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Staying at Island Palms Hotel & Marina in San Diego- I had some questions

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Wellington82 Sep 4, 2009 02:12 PM

Hi, love these boards. Me and my wife will be staying for two days at the Island Palms to celebrate our anniversary, and I was wondering if anyone here could give recommendations for some really good eating places in the local area? Was specifically looking for good seafood/authentic fish tacos type places, as well as a nice guilty pleasure pizza type place, and also breakfast bakery type places. It will be a no dieting weekend! My wife works very hard (actually she's rather overworked) and rarely gets a vacation, so I want it to be perfect and I want to spoil her. I have done a little bit of Chowhound research and come up with a small list of places I was thinking about taking her- Mariscos German (for the marlin tacos), the Brigantine (fish tacos), Mama Testas (for potato tacos)- what do you guys think?

We will have a car, but would prefer it if the recommendations are near. How is parking in SD, since we have never been there before? Does anyone know of any really good food places (of any kind) within walking distance of the hotel?

Also, a friend recommended the area called "Sunset Cliffs" for the view, has anybody heard of this place, and is there any good food places in that particular area?

Finally, I might be wrong but it seems like Mariscos German has mutliple locations- if so, which is the best truck to go to (as we won't be visiting for long, and we'll probably only go there once), and is there easy parking available there?

Sorry for so many questions. Thank you in advance, I REALLY appreciate it.

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  1. d
    daantaat RE: Wellington82 Sep 4, 2009 04:50 PM

    definitely Mama Testa's for tacos. Bring quarters for the parking meters in case you have to park along the street. Otherwise, you can look along the side streets for free parking.

    Sunset Cliffs is in the Pt Loma area. There are lots of recs on the board for this. Nearby neighborhood is Ocean Beach.

    Mariscos German has several locations and they have a permanent one south of the 8, off the 805 freeway. The exact location escapes me and the parking wasn't that bad when we went.

    4 Replies
    1. re: daantaat
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      Wellington82 RE: daantaat Sep 5, 2009 05:57 PM

      Thanks for the great info, daantaat.

      Anyone know of any great breakfast places or bakeries nearby?

      1. re: Wellington82
        d
        daantaat RE: Wellington82 Sep 5, 2009 08:47 PM

        Exactly which place of town is your hotel in? It sounds like downtown and/or near the airport.

        1. re: daantaat
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          Wellington82 RE: daantaat Sep 9, 2009 01:31 PM

          Hi daantaat- the hotel that me and my wife will be staying at is on Shelter Island Drive.

        2. re: Wellington82
          y6y6y6 RE: Wellington82 Sep 9, 2009 09:29 AM

          Con Pane Rustic Breads is a good bakery option. I'm not sure about breakfast in that part of town. If you don't mind driving I'd suggest The Mission in Pacific Beach for breakfast.

      2. Shannon RE: Wellington82 Sep 6, 2009 09:52 AM

        You can walk from the Island Palms to the Brigantine. A good pizza place in the neighborhood is Pizza Nova (the one you want is on Harbor.) http://www.pizzanova.net/

        Sunset Cliffs is beautiful - there are no restaurants overlooking but you could pick up a picnic and eat down there. A good place to get sandwiches close by is the Olive Tree Market on the corner of Narragansett and Sunset Cliffs Blvd.

        There is also a great view from the Island Palms - and the food in the restaurant is pretty decent, for a Best Western. I like to go to their outside bar from time to time and pretend I am a tourist. The manager loves wine, and they have great wines by the bottle and glass.

        If you want to get some burritos close by and eat them at your hotel, the Santana's on Rosecrans Avenue is good for taco shop fare. There are two very close to each other - I go to the one that is farther north.

        For a killer breakfast/bakery experience, go to Azucar in Ocean Beach.
        http://www.iloveazucar.com/

        2 Replies
        1. re: Shannon
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          Wellington82 RE: Shannon Sep 9, 2009 01:34 PM

          Thanks for all your help, Shannon. I wasn't planning to visit the actual restaurant in the hotel (I have an aversion for hotel restaurants, bad experience long time ago), but since you mentioned it's decent, I think we might just try it out!

          1. re: Wellington82
            Shannon RE: Wellington82 Sep 9, 2009 08:44 PM

            I got ya on the hotel restaurant thing... but they have a chef and he actually seems to care. So if you just want to hang out, give it a whirl. They have some good happy hour specials - glass o wine and bar snack with a nice view, what else do you need?

            One thing I should tell you - the dining room is in serious need of a remodel. I'd sit outside, or the bar.

        2. y6y6y6 RE: Wellington82 Sep 9, 2009 09:25 AM

          Fish tacos are hard to lock down. Even though they may be a popular item in San Diego, few places do them well. For the area you're in I'd recommend Brigantine Seafood or Miguel's Cocina. Neither are my favorites for either seafood or Mexican food, but they do have good fish tacos.

          Hudson Bay Seafood in the area is a good choice for seafood. Point Loma Seafood is near by, and I like the scallop sandwich there (other stuff there is just okay).

          Walking along the bay near your hotel is likely to be the best for walkies, especially at sunrise (if you get up the early, which you shouldn't). But driving to the Cabrillo National Monument nearby would be worthwhile for a great walk as well. And I highly recommend spending some of your walking time at Balboa Park. You could easily spend a whole day or two walking around there and the zoo without having to move the car. The Prado is a good place to eat there, but try to come early enough to score a table on the patio. Check Balboa Park's website for special events.

          Parking is easy is most places that aren't Balboa Park, La Jolla, or the Gaslamp.

          Sunset Cliffs is a stretch of cliffs in a residential area, so there is nothing to eat right there. But there are plenty of places in the Ocean Beach area which is near by. The various pullouts there provide access to the cliffs, but there really is no accessable beach.

          I recommend the Mariscos German truck on University since it's close to the 805 freeway, is easy to spot, and typically has plenty of parking. Keep in mind Mariscos German is not a tourist oriented place. It's in the dirt parking lot of a liqueur store in a poorer section of town. I don't mean for that to scare you off, I just want to point out it's not a romantic dining sort of thing. I suggest going, as the food is delicious. If your Spanish is spotty, you want the marlin (smoked) taco and the gobernadore taco. The fish tacos here aren't worth passing up the other stuff, so only get one if you're still hungry.

          Mama Testa is very good. The potato tacos are good, but the other options are better in my humble opinion.

          1 Reply
          1. re: y6y6y6
            w
            Wellington82 RE: y6y6y6 Sep 9, 2009 01:36 PM

            y6y6y6- thank you so much for all the information. This will really help in making it a great weekend. Great stuff!

          2. deckape RE: Wellington82 Sep 9, 2009 11:20 AM

            Red Sails Inn for breaky...Brigantine for Happy Hour at the Oyster Bar.

            1 Reply
            1. re: deckape
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              Wellington82 RE: deckape Sep 9, 2009 01:38 PM

              deckape- Red Sails Inn I actually never heard of before when doing my Chow research, so there's another one for the list. Thanks!

            2. s
              sdnosh RE: Wellington82 Sep 9, 2009 01:34 PM

              Island Palms is on Shelter Island on the Point Loma side of the peninsula. i've heard that Humphreys, walking distance from you, has a pretty good breakfast and brunch and it overlooks the bay, although I have not tried it personally. On Rosecrans just south of Shelter Island Driver is one of the best bakeries in San Diego, Con Pane Rustic Breads. It is also walking distance from your hotel. They don't make a traditional breakfast, but they make the best cinnamon rolls I've ever tasted, amazing breads and great sandwiches. Across the street from the bakery is Roseville. You didn't mention french, but if you're interested, it is one of the best french restaurants in San Diego. For Pizza, try Pizza Nova. They're not the best pizza in San Diego, but they do a very good job and they have a wide selection of dishes. They are also walking distance and are right on the water. For something a little on the funner side, try the Pearl. Great, but not cheap burgers, interesting food in an interestingly remodeled 50's motel. The restaurant seating surrounds the pool and it is also walking distance. Also, there's a great sushi place just a short walk from Island Palms - Umi Sushi - a local favorite. For very casual seafood, try Point Loma Seafoods. They make the best clam chowder in town and you can sit outside and watch the fishing boats. As I write this, I realize that Point Loma has come a long way in it's food offerings. Sunset cliffs has great view, especially at sunset. I recommend you drive over to see the sunset, drive back to the hotel, then walk over to the restaurant/bakery of your choice.

              6 Replies
              1. re: sdnosh
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                Wellington82 RE: sdnosh Sep 9, 2009 01:41 PM

                Cheers, sdnosh. Got lots of recommended places to visit now, this is exactly what I was looking for.

                1. re: Wellington82
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                  sdnosh RE: Wellington82 Sep 9, 2009 03:21 PM

                  I forgot to mention, with all these good restaurants to try and even more if you get in your car, there is absolutely no reason to go to Red Sails. it's dark, old, and really bad.

                  1. re: sdnosh
                    Beach Chick RE: sdnosh Sep 9, 2009 04:27 PM

                    concur on Red Sails..the only reason to go to RS is to use their dinghy dock to hit up the Brig and Bali Hai!
                    I see a new place went into where the old Boll Weevil was.
                    I miss the old Chart House in Shelter Island where Fiddler's Green is..does anyone go there?

                    1. re: Beach Chick
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                      sdnosh RE: Beach Chick Sep 10, 2009 10:05 AM

                      Beach Chick. Point Break Cafe moved from it's light, airy, clean space in the mall where Stars n Stripes is to the Boll Wevill location and did nothing to the dank, smelly place. While I personally only had gone there a couple of times, it was kind of generic breakfast and lunch food. Nothing exciting, but it seemed to do a good business. I can't for the life of me fathom why they made such a move without at least cleaning, painting, and opening up the place.

                      I've been to Fiddler's Green a couple of times and like Point Break it was OK. Kind of old school steak house that appeals to older yachtsmen.

                      I forgot about Bali Hai. Often times, Bali Hai doesn't get much love, except for it's Mai Tais, but it has great view and good polynesian style food with some American alternatives. It's also a good alternative for lunch.

                      1. re: sdnosh
                        Beach Chick RE: sdnosh Sep 10, 2009 10:57 AM

                        They moved over to that nasty ass Boll Weevil site and did nothing in the realm of tenant improvements?

                        We used to always go as a kid to Bali Hai and watch the Polynesian dancers out on the grass and drink pineapple juice with umbrellas and lots of cherries..
                        Those fire dances with the tiki torches...priceless.
                        Their mai tais are some of the best in the world..they redid their dock which is also great if your sailing and want to pull up for a drink and app.
                        I like there food..

                        Still pissed at the Chart House for moving out of the Shelter Island location and put in Fiddler's Green..first of all, what kind of name is that?

                        1. re: Beach Chick
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                          sdnosh RE: Beach Chick Sep 13, 2009 11:05 AM

                          yes beach chick, Point Break did nothing to the Boll Wevill building but did add dinner. I can't even imagine the thought process. I always hate to see any business struggle or worse go out of business, but I can't see this as a positive move for their business.

              2. Beach Chick RE: Wellington82 Sep 9, 2009 01:59 PM

                Bali Hai down the street from your hotel has the best mai tai and a great view of the downtown skyliine.
                Brigantine Shelter Island for the some of the best fish tacos at their happy hour everyday.
                Con Pane for excellent sandwiches
                Tender Greens in Liberty Station
                Pomodoro for Italian is pretty good and Point Loma Seafood for a scallop sandwich..get there early..it's a zoo.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Beach Chick
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                  sdnosh RE: Beach Chick Sep 10, 2009 10:21 AM

                  Beach Chick: What are your thoughts on Con Pane's cinnamon rolls and bread?

                  1. re: sdnosh
                    DiningDiva RE: sdnosh Sep 10, 2009 10:30 AM

                    I'm not BC, but I am convinced their cinnamon rolls are in line for best in SD. They are exceptional...made with brioche dough. Their bread is good, their cinnamon rolls are stellar.

                    1. re: sdnosh
                      Beach Chick RE: sdnosh Sep 10, 2009 11:00 AM

                      Their bread frigging rocks!
                      Never had their cinnamon rolls..
                      They make some of the best sandwiches and I am definitely a sandwich chick!

                  2. c
                    csils RE: Wellington82 Sep 10, 2009 11:04 AM

                    I have only 1 to add to the list...and a lot to agree with.
                    To add, Sammy's woodfired pizza is a great place for upscale pizza (aside from new york style or Thai chicken they have terrific flat bread pizza's like goat cheese and truffle oil). there is a Sammy's in Point Loma (liberty Station).

                    In agreement with other replies:

                    100% on Point Loma Seafoods. I suggest a sunday afternoon. Not a sit down place. It's a push your way to the front to order (if you see a line, don't wait in it....there is no such thing as a line there and everyonce in a while the workers disperse the people waiting to tell them there's no line). IMHO possible the best seafood in SD.

                    The pearl is a great place....very cool atmoshere...non-pop, but hip. For those who are local...the have weds night dive in movies (sit by the pool side or swim or enjoy dinner....while watching a movie).

                    Humphrey's has an AMAZING sunday brunch....but it is pricey (maybe $30 or $40 a person).

                    Hope you enjoy the weekend

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