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Apr 5, 2009 04:42 PM

Coffee shops, great breakfasts and solo dining in san diego

Visiting San Diego in a few weeks for a conference. Staying downtown on W. Broadway and will not have a car. Any recommendations for good breakfast spots, coffee shops and restaurants for small plate, happy hour-type solo dining at the bar would be greatly appreciated. Open to walking 2 miles each way or taking public transportation.

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    1. Hob Nob Hill for an old time breakfast joint vibe, just up First Avenue from downtown.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Bobierto

        For coffee (not food) - Unity at 450 Broadway (small kiosk but really good coffee) and the Italian gelato place at the corner of Cedar and Columbia (?) - I know it's on Cedar. One word and starts with a "p" but I'm drawing a blank on the full name. The best espresso in town.

        1. re: tavmark

          Papplecco's is at Cedar & State. Not only is there espresso very good, they've got the best gelato in town.

      2. Thank you all for your input.

        1. Cafe 222 is also walking distance from you and is really popular for breakfast. As for happy hours there was a recent string on happy hours in San Diego, there are lot around downtown so do a search on that ... a favorite happy hour of mine is Prado in Balboa Park, that is probably just within your 2-mile walking radius. Stout Pub downtown has good bar food, and Downtown Charlie Brown's is a good burger & beer kind of place. These are all more downscale. For more upscale, find that post! (Oops except Prado, that's pretty elegant but good happy hour deals.)

          15 Replies
          1. re: Bobierto

            I'll second Cafe 222 for breakfast or lunch and add The Mission in east village. The Mission is a little further away but good. Also good in that area for breakfast, lunch or dinner is Cafe Chloe and Zanzibar. I would have to respectfully disagree with both Hob Nob and Prado. Hob Nob was a decent throwback 20 years ago, now its a throw away. The Prado is an overpriced tourist trap. It's a beautiful restaurant and the menu sounds good but the kitchen never delivers.

            1. re: sdnosh

              I emphatically agree about the Mission, haven't been to the East Village location so it's not on my mental map but is a great choice for the poster. The Pacific Beach and North Park spots are favorites for me. And now that we have given cherie all these other great picks let's agree to take Hob Nob Hill off the list. Haven't been there i years ... please note for Prado I specified the happy hour, when the prices on small plates are great and a woman dining alone will feel very comfortable in the bar. It is a beautiful place, stylish yet casual, I have only been there a couple of times but a couple of years ago for my birthday the kitchen delivered spectacularly. Maybe they've slid but I think the happy hour is a good pick = try those crab cakes! But thanks for the input.

              1. re: Bobierto

                sorry but I have to concur with sdnosh regarding Prado. I go to Hob Nob but only because its very close to my office. I'm amazed that the "movers and shakers" still go there but they do.

                1. re: ibstatguy

                  Hob Nob Hill makes me move and shake in all the wrong ways.

                  1. re: Josh

                    The Hob Nob is an institition that has never failed to satisfy. They have great service, and regardless of whom you might be, the treat everyone with respect. I have been there with my kids as well as movers and shakers and the food is always very good.

                    1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                      I dunno, I used to live right near there, and after 3 really poor meals I never could understand the popularity.

                      1. re: Josh

                        It's another one of those great-place-except-for-the-food. I used to take our son there when he was 3 or 4 on Sunday mornings so Mom could sleep. They were very gracious to us, and he started learning more about numbers by watching the waitress board. But the food's just not that great. Better than Perry's, though, and good for a "kicking it old school" early breakfast meeting. And not a single rosemary twig in the place- a big plus.

                        1. re: Fake Name

                          The coffee cake is great. They offer pecans and raisins with oatmeal. The Primerib Hash is great.

                  2. re: ibstatguy

                    Prado IS a tourist trap, but she's a tourist afterall and after a day at Balboa Park the Prado serves its purpose: a nice cocktail and appetizer makes a perfectly decent pick-me-up after a day tromping around the zoo, especially sitting on the patio.

                    1. re: Ewilensky

                      then at least suggest she also go up to Bertrand's for a drink and take in the view; its only a hop skip and jump away

                      1. re: ibstatguy

                        See, I like the ambience of the Prado much more than Bertrand's but then I work in the top floor of a downtown building do the views are nothing new to me. I think a sandwich to-go at Point Loma Seafood and then a quick trip to the Cabrillo lighthouse affords some of the best views (and tasty food) San Diego can offer...

                        1. re: Ewilensky

                          my point was more geared to the fact that you were sending her up to Bertrand's neighborhood and she could thus quite easily do both. I certainly won't argue with a sandwich at Pt Loma Seafood and a trip out to the lighthouse.

                          1. re: Ewilensky

                            I'm with you there. The drive out to Cabrillo is probably the best view in town. Amused by all the banter about Prado ... but Ewilensky got where I was coming from ...

                2. re: Bobierto

                  Ummm, that would be Downtown "Johnny" Brown's...

                  1. re: deckape

                    Yikes! How the heck did I do that?! Thanks for the correction.

                3. I have to both respectfully and emphatically disagree about the Mission. I've been very disappointed at both the North Park and the downtown locations. The North Park one, last time I went (it was over a year ago) was filthy, with sticky and black threadbare upholstery, cold pancakes and sloppy service. Downtown the food was poorly prepared and the service was, umm, distant. But it was cleaner!

                  Same for HobNob. It's an interesting place, but the food is not, and it's not cheap.

                  Big yes to Chloe, Zanzibar and I just got back from scoring a quart of vanilla from Papalecco's.

                  No offense intended Bobierto, but we part ways on this one.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Fake Name

                    Agree completely on the NP Mission. It's been about 18 months since I've been and the place was FILTHY then. The food was decent (my friends pancakes were hot) but everything was clearly worn out and threadbare, not to mention unbelieveably noisy because of all the hard surfaces. Have not been back since, there are better places for breakfast than that. I just don't understand the lines out the door and people waiting everytime I drive by...

                    1. re: Fake Name

                      Just went to the Mission in east village this morning for the first time (never went to NP location), and would recommend it. had the BLT on rosemary focaccia. the bacon is the best i've had in town and the bread was delicious. bloody marys nice and spicy. the place is clean, service was good, the food prices low, and drink prices average. tasted my husband's blueberry cornmeal pancakes, which were good, but the corn flavor wasn't as powerful as i expected.

                      1. re: goldenhill

                        I agree about the nP Mission also. I only went once several years ago and just didn't like the "feel" of the place. And it did look worn out. I was also surprised that the "bakery" next door had little in it and no one at the counter and it was early in the morning. I've always been happy at the East Village location and love the side note that the building was saved from being torn down by the former owner of Cafe Moto.