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Aug 30, 2007 12:38 PM

San Diego for five days on September 1-6

Hi all Chowhounds. I have never been to San Diego before and I am a serious chowhound. I was wondering where to find a good burgers, seafood, mexican, and ice cream. Is there anything I must see in San Diego besides the Zoo? Any tips would be greatly appreciated!!

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  1. Burgers..
    Rocky's in Pacific Beach
    Hodad's, Ocean Beach

    El Pescador in La Jolla
    Point Loma Seafoods
    George's at the Cove LJ
    Oceanaire in Gaslamp

    Las Quatros Milpas
    Super Cocina
    Most any Taco Shop in SD are excellent..some of course are better than others
    Try a fish taco at either the Brigantine or Bahia's or even a Rubio's

    Ice Cream..
    Gelato in Little Italy

    Must see places in SD..
    La Jolla/Coronado/Del Mar and the any coastline
    Gaslamp/Downtown SD
    Torrey Pines State Reserve
    Cabrillo National Monument
    Harbor Cruise
    Del Mar Race Track

    10 Replies
    1. re: Beach Chick

      I'm going to second Point Loma Seafoods. It isn't the best fish, but it is fresh, and it is very touristy and a must-see in San Diego. Although I despise Rachel Ray, even she featured the place on $40-a-day.

      Except for Mexican, which we really have more of a Cali-mex thing going, SD isn't really known for the other things you mentioned (is it?). I'd recommend taking advantage of some our asian food culture (unless you're from LA or SF) in the Convoy area.

      Besides the Zoo, see the Wild Animal Park (related to the Zoo). They are very far apart, but both worth seeing.

      1. re: Beach Chick

        FYI, a bar in outlying Ramona named "Cheers" recently won a "best burger" contest sponsored by a local radio station, beating both Hodads and Rocky's (I think) along with several other claimed "best burgers." This is a highly recommended burger but it is a bit of a haul out to Ramona.

        As for seafood, also outstanding are Blue Water Grill and Bay Park Fish Co. Both very casual with very fresh seafood.

        1. re: eatemup

          I have heard that Cheers won for 'best burger'...its the classic dive bar..would never of guessed that it was ok to eat there!
          Thanks eatemup!

          1. re: Beach Chick

            You're welcome Beach Chick. I know some of folks who live west of I-5 are a little scared to come out this way, but the food is excellent (at Cheers). Steak night Mondays. Burgers, fish and chips anytime. Even wine tastings.

            1. re: eatemup

              I took your advice eatemup on Friday night after a shoot and the small crew decided that they all wanted a 'cowboy' setting and I thought about your post on Cheers...we had a BLAST!
              I thought we would get our asses kicked driving into the parking lot with our German sport cars along side the rows of F-250 trucks..
              Burgers were excellent and I can see why they won last year...lots of cheap cold beer..bartender wanted a photo of me to hang on the way to the, I'm a real prize out here...hee hee...
              I have a new dive bar spot in Ramona..
              Thanks so much!

          2. re: eatemup

            Thanks Guys! I am from Toronto Ontario and I hope more suggestions keep coming! I assume the seafood should be good since San Diego is on the coast. In Toronto, we don't have fresh seafood so I must take advantage of it when down here; especially miss fried clams!!

            1. re: callitasicit

              One place inside Horton Plaza (downtown shopping mall)- Boston and Maine Seafoods- has belly clams flown in from the East Coast regularly.

              The Mister is from Boston and that is the only place we found out here that does fried clams the 'right' way.

              1. re: Cathy

                Thanks Cathy! You are awesome!! I will definitely go there.

                1. re: callitasicit

                  Thanks, As soon as I see the words "fried clams", I know what people mean...

                  Enjoy your stay.

              2. re: callitasicit

                Don't know if you like sushi, but it is wildly popular in San Diego, and the area is known for some of the best uni in the world.

                My favorite sushi bars are Izakaya Sakura and Sammy's Sushi, but other regulars on the board like Sushi Ota, and Kaito and Yumeya in Encinitas.

                A little searching on this board will turn up more info about these places.


          3. Good gelato--Bottega Italiana. They have a store in Coronado and sell it in tubs at Whole Foods Market.

            Mexican--El Cuervo for cheap, hole in the wall street food (tacos, burritos, etc)
            Mama Testa's for casual dining on tacos from around Mexico. Both are close to the zoo.

            Toronto has some seriously good Chinese food. You probably won't get better in SD. I'd save your time and $$ and eat other cuisines.

            Oceanaire has good seafood. Their side dishes are also very yummy--great french fries, mushrooms, hash browns. Servings are made for sharing.

            1. My favorite gelato place is Gelato Vero, at the corner of Washington and India St. The other suggestions are pretty much spot on.

              3 Replies
              1. re: jmtreg

                Hi Chowhounds. I just came back from San Diego and thought I would tell you what I thought of their food and the city. It is a wonderful city, great weather while we were there and nice beaches. As for the food, I think we lounged way too much and missed out on a lot of good restaurants. I tried Boston and Maine Seafoods in the Horton Plaza and was not at all impressed. There were no fried clams and to get a mixed seafood platter it was outrageously expensive for what you get. As for the service, the two guys that worked there were completely unfriendly and borderline rude. The Horton's plaza was real nice, I like that everything is outside, great concept!! I went to this great little sorbet place on Garnett street that sells mango sorbet with fresh fruit, that was really awesome!! I heard so many good things about the IN N OUT BURGER so I had to try it, I was not disappointed. Great deal and pretty good burgers. I went to the Zoo and was impressed only complaint would be that we were there at around 12:00 pm and a lot of the animals were sleeping. I believe that is our fault, we should have got there a bit earlier. I also went to NIcks on the Beach, I thought the food was pretty good. The seafood pasta was really fresh and tasty. Overall, a good experience however would have like to have stayed there a bit longer so I could have experienced the Gas Lamp district and all the great mexican food I had heard about it as well. Thanks for all the recommendations and happy eating to all!!

                1. re: callitasicit

                  Sorry about Boston and Maine. I also went (while you were already here) and the clams were still listed on the menu but they said they were out. We found out it was new owners- the same people who own Tin Fish near the ballpark. We didn't buy anything after seeing the new prices.

                  Glad the rest of your eating and vacation was good.

                  1. re: Cathy

                    Thanks Cathy. The prices were too high for what you get and they don't deserve any business with their unfriendly attitudes!! Thanks for your tips anyways, I enjoyed my stay in San Diego.