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San Diego (Gaslamp) Question

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Hello Fellow Hounds,

I'm posting this for a friend traveling to San Diego.

Looking for suggestions for food, one decent fun place and other good food but more affordable for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Will be with a larger group of girls. Staying in Gaslamp district at the W. Hoping to go to La Jolla for one day.


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  1. The search function is your friend.

    1. I'll answer because I was visiting down there last week looking for the same things. My boyfriend and I were with friends, so while we couldn't try the real "Foodie" places, we still had a good time.
      We ate at Croce's for dinner on a whim because of the live music. I was pleasantly surprised by the food; there were many things that looked good. I started with the short ribs and then had the pork tenderloin. The service was wonderful, and although the place is smaller, it has some character.

      For breakfast, I love the PJ's cafe across from Hard Rock. They have breakfast sandwiches and pastries if you are looking for less expensive and on-the-go.

      If you are looking for a good happy hour (meaning cheap) try Moose McGuillacuddy's (sp?). They had like half-priced everything from 4-7 and it was a less expensive way to start the night.

      Then I would recommend going to Cafe Sevilla at night. If you go into the bar at the main level, order a Perron with the green drink. It's a funky shaped decanter that you basically pour into others mouths'. Pretty fun. The live music helps as well.

      If you get out to La Jolla, there are many good places, but I always count on Roy's. While a chain, it has some of the best seafood you'll find. Enjoy!

      1. Here is a link to the Gaslamp district as to what is happening with nightlife and restaurants..
        We like going to the rooftop bar at several of the hotels in the Gaslamp..Marriott next to Petco, Solamar, Ivy..W too.
        La Jolla, great lunch at George's at the Cove/George's Modern on the terrace.
        Nachos and Marg's at Alfonso's, Crab Catcher for happy hour..El Pescador for fresh fish sandwiches..


        1. Best Gaslamp advice.... DON'T GO! The good food seems to be outside of that touristy area. If you are looking to have inexpensive, but very San Diego... surfer/bum type fun... try Dick's Last Resort

          1. You should for sure do a search as this is a popular question but I will give you a few places.

            Less expensive lunchtime fare can be found at the Cheese Shop downtown, Mona Lisa for Italian sandwiches, The Waterfront for tasty burgers and they do a decent breakfast, Buon Appetito for more of a sit down lunch. The coffee shop at the new Hardrock Hotel Maryjane's is supposedly tasty. Cafe Chloe is great and does b, l & d I think.

            For fun food that is pretty tasty I would suggest Confidential they have good tapas style food and turns into a club after hours. Along that note Stingaree also serves dinner and is a fun place at night. If I was to choose with my girlfriends I will almost always go to Oceanaire but Red Pearl and Nobu are also good options.

            Downtown is NOT a culinary wasteland but more research then just walking up and down 5th is necessary.

            1. Here's a recent thread that has some recommendations - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/492311

              The W is not actually in the Gaslamp, but it is fairly close. You're not too far from Little Italy on that end of town - a short stroll up India Street - there are some good delis, gelaterias, bakeries, and Italian restaurants up there, as well as some great boutiques (Station and Sorella for starters.) You can also get breakfast pastries at Extraordinary Desserts on Union, and at Opera Patisserie on 5th and Ash, both a short walk from the hotel.

              For hip restaurants - I'd recommend Cafe Chloe, Chive, Red Pearl Kitchen, and Mary Jane's and Nobu at the new Hard Rock Hotel. The Gaslamp Strip Club (a steak place) is also fun with a group - you grill your own steak at the communal grill and they serve retro style sides and cocktails - best part is it's not terribly expensive. Cafe Sevilla is also fun for some sangria and tapas. The Ivy hotel has a hip rooftop bar, but the food is universally panned. I also like the rooftop bar at the Hard Rock.

              Don't go to Dick's Last Resort - the food is awful (served in buckets) and it's one of those places where the servers are intentionally rude - Moose's isn't much better. I wouldn't waste your time - avoid Rock Bottom too while you're at it.

              For lunch in La Jolla, I'd suggest George's Ocean Terrace - the food is decent and affordable, and the view is amazing overlooking the ocean. Good cocktails too. Brockton Villa is also a nice spot for brunch - have the Coast Toast. The Cottage, Cody's and Mission Coffee Cup are also highly recommended, but the views aren't quite the same. Girard Gourmet in the Village and Cheese Shop at the Shores are good spots for sandwiches.

              Have fun!

              2 Replies
              1. re: Alice Q

                "Don't go to Dick's Last Resort - the food is awful (served in buckets) and it's one of those places where the servers are intentionally rude - Moose's isn't much better. I wouldn't waste your time - avoid Rock Bottom too while you're at it."

                Sometimes its okay to slum it... I think Dick's Last Resort perfectly captures San Diego's roots as a Navy and Surf bum town.

                Is it glamorous? No.

                Is it a dirty, unsafe dive for women? No.

                Is the food great? The beer is fine... and some of the food meets expectations. I think the worst advice is to send people to things San Diego doesn't do as well as other major cities.

                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                  While I agree with you on the "okay to slum it" part, I wouldn't recommend Dick's. If I were to seek out a place representative of San Diego's roots as a Navy and Surf bum town, I'd point them elsewhere. Dick's is a chain with mediocre eats, IMO, and there are other places to go in the Gaslamp for "decent fun". It's really sad to think Dick's is representative of what San Diego does well.

              2. Depending on what you consider "Fun," W is right next to the Karl Strauss Brewing Company on Columbia St. Good, fresh beer, with decent, fun food.