Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Diego >
Feb 23, 2010 11:01 AM

Mexican Fine Dining cuisine

Are there restaurant(s) like that in SD

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. El Agave in Old Town. They have very good moles, and a large tequila selection. I also enjoy their Pescado Tikin-Xik which is sea bass wrapped and cooked in a banana leaf.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Captain Jack

      Had a GREAT meal at El Agave with mole negro( excellent) and tender duck, finished with a delicate tequila mousse. Go for their marguerita!
      This Alta Cocina is fantastic & reasonably priced relatively!
      Will have to try El Vitral next.

      El Agave
      2304 San Diego Ave Ste B, San Diego, CA 92110

    2. Candelas in the Gaslamp or branch in Coronado -
      El Vitral near Petco Park -
      Hacienda de Vega in Escondido -
      Frida's in Chula Vista -

      If you're looking for really upscale like Topolobampo in Chicago, you won't find it in SD Closest to D.F. fine dinint is probably Candelas, though I think they're kind of straying from that now. El Vitral is wildly inconsistent but when they're on , they're very good.

      2 Replies
      1. re: DiningDiva

        All great tips. That's what I am looking for. Something different & interesting.Thank you.

        1. re: towkay

          I'll settle for El Agave, in lieu of Topolobampo in a second!

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. The original comment has been removed
          1. Last weekend I was down at El Vitral for lunch to give it a try. We had some guacamole ($6), cochinita pibil ($16), and a carne asada torta ($10ish). I thought the main dishes were pretty good, but a lot of people might find it really hard to enjoy since you can get these dishes so cheaper elsewhere (not to mention prepared better). I'd skip the guacamole if I were to go back. The pibil portion was modest and the flavor was pretty good. I don't have much experience with pibil so I couldn't tell you if it was authentic tasting, but I would've preferred it to be more spicy. They had pork pipian on the menu for $18 that I was going to try, but I knew I have a hard time enjoying that since the pipian's at Super Cocina are some of my favorite dishes there. The torta meat was flank steak that was very tender and grilled perfectly. The bread was ok. My significant other had 2 mimosas ($1 each) and I had 3 Dos XX ($3). Our bill came out to $54 after tax and tip which I thought wasn't too bad considering our drinks. Between the price and food, I enjoyed the meal and if I'm looking for mexican food with that kind of atmosphere and cocktails I'll be back.

            I had previously gone twice to Ortega's in Hillcrest with wildly different experiences. On our first visit we shared the full lobster and shrimp tacos. After cocktails our bill was about $100. I really liked the tortillas and the chips on this visit. For the price however I didn't feel like we got our money's worth at all. I figured I'd give them another shot since I had ordered the full lobster which was the most expensive item on the menu. On the second trip we didn't share our plates and I had a shrimp taco and carne asada taco. This time the tortillas and chips were terrible. They must've had some problem because they were definitely store bought. The thick corn tortillas from before now couldn't hold the fillings of the street sized tacos. They were thin and tearing. The great flour tortilla that came with our lobster on the first visit never came for my significant others machaca scramble that she ordered even after two separate request for one. I doubt I'll go back to Ortega's.

            Typically we like one lunch on the weekend with cocktails and unfortunately my S/O does not enjoy beer. Thus when I'm feeling like mexican food I'm usually locked into certain locales with full bars and that doesn't leave many choices. She's pretty lucky Super Cocina doesn't have beer otherwise she'd always be designated driver!