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May 20, 2008 11:33 AM

nyc hounds need recs for first visit to SD

My boyfriend and I are heading to San Diego for a long weekend, 2 nights on Coronado Island and 2 nights in Mission Beach. We are NYers and looking for some great food/dining experiences that we can’t get in NYC (seafood, Mexican, beachfront dining, etc.) We have a car and willing to travel (and understand that Coronado is fairly isolated.) Most of our meals will be quick/casual but looking for a splurge or two ($20-25 entrees). Outdoor dining is preferred since the weather has been so crappy in NYC recently! After some initial research on this site, we’ve come up with the following list:

Super Cocina (Mexican)
Phoung Trang (Vietnamese)
South Beach (fish tacos in Ocean Beach)
Taco Surf (fish tacos in Pacific Beach)
Cafe Chloe – possibly breaking the rule, since it is not near beach and French, but sounds like a restaurant I would enjoy in NY - worth visiting?
The Linkery – ditto
Sushi Ota or Sushi Ono - not necessarily looking for the best sushi but a good value


Bottom line – we want the best food/value and care less about ambiance, with the hope we can get some great food along the beach or with outdoor seating as well.

Thanks in advance!!

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  1. Fantastic list. Great first choice!

    1. I would add Marisco's German to the list..

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. Um, respectfully, I would suggest avoiding Peohe's. Yes, it has a nice view, but that's the only thing to recommend it, and being from NYC you'll probably find the food even worse than a local might.

          Linkery re-opens this week, so you should be fine going there. Urban Solace isn't as good, IMO - I think Linkery's food is more interesting, and Linkery has a great selection of San Diego's craft brews, which are among the top in the US.

          South Beach Bar and Grill used to be the go-to place for fish tacos in San Diego, but I think Mariscos German has them easily bested. The marlin tacos there can be stunning.

          1. re: Josh

            I strongly 3rd Josh's rec to avoid Peohe's. Food is mediocre and overpriced but one of those typical places that stays open b/c they have a great view. I would not recommend it to a NYorker.

            I'd put Jake's in the higher end of the category of "stays open b/c they have a view." Food is decent, but nothing that will blow your socks off. Wouldn't make a special trip to Del Mar just to eat there. There's better eating w/o a view in Del Mar.

            Skip Sushi on the Rock and Zenbu for sushi. Zenbu struck me as on the expensive side for ok sushi in a trendy place where you can have a martini w/ your sushi. Sushi on the Rock is good "if" you're into rolls. Lots of rolls. If you're looking for more traditional sushi, Ota is good, but we prefer Izakaya Sakura better. Less attitude, not as crowded and you can get a ton of izakaya dishes along w/ your sushi. Ambience is very casual and relaxed.

            Definitely go to Cafe Chloe. It's good and would totally fit in NYC. Really good pomme frites.

            for Mexican, add Mama Testa's in Hillcrest. Not cheap by street vendor prices for tacos, but their tacos and salsa are very good. Definitely better than what's on the East Coast. Their mashed potato tacos and beef taquitos in spicy beef broth are REALLY good. If you're into churros, they make them fresh.

            Piatti's in La Jolla is a good, moderately priced place for lunch and dinner. The outdoor patio is nicely decorated w/ lots of trees and plants.

            Roppongi's in La Jolla has an all appetizers/"tapas" 50% off every day from 4-6 pm. One of the best deals around, as 2-3 "tapas" make a meal.

            1. re: Josh

              I know Mariscos German is the board darling at the moment (and I'm looking forward to getting there myself), but it vs. South Beach hardly seems like an "either or" to me. Especially given that the OP was looking for beachfront dining, South Beach seems like a perfect choice.

              1. re: menuinprogress

                Not saying "either/or", but for people who are foodies from another city with food as good as can be found in NYC, I think Mariscos German is a lot more interesting than South Beach. Grilled fish pieces with ranch dressing on flour tortillas with yellow cheese vs. the wide variety of seafood prepared by Baja natives is no contest, as far as I'm concerned.

                But then I'm a guy that took a train for 45 minutes from Manhattan just to get a slice at DiFara's.

                I know South Beach is a hallowed San Diego institution, and I ate a lot of their fish tacos when I lived in OB. I predict that once you make it to Mariscos German you'll be another proponent.

                1. re: Josh

                  I guess my point was that, even though both places do seafood, they seem like completely different animals to me. Ditto Mariscos German vs Taco Surf down thread.

                  If the question is "where is the best authentic mexican food in town", then I agree with you - it's no contest. But then that's not the question I'm asking when I think of places like Taco Surf and South Beach.

                  Instead, they are quintessential San Diego beach spots that are very different in their own right from anything you can get in NYC. Not to mention very different from anything you can get in Mexico - after traveling for 2 months in Mexico recently, one of the first things I did when I got back was hit up Taco Surf :-)

                  1. re: menuinprogress

                    No worries about "either", menu and Josh - I plan go to both! And judge. I will pass on Taco Surf unless we are near there and hungry. I assume Super Cocina is also a "must"?

                    1. re: swim12

                      I would say SC is a must, yes. Some meals are better than others. Breakfast and lunch are great. Dinner is good if you get there relatively early in the evening. Too late, and stuff has been sitting too long (IMO).

                    2. re: menuinprogress

                      Hey MiP,
                      What do you like specifically at Taco Surf? I live two blocks away and do not eat there very often. Am I missing out on something really good on the menu?

                      1. re: Captain Jack

                        I don't order anything particularly out of the ordinary. My usual fare there is the veggie burrito (beans plus 4 additional toppings of your choice). I like their guac and their hot sauce. They also make a good carne asada burrito. Oh, and I like their breakfast burrito too.

                        Just solid taco-shop food with a nice vibe and a good location.

                        1. re: Captain Jack

                          Fish tacos, bean & cheese burritos, tostada grande with chicken, chicken fajita burrito were my favs when I worked in the area. Not super autentico, but good food, fairly priced.


                    3. re: menuinprogress

                      "Mariscos German is the board darling at the moment"'s not a moment thing..
                      It's here to stay!

                      Well stated Josh..

                  2. RE: Sushi Ota, that's one of the better sushi spots in San Diego. It's not cheap, but by NY prices you'll be happy I'm sure.

                    Cafe Chloe is really good, but I'd suggest looking at going there for weekend brunch.

                    If you have your heart set on dining with an ocean view, I'd actually suggest doing a lunch in La Jolla, which is only about 20 minutes from Mission Bay. It's a beautiful place to walk around (assuming you don't catch the June gloom), and George's Terrace or Bar have amazing views with good California-style cuisine.

                  3. Very good list.

                    I would replace:

                    Taco Surf with Mariscos German (best fish tacos in town).

                    I would replace the Sushi picks with the Fish Market Sushi Bar. Fish is fresh. Quality is good. Servings are generous. Not the most inventive sushi in town, but you cannot beat the view of the Bay and Coronado from the Sushi Bar. Go at sunset and enjoy. We take guests here all the time and they rave about it.

                    If you're hungry when you land, and you land in the afternoon Pt. Loma Seafood is great for sandwiches. Get them to go. Then make the 5 minute drive to the end of Pt. Loma and enjoy the 360 degree views.

                    I'd also maybe switch Cafe Chloe (one of my favorites) with The Better Half.

                    That said, if you take nothing I say to heart, and go with your original picks you are going to have one incredible San Diego dining experience.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Ewilensky

                      If you'd like a really nice ocean side experience, head to the La Jolla Cove area. There are several good restaurants which have views of the cove (George's, Trattoria Acqua), and it's a fun area to walk around with shops and galleries on the town side and the beautiful cove on the water side. Hubby and I enjoy going to the La Valencia hotel for pre-dinner drinks; sit outside and enjoy the sunset. Another La Jolla area is the neighborhood by the Shores. There are a couple of good Italian places (Piatti, Osteria Romantica) within walking distance of the beach, but this is a residential area so no shops or galleries. Either way, I think you'll really enjoy La Jolla -- it's one of the best ocean experiences in San Diego.

                      1. re: SDgirl

                        another vote for george's - it's a great california experience.

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          But only the upscale restaurant. The terrace has a beautiful view but the food was just OK.

                          1. re: honkman

                            Just had lunch at the rooftop place a couple of months ago, and the food was better than it was a year ago - I think it has improved slightly. The price difference is significant.

                            1. re: honkman

                              oooh, yes, i should have clarified. thanks for catching that.

                              the formal restaurant downstairs is worth the trip for dinner, but stick to drinks & maybe an appetizer on the upper levels.

                      2. The original comment has been removed