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Sep 5, 2007 12:05 AM

any cheap food/good deals in Gaslamp

Hi, I just moved to the gaslamp/marina district...I'm a recent graduate so I'm looking for good, cheap places and it seems like that is very tough to do in gaslamp...i found some decent places but none of them have been cheap. any help would be really appreciated!

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  1. Don't be surprised if you don't get a lot of responses on this board about the Gaslamp - as a neighborhood in general, the consensus seems to be that it's overpriced sub-par food. But as someone who enjoys hitting the clubs now and again, taking visitors around town, and going to ball games (and not wanting to do these activities on an empty stomach), there are a few places I've found that are worth a try and won't break the bank.

    For breakfast/lunch:
    The Cheese Shop (sandwiches, standard breakfast menu)
    The Mission (good french toast, though the pancakes are kind of cakey for me ... awesome coffee)
    Beach City Market (bottom level of Horton Plaza, take-away shop with sandwiches, salads, soups, etc)

    For dinner:
    Cafe Chloe (a bit $$, but the food's great!)
    The Field (traditional Irish fare; the bar crowd gets going around 9)
    Panda Inn (top level of Horton Plaza - NOT the same as Panda Express!)
    Sammy's Woodfired Pizzas (thin, woodfired pizzas, plus salads and pasta dishes ... not exotic or gourmet, but it sure beats Domino's!)
    Ghiradelli (what, an ice cream sundae isn't dinner?)
    Tin Fish
    Red Pearl Kitchen (all-asian fusion dishes, best done family-style with a large group, no need for appetizers as food comes in 15 min or less usually)

    But hey, part of the fun of living downtown is really getting to know it like a resident - report back with your new food finds and favorites!

    1 Reply
    1. re: ohm86

      Actually, Panda Inn is owned by the same company that owns Panda Express, but the food is a notch higher. It's a nice sit-down restaurant and it's fairly inexpensive. They also have a pretty nice Sunday brunch (my mom comes out just to go there).

      Personally, we like going to Buca di Beppo, especially with a few friends. You'll get a lot of food without spending a lot of money and someone gets to take home leftovers.

      Everyone on the board seems to hate the Cohn Group restaurants, but I've found that occasionally they put out some decent specials, like at Dakota Grill and Mister Tiki. You can sign up for their mailing list and you can read what the monthly specials are.

      So far, my favorite "deal" is the Sunday night prime rib dinner at Fleming's. I think it's under $30 and you get an appetizer (full portion), salad, prime rib, and a dessert - all to yourself.

      Chive isn't too bad if you go for a small plate format, especially if you can hit it during happy hour. I think Cafe Sevilla used to have a Monday night paella special... I like their paella more than their tapas.

    2. Valentine's Taco Shop
      The Cheese Shop
      Ciro's Pizzeria
      Bread On Market

      1 Reply
      1. re: Josh

        Ditto all the above.

        Keep walking down Market to 9th and just north, the Kebab Shop.

        The downtown Albertsons (Market and 14th) has some neat stuff in the deli, as well as the downtown Ralphs.

        *Really* cheap: Sun Cafe [on Market at 4th] and Moon Cafe [on 4th at G]. Both owned and run by Koren families for generations. (I mean street people eat there cheap). For some reason, the grilled cheese sandwiches and chow mein are wonderful...

        For a nice but inexpensive treat, especially when it is gloomy out, go to the Cafe at Nordstroms inside Horton Plaza. The tomato basil soup is wonderful.

        Walk over to Little Italy/India Street and Pete's Meats for sandwiches and Solunto Bakery for sices of pizzas, sandwiches and calzones.

        I love that area of town.(Gaslamp and Little Italy)

      2. Other posters gave you some great places..
        For drinks and cheap food specials, we go to Tivoli's on Island..
        Star Bar for super cheap beer
        Sun Cafe for a great breakfast for under $5
        Cheese Shop

        1 Reply
        1. re: Beach Chick

          Seconds to Tin Fish, The Mission, Ciro's, Sun Cafe, Bread on Market, and The Cheese Shop for good, inexpensive food. I'd also add Kiyo's if you like sushi. Close to Taka, which is more high-end, this little obscure spot has been in San Diego for years (it used to be located uptown on 5th). Nothing fancy, but really good, inexpensive sushi. Hit up Downtown Johnny Brown's in the concourse for a good hamburger or shark burger. There used to be a place called The Fish Joint on the corner of 4th and C that put out decent seafood. And there's also Grab 'n Go for good sandwiches.

        2. I assumed in my answers that by "cheap" you meant under $10 for a meal. By that standard, the Gaslamp can be tough. Some others have mentioned Little Italy, there are some good cheap places there in that range. Drive a little further north to the foot of Mission Hills and there are some other places.

          Tin Fish is pretty good, but is pushing out of that $10 range if you get a beverage.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Josh

            That was what I was assuming also, Josh. I am not sure what "marina district" means, but figured closer to the bay.

            1. re: Cathy

              Yeah, sometimes I've seen funny responses to people asking for cheap. I remember my post-school cheap eating days very vividly. Lots of $1 menu Jack-In-The-Box. (ew)

              I wish I had a place like Ciro's around back then.

          2. While the Gaslamp is fairly expensive, Downtown (of which the Gaslamp is only a small part) is filled with good, cheap, places for lunch. Along with everything posted here, I'd suggest the City Pizzeria on 6th and C, the 6th Ave. Bistro (6th and B), and Mama Gucci's (next to City Pizzeria).

            2 Replies
            1. re: jmtreg

              Wow, thanks for all of those great suggestions...I didn't think there would be many choices at all...i love this area and being close to the water, but the food i've seen has been so pricey. thanks, i will check out some of those suggestions and report back!

              1. re: californialoving

                Also, you are close to lots of happy hours that have pretty good/great deals. Some favorites: k.strauss: half price apps and I think the 22oz beers are 4 bucks. Get the buffalo chicken tenders--they are amazing.
                The Burger Joint (in the Emerald Towers, burger & a beer for $5)
                Oceaniare: $1 Oysters and several apps super cheap and large enough for a group.
                Molly's has an amazing bar menu (not a happy hour place) and it is one of the secrets of downtown.
                Cafe Chloe does an app and half glass of wine for $5.
                Morton's free prime rip mini sandwiches

                In general Mama Gucci's and the taco shop next door are great lunch choices.