SD / LJ: Review my choices
Staying with my girlfriend in La Jolla for six nights at the end August. We've rented a condo so we can save money and do some cooking at "home".
I hate chains but am ok with small local ones if they are really good. She likes more middle of road type places but willing to try new restaurants. She also likes Mexican food and home-style Southern food (we are from Texas). We both don't drink so happy hours are not important.
She is excited to lay out at Ocean Beach, visit a spa for a massage and go to the zoo. I am only going for the fish tacos. : )
So here goes:
ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO TRY:
German Mariscos 2802 Ocean View Blvd, San Diego Lots of recommendations for marlin tacos. Plus they have a fish market in the back. We will do some cooking while there.
Point Loma Seafoods 2805 Emerson St, San Diego
Good seafood and a fish market. Casual restaurant. CH: Do try Pt. Loma Seafood. Get it "to go" and follow the scenic route signs to the tip of Point Loma. Park in the lot, walk up to the light house and enjoy the finest 360 degree views San Diego has to offer.
Hodads Restaurant 5010 Newport Ave, San Diego
Best burgers and girlfriend wants to go.
El Pescador Fish Market 627 Pearl St, La Jolla
Fish market / restaurant. Casual and close.
Cody’s 8030 Girard Ave, La Jolla
Breakfast or lunch with in walking distance plus a great view.
Café Chloe 721 Ninth Ave #1, San Diego
Many, many reviews. French café. Could work for coffee or lunch.
K Sandwiches 7604 Linda Vista Rd San Diego
Good cheap lunch. Vietemese style sandwiches.
Sushi Ota 4529 Mission Bay Dr San Diego
#1 Sushi restaurant in San Diego
Georges At the Cove 1250 Prospect St, La Jolla
Patio dining watch sunset. Little pricy and could be loud. This will be our one big dinner
WOULD LIKE TO TRY:
Blue Water Seafood 3667 India St, San Diego
On Guy's Diners, Dives and Drive Ins. Good fish reviews. CH: Buffalo Sandwich-Red Snapper with a chipotle marinade and Blue Cheese CH: My absolute favorite in San Diego however for seafood is Blue Water Seafood (about 1 mile north of downtown on India street). Great super fresh seafood in a good service but VERY low key environment. Plastic tables and chairs. $20 bottle of wine (served in plastic cups, but they will blow you away with the food. They give you a list of fish (Salmon, Mahi, yellowtail etc etc etc...10-15 options). You pick the fish....then how you want it cook and what sauce (Lemon butter, garlic buttter, teriyaka, cajun etc) and then if you want a sandwich, a salad or a plate with rice and side salad. Cost is between $8-$14 per plate. Well worth it.
Girard Gourmet 7837 Girard Ave, La Jolla
Low end on prices, great reviews, not Mexican or seafood. Also in La Jolla, actually walking distance. Bakery, Deli and Sandwich
Bahia Don Bravo 5504 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla
Lobster burritos (mentioned several times), decent view. CH: "It looks like a little dive Taco Shop, but it is very roomy and comfortable inside, with patio bar stool seating outside and a great ocean view."
ON STANDBY, WILL VISIT IF WE ARE CLOSE OR IN THE MOOD.
Living Room Coffeehouse 1010 Prospect St # 100, La Jolla
CH: "has a nice view, food is just OK" Might be good for breakfast.
World Famous 711 Pacific Beach Dr, San Diego
CH: "Another fun place is World Famous in Pacific Beach. Located right on the boardwalk looking out on the surf. Always alot of surfer in this area to watch. Food is typical beach city steak/seafood/etc. The bar has some good happy hours deals on food & drink as well."
Marketplace Grille 1030 Torrey Pines Rd #C, La Jolla
Middle Eastern/Soutwestern salads, wraps and entrées. Chain but could be quick fix.
Come On In Cafe 10280 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla
CH: "Come on In! has good bakery/pastry items for breakfast."
Jugos Dela Fuente 1048 7th Ave, San Diego
If we find ourselves in Downtown for breakfast or lunch. quick, healthy, cheap lunch. salads, sandwhiches, wraps, smoothies and one or two soups.
Yakitori Yakyudori 3739 6th Ave, San Diego
Japanese, not sushi. Lots of CH recommendations.
Super Cocina 3627 University Ave, San Diego
"Authentic Mexican" Different dishes are prepared each day and then brought out in stainless steel trays for cafeteria-style serving. peccadillo -- spicy pork in a chile Colorado sauce -- which, according to the restaurant, was concocted by mistake. Its popularity ensures you'll find it every day. Can taste anything.
* I am really tempted to plan each day but I want to leave things up to spontaneity which is why they are broken down to three categories.
* You may recognize your comments. I copied and pasted lots of CH opinions and reviews found on the net. Sorry for the plagiarism.
SO HERE ARE MY QUESTIONS:
1. Did I miss any "absolutely have to try" places?
2. Should any of these be moved up in a category? Or down? Or not at all?
3. Any comments about the notes?
4. If you were going to these places, what would you order? What's the best thing on the menu?
5. Reservations needed at any of these places?
3739 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
Point Loma Seafoods
2805 Emerson St, San Diego, CA 92106
721 9th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Come On In Cafe
10280 N Torrey Pines Rd La Jol, la, CA
7604 Linda Vista Rd, San Diego, CA 92111
3627 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92104
7837 Girard Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037
2802 Ocean View Blvd, San Diego, CA
El Pescador Fish Market
627 Pearl St, San Diego, CA 92037
711 Pacific Beach Dr, San Diego, CA 92109
Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill
3667 India St, San Diego, CA 92103
5010 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107
Living Room Coffeehouse
1010 Prospect St Ste 104, La Jolla, CA 92037
1030 Torrey Pines Rd Ste C, La Jolla, CA 92037
Bahia Don Bravo
5504 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037
Jugos Dela Fuente
1048 7th Ave, San Diego, CA
4529 Mission Bay Dr, San Diego, CA 92109
8030 Girard Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037
I just want to chime in and congratulate you for 1) doing your homework (extensive and impressive, I must say) and 2) choosing some pretty decent places. I also agree with Josh about OB. It's a fun area to visit, but the beach itself isn't so nice. If you're there and craving something different, check out Azucar. I've yet to eat anything but their pastries but those are pretty darned good!
Good point phee. Agreed! It's nice to see that instead of the usual "hey I'm here in S.D. so what's good so I don't have to do any footwork..."
An excellent choice with Yakitori Yakyudori. If you're adventurous the best thing that you can have there is their Horamon, (aka Shimacho or beef intestine). No kidding here.
Hodad's great, their Bacon Cheeseburger's their famous burger, but their Cheeseburger's a long-time favorite of mine. Also worth considering seriously is a new local small chain called Burger Lounge. A much different profile than Hodad's with a very clean palate and the best tasting beef around.
Super Cocina - don't be afraid to take sample tastes first of almost anything there. And don't be bothered by the steam tables; I was on my first visit but after you start focusing on the tastes, well, nothing else matters, does it?
Not sure if you're in need of a serious espresso bar - not sure if the Living Room spot is more for just a coffee house + upholstered furniture feel or for actually good or excellent coffee. If the latter than I'd steer you towards Zumbar Coffee in Sorrento Mesa, the best practitioner that San Diego has to date, though it can get much better...
Also it seems like you enjoy seafood. Not sure if you're looking for fine-dining seafood, but Oceanaire is great but spendy. I always recommend the crab cakes here - they're "to die for"... They also have the most fully stocked oyster bar I've seen yet in San Diego.
The Cottage is a popular breakfast spot, but it can be a wait, especially in the summer. I second and third skipping The Livingroom -- the catchy name is all its got going for it. For me, the best place for good coffee in LJ is the Pannikin on Girard. Hubby and I used to go there when we were students at UCSD and it's still a popular college hang out. If it hasn't changed over the years it's in a small house/beach shack, Jack Kerouac meets surfer dude type of space and serves, or used to serve, really good coffee. I'll also second pickypicky's rec of The Lodge, even though I haven't been yet, because of all the great reviews it gets here. Another very special, and pricey, place is Nine Ten on Prospect. Have fun, use your sunscreen, and don't be afraid of the traffic -- you'll get to where you're going eventually.
I would move Super Cocina up and 2nd Josh's rec of Tacos El Paisa. Another good option is Aqui Es Texcoco.
If you're going to do Mariscos German I'd suggest the truck at 35th & University and then maybe hit up Super Cocina after that. You'd be close to other North Park/Normal Heights/University Heights area restaurants as well (The Linkery, Blind Lady, Jayne's, Farmhouse Cafe, Alchemy, Ritual Tavern, Urban Solace, etc.).
Might as well buy your seafood at El Pescador if you're staying in La Jolla.
Kaito > Ota. They're roughly the same price too (not cheap).
George's is probably the only place that needs reservations
On a lighter note since the discussions here have been getting pretty heavy lately re. sushi, let me put it this way...
...again, it's on-ly my o-pin-i-on...
In terms of quality: Kaito Sushi > Shirahama > Sushi Ota
In terms of 'tude: Kaito "Bad *ss" Sushi: big :-)'s all around with a wazzup! laid back vibe > Sushi Quota: (business first so they might turn their seats promptly to meet their quotas even if you're still in it) > Shira-not-yo'-mama: (if yo' mama ain't Japanese, don't eat here).
Sushi Quota also has a smidgen of this as well but it didn't rhyme with their name...
Ditto everything Josh said. Double ditto about the beaches. La Jolla beaches (especially the Shores and Black's) have the cleanest water. Black's is amazing and a hike to get to, but very worth it.
For fish tacos, try the new Mariscos German "Beyer" taco truck at Imperial and 22nd. Easy get to off I5. One of Chow's best Mex folks, MasaAssassin, went after I emailed him and he pronounced it "The real deal."
Girard Gourmet is a LJ institution, but I would never recommend it. Skip the Living Room. Come on In is at best, ok. Lots of expensive mediocre in La Jolla.
And Don Bravo's ocean view is not amazing. It's really just a very nice sliver (and a 2 block walk away after you've eaten)-- I wouldn't want you to be bummed.
And one last suggestion: if you're going to be here on a Thursday night, I'd call the Lodge at Torrey Pines and ask about their Artisan table only on Thursday nights. One price for dinner and wine. Communal table. Beautiful terrace with view of ocean and Torrey Pines Golf Course.
And big yes, to El Paisa.
ps. I'm a native Texan.
Surprised to see the comment about Girard Gourmet, unless the main things you've eaten there are the entrees in the front case. Their sandwiches on their house-made bread are really good, IMO. I also am a big fan of any of their fruit pastries, which are often made with fruit they've grown themselves.
Love the GG house-made bread but take it home and make my own sandwiches. I used to eat there often, but felt the quality went downhill and couldn't stand the lines, attitude any more. AND any restaurant with no bathroom always makes me uneasy. I'm also a sucker for their decorated cookies. But if I were only going to eat at a few LJ places, GG would not be on my list.
That's a long list. Let me give you a couple of suggestions.
1 - if you want to lay out at the beach, I'd suggest skipping Ocean Beach, and instead hit one of the La Jolla beaches like Windansea, La Jolla Shores, or Black's Beach. The water in OB is often contaminated, because it's right at the outflow of the San Diego river. The water further north in La Jolla is a lot cleaner and more pleasant. Black's Beach is spectacular, at the foot of giant cliffs.
2 - Skip the Ocean View location of Mariscos German. It's plummeted steadily downhill. I understand that the tacos at the trucks are still good. If you want to shop for fish to cook, stick with El Pescador. Blue Water was opened by a former El Pescador employee.
3 - Sushi Ota should be skipped in favor of Kaito in Encinitas. (Cue shill accusations)
4 - You missed Tacos El Paisa at 31st and National. Their tacos al pastor are incredible.
I agree with Josh regarding the beach. OB is a great place to walk around or take a walk down the pier. I would even suggest to bring a towel and pick up food from Hodad's and walk down and sit on the beach and eat (she can lay out if she wants). A quick Chowhound exclusive hodad tip: instead of waiting in line (which could take an hour + at lunch time)....walk right in the door, grab a menu, step outside and call your order in... then come back and pick it up in 20 minutes and walk down to the beach.
I myself am a die hard fan of Bluewater (one of the rec's you quoted were mine) though I too am curious to try el pescador as I've heard great things about it as well.
Personally world famous is good, but not great. I particularly go to World famous on Tues or weds for there Happy hour ($1 shrimp tacos and $1.50 lobster tacos) in the bar area only.
Point Loma Seafoods is a must, though definitely a sunny afternoon place. You can go midweek and avoid a crowd, though as far as i'm concerned the crown is not overpowering and in many ways is part of the spectacle. I love a sunday lunch there.
I fourth Josh's, DougOLis and cgfan's recs for Kaito over Ota (ahem...waiting for accusations and assumptions...).
If you want to try more different types of Japanese food, Okan on Convoy (about 10-15 min away from La Jolla) has homestyle Japanese and their sister restaurant, Oton (robata yaki style) in the Clairemont Mesa area, are both very good.
In La Jolla, Coffee Cup Cafe has very good, cheap breakfasts and lunches. Asian-Latino style food. On Wall St, across from Tommy Bahamas.
Near the zoo is Mama Testa's. Cesar, the owner, just beat Bobby Flay on a Throwdown! episode last week! Tacos from all over Mexico. My faves are the mashed potato tacos (hard shell) and beef taquitos in spicy beef broth.
Thank you for doing your homework!!