HOME > Chowhound > California >

Discussion

San Diego Fish Tacos & Burritos

I will be in SD for a couple of days on business and am looking for a place to eat a good burrito and another place to get some fish tacos. I abhor fast food chains and tourist traps. I am looking for a local mom and pop type of place that only locals know about. We can't get good burritos in Boston and I hear SD is the place to get them. Though we get wicked awesome fresh fish here in New England, no seems to know how to make a good fish taco. Thanks, Bostonbeefeater

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. As far as I know, there are no Fish Tacos in San Diego that compares to Ensenada... so bring your Passport with you for that. Not in the same league, but the tacos at Betty's in Escondido are pretty solid... and they do other things well that you wouldn't be able to find in Boston like Mole de Olla.

    25 Replies
    1. re: Eat_Nopal

      You are right thus far - but I am working on it the fish taco situation. Its my current project. There will be more mariscos missions coming up. A worthwhile fish taco must exist.

      Until then - the best fish taco in SD is Marlin Carnitas at Mariscos German

      or II can refer you to El Taco Nazo/Senor Baja in Temecula or Pedros Tacos in Fallbrook with confidence. They have the best proper tacos de pescado - but its a drive.

      1. re: kare_raisu

        Yeah, the tacos here aren't quite as good as Ensenada, but you can still get some pretty damned good ones. Better than probably anywhere else in the country. I personally like the ones at Blue Water Grill and Wahoo's a lot.

        1. re: DougOLis

          KR... do we have consensus that L.A. has better Fish Tacos than S.D.?

            1. re: kare_raisu

              Well that's great and all but it still misses the point, bostonbeefeater isn't going to either LA or Ensenada. They are going to San Diego so saying other places might be better is kind of moot and you're not being very helpful. The op is coming from Boston where they don't have access to fish tacos and burritos, and I still think we have good ones here.

              What you're saying is that I shouldn't eat French food in France because we have French Laundry in California. That's just dumb.

              1. re: DougOLis

                Easy brother.

                "...I still think we have good ones here."

                Where?

                "I abhor fast food chains and tourist traps."

                -Wahoos is a chain and I believe more known for their grilled fish.
                - Blue water grill? Part of the beauty of a fish taco is that it is street food and should be within reach of everyone. Not neccistate sit-down dining.

                1. re: kare_raisu

                  Blue Water isn't formal. It's ultra casual. They do have good fish tacos, IMO. If you haven't been there, it's worth checking out. Their fish is very high quality.

                  1. re: Josh

                    by formal I mean having to order a meal, wait service etc. and I doubt they are "Mom and Pop"

                    1. re: kare_raisu

                      Yeah, Blue Water isn't like that. You order at a counter and someone brings it to you. There's no wait service. It's all plastic plates, baskets, etc. True, the fish tacos are a little beyond street food, but no more so than other places in SD.

                  2. re: kare_raisu

                    I would preface the street concept to be your humble opinion, Doug is absolutly correct.

                    I have had good fish tacos at the Bringantine and El Zarape.

                    1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                      hey I agree about the brig fish tacos -if you can get past the cheddar cheese -yet per the OP - they are a chain.

                    2. re: kare_raisu

                      I'm not trying to start a flame war or anything; I just took exception to the notion that good fish tacos don't exist in San Diego. As stated: Mariscos German, Blue Water, Brigantine, and the places you and EN recommended up North (I haven't been to either so I can't judge). That answers your "Where?"

                      I don't really consider either Wahoos or The Brigantine to be fast food chains in the traditional sense. They are small chains but they're not in the same category as Rubio's. Right?

            2. re: kare_raisu

              Second that, I tried the Marlin Taco last weekend. Fantastic, and they kindly gave me a free cup of basic but good shrimp bouillabaisse while I waited.

              1. re: trentyzan

                nice! I think it is great that they offer that rather than chips. One day I had it -it was extraordinary.

                1. re: trentyzan

                  There is a mariscos Taco Truck on 54th that always gives you a great cup of seafood bouillabaisse when you wait.

                  1. re: Cathy

                    Do you have the name and mas information cathy?

                    1. re: kare_raisu

                      Lots actually, KR. On the blog soon.

                      Chulos Food Truck...54th at Redwood- the North East corner in the parking lot.

                    2. re: Cathy

                      On behalf of the Mexican people... we object to the use of bouillabaisse to describe our tomato and/or chile based shrimp caldos... we invented them first.

                      Tlazohcamati (Thank You)

                      1. re: Eat_Nopal

                        Well, then it was a great caldo de camarones :)

                          1. re: Cathy

                            Its not called bouillabaisse if you are referring to a Mexican dish that is more ancient than the French version.

                            1. re: Eat_Nopal

                              I KNOW....please look at the thread. I was commenting on another one, and not correcting him.

                2. Actually, I have it from good trustworthy sources (Kare_Raisu, Josh, Dinining Diva & gang) that Mariscos German should not be missed.... well beyond Baja style fish tacos... like tender Octopus, Garlicky Shrimp tacos and other good stuff.

                  1. I lived in San Diego a few years ago. I've never been to the other places mentioned, but I thought that Ortega's on Newport Ave in OB had THE best fish tacos ever. In fact, everything was amazing (I've traveled a lot through Mexico too, I feel entitled to know :) My dad said it was the best swordfish he'd ever had. Definitely a fun hole-in-the-wall, mom and pop place too. It's on the north side of the street, a block west of Sunset Cliffs.

                    1. Try Don Chuy in Solana Beach - it fits all of your criteria.

                      14 Replies
                      1. re: Alice Q

                        I too must place a vote for Mariscos German as the best Mexican seafood place in San Diego I have discovered.

                        Highly reccomend the Gobenador taco (shrimp grilled with peppers and cheese) and the Pulpo Mexican (octopus grilled with onion). The smoked Marlin taco is also amazing.

                        I have yet to try their standard fish taco but it is next on my list...

                        Way off the beaten path, very mom and pop.

                        1. re: Ewilensky

                          I've had the standard fish taco a Mariscos German. It's good, but it pales in comparison to most of the others. The taco de callo (scallops) is wonderful. An item that hasn't yet been mentioned are their quesadillas. Phee had the shrimp quesadilla the day we were there and it was excellent. It's kind of a Mexican/American quesadilla - meaning that it was made with a flour tortilla - but the flavor was good, the shrimp delicious and the crustiness from grilling added a nice smoky touch.

                          1. re: DiningDiva

                            OK DD, on my way home from work today I will order a taco de callo and a quesadilla (as well as a Marlin and Octopus taco) for dinner tonight. I should probably get one of everything for my wife as well. Hell if I am going to share... ;-)

                            1. re: Ewilensky

                              Don't miss the aguachile tostada.

                              1. re: Josh

                                Josh, I had the aguachile tostada my first visit and found it to be the weakest thing we ordered -- it actually tasted very fishy. A few more limes and 10 minutes helped it greatly. But I'll give it another go this evening.

                                1. re: Ewilensky

                                  Huh, interesting!

                                  I suspect that's a dish that is highly dependent on the freshness of the shrimp. When I had it, there was no fishy flavor at all. Sorry to hear that, but it's good to know.

                              2. re: Ewilensky

                                The taco de callo was excellent and gave the pulpo mexicano a run for its money. These are my two favorites now. My wife enjoyed the quesadilla de camerones very much and the little bite I was able to steal from her, warrants another trip down there in a few weeks. They already know my by name. Is 3 times in 1 week too much???

                                I'm eating a salad tonight...

                                1. re: Ewilensky

                                  "They already know me by name. Is 3 times in 1 week too much???"

                                  Awesomeness! :^)

                                  1. re: Ewilensky

                                    On that scallop taco there is something magical about the pairing of the white sauce and maggi seasoned sauteed callos! I think scallops are one of my favorite foods texturally.

                                    1. re: kare_raisu

                                      I will add I needed to get all of this 'to go' and the execution was different than on previous visits.

                                      Whereas the first and second time I ordered the pulpo mexicano when I was eating there I got the usual cabbage and white sauce, etc...

                                      Last night however when I unwrapped my tacos at home I got none of that -- just a corn tortilla heaped with grilled octopus and nothing else. I must say, there was more meat on these tacos than my last 2 combined. It was simple and it was excellent but different than I expected.

                                      The same with the scallop taco -- nothing but scallops piled high, and almost more than I could eat in one sitting (but I managed).

                                      The gobenadores taco was excactly the same however.

                                      This is not a complaint, and perhaps if my Spanish was better I could ask for all the fixings. Still, on their own, these were excellent tacos.

                                      But damnit, now I need to go back to try the other versions...

                                      1. re: Ewilensky

                                        "E" next time you could ask for "con todo" which basically means with everything.

                                    2. re: Ewilensky

                                      When I was there a couple weeks ago with Alex I noticed that they had several regulars come in. The gal taking orders at the counter was asking them if they wanted their "usual". Most did. I think you're headed towards "regular" territory.

                                      The worst part of Marsicos German for me is the proxcimity to Panchita's at 25th and C. Tacos followed by their palmiers or macaroons is perfect.

                                  2. re: DiningDiva

                                    That's what I love to see. So many people are obsessed with having food identical to country X (insert what ever country you like) but often the best local food doesn't try to imitate some where else and instead it is a hybrid mixing foreign with local to form a uniquely local end product. The important thing is always taste first and for most. If it tastes good then who cares if the regional version is different from country X?

                                  3. re: Ewilensky

                                    I think both KR & DD have very good references to compare, if they think its amazing... I don't think it is unreasonable to compare Mariscos German with the very best Mexican Seafood places in the entire U.S. (E.L.A. Serenata de Garibaldi etc.,).

                                2. Thank you for all of the awesome feedback. It is looking like Mariscos German may be the place to go. I am in SD for two nights starting on Friday so I will be able to check out a couple of places. I hope that either I or my wife can reciprocate someday on suggestions on where to eat in Boston. Bostonbeefeater

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: bostonbeefeater

                                    I am sure that you have other things to check out other than Mexican... and everybody here has played nice respecting the boundaries of your requests... but if you really are interested in Mexican... in addition to Mariscos German, you should give Super Cocina a try... and go sample some prepared foods at Northgate Gonzalez Market... also I think the locals in the know might also vouch for some Contemporary or Alta Cocina places like Romesco... and I know KR has found some Panaderias he really digs.... as well as some highly specialized places near the border like Menuderia Don Vicente etc.,

                                    The San Diego Mexican offering (well still litterred with a bunch of really, crappy "Taco Shops") goes well beyond Fish Tacos & Burritos... and in my personal experiences at Super Cocina, Betty's & even Frida (which is still quite uneneven)... Fish Tacos & Burritos are the last thing that would interest me about San Diego.

                                    1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                      Amen to that. I was going to say it's always disappointing to me how often Super Cocina recs are couched in commentary about the neighborhood where it's located, followed up with suggestions for places with lesser food, that are in "safer" neighborhoods. The neighborhood isn't fancy, no, but it's a varied and mixed ethnic environment, which is why it's home to so many great places to eat. It's certainly no worse than where Mariscos German is located.

                                      Part of the problem here is surely the narrow perception a lot of Americans have as to what Mexican food even is. I can't even remember the last time I ate a burrito, or at a taco shop, since being exposed to Super Cocina.

                                      1. re: Josh

                                        Yup, our friend is coming from Boston... I don't think the Super Cocina neighborhood is anything that would bother him/her.

                                      2. re: Eat_Nopal

                                        I hate to burst everyone's bubble about the Mexican food at Northgate but a lot of it is frozen prepared that they heat and serve. My source is pretty reliable.

                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                          Let me broaden my meaning of prepared foods....

                                          1) One of the few Mexican grocers NOB that actually has an attendant dispatching artisinal sweets

                                          2) Ceviches of various sorts (not likely frozen)... including 3 types of Agua Chile preparations (Green, Red & the more traditional White)

                                          3) Blue Corn Tortillas straight from the line

                                          4) Nopales & other types of Salads

                                          5) Carnitas including choices of cuts, that don't look like they could be from frozen (well maybe the raw meat was frozen at one point)

                                          etc., etc., etc.,

                                          1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                            I need to go back and get some more of those coconut-filled limes. They were incredible.

                                            1. re: Josh

                                              I can't imagine someone from Boston not walking into this store & being completely fascinated and ruined for his/her local Mexican markets.

                                          2. re: DiningDiva

                                            what do you mean...the stews and tamales?

                                            1. re: kare_raisu

                                              Most likely their carnitas, barbacoa, bulk salsas, pozole, menudo, rice, beans...

                                          3. re: Eat_Nopal

                                            They should try a good birria stew. There are a number of places with some really good goat stews and while he's at it there are some great mom & pop places on convoy with excellent Korean BBQ. I'm just offering these ideas to provide a bit more local flair.

                                        2. I haven't been there in a little while, but I was thinking that El Zarape usually has decent seafood tacos and burritos. Definitely a non-chain place and not a tourist trap, though it is not the "standard" fare necessarily. (Just noticed that normalheightsfoodie mentioned that in an earlier post, too).

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: kevsterSD

                                            El Zarape for many years WAS our seafood taco/burrito go-to place. I'm not sure if we'll be going there again after eating at Mariscos German.

                                            Still, a good pick, especially if you are in Balboa Park as it is right down the street

                                            1. re: Ewilensky

                                              I also used to like El Zarape a lot, but now I'd probably go to Mama Testa, also close to the park on University. It is a little pricier though.

                                          2. I was just refered to a Burrito place called Santana's by one of my employees that used to live there. Any thoughts on this place? Bostonbeefeater

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: bostonbeefeater

                                              It's a standard taco shop, nothing particularly special about it IMO, though it's a good example of taco shop fare.

                                            2. I really like Bay Park Fish Company near Sea World drive and I-5..fish tacos are excellent along with other great stuff and they have a decent happy hour..
                                              I am a fan of Las Cuatros Milpas under the Coronado Bridge which has been serving great Mex for many years..I would go during the day..excellent carnitas.. no fish tacos.
                                              Most of our Taco Shops are pretty darn good out here..some better than others.
                                              The Brigantine Restaurant which is a local restaurant chain makes some pretty good fish tacos and they are always packed with locals for there everyday seafood happy hour.

                                              www.brigantine.com

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                                Careful there... we want to impress the East Coaster, no? I have randomly walked into San Diego Taco Shops... and no, unless my Mexdar is way off, most aren't pretty darn good, they are pretty damn bad... starting with Roberto's in Del Mar, through Dos Burritos in Vista... and some random places I have stopped at around in the neighborhoods around the Airport, Sea World & San Diego State.

                                                I

                                                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                  hee hee Eat Nopal..
                                                  We do want to impress the East Coaster and it was a broad brush to paint that
                                                  'all' taco shops are pretty darn good..
                                                  I guess I haven't had that many bad experiences but some do stand out as not so good..
                                                  My apologies..

                                                2. re: Beach Chick

                                                  Do you know what hours Los Cuatros Milpas is open? Thanks!

                                                  1. re: alskii

                                                    I'm not sure what time they open (by 10 AM or so) but they close at 3 PM, and they're closed all day on Sundays.

                                                3. Eat at Rubio's even though they have gone way down hill since their stock went public. Rubio was the first to bring (that I know of) to bring Ensenada style fish tacos to the US. That said there is really is no good Mexican in San Diego and for that matter the restaurant scene pretty much sucks too. Remember this is the town that votes in our local newspaper, the Union Tribune, rates Olive Garden, year after year, as the best Italian restaurant in SD.

                                                  39 Replies
                                                  1. re: The Old Man

                                                    Huh?

                                                    There's some good Mexican here, you just have to seek it out.

                                                    1. re: The Old Man

                                                      When it comes to deliciousness, food quality & menu variety (particular getting away from the Mexican-American beaten path) Super Cocina is in the top 5% of all Mexican eateries in the U.S..... definitely among my Top 25 in California.

                                                      1. re: The Old Man

                                                        Rubios fish tacos are in the style of san felipe - at least when they first started - for the record.

                                                        "No good Mexican in San Diego" All I can do is laugh and suggest you join me for a tour. In case you havent noticed, San Diego's Mexican scene is getting better by the second.

                                                        Who cares about the Union Tribune polls? Not me and mind you my grandfather freaking works there.

                                                        1. re: kare_raisu

                                                          Well, about 3/4 of the "better by the minute" is due to your passion and persistence in finding the obscure and more authentic of our local treasures, KR. I'm not sure most of us would take the time to seek out the spots you've found and report back. My waistline may not thank you, but I sure do!

                                                          1. re: kare_raisu

                                                            IMO, SD has the best Mex cuisine in the country, thank goodness cause we don't have much else to hang our hats on.

                                                            1. re: cstr

                                                              Ate at a Tucson Mex last year and it was the best I've had in 15 years since leaving Chicago and living in this vast cultural and culinary wasteland. We sure have nice weather though.

                                                              1. re: The Old Man

                                                                Never looked at Tucson, was that TEX-MEX or MEX? I agree with you about SD, I've been and ate all over this country (searching ethnic nhoods) and can't understand why SD is this way. We do have nice weather, a great military presence, beaches, convention business and are a destination for vacationers, but on the culinary seen we lack big time. I wish for a North Beach or Chinatown like SF, Ethnic neighborhoods like NY CHIC or BOS that have outstanding chow at realistic prices, but that's not going to happen. Oh well... we have nice weather.

                                                            2. re: kare_raisu

                                                              Remember the polls are the views of the average SD resident. The residents are who frequent the restaurants. If the general populations shows they are ignorant of good food it follows that, on the whole, there will be less quality restaurants.

                                                              1. re: The Old Man

                                                                you can say that about anywhere in this country, save SF

                                                                1. re: kare_raisu

                                                                  I disagree. Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, as you mention San Francisco. Remember SD was orignally mostly a miltary town. Farm boys from the heartland came back from the war and settled here. There was never a history of quality restaurants. I find that even when you go to the better restaurants the food service is inexperienced. You need a large base of excellent restaurants to develop a base of good chef, servers, etc.

                                                                  Also note that even though SD is the 7th or 8th largest city in the US Zagat discontinued their book here for about 7 years. It's only come back recently and without the addition of OC to it it would be one of their thinest editions for a major city.

                                                                  1. re: The Old Man

                                                                    I have been traveling to Chicago quite a bit.... the Chicago Suburbs reminds me of a much uglier version of San Diego - Orange County with the dominance of local chains (Jimmy Johns, Portillo's etc.,) and national chains.

                                                                    L.A. also fits that description quite a bit.

                                                                    With that said Chicago & L.A. both have more Top Notch restaurants than San Diego (but they aren't compact little Chow meccas either)... the devoted Chowhounds (the RST, Amatas & a handful of others) are the exception there... with so many suckers (kind of like some posters here in SD which I will not name) that are willing to dish out money primarily for ambience & location... and lastly for food quality.

                                                                    1. re: The Old Man

                                                                      didn't you say "general populations" ? Your mentioning zagats on chowhound....? huh?

                                                                      1. re: kare_raisu

                                                                        I'm new here and as I said, here or in the other current SD thread, I will not make anymore comments about the food in SD. However, again, the point I was making about the general population is NOT that they necessarily are the aribitrators of good food, but that without a knowledgable general population it's hard to sustain a quality restaurant. There aren't enough people to keep a place (other than a lot of the shack style places) in business.

                                                                        I regards to Zagat's, it has turned me onto many good places and I've rarely been let down. Again, it has to be in a city in which the general population has some knowledge of good food, so that those who take the time to write and vote will expect food of a certain level. I do find the SD Zagat's pretty much a waste of time because of that lack in the general population--not necessarily the posters here.

                                                                      2. re: The Old Man

                                                                        Spot-on! TOM, while other well blessed culinary cities had a large influx of immigrants, thus excellent restaurants, bakeries, specialty foods etc., SD basicly had Mexicans, Spanish, and farmers, and we do that pretty well. I think the frustration about the restaurant scene in SD comes from that lacking base and SD can't manufacture or buy that. The other piece I don't understand is where SD restaurants base their pricing from, it's beyond me. I mean I can eat in NYC or in fact almost anywhere in the US better and cheaper than SD, sometimes even Hawaii, go figure.

                                                                        1. re: cstr

                                                                          Maybe we're not speaking the same language here, but I can think of a number of good ethnic restaurants in San Diego that are quite inexpensive to moderate.

                                                                          Places like Super Cocina, Pomegranate, Mama's Lebanese Bakery and Deli, Izakaya Sakura, Tajima, Noodle Town, Saigon, Lucky Pho, Mona Lisa, Pizzeria Luigi, Urban Solace, etc. There's definitely good food to be found in San Diego if you look hard enough.

                                                                          1. re: Josh

                                                                            Pomegranate doesn't get enough love; I've only been there once but I was amazed at how good Russian-Georgian food can be.

                                                                            I'd add Ba Ren and maybe China Max to that list too.

                                                                            1. re: DougOLis

                                                                              Yeah, for sure on those two. Also Dumpling Inn, Noodle Town, Buga, Punjabi Tandoor, Surati Farsan, Bandar, Chopahn - I'm sure there are more I'm not thinking of.

                                                                            2. re: Josh

                                                                              Josh, I do agree, there are a 'few' unique places in SD, but no extensive diversity of ethnic nhoods, and I do enjoy the hunt. But nothing like the other cities mentioned, and that's what I'm trying to convey in the comment and I believe that's where we see topics of frustration about SD restaurants on this CH board. I respect your comments on this board, if you have travelled about the US, please attempt to explain how our SD restaurants come up with their pricing. I was on the other coast last week, ate at an italian restaurant, in an Italian nhood, the cost of any full dinner entree on the menu was under $20. , I'm talking sole proprietorship (family owned), home cooking, Also the specialty shops and bakeries in the hood. Incredible stuff!

                                                                              1. re: cstr

                                                                                There are some ethnic foods where San Diego is definitely lacking, Italian and Greek being particular standouts. You'll get no argument from me there. However we do have good Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Mexican, though not necessarily in large numbers.

                                                                                I've eaten in other big cities in the US, specifically New York, San Francisco, Dallas, Seattle, and Los Angeles. San Diego is pretty lame in comparison to many of these, agreed.

                                                                                However, rather than lament that we don't have *as many* good places to eat as these other cities, I'd rather find the gems that we do have and patronize those places, to do my part to ensure they stay in business.

                                                                                1. re: Josh

                                                                                  "I'd rather find the gems that we do have and patronize those places, to do my part to ensure they stay in business."

                                                                                  And that is why you are a true Chowhound.

                                                                  2. re: The Old Man

                                                                    wow, just wow

                                                                    @KR: I didn't know that Rubio's is San Felipe style. What's the difference between San Felipe and Ensanada?

                                                                    1. re: DougOLis

                                                                      The tortillas.... those real dark, almost malty corn tortillas are a speciality of the native Cochimi people on the San Felipe side of the Peninsula... in Ensenada they use the more common white corn masa.

                                                                    2. re: The Old Man

                                                                      I used to like Rubios - even though it's a chain, etc. but I've had enough marginal to bad meals there in the last year or so to put me off the place.

                                                                      If you're looking for a fight, then you just might get it with the last couple of sentences of your post. Please don't come on this board and tell us there's nothing good to eat in San Diego. You'll find lots of good recommendations on this board - a little research goes a long way.

                                                                      1. re: Alice Q

                                                                        Ruh Roh Raggy!

                                                                        I used to live in Chicago and lived in the bay area and we are eating great here in San Diego county.

                                                                        I would post my favorite fish taco and burrito recs, but I am skeered. LOL

                                                                        1. re: Alice Q

                                                                          kinda off subject of fish tacos and burritos, but props to the posters who are supporting sd dining! i mean, constructive criticism from folks is useful, but outright bashing doesn’t really serve a purpose (… better to be part of the solution, not the problem). there are several posters on this board who are highly informed and articulate and spend a lot of time hunting culinary treasures around town. and when they find something, they’re more than eager to share the merits of their discoveries. those who can’t find anything good should follow some of their recommendations (i gotta say, though, that if you’ve just moved from a place like chi or nyc, it is kind of a shock here). no question that sd has a way to go to make more quality eating accessible to everyone in the county (i.e. in everyone’s neighborhood), but it’s far from a wasteland.

                                                                          by the way, bostonbeefeater, i second eat nopal’s suggestion of romesco as a place to enjoy mexican cuisine beyond a fish taco or burrito. you’ll need 2+ hours, because service is relaxed. but the service reflects that you should be able to linger over something very satisfying.

                                                                          1. re: Alice Q

                                                                            Hear hear Alice Q,
                                                                            While I am willing to concede that I have visited many cities in the world that have a much better food scene, there are exponentially far more that pale in comparison to San Diego. I eat quite well here and anyone who says there is nothing good to eat in this town is poorly informed at best.

                                                                            1. re: Captain Jack

                                                                              Not to beat a dead horse, but while the "scene" is lacking somewhat, the actual food here can be really good. I have found the biggest difference is not the quality of individual places, but that there will be a limited number of any type of place compared to other cities of similar size.

                                                                              There is at least 1 outstanding restaurant, store, etc. for almost every type of cuisine, but often no more than one or two versus a NY, SF, CHI which will have dozens.

                                                                              1. re: JRSD

                                                                                Very good point.

                                                                                I think that several good points have been made here. As a regular reader and sometimes poster, I am feeling discouraged by the seemingly snide and holier than thou stance taken by some here. It makes me think twice about posting for fear of being flamed for thinking something I've eaten here, in my hometown, is actually (dare I say it?) *good*. I may not have traveled and eaten in all of the dining meccas that some of you have, and I may not have the most refined palate but my fat ass sure does know good food from bad or just average.

                                                                                So yeah, I do mean to beat a dead horse. I mean, seriously, why post a supposed "recommendation" if all you have to say is that SD has NOTHING to offer? If that is truly the case, then go ahead and starve. Or leave. Buh-bye. We really don't need the 15 jammed up, nor this board, with another miserable transplant lamenting the lack of food. Sorry, that would be my native San Diegan get-the-hell-outta-my-city kicking in. I just can't stand to constantly be barraged with how much the SD dining scene sucks. Well, duh. If all you can do is talk trash instead of trying to support the places that are good, then good riddance to you. Meanwhile, I will listen to my fellow chowhounds who actually do the leg work, find the jewels that SD *does* have to offer and enjoy some good eats.

                                                                                1. re: soulshine

                                                                                  this is the resurrection of the san diego restaurants are bad post. Thank you Alice, Capt., JRSD, & soulshine. Extra props for that last paragraph soulshine.

                                                                                  I dont get these people who come on this board and the first thing they post is something negative. 'vast cultural and culinary wasteland' get out then and breed misery somewhere else

                                                                                  1. re: kare_raisu

                                                                                    kare raisu, I am always happy to see a new thread pop up when it's started by you. I love that you do the research and that you *sacrifice* yourself sampling all that SD has to offer ;-)

                                                                                    KR, AliceQ, Kirk, Josh, JRSD, Capt, et al, thanks for consistently posting your finds and for standing up for what good places we DO have here.

                                                                                    I happen to love San Diego and wouldn't trade having been born and raised here for the all fine dining in the world. I know where to eat well and where to enjoy our fair city while eating well.

                                                                                    My apologies to the rest of you and the OP for continuing the thread derailment, I'm done wasting my time :)

                                                                                    1. re: soulshine

                                                                                      Ah, man thank you so much. :^)

                                                                                      I love San Diego with all my heart and soul and I am so glad I am back. We do not realize how wonderful and special this town is.

                                                                                    2. re: kare_raisu

                                                                                      Your guys' points are well taken, and venting on here about badness isn't really going to help anything. I would say, though, that if you have bad experiences at restaurants, communicate that to the owners. If they hear often enough that they're not up to snuff, or that people aren't coming away satisfied, then perhaps you will spur some change. I know that my own whining and hectoring about beer options has actually (at times) resulted in improvements.

                                                                                      1. re: kare_raisu

                                                                                        On the "Carlsbad" thread, I actually *gasp!* suggested taking those kinds of comments over to "SD Restos are Bad". I realize that it was an invitation to resurrect the thread, but I'd rather contain the negativity than see it splashed all over any thread to do with SD. If I read one more comment about how San Diego is "dim-witted" "a vast cultural and culinary wasteland", I'm going to start slugging.

                                                                                        I'm a transplant. Soulshine, bravo to your comments, but I do have to add that some of us aren't quite so miserable. ;) I'll admit I did my fair share of whining when I first moved here, but once I shut up and took the time to look for great chow, there was quite a bit out there. Many thanks to the SD 'Hounds for all of their recommendations and support.

                                                                                        As for comments about other cities with a large influx of immigrants and how that leads to great chow... it does. Food is a basic need of any community and when you have a large enough group that wants familiar food, someone (or lots of someones) will answer that call. The influx of transplants to San Diego are job-oriented. They're largely soldiers or scientists. I'm sure many know how to eat well, but we're not opening restaurants or anything. Where there's a demand, there will be an eventual supply and I think we're starting to see that with our ever-growing and ever-evolving dining scene. It's just the demand's growing faster than the supply right now.

                                                                                        1. re: geekyfoodie

                                                                                          Oh dear, I did not mean to imply that all transplants are miserable or shouldn't be here. Not at all. I love that SD is a big mix of transplants and those of us who were fortunate enough to be born in a place where the weather is indeed fabulous. And I realize it was harsh to come off with the ol' "Don't let the door hit'cha..." but, that was what I was feeling at the moment. I have loved ones who are transplants, and some who lived here for a time, moved back home and yearn for some places in SD that they can't find something comparable to back "home". I have one poor friend who would give anything to have a fraction of the good chow we have here. She lives in San Bernardino! I don't imagine that anyone who actually lives or has lived or has spent any amount in time in San Berdu would argue that good chow is bountiful there. I feel fortunate to have some of the great places we do have here. It could always be worse ;-)

                                                                                          1. re: soulshine

                                                                                            Oh, no offense taken at all, Soulshine! Trust me, my reply was totally meant as a tease. I completely understand the need to defend against bashing of one's hometown. Even though I'm not a native, I also feel a little of the "get out if you don't like it!" when the SD-bashers come out.

                                                                                            I think Captain Jack put it best with:

                                                                                            "While I am willing to concede that I have visited many cities in the world that have a much better food scene, there are exponentially far more that pale in comparison to San Diego."

                                                                                            I'm further inspired to never swear off a seemingly non-chow town by this thread:

                                                                                            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/480958

                                                                                            Good food can be found almost anywhere... there may not be a lot of it nor will there be tons of variety, but it exists.

                                                                                      2. re: soulshine

                                                                                        I almost posted something to this effect last night, and I'm glad to see I'm not alone in those feelings. Our poor OP must wonder what kind of a can of worms he opened here! I believe the subject of Mexican food in San Diego is a more passionate topic because we have the closest proximity to the border, and, logically, should have the best to offer. However, logic is not always applicable to food.

                                                                                        While I admit I'm not as adventurous as some of you (*cough* Alex *cough*), I put a whole lot of faith and belief in those of you who are and post about it here. UT reader polls? Never voted, and they mean very little. Zagat? Not my thing. I would always go to CH or a similar forum, or even ask the locals, should I find myself in a location where I was unfamiliar with the dining options.

                                                                                        1. re: phee

                                                                                          The UT is pretty worthless on food. They had a thing by Erin Glass in the entertainment section on Tajima. It had some glaring inaccuracies, like thinking the shaved bonito on top of the okonomiyaki was pork (since when does pork taste like fish?), and making reference to "some refreshing root" - guess she never heard of daikon radish.

                                                                                          Reading the UT, particularly the comments, is a sobering reminder of why Cheesecake Factory has lines out the door.

                                                                                        2. re: soulshine

                                                                                          As one native to another, you made me smile :-D

                                                                                2. On a side note, we just missed last saturdays Nayarit festival in Chula Vista where they had Tamales de barbones - shrimp Tamales. Thanks UT for the heads up...not.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: kare_raisu

                                                                                    time to call tu abuelo and complain!

                                                                                  2. If You are still looking my friend I will tell you. Im an
                                                                                    Expert on this subject!
                                                                                    #1 for fish tacos,..Rubios By pacific beach.
                                                                                    #2 For the BEST carne asada Burritos Roberto's #10 On the corner of el cajon Blvd. and Ohio st. You cant miss Out on the best if ya go here! Happy eating!