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Must Haves: Clairemont Area - SD?

katie_ladie May 24, 2008 10:31 AM

So my Vegas family is going to visit some family in SD and I was just wondering what are some Must Haves in the Clairemont Area? We are willing to drive but if there is something amazing right around the corner why miss out?

It needs to be on the less expensive side because we will have a larger group. Also, no seafood. I love seafood but one family member is very against it so it ruins it for the rest of us. HAHA!

Any of your suggestions would be rockin because at this point im clueless.


  1. w
    Wino Jul 13, 2008 07:36 AM

    I don't agree with the comment wasting Emeralds. Saying Ba Ren blows it away seems a bit of a reach. I've been to both and while I really like Ba Ren and think it is a way better deal, I have had my best meal at Emeralds.

    Both are worth trying but Ba Ren's is much more reasonably priced. It's been awhile since I went to Emeralds because it was just so much more expensive than other spots.

    There are a lot of places on Convoy. I thoroughly love Izakaya Sakura's!! It's a little tricky to navigate the menu, especially if you don't read Chinese for the specials! This place can range in price depending on how crazy you go and if you start ordering Sake!! When we want to keep the bill down, my wife and I will order a noodle dish, (We love their Curry Noodles). Then just fill in with 3 or 4 apps and our bill will come out to around $25 total!! On the other hand, if we are hungry and start ordering sushi and the more exotic apps, along with a glass or two of sake, the bill can come out to more than $100 each, easily!! I have to say the one time I went really crazy there, I came out feeling like I had a really awesome meal!

    The Cucina Italiana next to the movie house, is way better than you would expect, considering the location. I was expecting a fast food experience and it is definitely way better than that. The ambiance ultimately is not great so for me it is not someplace I will go when looking for a fine dining experience, however, if it's just my wife and myself, we will go there when the mood strikes us and so far have not been disappointed.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Wino
      daantaat Jul 13, 2008 12:18 PM

      Izakaya Sakura is a Japanese restaurant...did you mean to say "if you don't read Japanese for the specials???"

      1. re: daantaat
        Wino Jul 21, 2008 12:00 PM

        Oops!! :) Doh!

    2. Dagney Jul 12, 2008 06:32 PM

      Hello! This is my first post here in awhile...

      Convoy Tofu House
      Dumpling Inn
      Izakaya Sakura
      The Crab Hut


      1 Reply
      1. re: Dagney
        cookieshoes Jul 13, 2008 12:52 AM

        Gotta give a hefty second on the recommendation for O'Briens. Convoy has a lot of great variations on different asian cuisines, so the fact that it also has the single best beer bar in all of San Diego (LA as well, sorry folks) only further makes that stretch my favorite place to eat in all of San Diego.

        O'Brien's carries more unique local craft brews than anywhere in SD. Every other beer bar that aims to offer local and craft brews in town is an imitation of this place. The owner Tom Nickel even won a medal for best brewer back when he was working for Oggi's years back. Brewers from all over the country actually send him one-off specialty kegs. You do not get that kind of experience elsewhere. O'Brien's is the gold standard for beer drinking in SD. And the food is great pub food, to boot.

        Beer-cheese burger, or the beer-chili are must-haves. Garlic fries are great as a side.

        Alpine chicken sandwich is also fantastic, on marbled-rye no less. And the "brewer's plate" is excellent as well. Fresh fruit and big hunks of different french cheeses with sausage and assorted crackers.

        Wash it down with the house-favorite, local Alpine Beer Co's "Pure Hoppiness". So rare you can only get a pint of it on tap at three spots outside the brewery in Alpine: O'Brien's, Downtown Johnny Brown's, and the Liar's Club.

        So, after you've had your pho, your ramen, and your dumplings don't forget to walk across the street and get a pint!

      2. p
        pickypicky Jun 30, 2008 01:53 PM

        Love YOU, Cranksta' for telling the Clairemont truth. There aint nuttin here, but oh, how I wish there wuz. Nope, we aint no Kearny Mesa, that's for sure. BUT if yall Squaremonters are desperate for tasty, try the tacos sold outside La Tiendita at Clairemont Mesa/Clairemont Dr. on the weekends. . .

        2 Replies
        1. re: pickypicky
          Josh Jun 30, 2008 02:34 PM

          See http://www.chowhound.com/topics/52227... for refutation.

          1. re: Josh
            pickypicky Jul 4, 2008 08:40 AM

            I stand corrected regarding Ba Ren and yes, I love OPH. Yes, we do have many fine Asian restaurants, but there is a dearth of variety and imagination in Clairemont.

        2. k
          katie_ladie Jun 28, 2008 06:33 PM

          So I am home from Cali and I did go to two places and so here is my synopsis.
          1st: Fillippis Pizza. This was really really delicious. I got the chicken parmesan and it was sooo yummy. My family pretty much got the whole rest of the menu: Lasagna, ravioli, pizza, and it was all perfection. I dont think you can go wrong there. I loved the atmosphere. Little Italy was really cool.

          2nd: I went to original pancake house. It was soo yummmy. We have it in vegas but we loved it enough to go in cali too. I got the banana pancakes on a whim and it was divine. I must admit i have never been unsatisfied at this place. It rocks.

          Sorry im not better at my reviews but it was so good. Thanks for the suggestions. :D

          1. b
            beth1 Jun 2, 2008 08:05 PM

            While you're on Convoy St., go to French Sage Cake for dessert.

            1 Reply
            1. re: beth1
              katie_ladie Jun 2, 2008 10:47 PM

              o i love dessert! Is there anything in particular I should get?

            2. c
              crankster May 30, 2008 10:18 AM

              Squaremont is a bland suburb with few unique restaurants. For cheap eats on a patio, I like heading to Dino's Gyros and Cucina Italiana in the Clairemont Town Square (at the Clairemont Drive and Clairemont Mesa intersection). Fillippis Pizza is solid and been around since the 1950’s (Clairemont Mesa near the 163 Highway). For breakfast, try the Original Pancake house (3906 Convoy St) or Honey’s Café (7947 Balboa Ave). If you like healthy food you can try the “SoupPlantation” on Clairemont Mesa (near the 805 interstate).

              12 Replies
              1. re: crankster
                Josh May 30, 2008 10:59 AM

                LOL. Yeah, OK, whatever.

                You obviously have never once explored the Convoy St. corridor, otherwise you'd be much better informed.

                Short list of worthwhile eating in the Clairemont area:

                Mien Trung
                K Sandwiches
                Noodle Town
                Tofu House
                Sammy Sushi
                China Max
                Dumpling Inn
                Pho T Cali
                Sam Woo BBQ

                That's off the top of my head, so I'm sure there are some I'm missing.

                1. re: Josh
                  DougOLis May 30, 2008 12:40 PM

                  Ba Ren

                  1. re: DougOLis
                    Josh May 30, 2008 04:36 PM

                    Yep. How could I have forgotten? I also forgot Tsuruhashi.

                  2. re: Josh
                    jessicah May 30, 2008 04:42 PM

                    Shanghai City is also pretty good and so is Santouka in Mitsuwa.

                    1. re: Josh
                      daantaat May 30, 2008 06:21 PM

                      add Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot
                      Yogurt World
                      Tea Station
                      Tapioca Express
                      Red Mango

                      1. re: Josh
                        daantaat May 30, 2008 06:24 PM

                        Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot
                        Yogurt World
                        Tapioca Express
                        Red Mango
                        Tea Station

                        1. re: daantaat
                          jessicah May 30, 2008 07:44 PM

                          Oh, how could I have forgotten about Tea Station and Little Sheep. Tea Station has the best honey lemon iced tea outside of Taiwan.

                        2. re: Josh
                          cgfan Jun 28, 2008 10:12 PM

                          Great list Josh, both your's and the follow-up posters...

                          ...to which I'll add Espresso Cart Non Pareil (aka Yvonne's) for a shot of espresso ristretto...

                          Espresso Cart Non Pareil
                          7060 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA

                          1. re: Josh
                            honkman Jun 29, 2008 02:33 PM

                            I also like 168 for taiwanese food.

                          2. re: crankster
                            jmtreg May 30, 2008 05:00 PM

                            Wow crankster, you have no idea what's going on in Clairemont. How could point her in the direction of the Pancake House and not mention Tsuruhashi and Izakaya Sakura when they're both in the same strip mall?

                            1. re: jmtreg
                              katie_ladie May 30, 2008 05:32 PM

                              hey hey ... no need to get rough you guys!! Its all in the name of good eats! But I really appreciate all the info! I really cant wait to go now!!

                              thanks for being fabulous!

                              1. re: jmtreg
                                crankster May 30, 2008 10:40 PM

                                and my moniker has cranky in it? Technically Convoy is in Kearny Mesa rather than Clairemont.

                            2. phee May 24, 2008 12:47 PM

                              You'll be close to Convoy, and there are so many Asian dining establishments there. Do a search for Convoy on this board, and you'll have a wealth of places from which to choose. Enjoy!

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: phee
                                katie_ladie May 28, 2008 06:52 PM

                                so are there good Thai places there too??

                                1. re: katie_ladie
                                  Ewilensky May 28, 2008 07:02 PM

                                  Sadly, being by the sea, makes seafood one of our "must have items".

                                  I say lock the offending family member in the trunk while you try some of our delicious uni.

                                  Be sure to try a sampling of our local and excellent beers at O'Brien's, which will be in your area, on Convoy.


                                  1. re: katie_ladie
                                    daantaat May 29, 2008 09:01 PM

                                    no good Thai in SD. there are multiple threads on this issue. Better luck in Vegas. Lotus of Siam on the Strip is a board fave.

                                    1. re: daantaat
                                      lovesfood11 May 31, 2008 01:06 PM

                                      I think there are places in San Diego better then Lotus of Siam. Rama and Karinya thai has better noodle and better curry dishes than LOS.

                                    2. re: katie_ladie
                                      Ed Dibble May 30, 2008 08:20 PM

                                      No Thai in SD nearly as good as Lotus of Siam in Vegas.

                                      1. re: Ed Dibble
                                        oerdin Jun 4, 2008 04:16 AM

                                        Agreed. There is a large Thai community here and there are several excellent Thai restaurants.

                                  2. n
                                    normalheightsfoodie May 24, 2008 11:55 AM

                                    The Original Pancake House is great for Briakfast, on Convoy.

                                    If you all like Chinese Food, you can always try Dim Sum at Jasmine or Emerald on Convoy as well.

                                    12 Replies
                                    1. re: normalheightsfoodie
                                      katie_ladie May 24, 2008 12:28 PM

                                      We have OPH in vegas and i love it but I do really like Chinese Food ... so that sounds fantastic! Thanks

                                      1. re: katie_ladie
                                        daantaat May 24, 2008 08:43 PM

                                        to be frank, Chinese food in Vegas is MUCH better than Jasmine or Emerald. Definitely better than Jasmine for sure. If your family knows where to eat Chinese in Vegas around Spring Mountain Road, they will be disappointed by Jasmine and Emerald. Cathay House in Vegas has WAAY better dim sum.

                                        If you want better and equivalent Chinese to what Vegas has, Ba Ren off Clairemont Mesa Drive is very good. Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot in the big strip mall across the street from Ba Ren has good hot pot and to the best of my knowledge, Vegas doesn't have one (yet).

                                        Buga Korean BBQ on Clairemont Drive is good for large parties and cheap for the amount of food. There's a new all you can eat Korean BBQ in the area, Jeong Won Korean BBQ. Someone posted a thread on it recently.

                                        best bet is to follow phee's advice and do a search for Convoy. You'll turn up the favorite Asian places on the board.

                                        1. re: daantaat
                                          katie_ladie May 24, 2008 10:18 PM

                                          i see.. well im really open to anything, it doesn't have to be chinese because like you said we do have lots of it here in vegas.

                                      2. re: normalheightsfoodie
                                        dimsumgirl May 30, 2008 08:49 AM

                                        What's good at OPH other than the obvious pancakes?

                                        1. re: dimsumgirl
                                          normalheightsfoodie May 30, 2008 09:27 AM

                                          They have great bacon and coffee. They have different types of items, the dutch baby is like a tarte tar tan ,and their German is very thin, it is almost like a soufle, and it comes with powdered sugar and lemon. It looks big, but it is almost all air, it is great.

                                          1. re: normalheightsfoodie
                                            amyzan May 31, 2008 04:40 PM

                                            If you want the dutch baby with apples, tarte tatin style, order that version. The item called dutch baby on the menu is a smaller version of the german pancake, and is served plain, with lemon, whipped butter, and powdered sugar on the side, always hot with crispy edges. Absolutely delicious, and plenty filling. The german pancake, the larger version, is really huge.

                                          2. re: dimsumgirl
                                            Josh May 30, 2008 09:45 AM

                                            Dutch baby is good. Corned beef hash is good. Their scrambled eggs are good, but I'm not so much a fan of the omelets. Bacon pancakes are insane, but after having them twice I don't think I could eat them again.

                                            1. re: Josh
                                              MrKrispy Jun 3, 2008 11:17 AM

                                              Josh, could you please elaborate on the bacon pancakes?

                                              1. re: MrKrispy
                                                Josh Jun 3, 2008 11:22 AM

                                                They're three normally sized pancakes, densely packed with shards of very crisp bacon. With the addition of butter and maple syrup, it's the zenith of the sweet/salty breakfast. They really are tasty, but they're so rich and intense that twice in a lifetime was enough for me.

                                                1. re: Josh
                                                  MrKrispy Jun 3, 2008 03:40 PM

                                                  thanks Josh. I am looking forward to my 1 of 2 haha

                                                  1. re: Josh
                                                    daantaat Jun 3, 2008 10:08 PM

                                                    hmm, add some dark milk chocolate and you have the equivalent of Vosges Haut Chocolat Mo's Bacon bar....

                                            2. re: normalheightsfoodie
                                              Enorah Jun 3, 2008 10:42 PM

                                              Is the OPH in Encinitas as good as the one on Convoy?

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