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In San Diego for a week

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Hey all

My dad's going to San Diego for a week on Saturday for a convention, and he was looking for some recs for decent restaurants. He's staying in the Handlery on Hotel Circle, just off I-8. He's looking for places near either the hotel or convention centre in downtown, or anywhere in between them.

He'd probably be leaning more towards American, BBQ, Mexican, Italian, or Seafood then Chinese, Thai or Japanese. If anyone has any recs for places for breakfast, lunch or dinner that'd be great. Budget would be kind of mid-range - nothing hugely pricey or really cheap.

Also - Does anyone know where he could pick up some Tapatio hot sauce while he's there? I got a bottle when I was in Los Angeles over the summer and I've been addicted since! I've found Hot Licks in Seaport Village but they don't list it on their site.

Thanks in advance

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  1. Tapatio is available at pretty much every Von's, Albertson's or Ralph's.

    1. First, on the Tapatio: any grocery store should have it in the "ethnic foods" aisle. As for places to go. . .he's pretty much in the heart of town. For Asian foods, he could go to Convoy Street, which is just west of the 163. I like China Max for Chinese and a few other places other posters will, no doubt, tell you about.

      He can travel to Hillcrest, which has great places to eat in Mama Testa (mexican), Arrividerci (italian), California Cuisine and Terra (among others). For something a bit touristy, but still interesting, he can go to El Agave, which has an interesting menu, but is inconsistent.

      1. For comfort-food, large-portion breakfasts, Hob Nob Hill is the place. If it were in Baltimore, the waitresses would call you "Hon."

        1. Ricky's is on Hotel Circle Drive South. I think it's really close to his hotel. It's a family owned diner. We've only gone for breakfast, specifically for their Dutch Apple Pancake. A very large yummy plate of cinnamon, brown sugar and apples on an souffle like pancake. Their omelettes and hash browns are pretty good as well--standard diner fare, won't knock your socks off but it's good enough.

          Mexican--Mama Testa's and El Cuervo. Both in Hillcrest, over the hill from his hotel. El Cuervo is dirt cheap. Mama Testa's is cheap and less "dive-like."

          American--Terra in Hillcrest.

          Seafood-Oceanaire in downtown. Dinner only.

          French bistro--Cafe Chloe. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

          Cafe 222 for breakfast and casual lunch. literally a hop and a skip away from the convention center.

          Tell him to skip Richard Walker's Pancake House. It's so not worth the $$ or time.

          1 Reply
          1. re: daantaat

            I think the OP is talking about the Convention Center right next to (on other side of golf Driving Range) from the Handelry.

            To the OP: The area of town where your dad is staying is probably the worst Chow-ish place in San Diego. I hope he has access to a car.

          2. whoa...is your dad going to schlep the tapatio all the way back to ireland for you?

            you might as well just order several bottles online and have them shipped. you can stock up, & it'll save him the trouble of having to transport it overseas.

            1. Your dad can get Tapatio sauce very close to the hotel he is staying at. There is a grocery store called Food for Less right off of Mission Center Road, near Friars Road which is the street that runs along the North side of Fashion Valley Mall. Your dad is staying on a frontage road that is very close to that mall.

              For Italian food, he can make a trek down to Little Italy and try any of the establishments down there (most have menus posted). The restaurants downtown are good but pricey. Busallachi's on 5th avenue has delicious Italian food in the mid-price range.

              American food - have him try Gordon Biersch which is on the frontage road a little farther east from where he is staying. There is also a steak house called Bully's on the frontage road on the South side of the interstate that is open late and has good Prime Rib and other American dishes.

              For Mexican food, he can drive over to Old Town which is just about 1 1/2 miles away and there is a place that makes homemade tortillas called Casa Guadalajara or Old Town Mexican Cafe (kinda touristy but the carnitas are good).

              For places close to him for breakfast, I guess he could eat at the chain Mimi's. Their French toast and Pain Perdu are OK but I hate waiting to eat. I like having breakfast at the beach (The Eggery).

              1. Thanks for the replies everyone.

                It's good to know that Tapatio is so widely available. Although as goodhealthgourmet said we may be better off just ordering a load off the website.

                The convention is on in the Downtown Convention Center, the one on 111 West Harbour Drive. He's got a car so he's able to travel; I assumed that the area around the hotel would be pretty poor for food.

                All these recs sound great. San Diego probably isn't the place to be looking, but does anyone know of any good BBQ places?

                Any more suggestions much appreciated.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Aidoscuz

                  For tasty, inauthentic Q, Phil's BBQ in Point Loma is a good choice. Anything more authentic involves a long drive.

                  AVOID Kansas City BBQ downtown, near the Convention Center.

                  1. re: Josh

                    speaking of point loma...i don't know if anyone else suggested it, but if dad's really a seafood lover, tell him to go to "point loma seafoods" for lunch one day...excellent, very affordable fare. super-casual, informal seaside setting...and i just doesn't get any fresher.

                2. In Mission Valley he'll want to eat breakfast at Adam's Steak and Eggs directly across the freeway from the Handlery. Reliable and excellent.