Great Mex in SD, Brilliant seafood
Best Mexican restaurant, IMO, is Super Cocina. They feature home-style Mexican food from all over Mexico. It's about a 20-25 drive from La Jolla, depending on traffic. It's better for lunch than for dinner. RE: the Tom Douglas parallel, San Diego doesn't really have that kind of guy around. Someone else who dines at fancy places will have to field that question.
I like Hacienda de Vega in Escondido but love going to Alfonso's in LJ for nachos and marg's..great taco shop in Bird Rock/LJ called Bahia Don Bravo that is excellent.
Been to Etta's and Lola..food was good but hopefully Tom has stepped it up.
Oceanaire is lovely in the Gaslamp..Crab Catcher in LJ for the seafood happy hour.
Maybe try 1540 Kitchen at the L'Auberge hotel in Del Mar.
I LOVE Mariscos German, the taco truck in City Heights that has some of the best Mex seafood ever..