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Need new ideas after a year in San Diego

I moved to SD from NYC last year for graduate school. After a year exploring the cuisine, I am running out of new places to be excited about. I tend to prefer family-run places that don’t cost a lot of money. Décor is not an issue. Below is a list of places (in no particular order) that I rely on to keep myself happy. Any new ideas would be greatly appreciated. The list is not complete but these are most of the places that I eat at frequently.

Dumpling Inn
Ba Ren
South Beach Bar and Grill
Tacos El Gordo
Juana’s Carnitas
Carnitas Uruapan
Sam Woo
Punjabi Tandoor
Indian Princess
Tajima
K Sandwiches
Emerald Chinese
Pho T Cali

Thanks again.

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  1. I would try:
    Aqui es Texcoco
    Super Cocina
    Surati Farsan Mart
    Menuderia Don Vicente
    Pozoleria Dona Maria
    Saigon
    Tacos El Paisa
    Mariscos Godoy
    Mariscos German
    Birria's Chivos & Cheves
    Sab-e-Lee
    Cafe Dore
    Paris Bakery
    Costa Brava
    Izakaya Sakura

    2 Replies
    1. re: kare_raisu

      Oh no, did El Porvenir fall off your list?

      An error of omission, I am sure...

      .
      Also on my list, from North to South:

      Fiesta Oaxaquena (Escondido Farmer's Market & Swap Meet)
      Belen Artisan Bakery (Escondido)

      Karina's (Leucadia)
      La Especial Norte (for soups) (Leucadia)
      Bety's Tacos (Encinitas)
      Elizabethan Desserts (Encinitas)
      Rosanna's Pasta (Encinitas)

      Pho Hoa Cali Express (Mira Mesa)
      Pho Lucky (Mira Mesa)
      European Sorrento Bakery (for Banh Mi) (Mira Mesa)
      China Chef (Mira Mesa)
      Punjabi Tandoor (Miramar)
      Ume no Ya (Miramar)

      Santouka (Kearny Mesa)

      Zumbar Cafe (best/most consistent espresso drinks) (Sorrento Valley)

      Hodad's (Ocean Beach)

      Yakitori Yakyudori (Hillcrest) - might not meet budget, depending

      .
      ...and I can't resist... Even if it means having only 3 single pieces of nigiri to stay on budget, Kaito Sushi (in Encinitas)... Best taste experience one can have anywhere.

      ...and ditto for an Oceanaire crabcake at their oyster bar!

      1. re: cgfan

        I actually havent been there yet! I did see your flickr pictures - maybe we should have a chowdown there, with Super Cocina's menudo as our appetite whetter!

    2. mariscos german best taco truck in the world..city heights
      cheese shop sd/la jolla
      el pescador la jolla
      board and brew del mar
      fidel's solana beach
      tony jacals solana beach
      el especial norte leucadia
      o'briens escondido best fish and chips
      las quatro milpas barrio logan
      bahia taco shop la jolla
      los panchos pacific beach
      rocky's pub crown point/pb
      cafe athena pb
      waterfront little italy
      brigantine..happy hour fish tacos..chain but a fun time
      azucar ob
      super cocina
      basic urban gaslamp for the best thin pizza

      I'm sure others will chime in and give you great advice too!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Beach Chick

        Forgot about Especial!

        I really like brigs fish tacos too!

      2. I second Basic Urban, just east of the Gaslamp, for great pizza. I also like Salad Style for take out salads during the day (801 F St.) and Blue Water, on Indio, for casual, very fresh seafood. Also, by the ballpark downtown, Tin Fish is very good and reasonable.

        1. One to add: Asia Cafe (Lao food):

          http://mmm-yoso.typepad.com/mmmyoso/2...

          This post has links to other posts. Gotta go there just for the Nem Khao and Yum Asia and larbs. Good stuff. Pure family restaurant.

          1. Lots of great suggestions on here. I'd add:

            Pizzeria Luigi in Golden Hill: my favorite NYC-style pizza

            Lefty's in North Park: my favorite Chicago-style pizza, good Italian beef sandwiches

            Georgino's Deli in Golden Hill: Philly cheesesteaks and Italian subs

            Gateway to India lunch buffet: good bread and south Indian items, all vegetarian

            Saffron in Mission Hills: their rotisserie chicken is very good. They make their own sauces, peanut and chutney are standouts.

            Andres Cuban in Bay Park: Pressed Cuban sandwiches and cheap lunch specials like ropa vieja and arroz con pollo. Flan is awesome.

            Phil's BBQ in Sports Arena area: BBQ sandwiches are huge, filling, and inexpensive. Broham is very tasty pulled pork w/ cole slaw and onion ring.

            Tofu House in Kearny Mesa: Korean tofu restaurant, delicious food of all kinds.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Josh

              I really like Saffron but stopped recommending it after many here pointed out it is the worst thai food you could possibly get.

              Another option: consider moving back to NYC.

              1. re: pantani

                If you don't think of it as Thai, but as food, it is excellent. Always fresh. Since the OP is a student and on a budget, a great deal.

                To the OP: About one block North of Carnitas Uruapan is Charley's Hamburgers. Same side of Broadway, closer to the freeway overpass...almost at Sweetwater. The burgers are coarse ground, the kebab is *wonderful* ( A double kebab is double meat) (I don't even bother with cheese or bacon, although the bacon they use for all the items is thick cut and flavorful-great on a breakfast sandwich). Walk up or drive through only. Banana shake is real. Been there forever.

                1. re: pantani

                  As Cathy said, if you go expecting traditional Thai food you will be disappointed. Saffron is its own style of food. It's definitely Thai-influenced, but much lighter. If you really like it, why would you stop recommending it?

              2. El Comal on Illinois St

                Mamma Mias in PB

                Tamales El Chiapaneco for tamales and on weekends for birria.

                Arely's in Clairemont Square for sinful croissants.

                1 Reply
                1. re: deckape

                  Mama's Lebanese
                  Pepe's Ocean Beach

                2. Big Macs at McDonalds
                  -BnF