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San Diego - Need restaurant recommendations

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Hello,

I fly down quite frequently to the San Diego area on business, but rarely have the time to actually stop, breathe and explore. However, in July I will be flying down with a friend and I'll be able to dig a bit deeper into the San Diego foodie scene (so to speak).

We're from Quebec City, so I won't really look for French/Terroir cuisine and I really don't expect San Diego to have anything that remotly ressembles what we have here. However, I am looking for Californian, Asian or any fun take on traditional Mexican fare. I have read about Laja down in Baja California, but it is a bit off the beaten path and neither of us speaks spanish, so going down in Mexico is a bit of a stretch.

So what are your suggestions? Atmosphere is a plus, but I'm looking for something fun and inventive. Price is really not an object.

Thanks!

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  1. Try Market in Del Mar-- not typical French Terrior- but you'll find some specialties you might be familiar with. They specialize in modern CALI cuisine with a focus on local ingredients. Definitely a foodie place. They also have amazing treats like Foie, duck confit, and Brandt filet. yum!

    1. Voidsinger, you don't need to speak Spanish to get to Laja. English is widely spoken in Northern Baja and especially in the Valle de Guadalupe. If you're going to be here over the weekend of July 12th a group of Chowhounds is putting together a road trip (so to speak) down to Laja. Let me know.

      Restaurants in SD to consider, however, would be (in no particular order)
      The Better Half - Hillcrest
      Avenue 5 - Banker's Hill (close to downtown)
      Laurel - also on Banker's Hill
      Terra - Hillcrest (can be hit or miss, but when it's on, it's fabulous, they have a Thursday BBQ and Blues thing running during the summer)
      Bite - Hillcrest
      Point Loma Seafood - Point Loma (causal fish/seafood)
      Blue Water Grill - Mission Hills (also casual fish/seafood)
      Urban Solace - North Park/30th St. corridor
      The Linkery - North Park/30th St. corridor
      Ritual Tavern - North Park 30th St. corridor
      Chive - Downtown
      Candelas - Downtown
      JSix - Downtown
      Oceanaire - Downtown
      Dobsons - Downtown
      The Palm - Downtown
      Cafe 222 - Downtown/breakfast
      Perry's - Old Town/breakfast (funky but fun)
      Buen Appetito - Little Italy
      Pete's Meats - Little Italy (for lunch, meat sandwiches)
      Pappalecco - Little Italy (Cedar & State) delicious gelato and decent salads
      Jayne's Gastropub - on Adam's Ave.

      For Asian and Mexican a search of this board will turn up a huge number of options. Convoy St. in Kearny Mesa is ground zero for Asian food. For Mexican just look for almost any post by Kare Risu as he's been exploring the off-the-beaten-path Mexican places around town with much success. The short list should include:
      Super Cocina
      El Comal (on Illinois in the North Park area)
      Mariscos German
      Aquis es Texcoco
      El Agave
      Don Vincente if you're into menudo
      Chilango's - Hillcrest
      Mayahuel - on Adams Ave. Underrated on this board, but excellent.

      You will need a car to get to any of these. Rapid transit in this town leaves something to be desired.

      3 Replies
      1. re: DiningDiva

        When I travel, I look for moderately priced places with fresh good food, even on my annual visits to Montreal. No need to empty the wallet to eat it. The place in San Diego County with excellent food, that would be compare is found at www.lafontanaitaliancitybistro.com. I can not recommend it enough. You will have enough money left over to buy Lunch the next day! lol

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/526590

        1. re: DiningDiva

          Ooh, I'd like to hear more about the trip to Laja. Reports are amazing but I always wind up back in Rosarito when I head south of the border. ;-)

          Great list. Laurel is doing a small plates menu with great prices and live music on Tuesday nights right now.

          Oh, and there's always Lucha Libre in Middletown for an experience that you probably won't find in Canada. Reserve the champion's table 24 hours in advance to really feel it.

          1. re: sandshark

            Since the list mods frown on function planning on the board, SDChow was set up on Yahoogroups as a forum for that function. The Laja trip is being discussed and more or less planned. Other than the excursion to Laja, the event will be loosely organized so that those people wishing to stay longer in the area and visit Ensenada and/or more wineries can. If you want to join SDChow all you need to do is send a blank e-mail to SDChow-subscribe@yahoogroups.com . (Due to the uptick in unwanted spam, subscription requests are now screened to lessen the risk for auto spamming. You may want to put you CH name in the subject line of the subscription request)