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San Diego Restaurant Recomendation...

Hello everyone, I need a restaurant recommendation in San Diego.

I need One fancy and several casual restaurants.
Aso cheap good food for the hurry days.

Please let me know your opinions.

I am going to be in San Diego 4 days.

Thanks :)

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  1. Please go to Super Cocina, Saigon, Pomegranate, Cafe Dore and Mariscos German.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kare_raisu

      Replace Cafe Dore with Izakaya Sakura and that's a great list.

      1. re: Josh

        h-ey compa, stop ragging on me banh mi place - because of the mayo - just tell them no mas mayonesa next time! I wont pick on your baby - K no more. lol

        1. re: kare_raisu

          Heh, fair enough. Still, Sakura is worth a visit, no?

    2. There are tons of restaurants in the Gaslamp, Hillcrest and La Jolla areas, but all three neighborhoods have serious parking issues. If you are driving, you might prefer to visit some of the more locals neighborhoods.
      City Heights is home to some great ethnic food, but it is a rough neighborhood after dark.
      I second the suggestion for Super Cocina, but do it at lunch, either early or late to avoid the crowds. While you are there, go down the block to Fruitlandia and get a fruity dessert/ice cream. I teach nearby, but would not go there after dark. . Saigon is also in City Heights and a reliable Vietnamese experience.
      Not far away in North Park, there are several good choices for casual dinners--Urban Solace, Apperitvo, The Linkery is very popular and is a leading restaurant working toward the sustainable movement. Ironically, I prefer the non-sausage entrees. For a more upscale meal, try Vagabond in South Park.
      If you give us more guidelines, like where you will be staying we can help more. Also, browse the board for many more ideas.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Ms. Verde

        I don't know why people describe the neighborhood around Super Cocina as "rough". I've been there at night countless times, and would not describe it as rough. To me, rough is something like the Tenderloin in San Francisco.

        It is certainly an ethnic neighborhood, but Super Cocina's patrons are often families with young children, even at dinner. Not exactly the hallmark of a scary neighborhood.

        Another good resto I'd add to the North Park list is Ritual Tavern. Definitely one of the bright spots among newer places in town.

        1. re: Josh

          That's funny - I actually think the Tenderloin is pretty tame compared with City Heights. There is a lot of gang violence, drug activity and prostitution in City Heights - and there's a chance you could get mugged - but I do think it's small. If you're in a populated area in the early evening you're probably fine.

          I'd second most of what's recommended here, and recommend Cafe Chloe, Starlite, Tapenade, Blanca, Jayne's Gastropub, Urban Solace, The Guild, The Linkery, Mama's Lebanese, Cuatros Milpas and K Sandwiches. I've also got a full list of places I recommend on my blog at www.aliceqfoodie.com.

          1. re: Alice Q

            alice, i am scared of the tenderloin.

            1. re: Alice Q

              I know there are some parts of City Heights that are definitely rough, but I don't think that stretch on University between the 15 and 805 really qualifies. Some parts of the Tenderloin that I was in were fine, but there was one section I was in that seemed like a DMZ.

              1. re: Josh

                Oh jeez, I worked in the Tenderloin - and Bay View/Hunters Point - for 5 years (leave it to a school district to house their employees in such fine accommodations <ggg>). Compared to Bay View/Hunter's Point, the Tenderloin is pretty tame. Both, however, are harder and more difficult after dark than is City Heights. I also spent 5 years working at USC, including early and late night hours. My roommate and I moved to the West side after I had a gun drawn and pointed me in broad daylight on the way home. I also had someone try and break in my car with me in it driving home through the Crenshaw district one night. City Heights isn't nearly this bad.

                Anyone can be a victim. How vulnerable you look and how stupid you are about your actions can contribute to ending up a victim of something unfortunate. As a reasonably well dressed, single white woman traveling through town alone at night, I opt to avoid areas that could put my personal safety at risk. And having had my personal safety invaded on at least 2 occasions, it does tend to make one pay attention. It doesn't necessarily mean I don't, or won't, go to those neighborhoods, just that sometimes I don't think the risk is worth it.

                I also think it's somewhat irresponsible to send tourists who have limited familiarity with the city into somewhat suspect areas at night. Yeah, the food might be really good, but enjoyment of the food is often linked to being comfortable in the environment. A tourist doesn't know the streets of a dicey neighborhood and getting lost in some SD neighborhoods after dark isn't a very prudent idea.

                Personal safety is each persons own responsibility and everyone is going to have different comfort levels with it. I think we just need to respect each other's level of, and need to take care of their own personal safety and not try and convince them otherwise based on our own comfort levels.

                1. re: DiningDiva

                  thank you. I totally agree with you. I grew up in LA and went to school in St. Louis, and there were places that had some great food and I felt comfortable eating at, but I would never send somebody from out of town there. I don't think that SD has so quite many rough neighborhoods but you never know the comfort level of people new to our fair town.

                  1. re: DiningDiva

                    I was once ambushed making a turn off Central onto a side street... South Central is not a neighborhood I would send anyone into for a meal. City Heights.... give me a break.

                    1. re: Eat_Nopal

                      Yeah, between Bay View Hunter's Point and South Central, City Heights is almost like Beverly Hills.

                  2. re: Josh

                    I'm thinking mostly about the parts around Union Square and over by Civic Center/Van Ness which are fairly densely populated. The issues in the Tenderloin are also quite different from City Heights - it's not so much gang violence, but the homeless and drug addicts sleeping, passing out and doing other things on the street - if you get my drift. City Heights for all its problems is a family neighborhood and you don't see as much of that.

            2. Fancy: Oceanaire (seafood), Market (California Cuisine), Laja (French with a Mexican twist)
              Somewhere in between Fancy and Casual: Cavaillon (French), Sushi Ota or Kaito (if it's open), The Better Half (French), Izakaya Sakura (Japanese), Cafe Chloe (French Bistro)
              Casual: The Linkery (local, fresh, gastropub type food), Super Cocina (homestyle Mexican), Mariscos German (fish tacos), Ba Ren (Szechuan Chinese), Costa Brava (tapas)

              1. For tasty & casual, you could check out Point Loma Seafoods. It's usually quite busy, especially on weekends, but it's on Point Loma harbor and the seafood is out of this world. It's your basic fishmonger, but they also sell paper plates of outrageous fish tacos, smoked salmon, scallops, oysters... http://www.pointlomaseafoods.com.

                1. Ohh I will be very careful...just read this thread make my nervous.

                  Please tell me an advice about restaurants not in the "bad zone"


                  3 Replies
                  1. re: josephml1

                    Joseph, don't worry and don't let this thread alarm you. The reality is that San Diego is a pretty safe city, especially for as large as it is. Major crimes of opportunity against tourists here are not that common.

                    Most of this discussion centers around Super Cocina which is located in a neighborhood called City Heights, on University Ave. around 37th St. University Ave (and El Cajon Blvd) are very long streets that basically transverse the entire mid part of San Diego and have been around a super long time. Because they're both old streets, they've seen a lot of change and transition over the years.

                    The area around City Heights could be considered "transitional" in that it hasn't been yuppie-fied or urban redeveloped. It's an area that was once quite nice, hit some hard times, and is probably about at the bottom of that cycle and will see some redevelopment over the next decade or so. It is perfectly safe during the day, and because University is a big street, it's pretty safe from early to mid evening. I don't think I'd be out running around City Heights, even on University, much after about 11 PM at night, but during normal business hours you should be just fine. Some of the houses and businesses can be pretty frayed around the corners. The big problem in this particular area relates to the gang and drug activities. Unless you're planning to associate with gang members or purchase a bunch of drugs, changes are good you would not be affected by the activity in the area.

                    Essentially, it boils down to what *you* are comfortable with. If going into slightly run-down neighborhoods where you may or may not speak the same language, where the signs may be in 3-5 different languages, is culturally divergent, that is on the lower end of the city's economic scale you'll be fine in any part of San Diego. If you're more comfortable in areas and environments that are more mainstream, then visiting some of San Diego's outlying or transitional neighborhoods might not be your cup of tea.

                    In general though, San Diego is a pretty safe city and it's seedier sections are pretty safe during the day and early evening, especially if you stay on the big streets.

                    1. re: DiningDiva

                      To add a little more information to this, like any city neighborhood, City Heights encompasses a pretty sizeable area. Super Cocina is on the westernmost edge of City Heights, where it meets up with North Park. It extends to the east, past the 15 freeway, and south. I can easily see how someone venturing into the southern and eastern-most areas of this neighborhood might find it a little dicey, but as DD points out, the part where SC is located is fine.

                    2. re: josephml1

                      If you had any doubts about City Heights and visiting Super Cocina, check out this thread:

                      And let me be one more voice in the "go to Super Cocina!" chorus. :-)

                    3. I forgot to mention I am going to stay on West Broadway st, SD 92101.
                      Also I will be around the SD convention center...

                      Please lets back to the topic... Food...

                      Thank You all..

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: josephml1

                        But please keep your opinions coming. :)

                        1. re: josephml1

                          Will you have a car? That is probably the most important detail. Public transportation is not easy here compared to most large cities and cabs are extremely expensive.

                          1. re: Cathy

                            Yes, I will have a Car...
                            Thank you cathy :=))))

                            1. re: josephml1

                              Downtown, Cheap:
                              -Sultan Schwarma (4th just South of Market)
                              -The Cheese Shop Deli (4th just North of Market)
                              -Valentine's Taco Shop (Market at Ninth)

                              Downtown, fancy/not as cheap: Cafe Chloe

                              Then you can drive:
                              -Point Loma Seafoods
                              -Izakaya Sakura (not as cheap)
                              -Bronx Pizza

                              1. re: Cathy

                                Very good opinions thank you :) I am taking notes...

                        2. For fancy, try the Vivace (Italian) restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel in the Aviara Resort in Carlsbad. For casual, you can't go wrong at the Point Loma Seafood.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: softpap

                            Many good comments about Point Loma I will be there... thank yo for mention it. :)

                          2. Yeah, I really don't think that when you're traveling to San Diego on a vacation that City Heights is the first recommendation I would give, even if the food is excellent. Indigo Grill in Little Italy is definately a winner with a rainforest-like atmosphe and inventive, but safe menu. Bite in Hillcrest is my new fav, but parking can be rough. For me, their small plates of perfection are worth the hassle. The little neighborhoods are great so look up Kensington Grill and The Farm Market. Although you need a car in San Diego, all of these are only about 10 minutes from downtown and simple to find. Market is also amazing, but that is a little further north if you're staying in central in San Diego.

                            13 Replies
                            1. re: popandkate

                              What is The Farm Market? Do you mean Farmhouse Cafe? It's one I'd recommend in the North Park area (about 10 mins drive from downtown), as well as Urban Solace, Apertivo, Jaynes Gastropub and Ritual Tavern. Others I'd recommend closer to downtown are Avenue 5 and Wine Vault & Bistro. I don't know where you're traveling from but SD has some really good Vietnamese options too. We like Saigon but check out mmm-yoso for lots of recommendations and detailed reviews.


                              1. re: mimosa

                                I did mean the Farm House (I was also recommending Market and must have written it by mistake). Thanks!

                              2. re: popandkate

                                Do people really come to San Diego for rainforest-like atmospheres + inventive but safe? There are 1,000 cities in the world that offer that probably equally or better executed than San Diego area restaurants... that is no fun as an adventurous traveler.

                                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                  I wrote "safe" because sometimes it depends who you're traveling with- kids don't usually like things like sweetbreads. This gave the option of eating on the beaten trail with a little twist from the ordinary fare (blueberry laquered lambchops anyone?) I agree that the best adventures are the ones unknown, but if he's looking for upscale and casual places for dinner, I think those suggestions work. For hole- in- the- walls you can't beat South Beach for mahi tacos.

                                2. re: popandkate

                                  Indigo Grill is hampered by the fact that their food is astoundingly mediocre. Also, as Eat_Nopal has pointed out, you can go to numerous cities and have precisely the same food (in spirit at least, if not exact menu items) as is served at Market, Bite, Kensington Grill, etc. "Farm to table" is trendy and popular, and you can get that stuff anywhere.

                                  I can't speak for anyone else, but for me the value of a resource like Chowhound is learning about the hard-to-find gems and holes-in-the-wall that you'll never learn about from mainstream restaurant press. When I travel, I look for places like Super Cocina, where I can experience something that I don't have access to here at home.

                                  Travel for me is about broadening my experiences, not playing it safe.

                                  1. re: Josh

                                    Yeah for me it doesn't necessarily have to be holes-in-the-wall... but I do think its silly when people automatically discount them... but what it should be is a gem & something that speaks of the place, its history & its culture. One thing I keep hearing about is San Diego's sea urchin... well that is not as common around the U.S. so boom that is a great thing to recommend that can be high end. But overall the spirit of San Diego to me... seems to be the Military bases, surfer culture, the immigrants (like it or not its a controversial thing that defines so much of San Diego county's discourse)... their efforst to bring authenticity, their adaptation of local ingredients & ideas.... and why not... even the response by those that look down on the immigrants (from a food perspective this would be the gringoized Taco Shops etc., the Carne Asada fries & so forth).

                                    1. re: Josh

                                      So a chef friend of mine took his 9 year old daughter to SF over the weekend for her B-day. First night a photog friend (who does the Willaim-Sonoma catalog) takes them to a "dirt to table" place on Folsom in The City. The meal started with planks of dirt being placed in the middle and dirt samples from the various farmers markets being passed around so that the diners could smell, feel and taste if they wished, the different soils in which their meal had been grown or produced. Being a chef, my friend actually tasted the soil but was somewhat repulsed later when the servers explained about how the soil had been enriched with bull manuer. BUT..he said the meal was absolutely "freaking amazing" and each course better than the previous one. Now...*I* would go anywhere in SD including the worst parts for an experience like that ;-). Not bloody likely any time soon, tho'.

                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                        Hahahahhaahahahhahhahahahhaha.... seriously?

                                        Fall of the Roman empire. Have we really become so bored with just having quality food and decent preparations that we must start eating dirt?

                                        And I thought oxygen bars were stupid.

                                        1. re: loothor

                                          It's not the eating dirt part...what got my attention was partly the "theatrics" of displaying the dirt and the concept of being able to touch, smell, and yes taste if one is into that kind of thing, the soil in, or upon, which the meal was actually raised. Kind of gives a whole new meaning to the idea of farm-to-table, local and sustainable dining.

                                          But, seriously, can you think of a restaurant in SD that would be audacious enough to try this kind of thing? I can only think of 1 that might consider it, but I think it's a little "out there" for the majority of SD restaurants to even consider. You have to admit, it's a rather novel, if not somewhat absurd, idea. Is it pushing the envelope? Maybe, maybe not, depends on how strong your interest and commitment is to local agriculture, or perhaps how politically correct you choose to be ;-). In any event, I thought (and still do) the whole concept was rather whimsical, but having lived in SF for 10 years I sure understood what it grew out of. As a native San Diegan, though, can't say as how I'd see a similar concept flying here. The two cities just have different core values and approaches to things...food being one of them.

                                          Frankly, I'm pretty surprised that the health department in SF let that restaurant get away with the whole dirt on planks in front of the tables thing.

                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                            I could seem them doing it at one of the "Fresh" dinners at Stone World Bistro where everything is harvested, caught, etc. on the day of the meal.


                                      2. re: Josh

                                        Yes, the adventure is in the risk. I know that you are a risktaker- is he? From his hesitancy on the thread I thought I would recommend some of the other cute neighborhood spots. "Farm to Table" is very popular, but that doesn't mean that everyone can get it where they are. People come to CA for the produce. Other regions don't have these fresh veggies year round- that's one of our strong points. Believe me, I am not ruling out the more authentic possibilities in the area (in fact all this talk of Super Cocina deserves a visit), but I was responding to his hesitation about City Hts. and gave other options.

                                        1. re: popandkate

                                          I tend to assume, probably incorrectly, that people who come here for recs are more adventurous than most. There are tons of people that I'd never recommend Super Cocina to, mainly because they're not likely to really appreciate what makes it special. A lot of people I know simply don't care *that* much about food. For a foodie, though, I think it's kind of a "must go" place for San Diego.

                                          It's not always stellar, but you can sample the dishes before you pick the ones you want to eat, which helps to avoid the rare duds. It definitely rewards repeat visits to sample some of the unusual dishes that appear on the menu.

                                          1. re: Josh

                                            Josh, I'm not sure your assumption is that far off the mark b/c I believe this site was created for the adventurous eater who needs to have "the best, the most genuine," etc food. Decor and/or neighborhood can take a back seat as long as the food is good.

                                    2. What about a good bar with happy hour and good starters,,, :)

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: josephml1

                                        Bully's East on Camino del Rio South in Mission Valley, particularly if you're over 30 or 35yo. Bartenders are good, will actually put alcohol in your drink, and the prime rib tips on the bar menu are terrific. This is a clubby, old school type of place. Since there are a lot of office buildings in the area, it's popular with the afterwork business crowd. They've also got 3 or 4 TV with various sports programs for those who need the fix.

                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                          Sounds good...thank you for post it...

                                          1. re: josephml1

                                            when are you coming and what bases have we not covered for you? what have you planned thus far based on our reccomendations?

                                            1. re: kare_raisu

                                              I will be there in May. I am looking for a Happy hour with good apetizers...Thanks:)

                                        2. I am looking for a good Gyro in SD?

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: josephml1

                                            99.9% of Gyros in San Diego is supplied by the same one or two suppliers. I don't know of anyplace that makes their own. Even someplace like Mama's doesn't make their own, AFAICT. So, nearly all Gyros in San Diego is equally good/bad. If you must have Gyros, then Mama's on Alabama near El Cajon Blvd. would be my first choice. Though, there are many other things on Mama's menu that I'd rather have.

                                            1. re: josephml1

                                              Not exactly Gyros, but you could go to the Kebab Shop and get a Doner Kebab or Shawarma.

                                            2. I would suggest Dobsons downtown for fine dining.. and also the Red Pearl Kitchen for Asian..also in the Gaslamp..if alone could eat at the bar at either..Red pearl quite a bit noiser...

                                              1. recommendations in the La Jolla/ Del Mar area?