in LaJolla without even thinking of another place that is closer. I live at the other far end of Mira Mesa Blvd. Never a dissapointment at AZUL. Greatest coast view and a magnificent Sunset in addition is a bonus.
        Happy Hour menu is a bargain and you can order many smaller versions of the main menu items for a real tasting treat at a bargain, if you can't decide which to order. So have both! ;) Some of the items are regular portions at reduced prices. i.e. Even the Kobe beef burger is a major treat and most likely will not leave room for another dish other then a salad.. Bar menu is also served on the patio. One of my favorites is the Halibut. This place is the top of my list.

        1. re: nutrition

          I just commented on both restaurants mentioned by OP.
          And I like WSB (went there many times and it is on my rotation list) but also think that Terra and California Cuisine are at least as good as WSB (I was a little bit disappointed about the quality at WSB in my last two visits).

          1. re: nutrition

            Thanks for the additional suggestions, which fall under the category of "???" in my OP. I just picked Terra and CA Cuisine based on a recent thread I had seen here.

            I found the Azul Web site here:
            and there are no details about the Happy Hour menu. Is it correct to assume that it is only available in the bar and on the patio? The regular dinner entres are a bit more than I wanted to spend.

            1. re: _V_

              The Patio Menu will give you an idea, that AZUL does not have to be pricey to be good. I would eat on the patio in an instant. The Happy Hour menu is served on the patio, as well starting about 4 PM. You might call them about the Happy Hour Menu. I know the Kobe Beef Burger, which everyone I suggested it to, has raved about it and gone back for another at a later date.. I believe it is $9 verses $15 in the dining room. The dinner portions are hearthier at the AZUL compared to Terra. The preparation is better also.
              It would be hard to beat the Lunch Buffet anywhere else. Did you look at that sample menu. At least you won't have to worry about going away hungry! ;)

              1. re: nutrition

                Thanks for the additional link, which I overlooked on their Web site. It looks like that is for the lunch menu ("azullunch.html"). Is the patio menu really the same as lunch? The patio link leads to the same page.

                1. re: _V_

                  The Lunch menu is served on the Patio, as well.
                  The Happy Hour menu is served in the bar and the patio.
                  Right now the weather is EXCEPTIONAL with warmer nights, just right, for Patio dining. But the weather in San Diego is hard to beat any time of the year.

                  There is one more place, since you are willing to drive, and that is CAVAILLON off the 56 Freeway/Camino del Sur. This is a extra exceptional Restaurant and has a Prix Fixe Monday night 3 course dinner for $32. Besure to look at the menu. Last nite, I had the Roasted Eggplant with Organic Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella. For the Entre, it was Risotto, Shitake Mushrooms, White Corn, Diver Scallopps and it was superb with a great sauce. White Poached Peach, Lemon and Mascarpone Ice Cream for Dessert. The other choices for the three courses were equally outstanding. Never a disappointment from Chef Philippe Verpiand's kitchen. Do a search on this Board for additional information.
                  Phone (858) 433-0483

                  1. re: nutrition

                    Azul won out (saw the post about Cavaillon too late). I got in from the east coast around 1 pm local time, and was starving due to not having any substantial food since leaving (late flight + tight connection). So on the way to the hotel, I headed to Azul for the lunch buffet, which was excellent. Because I got there after the lunch crowd, I had a table in the dining room right in front of the windows. Great view, too.

                    Thanks so much for the tip. I probably would not have been up for the ride to Hillcrest that evening (took a ride up 101 to see the sunset instead).

                    1. re: _V_

                      GQQD for you. You made a great choice. I assume you had enough Lunch, that you didn't need to visit Cavaillon! But if you drove up 101, you were not that far away!


                      1. re: nutrition

                        Correct (almost) about having enough lunch. I did make a late stop at a taco place named Filiberti's somewhere on 101 for a small booster shot.

        2. i'm a bit biased, but terra has wonderful, consistent food and an amazing wine list. it has been a favorite in the area for almost 20 years (and in this day and age, a place that can stay open that long and accumulate the following that they have, is pretty amazing).

          top notch food and service (nominated for a james beard award for service again this year, and have won many for their food in the past)

          3 Replies
          1. re: kimberlya

            We were really dissapointed in Terra the last time we were there - it was a couple of weeks ago. We had to send back our Brie app. becasue it wasn't cooked, and the fish was just OK.
            I've been there a few times and really liked it in the past, but I won't be going back for a while.

            1. re: SRosie

              i tried Terra for the 1st time last week and was completely blown away. the lobster risotto appetizer, halibut, and flat iron steak were outstanding and truly original dishes. i will definitely be back.

              1. re: SRosie

                I'm surprised about the fish. I ate there last Sunday, the 5th and our table had 2 of the fish entrees (halibut and sea bass) and they were truly exceptional. Terra has always been good to pretty good, I was definitley surprised at just HOW good it was last Sunday, it was unexpectedly good.

            2. If you're in UTC, you're much closer to La Jolla proper where there's lots of good places to eat. Nine-Ten, Roppongi's, Jack's La Jolla (3 levels w/ 3 menus--beware, the bar area gets trendy and loud), Trattoria Aqua, Piatti's, AR Valentien. Cafe Japengo in UTC at the Hyatt Aventine complex has pretty good Asian fusion, although it also gets loud from the bar at night.

              I have a hard time with Wine Sellar and Brasserie. I've found their entrees underseasoned the last couple of times I went. If you're really into wine, then it's a good place to go.

              1. I think both are good. CA Cuisine offers a very nice fine dining experience. It is very sedate, they have nice outdoor patio. If you are looking for a quiet place to dine, CA Cuisine would be great. If you want someplace hip and a people watching scene, I would recommend Cafe Japengo for Sushi.