Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > California >
Feb 24, 2008 12:52 PM

Our San Diego plan - would love your feedback & suggestions

Hi all,

We head to San Diego later next month for a conference. We'll have a couple of unstructured days when we first arrive. We are staying in the downtown area near the convention center & we will have a car. We like good food and wine, we're not really big fans of seafood, surely interested in some good Mexican, and don't want to spend a ton of money (though happy to do a couple higher end places that have a good return for the money!).

Would love to hear any feedback on our choices and any alternative suggestions.

The Cheese Shop - near our hotel downtown
South Beach Bar & Grille - the day we visit Cabrillo
Either Girard Gourmet or Piatti - the day we visit La Jolla and Torrey Pines
Terra - for Sunday brunch

Dinners (we are looking to stay near the downtown area for these):
Old Town Mexican Cafe
Rama - in the Gaslamp area
El Agave - Old Town
Dobson's - downtown

We were also looking at San Diego Wine & Culinary Center as a possibility. And considered Cafe Chloe and wonder if we are making mistake not including this one in our plans.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts & suggestions!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Old Town Mexican Cafe is not a place anybody should eat, IMO.

    Girard Gourmet rocks.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Josh

      Agreed on Old Town Mexican Cafe. Last time I was there, the food was barely warm. I'd hit up Cafe Guadalajara in Old Town instead.

      I'd definitely include Cafe Chloe. It's a few blocks east of The Cheese Shop, and well worth it.

      Good choices!

    2. I say definitely try Cafe Chloe - you could go there for brunch or dinner. IMO OTMC is ok for some margaritas and and an order of taquitos at the bar - but not worth the wait for a table. I also like Girard Gourmet, but I think there are better options for you on the day you go to LJ and Torrey Pines. The Lodge at Torrey Pines has a grill that serves a great burger, and in LJ George's Ocean Terrace offers decent food and some great views (in nice weather) The bar at Georges has the same food indoors. There's also a Cheese Shop outlet in LJ Shores (right across the street from Piatti) that I think is better than the one downtown - so that's actually a possibility on that day too.

      I personally think South Beach is overrated and would suggest either Hodad's in OB for burgers, or Con Pane in Point Loma for sandwiches on the day you go to Cabrillo.

      I really like Dobson's - the mussel bisque is excellent, they have a small one too called a "baby bisque" that you can ask for, it's not on the menu.

      Other places you might want to consider adding to your itinerary - Bread and Cie, Bite, The Guild, The Linkery, Jayne's Gastropub, Extraordinary Desserts, and Urban Solace. Enjoy!

      1. Thanks everyone! Great to have some confirmations, the heads up on OTMC and some new suggestions.

        1. Agree with most of the posters and I would do George's Modern/George's at the Cove on the terrace for's pretty reasonable for lunch.
          If not, Girard Gourmet is outstanding and there is a Cheese Shop in the LJ Shores and I really enjoy Piatti's too..
          I love to have Marg's and nachos at Alfonso's in LJ...
          Dobson's for the mussel bisque with the puff pastry is out of this world good.

          1. Definitely do not miss Cafe Chloe. They also do breakfast/brunch as well as an afternoon tea.

            I think Mission Cup Cafe is up and running in La Jolla. Good place for casual breakfast or lunch. Their Double Happiness bowl (grilled chicken and beef over brown rice dressed with their teriyaki-ish like sauce) is really good, as are their Coconut French Toast.

            Nine-Ten in La Jolla does a 3 course prix-fixe lunch for something like $24-27. Really good food.