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San Diego Restaurant Quandry

I have been scouring the chowhound boards (as well as yelp and others) trying to come up with a place to go eat.

I have a group of about 12 people for a late(r) dinner (8pm) on a tuesday. We are in town for a a convention, thus will be staying down in the gaslamp area. I have been to San Diego a few times, and have not had much success eating in this area. I blame myself for that, I really didn't have enough time to plan. To complicate things slightly more, a few people are coming from a reception where there will be some small bites...so it would be great to have a place that has small plates (and 'big' plates). No cars, so walking distance or not horribly expensive cab ride-distance is needed. I am craving fish or lobster tacos...so anywhere that has those would be great, but not a requirement. Don't really want to go to old town...it is a trip, and I have been disappointed when I have eaten there (was taken...not my choice!).

A few places that seemed appropriate

-La Puerta - I have never been...is this more of a bar type place? Location is good, and seems like it could be fun.

-Oceanaire - I ate here last time I was in town...it was good...but kind of pricey, and maybe a bit too 'fancy' (for lack of a better word?)

-Neighborhood - I like beer. The menu seems pretty tasty.

-Cafe Chloe - looked very tasty.

-Was thinking maybe tinfish would be 'okay' but it closes early.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

(ALSO as an aside, I will be exploring solo the rest of the week...any great hole in the wall places for anything at all, let me know)

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  1. While some may have a bias against corporate chains, the McCormick & Schmick restaurant in the Omni Hotel next to the ballpark fits nicely into all your criteria. It's an easy walk from anywhere in the Gaslamp, has a clean, modern ambience that will easily accomodate your group with either inside or outside dining, and has an extensive seafood menu that changes daily of small bites up to large plates. Best to go after 7:00 PM, as its prety crowded until after the ballgame starts.

    1. Neighborhood is a great spot to hit on your solo exploring but is a bar and it may be difficult to seat a group of 12 at once. Cafe Chloe is also a great spot and will likely be too small, but I am less certain of that. I don't think that either will take a reservation for a group of 12 - so definitely call before making a decision.

      If you are interested in trying great local beer go to Downtown Johnny Browns, which is walking distance from the gaslamp on the other side of broadway, or Hamiltons, which is in South Park and a short cab/ medium bus ride away.

      -----
      Hamiltons Tavern
      1521 30th St, San Diego, CA 92102

      Downtown Johnny Browns
      San Diego, Ca, San Diego, Ca

      1. Love Jsix at the Hotel Solamar in the Gaslamp..

        www.jsixrestaurant.com

        1. JRDN at Tower 23, Pacific Beach. Good food, room to take a large group, happening vibe, great location. Parking in the building. Bar menu or dinner menu. (website isn't working. http://www.tower23hotel.com/pages/dine

          Starlight Lounge, outside. http://www.starlitesandiego.com/

          2 Replies
          1. re: pickypicky

            Good places both, but JRDN is a $50 roundtrip cab ride and Starlight Lounge, while closer to Gaslamp, is still going to be $10-15 by cab each way.

          2. When you're travelling solo you should get your fish taco fix at Mariscos German which isn't too bad of a cab ride. It could easily hold 12 people but I'm not sure if it's the atmosphere you're shooting for.

            Neighborhood and Cafe Chloe are great, but as JRSD said, it could be difficult fitting 12 people in.

            pickypicky's Starlite suggestion could be good. It's not super close but it's a reasonable cab ride and the food is good.

            Cowboy Star in East Village is great and could easily fit 12 people

            El Vitral is a pretty new more upscale Mexican restaurant in East Village that's been getting some attention. I can't really speak for it myself but maybe someone can provide a better recommendation.

            5 Replies
              1. re: DougOLis

                Don't think Mariscos German is open at night; they were closed when I drove by last Friday at 5:00 PM

                1. re: mcgrath

                  I've been to the restaurant around 7 before but it's possible they've changed the hours.

                2. re: DougOLis

                  Mariscos German....is the actual restaurant closer to the 'gaslamp' than any of the trucks? I definitely need to get some tacos there.