HOME > Chowhound > San Diego >


Would like suggestions to round out our food itinerary, please

  • d

Hi all,

We will be visiting the area next week (staying in Del Mar) and will be there for three days/nights. So far we have dinner reservations at Nine-Ten, Market, and Kitchen 1540.

I'm sure each of these places is great, but are they too similar? We'd love to get a taste of California cuisine (we are TX hounds) but also want to be sure to have some variety as well. We are definitely interested in lower-key, more divey places for breakfast and lunch, but I've had a hard time coming up with a good itinerary. We pretty much like any types of food, especially Thai, Middle Eastern, Sushi, Italian, etc... But again, open to most of everything.

We fly into SD on Tues. morning, and will likely spend the day in and around the city before heading up to the hotel. The next two days we will likely do some hiking at Torrey Pines, possibly do the Wild Animal Park, and hopefully just drive (and walk) around to enjoy the scenery. We're not into doing a lot of the touristy stuff - just want to go and relax and have some great meals.

Any suggestions on what to add (or change) to our list? Any feedback appreciated!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Bull Taco in Cardiff for tacos on the beach..breakfast would be a good call too.
    Sab E Lee for Thai in Linda Vista
    Hacienda de Vega for Mex near the Wild Animal Park
    El Pescador in LJ for a grouper sandwich
    Burger at The Lodge next to Torrey Pines Golf and State Park
    Jake's Del Mar for drinks on the water
    Brigantine Del Mar for everyday happy hour for great fish tacos


    1 Reply
    1. re: Beach Chick

      For a killer Carne Asada I'd recommend Rudy's in the Eden Gardens section of Solana Beach, just above Del Mar. If you do make sure you either get the Carne Asada as a plate or as a Torta, as that's when they're use the Arrancherra. They use a different cut for the CA in their burritos and tacos...

      Also consider supplementing meals in the North Coastal area with a dessert from Elizabethan Desserts in Encinitas. Excellent shop featuring desserts in an "American Nostalgic" style.

      Also 2nd stevewag23's suggestion of Kaito in Encinitas for Sushi.

    2. "I'm sure each of these places is great, but are they too similar? "

      I would mix it up a bit.

      Throw in Kaito Sushi.

      1. I would add Addison and drop Market from your list for dinner.

        2 Replies
          1. re: stevuchan

            I'd keep Market, add Addison and maybe keep Kitchen 1540.
            strong 2nd/3rd to Kaito, Sab e Lee and Elizabethan Desserts.
            Taste of Thai and Spices Thai Cafe in Del Mar/Carmel Valley are both Americanized.

            lower-key breakfast/brunch places in Del Mar:
            Pacifica Breeze Cafe

            lower-key breakfast/lunch place in La Jolla:
            Coffee Cup Cafe on Wall St. Latino-Asian fusion.

          2. These are all great suggestions...exactly what I was hoping for! Thanks, everyone, for your replies thus far.
            Steveuchan - I appreciate but am curious about your suggestion. Will you elaborate?
            BTW, are we going to be missing out on a whole lot (food-wise, things to do, etc.) by not spending more time in San Diego proper? This was a relatively last-minute trip and we have not done much planning (very atypical for us!)...

            2 Replies
            1. re: DKS1

              Been a while since I've been to Market but last time was so average I decided not to return. Addison IMO is the best San Diego has to offer, chef Bradely is in the running for the Beard award, and looks like he has a shot, the food and service are top knotch. Only a few gems downtown, you will not miss much. Try Cafe Chole for lunch on first day if you are Downtown. Please watch yourself on and around the cliffs at Torrey Pines we loose a couple of tourists as well as locals every year. If you like sushi and dont mind the strip mall location Kaito is a very strong choice, I would rec omakase only. Pamplemouse should be avoided, Naomi Wise's review was spot on.

              1. re: stevuchan

                I would second stevuchan's rec of Addison. IMO, Addison is the only fine dining available in San Diego. It's overpriced by any other city's standards, but the food is very good.

            2. Pamplemouse is pretty good most times but falls under the "Nine-Ten, Market, and Kitchen 1540" category.

              For old Del Mar, Red Tractons is worth a shot, but better during track season so you can talk to the owners and jockeys and get in on the "fixes".

              1 Reply
              1. re: stevewag23

                Love Red Tracton's during racing season...a bunch of characters roaming around the bar.
                Sorry to hear that Pamplemousse..does Jeffrey Stauss still owner/chef?
                Still the fave among the Turf Club set with Tim Conway holding court.

              2. If you're from TX, and like divey lunch/breakfast spots, you owe it to yourselves to visit Super Cocina. Very authentic home-style Mexican food, and probably a little different than what you get in TX.

                It's a great spot. Definitely worth your time.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Josh

                  Super Cocina is a real dive. Don't let the look scare you away.

                2. To get a taste of San Diego beach town life I think you would enjoy breakfast at Kono's Surf Club in Pacific Beach. If you go, stick to the giant #1 through #4 egg burritos and the Kono Potatoes, which are all fantastic. You can enjoy your meal across the boardwalk where they have seating adjacent to Crystal Pier, and watch the local surfers in action. This is San Diego surf culture at its best.

                  I also recomend enjoying a Baja style Mexican seafood cocktail. Excellent ones can be found at the tiny dive La Playita in the Clairmont area. My favorite is the large Vuelve ala Vida (mixed seafood) cocktail.


                  1. You've gotten some great advice so far. I particularly love Sab E Lee.

                    Another good lunch choice is Izakaya Sakura on Convoy. A lot of well prepared, but unusual Japanese dishes.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Ed Dibble

                      Shimbashi Izakaya is also very good for Japanese dishes. I'd say there are fewer "unusual" dishes than Sakura (which I really like, too), but it is located in Del Mar so it could be much easier to reach and it's very good. It's also a tiny place, so if you have more than two people, it might be a good idea to make reservations. Also, I just had the o-toro there for the first time, and it was spectacular! I'm talking literally melt-in-your-mouth spectacular. I've been there before so I know the food's good, but I wasn't expecting it to be that impressive.

                      Another Japanese restaurant to consider is Yakitori Yakyudori in Hillcrest. Although, some people on this board think the place is waning because the proprietor/head cook, Nabe-san, isn't doing the actual cooking as much anymore as he focuses on his new ramen joint. But if you like yakitori and want to see a fun, vibrant, city-like section of San Diego then I would consider it.


                    2. For low key breakfast, Kono's in Pacific Beach might fill the breakfast bill or maybe Broken Yolk on Garnet St. Lunch, I'd drive to exit 7a on the 5 South and head over to the Toys R Us parking lot on Industrial Ave. for some killer authentic Baja fish tacos at the Marisco's El Pescador truck. Also, in La Jolla, is El Pescador for a great grouper sammy on Pearl St and Burger Lounge near the Post Office. Lastly, I'd ship trying to find decent Italian, Middle Eastern and definately no BBQ.

                      1. Thank you all so much for your great help and replies. It's getting down to the wire, but we still haven't decided what, if any, changes to make to our dinner plans. But I really appreciate the feedback about other places to try. Will definitely hit some of these spots! Thanks again for all of your help.. we are so excited for our getaway.

                        1. Cucina Urbana is awesome rustic Italian in the Bankers Hill neighborhood