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Jul 17, 2008 02:07 AM

San Diego Recommendations

Coming home for a visit. I'm trying to decide between the following places that I've been reading about:

Jaynes Gastropub
Urban Solace
Ritual Tavern
Blue Boheme
Wine Vault and Bistro
Pasta at Viaggio (Jack's La Jolla)

I will probably have time to visit 2 places. Of course, other recomendations are welcomed.

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  1. You might also add Starlite, The Pearl, Cowboy Star and The Farmhouse Cafe to your list. With respect to the choices you've listed - I've heard not so great feedback about the food at Ritual Tavern, and I would choose some of your other options over Bleu Boheme.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Alice Q

      Blue Boheme recently (about two months ago, IIRC) changed chefs, what I've heard is that it's much better now, but haven't been back myself.

    2. I would also add The Better Half, Cafe Chloe and The Linkery to your list. All three have significantly better food than the first four restaurants on your list (I haven't tried the bottom three ones yet).

      4 Replies
      1. re: honkman

        I'm just assuming that the person is returning to town and has listed new places to try - I agree that the Linkery and Cafe Chloe are both good, but of course they are not new. I know you really like the Better Half, - but we had some problems on our one visit. I did like the charcuterie and pork belly entree though.

        1. re: Alice Q

          It would be boring if everybody likes the same restaurant. We wouldn't have anything to discuss on this board :)
          Similar as you with The Better Half I have still problems with Farmhouse Cafe. I was surprised to see that you liked the flatbread which was at one of our visits really bad (dry like a cracker, hardly any toppings). I guess I should give Farmhouse a few more chances and I would recommend to try Better Half again. We visited them now about 15-20 times (yesterday we had some outstanding lamb bolognese with fresh spinach pasta) and there wasn't a single dish which completely disppointed. They will also change their menu over the next 1-2 weeks.

          1. re: Alice Q

            Alice, I agree with Honkman on this one. I've eaten multiple times at the Better Half, and while there have been a few bobbles, every meal I've had there has, ultimately, been very good and completely satisfying. The one dish I really didn't care for was the Foie Salad now on the menu. It was badly overdressed and I had to poke around to find the foie. It's the only dish that's been a real miss for me. And I have *never* had anything less than excellent and professional service there.

            You really do need to try it again. Your initial experience is so foreign to anything I and many other regular posters here have encountered I have to think it was an anomaly of some sort.

            1. re: DiningDiva

              It is always interesting to see how different taste can be. For me the foie gras appetizer is one of the highlight of the appetizers. It has a very similar vinaigrette as the "old" pork belly appetizer and I really like it and could take a bath in it.

        2. I agree with Honkman on the first four restaurants on your list as well as the additions of both he and Alice. Jai seems to be open but in the very early stages before a formal launch in September (I think we will wait a bit - it is not even been added to Pucks list on his website). There are some mixed reviews on the Better Half, we've been there twice and had very good food and excellent service (maybe just the luck of the draw) but that was before Alice's visit and her experience makes me a little reluctant to introduce it to new people. We love the Wine Vault and Bistro - it is a great value with good execution. The space does get very crowded and loud and is really only open Thur-Sat, reservations are a must. Dined at the newly converted Viaggio at Jack's last night. The new menu is much more inviting and accessible than the former Jack's Fine Dining and prices have been lowered. I had lovely raviolo stuffed with housemade ricotta and egg yolk (Yes! It was runny), topped with sliced truffle, lemon zest, pea tendrils and truffle foam. Service was fantastic and we sat next to an open window looking at the twinkle lights of the sidewalk trees.

          I would also add checking out the restaurant at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Very cool, retro atmosphere next to a small pool. The "scene" seems to be the draw late at night and at Sunday brunch, but if you go for dinner early in the evening you will enjoy some really nice food from a pretty talented chef.

          1. I agree with Alice Q. From the spirit of the places you list, I'd suggest Starlite, Pearl, Jai, JRDN because it's summer, it's open-air and on the PB boardwalk (great bar). BB is a theme restaurant, a little too Disneyfied for me-- and the food generic from anywhere. Go to Jack's if you want to experience a restaurant in the process of finding its meaning. Wisknladle is the new LJ darling, but totally hitnmiss.

            4 Replies
            1. re: pickypicky

              Thanks for the suggestions. I've basically thrown out my list and am leaning toward dinner at The Pearl and Better Half. I may try to squeeze in lunch at Cowboy Star, I'm also interested in checking out the butcher shop.

              The menu on Starlite's menu looks great, but the pictures to me make it look clubby and loud.

              1. re: sugarNspice

                I don't think I would describe Starlite as clubby and loud - at least not until 10 or so. It's smaller than you might think.

                1. re: sugarNspice

                  Starlite is very small and pretty low key - there's no DJ until 10, so it's pretty quiet until then. Seems to me like most of the action is on the outdoor patio in the back, which has its own bar.

                  1. re: sugarNspice

                    What Ritual Tavern is good for is offering somewhat upscale pub-style food with a great beer selection. If you are a craft beer enthusiast, it's one of the better places to eat in San Diego. Linkery is also good for craft beer fans, albeit pricier than Ritual Tavern.

                    If you don't care that much about consuming local beer, then there's not as compelling a reason to go to Ritual.