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Cheese shop in San Diego

Can anyone recommend me a good cheese shop in San Diego area?
I live in UTC area so something close to that area will be better.

I know there's one in La Jolla Shores area but they close pretty early I think.


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  1. Bristol Farms carries a good number of cheeses, although I can't say anything regarding the quality but it looks good (I'm not exactly a cheese connoisseur).

    Are you referring to "The Cheese Shop" in LJ shores? If so, the name might be a little misleading. It's actually more like a sandwich shop/deli. They don't really focus on the cheese so if you're looking for a place whose speciality is cheese you may be disappointed.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mliew

      UTC area leaves you with Bristol Farms or Whole Foods - unless someone knows of some new cheese shop.

      Personally, I think the Whole Foods cheese selection is excellent, much better than Bristol Farms.

      1. re: deckape

        Whole Foods has my favorite cheese selection, better than Bristol Farms and TJ's. I got some pretty awesome Stilton there a week ago and are currently gnawing our way through some Gruyere. They also have a feta cheese bar.

        Do TJ's if you're going to "cook" w/ the cheese b/c their quality and prices are pretty decent. Whole Foods if you're doing a cheese plate.

        Aniata (now known as Venissismo) has the best burrata that I'm aware of in town. Go when there's no traffic...

    2. mliew is correct. www.cheeseshopdeli.com may be what you were hearing about.
      There is one location in La Jolla and one downtown.

      Buying cheeses- Trader Joe's has best prices, Bristol has a better selection, Whole foods has a selection also.

      1. I *always* go to Taste Artisan Cheese in Hillcrest. The proprietors are knowledgeable and helpful. Sometimes I think I try more in samples than I take home


        1243 University Ave, San Diego, CA

        3 Replies
        1. re: notjustastomach

          I like Taste too, I've been in several times and they've always had interesting cheeses and were really able to explain what they were and what to do with them. I'm surprised no one has mentioned the two big fish in the cheese pond -

          Aniata at the Flower Hill Mall in Del Mar and Venissimo - http://www.venissimo.com/store - in Mission Hills, Washington between Falcon and Goldfinch. Venissimo bought out Aniata in, what, August or September, but both shops are open. Del Mar isn't that far from UTC.

          1. re: notjustastomach

            I second Taste Cheese for excellent artisan cheese. The Cheese Shop (locations in La Jolla and Downtown) has an unimpressive selection but still better then average though my hands down favorite local cheese shop is Venissimo Cheese.

            1. re: oerdin

              Agree, their website looks awesome. I think I may go with Venissimo, but if there's something closer to North County Inland, that would be great as well.

          2. Not in UTC, but there's Venissimo (sp?) in Hillcrest (might be more Mission Hills) on Washington and Falcon. It's next door to the Starbucks and has a pretty extensive selection.

            In UTC, B.Farms, Whole Foods, and TJ's are pretty much your best bets.

            1. Aniata in the Flower Hill Mall in Del Mar was excellent; Venissimo bought the shop and I haven't visited since, but their website looks really promising. It's right off the 5, not a long drive from UTC if you can go during light traffic.

              1. Taste in Hillcrest has the best customer service and a great selection. The Cheese Shop in LJ Shores is actually a deli - a very good deli - but doesn't sound like that's what you're looking for.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Alice Q

                  I know there is a cheese shop in Downtown but I don't really know what goes on in there. Can someone give me the scoop, is it all cheese to order out or do you sit down and eat stuff? I love cheese but have never been in there. Thanks.

                  1. re: georgehimself

                    It is the same as above. www.cheeseshopdeli.com . A restaurant.

                    They have selection of cheeses and you can order a tray for two, as a meal or to go and order your own design of grilled cheese sandwich (I like Havarti on pumpernickle), but not at all a selection as in any stores mentioned. I go there for breakfast and late lunches.

                    It also is only open until 4 pm. One block south of Hotron Plaza

                2. This is going to sound super silly but the Ralphs on Del Mar Heights Rd. is undergoing major revamping. I breezed through super fast during my lunchbreak and I had to do a double take. The right side of the store looks completely new. They have a rather LARGE section of cheeses, deli meats slice on order, and wine section. I think they had around 3 or 4 islands devoted to meats and cheeses...or maybe my brain is playing tricks on me. They also a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf kiosk and I believe they are working on a bakery. I felt like I was in a parallel universe.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: pinkamoeba

                    All of the grocery stores are way updating- they are anticipating fierce competition if Super WalMart comes in and also the Tesco-ization wil be happening in San Diego soon (only one Fresh and Easy has opened so far, in Chula Vista, but there are plans for 6 more)(Tesco is the world's largest food retailer, larger than WalMart; just more in the UK thanhere, for now).

                    All of the Vons did major upgrades last year, sort of making grocery shopping an "experience" -olive bars, sushi (even in Santee!), way nicer outer edges with ceramic tile flooring planks made to look like old barnyard flooring...and the fruit and veggie displays and lighting make it sort of look like you are shopping in a barn/produce market area.

                    The Albertsons on MiraMesa Blvd looks kind of like Disneyland, with gigantic overhead displays/facades of foods in that aisle...along with a Starbucks.

                    The downtown Albertsons (on 14th and G) has underground parking ,a Peets coffee shop and an extremely fancy deli counter.

                    The downtown Ralphs (one block south of Horton Plaza) is not as fancy, but way nicer than some of th 'un-re-done' Ralphs.

                    All in all, they seem to want you to "want" to shop there, making it an experience, because then even though it will be cheaper, Super WalMarts are just giant grocery stores...and eveything else, all under one roof. They are going the Bristol Farms and Whole Foods route of fancier displays and lighting.

                    1. re: Cathy

                      A friend went to the Fresh & Easy store down in CV. His take was that it was top heavy on prepared and take away food. Frankly, he wasn't that impressed with the store and was even a little disappointed. Have you been yet? I am very curious and waiting for the San Carlos store to open.

                      1. re: DiningDiva

                        They are opening one in Casa de Oro, in the Ranas shopping center - it will be interesting to see how it does in that neighborhood. I think it's supposed to be sort of Marks and Spencer-ish, with packaged prepared foods. A review I read said they also carry lots of ethnic items.

                        1. re: DiningDiva

                          Granted this is based on a small data set, but when I was in London a few months ago, I left very unimpressed with the Tesco markets that I visited.

                          1. re: DiningDiva

                            Yes. It is basically fresh food to go. Would appeal to students and busy adults, either for a lunch at work or sit down 'cooked' meal at home. Good quality/price point, but you and I can make it at home for less, DD.

                            That whole Eastlake-ish area where it is located will shop there. So many new houses and almost every home has to have both family members working. I think the San Carlos and La Mesa locations may not have the same demographics of shoppers at all (the La Mesa one on Bancroft and Campo may get a lot of business from Rancho San Diego though).

                            It is a different kind of store. I can see it as an occasional stop, but not a regular one.

                            About half of the grocery items are Tesco brand and then not much of a selection of brand name items (ex: Tesco ketchup and Heinz are your choices).

                            1. re: Cathy

                              FWIW, I haven't buy much pre-made at Trader Joe's either- 3 salads total, in all these years of TJs being out here... and I used to like the refrigerated pizzas, but those thin frozen ones from Italy are even better...

                          2. re: Cathy

                            I personally wouldn't mind a Waitrose-ization of U.S. grocery stores! Who knows, maybe they'll be next to cross the pond...

                        2. Funny you should mention it, but I was about to ask the same quuestion. However I'm looking for a great cheese shop / meat shop / wine store in San Diego North County, preferably inland North County. I moved away four years ago and I'm just clueless as to places to go.

                          Is Tip Top Meats in Carlsbad still around? Their website doesn't seem to be working after a Google search. I thought they had fantastic stuff and wonder if it has changed.

                          Thanks for everyone's help in advance.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: SmrtBloned

                            Tip Top is still there.

                            You would really like Major Market on Center City Parkway, just east of the 15 (if taking CCP exit while driving north, it is a left at the 2nd light).

                            Love your name...

                            1. re: Cathy

                              For inland I would second Major Market in Escondido, their cheese selection and salami/saucisson and pate selection keeps getting bigger and better. I loved Aniata in Del Mar which isn't a bad drive from Escondido on the weekend via Del Dios (haven't been since the acquisition) but go to Major Market regularly and can get surprisingly many of the same cheeses there in a pinch...

                              1. re: puggama

                                Thanks for all the suggestions folks. I ended up going to Venissimo and it was a great hit. It was slammed when I got there, but definintely a great gift to give for someone who has everything. I greatly appreciate the assistance!

                            2. re: SmrtBloned

                              For meat please try T&H Prime Meat in San Marcos...they have an amazing selection of in-house made sausages and fabulous meat including prime beef. They are the only old-fashioned butcher shop around and they are a family business. SUper super nice guys that are always willing to help. I do all my meat shopping there and i know I can always get great tasting stuff there. I was there yesterday and stocked up on bulk hot italian sausage for my sauces, swedish pork and potato sausage, fresh bratwurst, fresh ground beef and a standing rib pork roast that i plan to cook on Christmas eve. The cheese selection at Tip Top is very very small Major Market is better and so it Jimbo's in Carlsbad.

                            3. TIA:

                              After trying all of the other places, TRaders, Whole Foods, I only get my cheese at TAste in Hillcrest.

                              They are extremely helpfula nd they keed track of your purchases, so if you had something you liked, they will be able to tell yoiu what it was when you return.

                              There selection is huge,a nd they insist that you TASTE it before purchase.

                              You will not go wrong with your shopping experience here.

                              1. I wanted to mention that Venissimo delivers, and you can shop online. You can't taste, and you have to buy in larger increments (1/2 lb?), but it's there. They have been my favorite since they opened.

                                1. I was pretty impressed by the variety of Cheese at Taste today - though some of the cut wheels were much past optimal ripeness [h/ Fog in particular]....
                                  Prices are pretty high comparatively as well [32/lb for Cabrales].

                                  Oh yeah, & I picked up a Palacios Chorizo [one of the best chorizo in US for cooking and Eating, imo for you paella makers] there, which was perfect because I was looking for a source in SD and was prepared to go Pata Negra. They had one big framani gentile - but I was not prepared to commit :(.

                                  Anyone been to the wine bar next door?

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: kare_raisu

                                    Just curious, what would you compare the prices to? I would imagine they are comparable to Venissimo. If you thought the Humboldt Fog was past ripeness I hope you told the owners, I'm sure they would like to know. I usually taste before buying, and have never had any problems. I've bought the Framani Salumetto there, in fact I bought the last one just the other day.

                                    The wine bar next door is a nice place to go with some friends and get a glass of wine and bite to eat - but the service can be a little slow and the wines are nothing special, imho. Lots of South American and Australian, some are ok, some not so great, and the good ones aren't that cheap - you can get tastes before you buy though, which is kind of fun.

                                    1. re: Alice Q

                                      Whole Foods in Sonoma County, where I worked as a cheesemonger in the specialty department. The people at cypress grove were well aquainted with us at our store. I did not tell the owners, because if they are in the cheese business - they know what an overripe cheese looks like.
                                      H/F ripens from the rind inward and herein lies its beauty - the crumbly fresh chevre like interior juxtaposed against the creamy brie like outer rims.

                                      I agree that they are wonderfully open to tastings - as the woman asked me several times.
                                      Thanks for the winebar information!

                                      1. re: kare_raisu

                                        So it was too much gooey and not enough crumbly? I'm not sure I understand if it was a matter of preference or something that was actually spoiled.

                                        I do think the prices at the smaller cheese shops are a bit more than Whole Foods, but I like to patronize them when I can because they are part of the local community. I do like Whole Foods cheese dept though, that place is like a candy store to me.

                                        1. re: Alice Q

                                          Overripe is not spoiled. Check out the new book A Cheese Lovers companion or the murray guide

                                          I can reccomend some good gooey goat bries if your interested though....