HOME > Chowhound > San Diego >


10 Best Things to Eat in San Diego

Stole this idea from the Texas board, who stole it from someone else, who.....

Not 10 best places-just the 10 best individual things to eat.

What and where are they?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Chutoro, Kaito
    Albacore Tataki, Sakura
    Baba Ghannouj wrap, Mama's Bakery
    Barbacoa de Chivo, El Comal
    Dry-cooked Fish, Ba Ren
    Vanilla ice cream, Oasis Ice Cream Parlor
    Artichoke pizza, Pizzeria Luigi
    Mysore Masala Dosa, Surati Farsan Mart
    Lamb rib tacos, Aqui es Texcoco
    Tacos Al Pastor, El Paisa

    1. Lobster Burrito, Bahia Don Bravo
      Raspberry Mojito, JRDN
      Bowl o' Mussels, George's Bar
      Coconut Shortcake with Caramel Sauce, A.R. Valentien
      fresh OJ, my backyard
      Free Grilled onions and jalapenos, from brazier outside La Fachada
      Fish sandwich (with avocado), El Pescador
      Gelati, Papalecco's
      Chorizo pizza, Blind Lady Ale House
      Anything, anywhere from Chino or Crow's Pass Farms

      1 Reply
      1. re: pickypicky

        Carnitas Burrito, Cocina de Maria
        Shio Cha Shu Ramen, Santouka
        Pork Okonomiyaki, Tajima
        Firecracker Truffle, Chuao Chocolates
        Chicken Karaage, Sakura
        Pho with Flank Steak and Tendon, Pho Cow Cali (formerly Pho Hoa Cali)
        Machaca Burrito, Aliberto's (in Poway)
        Maine Lobster and Dungeness Crab Salad, Nine Ten
        Five Hour Braised Short Ribs, Cavaillon
        Tie: any item at Shirahama/hubby's mesquite grilled rib eye steak with rice and kim chee

      2. Anticuchos, Latin Chef
        Mussel Bisque, Dobson's
        Cha Gio, Phuong Trang
        Scallop Sandwich (I ask to add lettuce and tomato), Point Loma Seafoods
        Bare Lil Lamb (blue cheese-lamburger), Bare Back Grill
        Smoked Fish Salad, Bay Bark Fish Co.
        Vuelve a la Vida, La Playita
        Aji Sashimi, Izakaya Sakura
        Fish Flavored Eggplant, Ba Ren
        California Gold Uni, Catalina Offshore Products

        4 Replies
        1. re: Captain Jack

          Sab E Lee- Chicken fried rice with sweet and sour sace, Spicy Mint Leaf Noodles
          Asti- Home made parpadelle with vodka cream sauce
          Gourmet Bagger- BLT
          Cafe on Park-buttermilk pancakes
          Claim Jumper- Mud pie with mint chip ice cream, ribs and fries
          De Medici- Penne Arribiata
          Boudin- Turkey Cranberry Sandwhich
          Yogurt Express- Chocolate yogurt and cookies n cream
          Phuong Trang- spring rolls with pork
          Luigi's- Cheese Pizza

          1. re: lovesfood11

            I like how you put the mud pie before the ribs at Claim Jumper.

            1. re: sd4life

              hell ya i like 2 do dessert first and if theres room left then ill get the ribs haha

        2. I might not make the whole 10....but i'll start with a few...

          4.0 Deli - Grilled Rivas sandwhich (close second is the Godfather)
          Sammy's Woodfired pizza- Duck Tacos
          Roberto's (any one really)- Carnita's California burrito, add rice and enchilada sauce (yes inside)
          Blue Water Seafood- Buffalo Sandwich (Red Snapper with a chipotle marinade and Blue Cheese)
          Point Loma Seafood- Oysters on the half
          Lou and Mickey's- Bone in Filet
          Lamont St Grill- anything with the Jalepeno Cream Sauce (except the Seared tuna, which tends not to be seared/is overcooked)

          1 Reply
          1. fresh beignets w/ strawberry jam at Cavaillon
            Double Happiness bowl at Coffee Cup Cafe
            pomme frites w/ trio of dipping sauces at Cafe Chloe
            omakase at Kaito
            gobo root and mizuna salad at Otan
            cherry cherry baby mini lattice pie from Elizabethan Desserts
            mashed potato tacos at Mama Testa's
            mint leaves with beef and noodles from Sab E Lee
            dry potato curry from Surati Farsan Mart
            stir-fried ong choy w/ garlic (straight out of the wok) at Dumpling Inn
            #11 half baked chocolate cake from Nine-Ten

            4 Replies
            1. re: daantaat

              Just noticed you also mentioned ED's mini cherry lattice pie! Aren't they amazing? I probably also should have voted for the Omakase at Kaito, but limited myself to specific, individual dishes, hence KS's Anago... Will have to try Okan's Gobo salad - ordered too many things the last time to fit it all in!

              1. re: cgfan

                oh, yeah, ED's cherry pie and all her other pies and buckles are SOOO yummy! I need to get in there soon, before cherry and berry season is over again!

                I put omakase on Kaito b/c I couldn't limit myself to one of his dishes--they're all too good!

                Definitely try Okan's Gobo root and mizuna salad! I dreamt about it after the first time I had it!

                1. Black Cod Misoyaki @ Nobu in Solana Beach
                  Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream @ Mariposa
                  Chilled Tomato-Basil Soup @ Cavaillon
                  Papas Taquitos @ El Zarape
                  Mantu Dumplings @ Ariana Kabob House
                  Kurobata Pork Tenderloin @ 1500 Ocean
                  Hawaiian Fried Rice w/Chinese Sausage @ Thai House
                  Breakfast Tamales @ Coffee Cup Cafe
                  Banh Mi & Pho Ga @ Saigon Express in Escondido
                  Rib-Eye @ Lou & Mickey's

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Sampaguita

                    nice call with the Black Cod at Nobu

                  2. * Crabcake * Oceanaire * Gaslamp Quarter

                    * Anago (saltwater eel) * Kaito Sushi * Encinitas

                    * Marlin taco * Mariscos German * City Heights

                    * Gyu Horamon (beef intestine) * Yakitori Yakyudori * Hillcrest

                    * Mini cherry lattice pie * Elizabethan Desserts * Encinitas

                    * Menudo * Las Brisas Tacqueria * Fallbrook

                    * Carnitas * El Porvenir * Barrio Logan

                    * Carne asada plate or torta * Rudy's * Eden Gardens, Solana Beach

                    * Bacon cheeseburger * Hodad's * Ocean Beach

                    * Espresso ristretto * my place! * (undisclosed)

                    Yakitori Yakyudori
                    3739 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

                    El Porvenir Tortilleria
                    1786 National Ave, San Diego, CA 92113

                    Kaito Sushi
                    130-A N El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024

                    Elizabethan Desserts
                    155 Quail Gardens Dr, Encinitas, CA

                    San DIego, CA, San DIego, CA

                    Las Brisas Taqueria
                    1005 S Main Ave Ste A, Fallbrook, CA 92028

                    Mariscos German
                    2802 Ocean View Blvd, San Diego, CA

                    Rudy's Taco Shop
                    524 Stevens Ave, Solana Beach, CA 92075

                    Hodads Restaurant
                    5010 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: cgfan

                      cgfan, do you know of anywhere in San Diego (hell, the United States) where you can get a good ristretto? been missing that since my visit to Germany a couple of months ago.

                      1. re: DougOLis

                        Intellegentsia in Venice and Blue Bottle in SF

                        1. re: DougOLis

                          If you can call down Anna Lynn from her office at Caffe Calabria, then she's fantastic AND consistent. Otherwise their quality at the bar is generally a game of Russian roulette with not 1 bullet, not even 4 bullets, but 5.

                          Other than her you'll usually do well with Nicole at Zumbar in Sorrento Mesa; she's their best barista. (The most common flaw I would taste at Zumbar, perhaps 10-15% of the time, are beans that are not rested enough after roasting, what I call the "too fresh" phenomenon. Mind you we're not talking about hours of needed rest here, but a few days depending on roast level and bean.) Other times it's temperature control, either too low and sour or too high and burnt, or a dirty or baked taste from an unrinsed portafilter.) But these are my nits and to most customers they bat 100%.

                          With all my nits, (and again to most it'll probably go undetected), I'd still say they're doing the best espresso right now in San Diego.

                          As to outside of San Diego I've had great espressos from all of the "3rd wave"shops whether it be in Manhattan, San Francisco, or Los Angeles. (There's a lot more in other cities, but I just don't get out there...) This includes IntelliVenice and Intelli in Silverlake, Caffe Luxxe in Santa Monica and Brentwood, Blue Bottle in Mint Plaza and Hayes Valley, Ritual in the Mission and in Napa, Ninth St. and Cafe Grumpy in NYC, etc. I've also had some flawed cups at some of these places too, but consistency in espresso is one of the hardest thing to achieve. (Yeah Ritual in the MIssion for that!)

                          One thing to note is that I can probably count on one, maybe two hands, the number of places where I've had a good espresso outside of these "3rd wave" shops.

                          Among the espresso bars that I'm able to sample on a somewhat regular basis my current vote goes to Ritual Roasters in the Mission district of San Francisco. They are the most consistent espresso bar that I've ever been to. I've gone day after day here and have always had a great cup.

                          However style-wise, (not the visual aesthetics but the taste character and profile of their blend and the final cup), my favorite is probably Caffe Luxxe (Santa Monica and Brentwood).

                          1. re: cgfan

                            Awesome. Thanks for the recs Honkman and cgfan. Zumbar isn't far from work so I'm going to have to start giving that a try. Caffe Calabria is close to home and where I usually go but I too have found it to be good but inconsistent.

                        2. re: cgfan

                          Now that it's open, I should add:

                          * Shio Ramen * Yakyudori Ramen * Kearny Mesa

                          1. re: cgfan

                            You like this as much as the Shio Ramen at Santouka?

                              1. re: Wino

                                The Shio Ramen at Santouka is a Shio-Tonkotsu, while the Shio Ramen at Yakyudori is a classic Shio Ramen. They're completely different styles, really, so a bit of an apples and oranges comparison... (Think of Shio-Tonkotsu as a "plain" Tonkotsu Ramen...)

                                That being said, execution aside, I do prefer the Shio Ramen style over a Tonkotsu Ramen style...

                          2. Dry cooked fish, Ba Ren
                            Mussel bisque en croute, Dobson's
                            Huitlacoche quesadilla, Aqui es Texcoco
                            Crabcakes, Oceanaire
                            Smoked marlin tacos, Mariscos German
                            Green papaya salad, Sab E Lee
                            Eggs en cocotte with tomato concasse and parmesan cream, Farmhouse Cafe
                            Chicken liver mousse, AR Valentien
                            Steak frites with dipping sauces, Cafe Chloe
                            Summer corn and heirloom tomatoes, Chino's

                            And a cocktail bonus: Raspberry or watermelon mojito, JRDN

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: foodiechick

                              That's two votes for the raspberry mojito at JRDN! Did you happen to read the portrait of it in the READER a few months back? http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...

                              1. re: foodiechick

                                BIG Second chicken liver mousse. Worth a coronary.

                                1. re: foodiechick

                                  the Chino's corn and tomatoes are something we look forward to every year after they've gone out of season...

                                2. scallop taco-el zarape
                                  margarita-cantina mayahuel
                                  duck confit and fig pizza-pizza gourmet express
                                  picnic plate-the linkery
                                  uni and toro sashimi - sushi ota
                                  not your momma's meatloaf-urban solace
                                  burger-the pearl
                                  manakesh ultimate/falafel-mama's lebanese
                                  chile hazelnut chocolate bar-eclipse chocolat

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: smile81

                                    Aqui es Texcoco - Borrego
                                    Super Cocina - Puerco enchilado
                                    Hodad's - Bacon Cheeseburger
                                    Tacos Yaqui - Tacos Perrones
                                    Yakitori Yakyudori - Chicken wings
                                    Santouka - Shio Ramen
                                    Rudy's Taco Shop - Carne asada burrito
                                    Pho Cow Cali - Pho with Flank Steak and Tendon
                                    Yogurt World - Frozen yogurt (plain)
                                    El Porvenir Tortilleria - Carnitas burrito

                                  2. Pescado Zarandeado _ Mariscos Godoy
                                    Flautas de Barbacoa w/Consomee and Nopales _ Aqui Es Texcoco
                                    Tacos de lengua en Pipian _ Romescos
                                    Menudo/ Carnitas _ Taqueria Las Brisas [Agreed! Cgfan]
                                    Taco Al Pastor _ El Paisa
                                    Eggplant in Miso Sauce _ Okan
                                    Banh Mi Dac Biet _ Cafe Dore
                                    Antichuchos _ Latin Chef [Great Call Jack]
                                    Summer Cold Noodles _ Izakaya Sakura
                                    Marlin Tacos and shrimp consomme _ German

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: kare_raisu

                                      kare_raisu--which "summer cold noodles" are you referring to at Izakaya Sakura?

                                        1. re: amyzan

                                          Hiyashi came to me after I wrote the post. I think you are correct!

                                    2. The "Surf and Turf" burrito at JV's on Morena Bl. You won't believe how big it is.
                                      Fillet Mignan at Ruth's Chris
                                      BBQ Shrimp at Ruth's Chris
                                      Lemon Scallops at PF Changs
                                      Ribs from Phil's BBQ
                                      Cameron a la Diablo or Chipotle at Rana's Mexico City Cusine in Spring Valley
                                      Sushi at Sushi Ono in Hillcrest
                                      The 1/2 and 1/2 short ribs and teriyaki chicken at L&L Hawaiian BBQ

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: cigarlover

                                        surf and turf at JV"s is big enough for two.

                                      2. 1.Hodad's (OB) Cheeseburger Basket and a Chocolate Malt
                                        2.Hideaway Cafe (Solana Beach) Cinnamon Roll and Machaca
                                        3.Brigantine's (Del Mar) Grilled Mahi Mahi Fish Taco
                                        4.La Torta's (PB) Carne Asada Torta
                                        5.Roberto's (All over SD) California Burrito (with guac)
                                        6. Rudy's Taco Shop (Solana Beach) Carne Asada Burrito
                                        7.Elizabethan Desserts (Encinitas) Lidi Bits (any of them)
                                        8.Original Pancake House (Encinitas) Chocolate Chip Pancakes or Apple Pancake
                                        9.Taste of Thai (Del Mar) Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango
                                        10.Firenze Trattoria (Encinitas) Supa Verdura or Butternut squash ravioli

                                        Brigantine Seafood Restaurant
                                        3263 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA 92014

                                        Elizabethan Desserts
                                        155 Quail Gardens Dr, Encinitas, CA

                                        Firenze Trattoria
                                        162 South Rancho Santa Fe Road, Encinitas, CA 92024

                                        Rudy's Taco Shop
                                        524 Stevens Ave, Solana Beach, CA 92075

                                        Hodads Restaurant
                                        5010 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107

                                        Hide a Way Cafe
                                        150 S Acacia Ave, Solana Beach, CA 92075

                                        La Torta
                                        4864 Cass St, San Diego, CA

                                        Roberto's Mexican Food
                                        445 N Highway 101, Solana Beach, CA 92075

                                        Original Pancake House
                                        160 S Rancho Santa Fe Rd, Encinitas, CA 92024

                                        Taste of Thai
                                        527 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: TRUSTMEICANCOOK

                                          La Torta is closed and some italian wine bar just opened there this week

                                        2. Sorry, I have more than ten..

                                          Dobson's..mussel bisque en croute
                                          Longhorn..patty melt
                                          Con pane..turkey, cheese, avo sandwich..
                                          Grand Del Mar..Champagne and Iranian cavier
                                          Point Loma Seafood..scallop sandwich and the chowda
                                          Brigantine..happy hour fish taco with cheese
                                          Mariscos German..marlin taco
                                          Las Cuatro Milpas..guaco taco with lots of their kick ass salsa
                                          Cafe Japengo..calamari salad
                                          Jalisco Cafe..tamales
                                          Dumpling Inn..Veggie dumplings with brown sauce with lots of sambal
                                          Fidel's..chile relleno with a scoop of sour cream
                                          Red Tracton's..Lobster Club with the lobster bisque
                                          El Pescador..grouper sandwich with extra sauce
                                          Bahia Don Bravo...lobster burrito
                                          Basic..pepperoni pizza
                                          Chino's..corn and pretty much everything
                                          La Especial Norte..chicken tortilla soup
                                          O'Sullivan's...fish and chips

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Beach Chick

                                            Damn, girl. Forget the dive bar crawl, I want to go on your dive food crawl. You got most of mine on there too.

                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                              We should eat before we start drinking.. ; )

                                              Ah...stay thirsty and hungry my friend...hee hee

                                            2. Dry Pahd-se-ew with beef, Sab-e-Lee
                                              Steam-braised pea shoots 'n tendrils with garlic, Chin's Szechwan
                                              Artichoke slice, Pizzeria Luigi
                                              Jidori chicken, Starlite
                                              Ice cream sandwich, Starlite
                                              Chips and salsa, Ortega's Bistro
                                              Pear-ginger scone, Rebecca's
                                              Ham and egg breakfast burrito, El Indio
                                              Okayu, Yakitori Yakudori
                                              Rotisserie chicken, Saffron
                                              Espresso roasted coffee beans, French pressed at home, Mona Lisa Market
                                              Veggies on Bikes sandwich, Jugos de la Fuente

                                              1. I'm going to list ten of the best things I've eaten in SD, but must add that I don't live there, so bear in mind some of these may not be recent eats!

                                                the little strawberries from Chino farmstand, the ones I was told were a French variety
                                                grilled cumin lamb skewers at Little Sheep
                                                pommes frites at Cafe Chloe
                                                a sushi dinner at Izakaya Sakura (I haven't made it to Kaito yet!)
                                                bbq at Buga (every cut is good, really)
                                                Viennese at Cafe Calabria (honey and cinnamon, yum!)
                                                coconut patties cooked in cast iron takoyaki pans at the Hillcrest farmer's market
                                                gobo salad at Tajima (which seems to vary a bit from night to night)
                                                braised chicken legs (oh, heck, anything braised) at Okan
                                                jidori chicken and potato gratin at Urban Solace

                                                I want to add a shout out to Elizabethan Desserts for the blackbird pie and apple hand pie, and also to Big Joy family bakery for fresh ground coffee in a press pot with those fantastic Tokyo manju on a rare cold morning. They're more of a puff pastry than a manju, and filled with white sweet potato and chestnuts, not too sweet, just right. I just couldn't pass the opportunity to mention them, even if it exceeds my ten choices!

                                                Cafe Chloe
                                                721 9th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

                                                Caffe Calabria Coffee Roasters
                                                3933 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

                                                Urban Solace Restaurant
                                                3823 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104

                                                Tajima Japanese Restaurant
                                                4681 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111

                                                Elizabethan Desserts
                                                155 Quail Gardens Dr, Encinitas, CA

                                                Sakura 1
                                                3904 Convoy St, San Diego, CA

                                                Chino Farms farm stand
                                                6123 Calzada, Del Bosque Rancho Santa Fe, CA

                                                Mongolian Hot Pot
                                                4718 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92117

                                                Buga Korean Barbecue Restaurant
                                                5580 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92117

                                                Hillcrest Farmer's Market
                                                San Diego CA, San Diego, CA

                                                Wa Dining Okan
                                                3860 Convoy St., #110, San Diego, CA 92111

                                                Big Joy Family
                                                4176 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111

                                                7 Replies
                                                1. re: amyzan

                                                  Yeah thanks for mentioning the Tokyo Manjoo (their naming and spelling) at Big Joy Family. It's the closest thing that I've been able to get to Kuri Manjyu, while still quite not hitting it right on the mark. Their French toast is also very good, available twice weekly...

                                                    1. re: daantaat

                                                      It's the family-run cafe next door to Phuong Trang and several doors down from Sushi Dokoro Shirahama.

                                                      1. re: cgfan

                                                        Somebody needs to organize a "taste of Convoy". I would to try a lot of those places.

                                                        1. re: sd4life

                                                          That's a great idea! I posted a thread a couple of days ago requesting recommendations for the best examples of specific Asian cuisines on Convoy, but I like your suggestion better. There are so many places to eat on Convoy but I'm willing to bet that most of them are mediocre at best. We need someone who's really familiar with that street to give us a list. sd4life, would you like to post a topic to that effect?

                                                        2. re: cgfan

                                                          oh yeah, I know where that is! Thanks!

                                                      2. re: cgfan

                                                        Ooo, I'll have to try the french toast, thanks! I like the french toast at the bakery inside Zion, but they never get it soaked all the way through, it seems. But, it's a great quick breakfast on the weekend, though a massive indulgence.

                                                    2. There was an article in the local paper --San Diego Tribune showing 25 foods to eat before you die. Google it and read!! I think a lot of their recommendations are really good. If you can't find it then email me and I will scan it to you.

                                                      16 Replies
                                                        1. re: amyzan

                                                          Rocky's, boo. This has to be the most ridiculous, unthinking, knee-jerk reaction when it comes to San Diego burgers. Also, not really sure ANYTHING at Jyoti-Bihanga should qualify for any "before you die" food list.

                                                          Oh, and another giant LOL for Karl Strauss Amber Lager. Diacetyl-laden average beer when we live in the home of AleSmith, Alpine, and Pizza Port? Can I get a WTF?

                                                          1. re: Josh

                                                            "Rocky's, boo. This has to be the most ridiculous, unthinking, . . ."

                                                            THIS coming from someone who extols the burgers at Burger Lounge?

                                                            Chalk it up to different tastes, my friend.

                                                            1. re: woodandfine

                                                              You're right, what was I thinking? Give me the Sysco bun and the commodity ground beef!

                                                              I know people have different tastes, duh. I just think the knee-jerk Rocky's worship is baseless. My visits there left me totally baffled why so many people rave about it. Ordinary in every conceivable way, from the tasteless white bread bun to the overcooked, greasy patty.

                                                              1. re: Josh

                                                                No need to get defensive.

                                                                Your assertion that it's a "knee-jerk Rocky's worship" is purely subjective and groundless.

                                                                To each his burger own.

                                                                1. re: woodandfine

                                                                  Not trying to be defensive. I believe I have ample grounds to support my indifference to Rocky's. And San Diego is generally known for supporting restaurants that skate on reputation and longevity. The line outside of El Indio is a textbook example.

                                                                  1. re: Josh

                                                                    "The line outside of El Indio is a textbook example."

                                                                    There are tons of great examples of this:

                                                                    Cheesecake Factory

                                                                    PF Wangs

                                                                    Olive Garden.

                                                                    1. re: stevewag23

                                                                      Yeah, but I don't include chains. I just meant for long-standing local institutions, they seem to develop an immunity to merit-based longevity. I'd lump places like Hodad's El Indio, Rocky's, Filippi's, and Corvette Diner into that same category.

                                                                      1. re: Josh

                                                                        I see your point.

                                                                        La Jolla is full of those kinds of spots.




                                                                        1. re: stevewag23

                                                                          Heh, Carinos.

                                                                          I remember when we moved here from LA, we tried Carinos because we were told it was "the best" pizza. Um, no it isn't. Not remotely.

                                                                    2. re: Josh

                                                                      I actually agree with your assertions.

                                                                      Like you, I am nonplussed about the love for establishments such as El Indio, Hodad's, Fillipi's, and may I add: Extraordinary Desserts, C-Level, Pt. Loma Seafoods (WAY overrated, I'll get blasted for that), and Burger Lounge.

                                                                      1. re: woodandfine

                                                                        I won't blast you about Pt. Loma Seafood. I've never cared for that place.

                                                                        I think some things at Extraordinary Desserts are good. Her ice creams, for example.

                                                                        1. re: Josh

                                                                          Yeah, but the egg salad sandwich with black olive tapenade at ED is pretty good. Not on my best list, but it's tasty, for sure. The desserts, not so much, IMO.

                                                                    3. re: Josh

                                                                      I'm with you Josh. But you forget the half hour wait for the ordinary, at best, burger.

                                                                      1. re: sdnosh

                                                                        Half hour? You must have been there when the place was empty.

                                                            2. 10 more best things:

                                                              Catfish larb, Sab E Lee
                                                              Rare cheeseburger, Burger Lounge
                                                              Burger w/ fried egg, Farmhouse Cafe
                                                              Pho Tai, Lucky Seafood
                                                              Navrattan korma and naan, Punjabi Tandoor
                                                              Carnitas burrito, El Cuervo
                                                              Smoked salmon sandwich, Bread and Cie
                                                              Kalbi, Buga
                                                              Grilled seabass sandwich, George's
                                                              Puerco Enchilado, Super Cocina

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: Josh

                                                                Too funny, I just parked some catfish larb from SEL in the fridge for when I get home later tonight.

                                                                I have to try the puerco enchilado at SC, I have never tried them (bows head in shame).

                                                                1. re: Captain Jack

                                                                  Yeah, went by SEL today and had catfish larb and spicy grilled squid salad. So good.

                                                              2. 1. al pastor huarache- La Fachada taco truck
                                                                2. Strawberry Shortcake- Ritual
                                                                3. Yucatecos- Mama Testa
                                                                4. Mahi taco- South Beach Bar and Grill
                                                                5. gubernador taco- Mariscos German
                                                                6. arctic char- Urban Solace
                                                                7. dream roll- Zensei Sushi
                                                                8. burger- Ritual
                                                                9. Boulangerie blend-Caffe Calabria
                                                                10. cheese plate- Cafe Bleu

                                                                1. The white truffle raviolis at Tapenade.

                                                                  #267, Crispy salt and pepper shrimp WITH shell, at Saigon.

                                                                  Chocolate chip cookies at Lestat's.

                                                                  Sea Urchin at Shirahama.

                                                                  Eel at Shirahama.

                                                                  Noodles at Mitsuwa Market.

                                                                  Pho at Pho Hoa.

                                                                  Pork sandwich at A Chau.

                                                                  Filet at Morton's.

                                                                  Ceviche at Titanic Mariscos.

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Dagney

                                                                    Which noodles at Mitsuwa? Do you mean from the grocery, prepared at home, or from the restaurant?

                                                                    1. re: amyzan

                                                                      The restaurants. I have tried both sides, they are excellent.

                                                                    2. re: Dagney

                                                                      Tell me about Titanic Mariscos, I used to drive by it on a regular basis always making a mental note to try it. Now that I'm not in that neck of the woods much anymore it's dropped off the radar.

                                                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                        Titanic is a small neighborhood family owned joint. I have only been there a couple of times, and I had the ceviche on both occasions. I don't like ceviche that is all chopped up like dog food. They use nice chunks of fish, shrimp, and octopus.

                                                                    3. 1. Mole - Ranchos Cocina - Ocean Beach
                                                                      2. Smoked Chicken, Broccoli & Black Bean Soup - Georges - La Jolla
                                                                      3. Lobster Bisque - World Famous - Pacific Beach
                                                                      4. Filet - Flemings - La Jolla & Downtown
                                                                      5. TAB Sandwich - Crest Liquor and Deli - Crown Point
                                                                      6. Crab Claws - La Valencia - La Jolla
                                                                      7. Arvin Roll - RB Sushi - Rancho Bernardo
                                                                      8. Corn Pudding - Indigo Grill - Little Italy
                                                                      9. Key Lime & Rasberry tart - Piatti's - La Jolla
                                                                      10. Mexican Mocha - Pannikin - La Jolla

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Shi0874

                                                                        Shi, have you tried the mole at Casa Mayahuel? Me thinks you'd love it.

                                                                      2. Fish tacos - Brigantine (La Mesa / Del Mar)
                                                                        Meatball pizza - Filipi's Pizza Grotto (Little Italy)
                                                                        Antipasto Salad - Filipi's Pizza Grotto (Little Italy)
                                                                        Las Vegas Roll - Mika Sushi (PB)
                                                                        Chicken of the Gods - Bali Hai (Shelter Island)
                                                                        Chicken Pho - Pho So Bien (PB)
                                                                        Greek Salad - Lit'l Pepper Deli (Kearny Mesa)
                                                                        Chicken curry - Basil Thai (PB)
                                                                        Garlic fries - Gordon Biersch (Mission Valley)
                                                                        Kung Pao Three Ingredients - La China (Tierrasanta)

                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: jess1317

                                                                          Not to be argumentative (ha!), but what exactly is it about Filippi's Antipasto that merits its inclusion on a "10 Best Things to Eat" list? Is it the processed commodity coldcuts? The industrial cherry tomatoes? The generic croutons and dressing?


                                                                          1. re: Josh

                                                                            Josh, you forgot to mention the tons of flavlorless iceberg lettuce.

                                                                            1. re: cstr

                                                                              let it be - different strokes for different folks - we all got to start somewhere - I'did

                                                                              1. re: cstr

                                                                                I almost mentioned that, but I think they may use romaine.

                                                                          2. Wanted to add:
                                                                            -- Mirchi Baji from Copper Chimney Catering Truck with peanut/dried chile relish and coriander-coconut chutney

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: kare_raisu

                                                                              I second this one! IMHO, it also ranks on the top 10 Indian food experiences anywhere in the country! (not dishes or restaurants necessarily, but the experience overall)

                                                                            2. I love the Philly cheese steaks from Alex's Brown Bag, the best Philly I've had outside of Penn or MA.

                                                                              1. A couple of my selections are what I'd usually have at the selected restaurant if they're available.
                                                                                1) Super Cocina-Pipian de pollo, Puerco Enchilado Plate
                                                                                2) Santouka-Shio Ramen w/ soy egg
                                                                                3) China Max-Salt Baked Pork Chops
                                                                                4) Ota-Mirugai, Kumamoto Oyster, Ankimo, Toro, Raw Tako w/ Sucker,Uni
                                                                                5) El Cuervo-Shredded Beef Taco
                                                                                6) Mi Ranchito (Ramona)-Beef Flauta w/ side of beans
                                                                                7) Lucky Pho-Pho
                                                                                8) Adobada Taco-El Gordo
                                                                                9) Teppan Lamb-Ba Ren
                                                                                10) Grilled Cheese-Con Pane

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: daimyo

                                                                                  Updated guilty pleasure:
                                                                                  11) Spicy Fried Chicken Wings-Torimaru

                                                                                2. Siamese Basil - just about anything but the Gai Curry Chicken w/ stewed dark meat-I would eat that sauce on carpet.
                                                                                  Sitar Indian - Sorrento Valley fd. court etc - Saag Chicken
                                                                                  Newport Pizza - "Hasselhoff" - they use real polly o ricotta+pefect crust (and I'm from NY) and an incredible on-tap beer selection
                                                                                  O'Sullivans - Bangers+Mash, Fish Tacos, etc
                                                                                  Bread and Cie - fabulous pastries, sandwiches, best bread I've ever had
                                                                                  South Beach Bar+Grill - various seafood tacos
                                                                                  Spices Thai Cafe
                                                                                  Karen Krasne's Extraordinary Desserts - any chocolate cake (lots of other stuff besides pastries)
                                                                                  D.Z Akins - Mikshakes, Kinishes+Bakery (in particular the 7 layer cake) - Note- the actual deli will disappoint a new yorker (Carnegie or Katz deli pastrami it ain't)

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: ishkabible

                                                                                    Since you seem to like Thai you should try Sab-E-Lee. Spices Thai might me nice from time to time for a lunch with colleagues but if you don't want stongly americanized Thai food go to SEL. And I am not sure if using polly-o ricotta is an good argument for pizza place.

                                                                                    1. re: honkman

                                                                                      I totally forgot about this site and never saw your post until a random email from chowhound arrived and I looked around.

                                                                                      Anyway, I will try this place but if you have any recommendations of things to try I'd appreciate it.

                                                                                      That being said, I stick by my bold pro polly-o ricotta stance (-;


                                                                                  2. Wow, amazed this is still going...

                                                                                    1. The Bread pudding and flan at Creole Cafe in Old Town in the Whaley House gardens. Both of these come from one of the owners grandmothers, which I guess is the reason they are included at a creole food restaurant. I am not a huge creole food person..but every time i am there people are raving about the food. Anyway, the flan is something else, unlike any I have had at Mexican restaurants,I suspect it is more like you would would get in a home in Mexico.
                                                                                      I have special ordered it as a whole ring for holiday events and everyone loses their minds over it.

                                                                                      1. Mmm..it depends on my mood and my budget :)
                                                                                        1. Tacos El Paisa: Birria tacos
                                                                                        2. Pho Cow Cali: rare steak and tendon
                                                                                        3. Phil's BBQ: Baby Back Rib Tickler
                                                                                        4. Buon Appetito: creme brulee
                                                                                        5. Fish market Sushi Bar (downtown): Jasmine Roll and Duckett's Cup
                                                                                        6. Café Italia: Capuccinos
                                                                                        7. Starlite: Cheese Plate and starlite mule/kentucky colonel
                                                                                        8. Neighborhood: Half baked cookies with whole milk/ beer selection
                                                                                        9. Sultan Banoo: Khoresht Badenjan
                                                                                        10. Sandwich Emporium: Garden Veggie Sandwich

                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: kaochow

                                                                                          I'm sure your vote on #6 above is genuine, but it surprises me. Is it with, perhaps, a very specific barista, or with any of them? Though at one time there was a barista there who could almost do no wrong, it's been a long-time since he's been around Caffe Italia and everyone else I've tried there have been pulling mostly "sink shots".

                                                                                          If you're ever in the area I suspect you might be tempted to reconsider #6 if you had a chance to taste what's served at Zumbar in Sorrento Valley, particularly when poured by Nicole.

                                                                                          Oh oh... I just noticed #5. I'll keep quiet...

                                                                                          1. re: cgfan

                                                                                            You're totally right on #6. The owner Ben made great capps but I haven't seen him around recently...that's pretty much what I meant :)
                                                                                            And about #5...I know, I know.... I'll do better next time.

                                                                                            I will check out Zumbar. Always looking for better places..
                                                                                            It's sad how hard it is to find consistently good food.

                                                                                            1. re: kaochow

                                                                                              Re #5 -- Hey, Duckett's _Bucket_ (not cup) is pretty tasty with fresh-baked bread. :-)

                                                                                              1. re: The Office Goat

                                                                                                Lol. Fresh scallop and tobiko wrapped in maguro does not sound like it would go very well with fresh baked bread.
                                                                                                But I guess you gotta try everything once :)

                                                                                                1. re: The Office Goat

                                                                                                  To clarify the Duckett's Cup is spicy scallop in a maguro cup and is available in the sushi bar. Duckett;s Bucket is available in the regular bar and I seem to recall is a mixed steamed shellfish dish.

                                                                                                  Nothing wrong with pick #5. Kaito Sushi it ain't but its also an hour round trip closer...

                                                                                          2. Stone porter milkshake, Ritual Tavern
                                                                                            Pozole (red), El Comal
                                                                                            White bean puree appetizer, Jayne's
                                                                                            Schnitzel and gruyere spaetzle, Jayne's
                                                                                            Tuna nicoise, Tender Greens
                                                                                            Spicy tuna on eggplant tempura, Red Pearl Kitchen
                                                                                            Whole belly fried clams, Studio Diner
                                                                                            Mushroom/ricotta pizza, Luigi's
                                                                                            Potabello poblano quesadilla, Ortega's
                                                                                            Any pasta dish, Antica Trattoria

                                                                                            1. Just the foods I go back to time and time again for comfort and joy:

                                                                                              #1 Lobster tacos – Pacific Coast Grill

                                                                                              Coconut Crab Cakes appetizer – Terra
                                                                                              California Roll appetizer – Yardhouse
                                                                                              Best Burger in Town - Pearl Hotel
                                                                                              Deep Dish Meaty Pie Pizza – Lefty’s
                                                                                              Chicago South Sider sandwich – Vons
                                                                                              Black Bean Soup – Candelas
                                                                                              Assorted tacos – South Beach Bar/Grill
                                                                                              Red Velvet Cake – Bonnie Jean’s
                                                                                              Watermelon salad with feta and pine nuts (not always available)– Urban Solace

                                                                                              1. Italian beef Sandwich- Leftys
                                                                                                California Burrito- Taco Surf
                                                                                                Foie Gras App (any)- Wine Vault
                                                                                                Filet Oscar- Manhattan of La Jolla
                                                                                                Cannelloni- Manhatan of La Jolla
                                                                                                Oriental Fish Salad- Cass Street Bar and Grill
                                                                                                Gubanador Taco- Mariscos German
                                                                                                Hogs and Heffers Buger- Bare Back
                                                                                                Bone in NY- Cowboy Star
                                                                                                Gothic Sandwich- Red Tracton

                                                                                                1. I'm new to the boards, so hello! Here's my list

                                                                                                  1. Egg Salad Sandwich, Bread and Cie
                                                                                                  2. Rosemary Mint Hot Chocolate, Eclipse
                                                                                                  3. Goat Cheese and Fig Cupcake, Eclipse
                                                                                                  4. Summer Rolls, Saffron
                                                                                                  5. Salami Salad, Tender Greens
                                                                                                  6. Burger, Ritual Tavern
                                                                                                  7. Watermelon Salad, Urban Solace
                                                                                                  8. Fried Shrimp Plate, Pt Loma Seafoods (many childhood memories)
                                                                                                  9. Tacos Aleman, Mama Testa
                                                                                                  10. The Fish and Broth-based Gnocchi I had last spring at Farmhouse and have never seen again (can't remember what it's called, but one of the best things I've ever eaten anywhere)

                                                                                                  1. Wild Mushroom Ravioli: Cavaillon
                                                                                                    Pear Tarte Tatin: Pamplemousse Grille
                                                                                                    Sage Fried Chicken and Bacon Waffles: Hash House A Go Go
                                                                                                    Chicken Tlalpeño Soup: La Especial Norte
                                                                                                    Carne Asada Burrito: El Nopalito
                                                                                                    Brown Sugar Banana Pancake: Hash House A Go Go
                                                                                                    Panisse Marseillaise: Cavaillon
                                                                                                    Truffle Fries: Pamplemousse Grille
                                                                                                    Filet Mignon: Ruth's Chris
                                                                                                    Bubby's Gelato (ANY Flavor! Vanilla, Chocolate, Coconut....)

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Dvyne59

                                                                                                      +1 for Bubby's gelato...particularly Peanut Butter!

                                                                                                      1. re: Dvyne59

                                                                                                        I loves me some Tlalpeno soup.

                                                                                                      2. i don't live in san diego anymore so i'm not familiar with lots of the new spots, but these are the things i eat when i come home:

                                                                                                        steakburger with gyro meat - Canada Steakburger
                                                                                                        apple pie milkshake from Charley's
                                                                                                        carnitas at Carnitas Urapan
                                                                                                        banh mi from the place inside the Kearny Mesa 99 ranch market
                                                                                                        bun bo hue at Pho Hoa on University Ave.
                                                                                                        anything at Blind Lady Alehouse
                                                                                                        gelato at Chocolat downtown
                                                                                                        not food, but Pure Hoppiness from Alpine Brewery is the business!

                                                                                                        1. Pop's Jersey Style Cheese Steak - cheese steak sandwich
                                                                                                          Dumpling Inn - potstickers
                                                                                                          Apple Alley Bakery - berry/apple pie
                                                                                                          Harvest Ranch Market - trio sandwich
                                                                                                          Donovan's - beefsteak tomato and red onion salad
                                                                                                          SanSai - spicy chicken with cucumber seaweed salad
                                                                                                          Allen's New York Pizza - spinach and mushroom pizza
                                                                                                          Sr Pancho - adobada mini tacos
                                                                                                          Elizabethan's Desserts - magic bar
                                                                                                          Bubba's Smokehouse - brisket sandwich with collard greens

                                                                                                          Best thing cooked at home
                                                                                                          Kennedy's Carne - carne asada

                                                                                                          1. Wow we finally got our own board. I won't bore you with fancies because if your paying fifty a plate it should be good.
                                                                                                            no particular order

                                                                                                            Bacon cheesburger grilled onions - Hodads
                                                                                                            extra crispy ribs( I know it's not REAL bbq) - Phil's
                                                                                                            spotted dog sundae -Outback
                                                                                                            Al pastor- Los Tacos/Grubbys
                                                                                                            Blackened chicken sandwich - Brooklyn Boyz
                                                                                                            LObster bisque- Red Tracton's
                                                                                                            squid sandwich- Point Loma
                                                                                                            California burrito- Rudy's
                                                                                                            fried fish taco - Brigantine del mar
                                                                                                            anything at the- Beach Break

                                                                                                            This is the stuff I seek out when I am running around town.

                                                                                                            1. Here are some that come to mind....

                                                                                                              Cheesy garlic bread – Fish Market
                                                                                                              Creamed lentils (w/salmon) – Luc’s Bistro
                                                                                                              Cheeseburger – Cheers Ramona
                                                                                                              Duckaroni – Urban Solace
                                                                                                              Squid sandwich – Point Loma Seafood
                                                                                                              Grilled salmon tacos – Tin Fish
                                                                                                              Chorizo quesadilla – El Tecolote (OK, it closed 15 years ago, or so)
                                                                                                              Bison Burger – Cowboy Star
                                                                                                              Creamed leeks – Trulucks
                                                                                                              Mushroom ravioli – Cavaillon, Luc’s

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: eatemup

                                                                                                                I'll second the cheesy garlic bread, the bison burger and the mushroom ravioli...

                                                                                                              2. El Zarape - calamari burrito
                                                                                                                Nobu Solana Beach - spicy squid salad
                                                                                                                Extraordinary Desserts - macadamia caramel cheesecake
                                                                                                                South Beach Bar & Grill - lobster tacos
                                                                                                                Leftys - any pizza
                                                                                                                Venissimo - any cheese
                                                                                                                Park House Eatery - chilequiles
                                                                                                                Farsan Mart - dry potato curry
                                                                                                                Pizza Gourmet Express - making strides (artichoke, shrimp, feta pizza)
                                                                                                                Bread & Cie - 'nuff said

                                                                                                                1. Okan:
                                                                                                                  Fresh strawberry ice cream
                                                                                                                  Pike eel tempura
                                                                                                                  Grilled mackerel with sea salt

                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Josh

                                                                                                                    The pike eel tempura is amazing. Almost as good as the yellowtail cheek.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Josh

                                                                                                                      you forgot the homemade tofu we had! Phenomenal taste and presentation!

                                                                                                                      1. re: kare_raisu

                                                                                                                        As much as I loved that, I don't think it'd make my top ten in SD. Also: I've had much better homemade tofu in LA at a place called Shima. (And no, I'm not saying you have to go to LA for good Japanese food, to whoever is going to spin my comment that way.)

                                                                                                                        1. re: Josh

                                                                                                                          darn, missed the homemade tofu at Okan last night. Can someone enlighten me on it?

                                                                                                                          1. re: daantaat

                                                                                                                            they use soymilk in these urns and add the nigari to coagulate after they light the burners. they serve it with ponzu, scallion and ginger. its awesome

                                                                                                                            1. re: kare_raisu

                                                                                                                              oohhh, sounds delish! Sounds like a savory version of tofu fa.

                                                                                                                            2. re: daantaat

                                                                                                                              That sounds amazing! Is it a special? Cant recall seeing it on their regular menu

                                                                                                                              1. re: ipsit

                                                                                                                                It's on the daily special menu.

                                                                                                                      2. Haven't had 10 things in San Diego that are the best IMHO, although I do have a few.

                                                                                                                        Jonah Crab sandwich (The Veranda at Rancho Bernardo Inn) - one of the best things I've tasted in the world, yes, the world.

                                                                                                                        Beef carpaccio - Cafe Luna.

                                                                                                                        Noodle-based stir fry (Stir Fresh Mongolian Grill)

                                                                                                                        Burger - however you want to build it (Che Che Burger)

                                                                                                                        1. Burrata, heirloom tomato, and prosciutto salad at Cucina Urbana

                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. Bacon Cheeseburger - Hodad's, Ocean Beach
                                                                                                                            Rib Tickler - Phil's BBQ, Point Loma
                                                                                                                            Calamari Tacos - South Coast, Ocean Beach
                                                                                                                            Braised Short Ribs in Blackberry Mole - Maria Maria, Mission Valley
                                                                                                                            Chocolate Cake - Extraordinary Desserts, Hillcrest
                                                                                                                            Pho with rare steak - Pho Hoa, Linda Vista
                                                                                                                            Korean BBQ - Buga, Clairemont
                                                                                                                            Chirashi sushi salad - Nozomi, Kearny Mesa
                                                                                                                            Pizza - Filipi's, Little Italy
                                                                                                                            Lemongrass BBQ - Ocean Beach Farmers Market

                                                                                                                            Pho Hoa Restaurant
                                                                                                                            4717 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115

                                                                                                                            Extraordinary Desserts
                                                                                                                            2929 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

                                                                                                                            Phil's BBQ
                                                                                                                            3750 Sports Arena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92110

                                                                                                                            Hodads Restaurant
                                                                                                                            5010 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107

                                                                                                                            Point Loma Cafe
                                                                                                                            4856 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92106

                                                                                                                            8310 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92111

                                                                                                                            1. Not going to put them in any order, but here's 10 great foodstuffs in San Diego from a native 'diegan...

                                                                                                                              California burrito, ask for it to be made like a quesadilla instead of burrito - JV's (HANDS DOWN best Mexican food/Taco shop in San Diego)
                                                                                                                              Eggs, Bacon, Beans, Fries and Cheese Burrito - Dos Brasas (Hands down best B-fast burrito in SD... I've eaten at over 100 mexican food joints from CV to Cbad...)
                                                                                                                              Swordfish taco - Blue water grill
                                                                                                                              Chicken Salad rolls - Saffron (best thai in SD)
                                                                                                                              fresh seafood - Catalina Offshore Products (This is THE PLACE to buy seafood in San Diego. Best in So-cal for that matter.)
                                                                                                                              Ready Made Mini Subs - Mona Lisa Market
                                                                                                                              Spicy Miso Ramen - Santouka (I now live in LA, which is ramen Mecca, and even up there I like Santouka best)
                                                                                                                              El Zarape makes great Mex food and has the best salsas of any Mexican restaurant in SD.
                                                                                                                              Extrordinary desserts for... well... extraordinary desserts.
                                                                                                                              Bread & Cie for baked goods

                                                                                                                              El Zarape Restaurant
                                                                                                                              3201 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA