Ocean beach, San diego. Where to eat.
Hi all. Staying in Ocean beach area. In need of non touristy delicious fair priced authentic Mexican food. Being from NYC everyone says we have no idea what real Mexican food tastes like. So here we are asking for advice.
Also interested in seafood and other local hits. We do have a baby with us most of the time so it will be early dinners and not super expensive, etc... Will have 1 date night this week for the good place.
Thanks in advance for the help.
I like the happy hour at south beach for inexpensive, decent oysters and 1/2 price appetizers. I think they do not allow anyone under 21 in the place as it is a bar not a restaurant, and so it could be a problem to bring the baby.
It is definitely not a nice date type place, and is not "real" Mexican food, but I think it is worthwhile.
Ortega's Cocina at Newport and Cable is going to be your best bet for Mexican in that part of town. They make some very good food, and at dinner often have really nice specials. Another place that's decent, but not as good, is Rancho's Cocina on Sunset Cliffs and Niagara.
South Beach is a common recommendation for fish tacos, but they're just OK. Very Americanized, with yellow cheese, ranch dressing, and flour tortillas.
Another place I'd recommend, with lots of couching and caveats, is Nati's, but I have to emphasize that it is completely inauthentic in every way. It's very Americanized, and is not the place to go expecting a virtual trip to Mexico. That said, for California-style gringo Mexican food, it's quite tasty. The main point of interest is that it's really old, and has been there since the '60s. There's a funny picture up from 16 Magazine ca. 1976 with Shaun Cassidy sporting the Nati's logo on his t-shirt. The biggest reason I include this is because it's probably the family-friendliest dining spot in all of OB, where nobody will look askance at you bringing an infant. South Beach is a bar, and it's not really a kid-oriented atmosphere. Certain items there should never be ordered (carne asada, fish tacos). Good items are ground beef tacos, and cheese or ground beef enchiladas. Anything else is likely to disappoint.
Another place worth your time is the Lighthouse Ice Cream parlor, which is next to South Beach. Skip the ice cream, and head for the freezer case. It's stocked with frozen fruit bars from Oasis, which is a locally owned, tiny shop that makes really delicious bars from fresh fruit.
For date night, try 3rd Corner, even if you have baby in tow. Its a bistro and wine bar with really good food and a great wine selection, but it's definitely not stuffy. I haven't been impressed with Thee Bungalow since the Cohen's took over and it's much more expensive. A more casual place is Pepe's Italian. It's just a local fun pasta joint.