I 2nd/3rd Cafe Chloe, Oceanaire, Cafe 222 and Mama Testa's.
Stay away from Richard Walker's Pancake House. Ugh food for average prices, at best.
Add Bandar in the Gaslamp Quarter for good Persian food. Servings large enough for 2.
For Asian fusion, Roppongi's in La Jolla is very good. They have a 50% off all tapas from 4-6 pm every day. Each tapa is made for 2-3 people and couple of them make a meal. The catch is that you must sit in the bar or patio area.
I have to respectfully disagree w/ DD about Terra being the "best upscale breakfast for $12," b/c Cavaillon easily beats them down w/ 4-5 star French cooking techniques meets scrambled eggs, omelettes, carmelized shallots and roasted potatoes for $12. Cavaillion is a good 30 min north of downtown, so if you don't want top schlep north, Terra will do a good breakfast.
Market in Del Mar
Cavaillon in Santaluz
Tapenade in La Jolla
Jack's Fine Dining Room in La Jolla
Izakaya Sakura on Convoy Ave. No-frills place with excellent sushi and izakaya menu. There's no signage out front, so the easiest way to find it is to look for the same strip mall as The Original Pancake House and then look to the left of the Army recruiting depot. Don't ask for California rolls or other Americanized sushi b/c they'll look at you funny. There's also a good Japanese BBQ place in the same strip mall called Tsuruhashi BBQ.
I too will be visiting San Diego for a convention in mid-December, staying at the Manchester Grand Hyatt and won't have a car. I'm looking for some mid-priced restaurants, not chains that I can find at home, for a couple of lunches & dinners with 2-3 other women from our convention. Extra points for California-based cuisine (we're all from Washingon DC).
All suggestions are great. I'd only add Candela's in the Gaslamp for upscale Mexican, and Los Quatros Milpas in Barrio Logan for the more adventuresome. The Guild in the Barrio is also great for lunch.
If you're willing to drive, Market in Del Mar IMHO is hands down the best restaurant in San Diego for California cuisine.
great suggestions so far! i'll refrain from repeating too many, but a few are worth the extra rec...
quarter kitchen at the ivy hotel
trattoria acqua [some of the best italian in so cal]
the cottage [killer breakfast/brunch]
george's california modern
jack's formal dinig room
pacifica del mar
americana [great breakfast/brunch/lunch]
Like goodhealthgourmet said, SD is very large, and knowing if you'll be mobile with a car will dictate what kind of recomendations might be offered. Types of cuisine, $$ to spend, touristy and non-touristy types of info will help get better answers to you. There's alot of debate with locals, in regards to places in SD..Some love them, some....not so much. While not living in SD, i'm there 5-6 times times a year, and quite familiar with the city.
hey Honeychan, I will have a car and we enjoy fusion food and seafood. The cost of the dinner is never an issue as my spouse and I are foodies so am willing to spend for a wonderful dinner. I welcome both tourist and non touristy venues as there's good in all of them. I welcome any advice...maybe a few places that you'd return over and over again in your last 5-6 trips there. Thanks for readin'
hi goodhealthgourmet, yep we'll have a car and am staying at Hotel Solamar in the Gaslamp District. I am hoping to find good eats say within walking distance or short cab ride as we tend to enjoy our wine with dinner. But for lunch we'll drive around for sure so any recommendation is much appreciated. I am looking for places the locals rave and love! Thanks!!
Well, you're actually in luck. For at least one of the meals simply take the elevator down to the lobby and dine at JSix. The chef there is one of a growing cadre of people focusing on locally grown products; I believe he's part of Slow Food, or if not, is more or less headed in that direction. I've had both dinner and breakfast at JSix and loved both. The JBar on the 3rd (or is that 4th) floor is nice for a drink.
Further down the path of locally sourced, sustainable food is The Linkery on 30th at Upas (it's kind of funky intersection, but not hard to find). The food can be a little inconsistent but there is a real commitment from the owner to the chefs to the servers to sustainably raised food. Their combinations are interesting and the have a large eclectic selection of brews and beers on hand. You'll need your car for this one but the 30th st. corridor is fast becoming one of the most exciting and interesting places to eat. Starting on the north end with Caffe Calabria (pizza oven time is getting closer), Aperitivo, Heaven Scent and Urban Solace, to Lefty's, Common Wealth Cafe, The Linkery and Alexanders, and ending with Rebeccas, Vagabond and Benny's you can find just about anything you want.
Chive is another downtown favorite as is Oceanaire, Red Pearl Kitchen and Dobsons.
For Mexican check out El Comal (on Illinois a 1/2 blk. north of University Ave. in North Park), Super Cocina (really off the beaten tourist path on University Ave between 37th and Cherokee) or Mama Testa's (Hillcrest area, University and Richmond)
For breakfast try Cafe 222 at 2nd and Island downtown, any of The Mission Cafes, Isabel Cantina in Pacific Beach on Feldspar a couple door down from Cass, or Terra in Hillcrest (best upscale breakfast under $12 in town)
Good picks Diva!
Jsix is absolutely worth a visit.
Cafe Chloe is another good one that the OP can walk to.
As for the 30th corridor all of those places are excellent, my personal favorite being Vagabond, Urban Solace and Apertivo.
At the 30th and University Ave. intersection there is also Spread (upscale vegetarian food), Hawthorne's and Rancho's Mexican food. All solid picks.
If you happen to be a beer drinker, there is also the wonderful Hamilton's Tavern which has one of the best beer selections in San Diego. But as said above, the Linkery always has at least one or two excellent beers on hand.
You'll also find a Mission Cafe a bit west on University and 30th but Cafe 222 and The Big Kitchen (also down 30th) are 2 of my favorites.