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Must Haves: Clairemont Area - SD?

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.


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  1. 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

      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

        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

          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

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

        1. re: dimsumgirl

          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

            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

            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

              Josh, could you please elaborate on the bacon pancakes?

              1. re: MrKrispy

                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

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

                  1. re: Josh

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

            2. re: normalheightsfoodie

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

            3. 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

                so are there good Thai places there too??

                1. re: katie_ladie

                  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

                    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

                      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

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

                      1. re: Ed Dibble

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

                  2. 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

                      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: DougOLis

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

                        2. re: Josh

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

                          1. re: Josh

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

                            1. re: Josh

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

                              1. re: daantaat

                                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

                                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

                                  I also like 168 for taiwanese food.

                                2. re: crankster

                                  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

                                    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

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

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

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: beth1

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

                                    2. 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. 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: Josh

                                            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.

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

                                          Convoy Tofu House
                                          Dumpling Inn
                                          Izakaya Sakura
                                          The Crab Hut


                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Dagney

                                            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. 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

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