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Aug 3, 2009 07:18 AM

Want to know where the locals eat in San Diego-we're adventerous eaters

We are coming to San Diego for a week and I'm looking for interesting/authentic places to eat.

It's just me and my 11yo son, we tend to like good ethnic food, anything unusual and I figure there must be some good mexican style seafood places in SD? Please no tourist traps.

Any help would be appreciated and if you could suggest an area to stay in that would be great too.


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  1. The best (and extensive) guide to authentic dining in SD has got to be KirkK's blog:

    It is particularly good for Asian cuisines.

    I would include the following in a week long visit to SD

    Ba Ren - authentic Sichuan
    Izakaya Sakura - Izakaya style Japanese (think Japanese tapas) also good for lunches
    Many good Vietnamese choices for soups and banh mi
    Mariscos German truck for seafood tacos

    San Diego does interesting/authentic better than fancy.

    1. None of the ethnic places are probably somewhere you really want to stay, but if you have a car maybe choose a central location and just go from there (i.e. downtown, Mission Beach, La Jolla)

      Aqui es Texcoco (Chula Vista)
      Mariscos German (Logan Heights or truck in North Park/City Heights)
      Mariscos Godoy (Chula Vista)
      Tacos el Paisa (Chula Vista)
      Super Cocina (City Heights)

      Pho Cow Cali (Mira Mesa)
      Cafe Dore (City Heights)
      K Sandwiches (Linda Vista)
      Mien Trung (Linda Vista)

      Kaito (Encinitas)
      Shirahama (Kearny Mesa)
      Izakaya Sakura (Kearny Mesa)
      Okan (Kearny Mesa)

      Sab-e-Lee (Linda Vista)

      Ba Ren (Clairemont Mesa)

      Pomegranate (North Park)

      Surati Farsan Mart (Miramar)
      Punjabi Tandoor (Miramar)

      Middle Eastern:
      Mama's Bakery & Deli (North Park)

      Muzita (University Heights)
      Red Sea (City Heights)

      3 Replies
      1. re: DougOLis

        I too am coming to San Diego in a few weeks with my 13 year old son. Check my post "13 YEAR OLD SEEKS STRANGE FOOD". There were lots of suggestions & he is very anxious to try them ALL!

        1. re: DougOLis

          add Oton on Kearny Villa Rd, the sister place to Okan. Robata-yaki style cooking.
          also Yakitori Yakyudori in Hillcrest for yakitori.
          Buga Korean BBQ
          Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ
          Mama Testa's in Hillcrest for tacos from all over Mexico. excellent salsa bar. And Cesar, the owner, just beat Bobby Flay in a Throwdown episode.
          Yu Me Ya in Encinitas for izakaya

          1. For me it's Marisco's Godoy in CV. Pretty much the best of Marisco's, friendly staff, fresh food, and reasonable prices.

            1. For Mexican style seafood dont miss out on a Baja style seafood cocktail. I get mine at a tiny dive called La Playita on Clairmont Mesa Blvd. in the Smart & Final plaza. I usually order a large vuelve a la vida.


              3 Replies
              1. re: Captain Jack

                HOly Cow, Capn J. I've seen that place a zillion times and thought who the hell would eat THERE. (I'm purty picky about my fish.) But now I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the heads up. catchy website. . .

                1. re: pickypicky

                  The seafood in my combination cocktail has always been very fresh. You know, I would probably not have tried La Playita either, but Cathy, who sometimes posts on Kirk K's blog, is the one who turned me on to it. She took some good photos when she was there. You can check them out if you search La Playita in the blog.


                  1. re: Captain Jack

                    thanks! one step inside will tell. I always judge by smell. It just seemed too good to be true in the Clairemont wastelandia. . .

              2. You can try some very interesting, unusual and local foods at The Linkery in North Park. Eyeballs, brains, various organ meats and blood products are often offered. This restaurant is controversial among CHs and the general public for their many unconventional practices, so you may want to check out their website to see if it is for you, but based on your original post I think you might really enjoy it.

                5 Replies
                1. re: juantanamera

                  "many unconventional practices" ... beside the automatic service charge which many unconventional practices are you refering to ?

                  1. re: honkman

                    Maybe juanta is refering to The Linkery's practice of running out of everything good by 9:30pm or so. I like eating late (not that I consider 9:30pm all that late), but everytime I do so at The Linkery, they are out of many of the things I would like to try.

                    1. re: Captain Jack

                      A Chau for Vietnamese Sandwiches
                      Pho Hoa for Pho
                      Convoy Tofu House for Korean BBQ
                      Little Dumpling for Chinese

                    2. re: honkman

                      I was hoping not to reopen a debate about the Linkery, but merely to offer it as a suggestion (since I happen to enjoy it), and let the OP decide for himself or herself. I think the many strong opinions about the Linkery have been thoroughly covered in previous threads.

                      1. re: juantanamera

                        I didn't want to reopen the debate but still don't understand what Linkery is doing which you would consider unconventional practices (beside automatic service charge). I don't see anything "unusual" at Linkery I haven't seen at other restaurants.