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jsaint May 21, 2010 12:36 AM

Read lots of posts to familiarize myself with SD food scene. I will be staying in the Gaslamp/East Village Area & will have a car. Here are the places that most everyone seems to agree on....any feedback & do I have them in the right neighborhoods?
East Village - Cafe Chloe, Cowboy Star (is the quality in line with the prices), Broken Yoke for breakfast, also what about Basic Urban Bar for pizza?
Gaslamp - sounds like there aren;t too many good ones here, except Oceanaire?
Little Italy - Bencotto
North Park - Linkery, Jayne's Gastropub, Ritual Tavern & Urban Solace
Banker's Hill - Cucina Urbana
Hillcrest - Bruno Pizzeria...LOVE good pizza (don't even want to start a Pizzeria Bianco war, but that's the type I'm looking for...thin charred crust, etc.) Are there any other favorites (not neccessarily in Hillcrest)
Ocean Beach - Mariscos German food truck - where is it...is it Mexican seafood? What to order?
La Jolla - Tapenade or George's. I went to George's back in the 80's I think, has it been around that long? Still good and keeping up on food trends? Also, should I do the California Modern rest or the Ocean Terrace?
Also, noticed Burger Lounge....sounds good, but haven't read too much praise on here, should I skip?
Wine Vault looked good, but do they only do prix fixe or tasting menus..website was not really clear.
Lastly, any good places on Coronado?

3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

Cafe Chloe
721 9th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

Urban Solace Restaurant
3823 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104

San DIego, CA, San DIego, CA

Mariscos German
2802 Ocean View Blvd, San Diego, CA

Ritual Tavern
4095 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

  1. DiningDiva May 21, 2010 08:38 AM

    Yes, Cowboy's Stars prices are supported by the quality of the food. Skip Broken Yolk.

    The Gaslamp isn't a total disaster, just geared towards the tourist trade. JSix in the Solamar hotel is very good (6th & Island).

    Your North Park choices are all solid. Add Hamilton's and Toronado for additional craft beer experiences and Sea Rocket Bistro for a local, sustainable seafood experience. A couple of blocks from Jayne's is Mayahuel where you can get some great mole and mezcal.

    The Marisco' German truck in OB is in the parking lot of Apple Market on Cable between Newport & Santa Monica. The Nut Tree market at Sunset Cliffs and Narragansett makes great sandwiches to go. Azucar Cuban Bakery one block west of Sunset Cliffs on Newport makes a mean Cuban coffee, the pastries are all pretty good and you can get a small choice of Cuban sandwiches (take one to-go and walk 2 blocks down to the beach and eat it there, either on the beach or on the pier). If you're there later in the afternoon stop in at The Vine on Bacon and Niagra for a couple of wine flights, plus the food is surprisingly good.

    Yes, George's has been around in many guises for a long time. Ocean Terrance is pretty casual, great for lunch. George'sCalifornia Modern is considerably more upscale. It gets a lot of love on this board. I think it's good, but it doesn't blow me away.

    And, yes, you should definitely go to the Wine Vault. It's probably the beste deal in town in terms of value for the price. The prix fixe is almost always good to very, very good and their wine selection if you chose to pair the meal are very good.

    JSix Restaurant
    616 J Street, San Diego, CA 92101

    Sea Rocket Bistro
    3382 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

    8 Replies
    1. re: DiningDiva
      cstr May 21, 2010 09:48 AM

      Why say skip Broken Yolk? It's a good, american comfort food place for breakfast, the food quality is very good, they give options for fresh fruit and willl pour you all the coffee you desire. You'll get a filling breakfast at a reasonable price.

      1. re: cstr
        jmtreg May 21, 2010 05:11 PM

        I'd actually go with Cafe 222 for breakfast.

        Cafe 222
        222 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

      2. re: DiningDiva
        mangiatore May 21, 2010 05:55 PM

        Highlights from your list, IMO: Cafe Chloe, Mariscos German, Tapenade, Urban Solace, Basic for pizza (I've never been to Bruno's but suspect it's great from the comments I have read).

        If you are at all concerned about authenticity with Italian food, avoid Bencotto.

        Wine Vault is nothing special. It's cheap and can be pretty raucous, but don't expect great food or wine. Instead grab an expensive pint next door at Shakespeare Pub. Also in that neighborhood is Blue Water (great seafood), and a new craft-brew pub, Regal Beagle, is opening as we speak. Whatever you do, resist the temptation to follow the hordes into El Indio (tourist trap that serves awful Mexican food).

        Cafe Chloe
        721 9th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

        Urban Solace Restaurant
        3823 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104

        Mariscos German
        3515 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

        1. re: mangiatore
          Josh May 21, 2010 07:29 PM

          Interesting perspective. I've been really impressed with Wine Vault. What do you dislike about it?

          1. re: mangiatore
            daantaat May 21, 2010 07:42 PM

            I am curious as well about what you don't like about Wine Vault. We've found the food very good and well-priced.

            1. re: mangiatore
              honkman May 22, 2010 11:22 AM

              Wine Vault (at least the 5-course tasting menu on Saturday) has some of the better food in SD. I heard the wine dinners are also fun compared to the regular bistro menu.

              1. re: mangiatore
                wrldtrvl Feb 14, 2011 02:21 PM

                Hmmm. More specifics requested about your dislike of Wine Vault. It is not inexpensive although I think it is a bargain for what you get. I have only ever had good to great food there, some of the best meals, especially given the price, that I have had in San diego. On the other hand, my husband and I no longer go there because it has become far too loud and the seating is not comfortable for what often turns into a 3 - 4 hour experience (with their 10-course dinners!)

                1. re: wrldtrvl
                  jmtreg Feb 14, 2011 02:47 PM

                  The Valentine's Day dinner at the Wine Vault was excellent.

            2. j
              jturtle May 21, 2010 09:53 AM

              As far as your pizza questions I like Bar Basic it is sort of a Connecticut style pizza, thin square and comes out in a sheet pan. It is tasty especially if you are going to a baseball game after.
              I really like Bruno Pizzeria it is in the same style as Bianco, and Keste/Motorino in NYC.

              Thanks for doing your research and hope you have a great time.

              3 Replies
              1. re: jturtle
                jsaint May 21, 2010 01:12 PM

                Thanks for all the info! I could care less about breakfast, it's my husband who lives for it, and he's pretty old school about it...what about Cafe222? Any ideas for Coronado or just skip? Any feedback on Burger Lounge? Also, what are the favs at Marisco and are they there everyday or just sometimes and at what times? Wish we had truck food in AZ.... (and an ocean for that matter!). I go to Austin alot and they have phenomenal truck food. Oh, at Wine Vault is it ONLY prix fixe or tasting or can you order off menu also? Thanks again!

                1. re: jsaint
                  honkman May 21, 2010 01:41 PM

                  Cafee222 is nothing special (as Broken Yolk) but also not horrible. If you are looking for old school it might fit.

                  "Any ideas for Coronado or just skip" - Ocean 1500. There was also very recently a very good review of Mistral in the San Diego Reader (from their food critic which is normally pretty good and accurate)

                  "Oh, at Wine Vault is it ONLY prix fixe or tasting or can you order off menu also" - That depends on the days. Some days it is tasting menu only (e.g. Saturdays or their wine dinners), some days both is possible(

                  1. re: jsaint
                    DiningDiva May 21, 2010 02:36 PM

                    I like Cafe 222, but I think you do have to be careful with what you order. Their pumpkin waffle is very good. Actually most of their waffles are really good, but the pumpkin is the best. Their pancakes are good and I've liked their corned beef hash. They are also famous - or perhaps infamous might be more appropriate - for their peanut butter and jelly french toast that Bobby Flay has featured several times on the Food Network.

                    At the Marisco's German truck, your best bets are probably the Gobernador and/or the Marlin (which actually might be spelled marlyn)

                    If you use "burger lounge" for the board search you should turn up a number of posts referrencing it.

                    Cafe 222
                    222 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

                2. Alice Q May 21, 2010 02:44 PM

                  On Coronado there's a Burger Lounge, but most of the casual places are pretty dismal. At the hotel, there's a nice wine bar - Eno, and the upscale restaurant, 1500 Ocean is really good if you're looking for fine dining.

                  George's OT and the CA Modern are really different - OT is more of a lunch place, think burgers, salads, sandwiches - the dining room is fine dining. I have recently had excellent meals at both places and highly recommend both.

                  Also really like Basic for pizza - Bruno is worth trying, a little softer crust than I like, charred but not chewy. You might want to check out Blind Lady Ale House - good pizza and great little artisanal small plates and salads, plus lots of great local beers and a fun casual atmosphere. Starlite is also a good choice for reasonably priced local cuisine and inventive cocktails.

                  Blind Lady Ale House
                  3416 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA

                  3175 India Street, San Diego, CA 92103

                  1500 Ocean
                  1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118

                  1. jmtreg May 21, 2010 05:12 PM

                    Oh, for Hillcrest, I'd also try to hit Mama Testa.

                    Mama Testa
                    1417 University Ave Ste A, San Diego, CA 92103

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: jmtreg
                      daantaat May 21, 2010 07:43 PM

                      add Yakitori Yakyudori

                      1. re: daantaat
                        jsaint May 22, 2010 11:27 PM

                        Thanks again for all the input....only question left is if the Mariscos truck is there on a fairly steady basis, or at what time is the best to catch it?

                        1. re: jsaint
                          jsaint May 22, 2010 11:32 PM

                          Also, I noticed a lot of love for Super Cocina...in Normal Heights...where is that? Can't find a website, is it old school Mexican?

                          1. re: jsaint
                            cgfan May 22, 2010 11:53 PM

                            Actually it's in City Heights and seems to focus particularly on Guisados.

                            1. re: jsaint
                              DiningDiva May 23, 2010 08:06 AM

                              Super Cocina is on University Ave in City Heights between Cherokee and 37th. It is true comida casera, or homestyle cooking. Many of the dishes you see only in homes, even in Mexico.

                              It is a small cafe with service from a steamtable. I remember several years ago I recommended an out-of-towner go here for "real" Mexican food. When he reported back on where they had been he said when they walked in and saw the steam table they assumed it wouldn't be good (i.e. remember school and college days) and turned around and left. Big mistake. Super Cocina does focus on guisados and such, but they also offer other things as well.

                              Super Cocina doesn't have chefs cooking. It has women who come in a day or two to cook their specialty...what they are known for, or what they cook well. When they interview for the job, they are asked to cook that specialty for the owner before they are hired. The specialty could be a regional dish, or it could be their own family take on something known universally throughout Mexico.

                              It is well worth seeking out as it's serving some of the very best Mexican food in SD. I can go there and, between the people/customers, music, decor and food, I often feel like I'm someplace in Mexico. My only beef with Super Cocina is that sometimes I think the food is a bit heavy in comparison to the lightness of the food in Mexico.

                              Super Cocina
                              3627 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92104

                              1. re: DiningDiva
                                jsaint May 25, 2010 12:34 AM

                                Wow...sounds really interesting! Thanks for the heads up re: steam table...you're right, I would probably leave if I didn't know better! Hope this isn't a stupid question, but what is "guisados". And where is CIty Heights...I'm mapping all the areas and this is a new one to me!

                                1. re: jsaint
                                  DiningDiva May 25, 2010 08:22 AM

                                  A guisado is a soupy/stewy concoction. The good comparison might be to braising. Tougher cuts of meat long simmered with moist heat in flavorful liquid.

                                  Super Cocina is super easy to find. Just take University Ave east . It's between Cherokee and 37th.

                                  Super Cocina
                                  3627 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92104

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