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SD Trip in Sep: Need Restaurant Recommendations Please!

I am planning a 2 days trip to SD for my bf's birthday. I'm mainly looking for a restaurant to go to for dinner with a nice atmosphere, great food, and excellent service. I was thinking of either going to Cafe Chloe or Oceanaire Seafood Room.

I've also looked into the Cottage for breakfast/brunch and some other restaurants choices for lunch or dinner that I came up with are Phil's BBQ and Urban Solace.

Please let me know if my choices are good. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! (:

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

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

Oceanaire
San DIego, CA, San DIego, CA

Phil's BBQ
3750 Sports Arena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92110

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  1. Dorothy, in what part of the city will you be staying and will you have a car?

    2 Replies
    1. re: DiningDiva

      Oops, sorry for not mentioning that but yes I will have a car and I will be staying at Sofia Hotel on Broadway in downtown.

      1. re: dorothychien

        Currant is in your hotel, and has been good at times, although they have had a bunch of changes there since opening.

        At worst it will be a good place for a drink and an app.

        At best, a worthwhile dinner.

    2. I assume you'll have a car to get around in, You're good with Cafe Chloe, The Cottage and Urban Solace. Skip Oceanaire and Phils BBQ, add in some great Mexican Street seafood at Marisco's German truck in OB and some carnita's at Maritiza's in Clairmont for lunch options. Also, you may want to coinsider Wine Vault for a reasonable prix fixe menu option.

      8 Replies
      1. re: cstr

        Def skip Phils! I second Mariscos German, Urban Solace, CC and WV. Wine Vault is a must! I'd also add Sab E Lee, Blue Water Seafood, Cowboy Star and Super Cocina.

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

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

        Mariscos German
        3515 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

        Blue Water Seafood
        3667 India St, San Diego, CA 92103

        1. re: mmjgam

          Wine Vault looks great! Except I'm not 21 yet but my bf is so I'm sure he will enjoy it. I will need to call the restaurant and ask if I can order without the wine since on their website, they did say "21 and over please". Thanks for the recommendations!

            1. re: daantaat

              I think they just prefer that everyone is 21 and over since they don't card inside. Might make an exception in your case.

        2. re: cstr

          Doesn't Maritza's in Clairemont only have carnitas on Wednesday?

          1. re: hye

            As far as I know, hey're on the menu everyday.

            1. re: cstr

              As hye said, Maritza's only has carnitas on Wednesday.

          2. re: cstr

            I will definitely take your suggestions into great considerations. I'm so glad I posted on chowhound because after hearing all the raves about Phils and Oceanaire on yelp, I thought that they were really good options. Though, I did feel a bit iffy about Oceanaire because 1) it's a chain 2) I thought the foods were overpriced ($32 for a crab cake?) I would much rather pay $30 for 5 courses and wine at Wine Vault. Thanks for your help!

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            Oceanaire
            San DIego, CA, San DIego, CA

          3. Lots of good recommendations. But, if you're only going to be in town for 2 days, I say don't venture too far out of downtown, and only head up the highway a few miles on the 5 freeway. We tend to recommend a lot of hole-in-the-wall board favorites, in a lot of random areas, but I really don't think sending anyone up to Clairemont (a 20 minute drive north for an out-of-towner who is probably going to get lost along the way) or into City Heights (run down) or North Park (just now coming out of a run down state), just for that one spot is really worth it unless you live here.

            I say maximize your stay in downtown, and dip into Point Loma or La Jolla/PB while you're already out doing other touristy things.

            So, Cafe Chloe or Cowboy Star is great for a nice meal downtown. So is Neighborhood for casual craft beer and burgers, and the more upscale hip secret bar located inside it Noble Experiment is really a must (find the website and make reservations). Hell, give Currant in your hotel a try. If you do want California Mexican food, go as far as Barrio Logan behind the ballpark (why not go to a game too?) and try Las Cuatro Milpas for that historic bit of lard tortillas and simple Mexican cooking. Or even Lolita's for good Socal Mexican fast food. La Puerta has one of the best happy hour deals, and very good Mexican food, and is smack in the middle of the Gaslamp. It gets overlooked in favor of more authentic places, but that's because there's Mexican Food everywhere around here. For tourists and visitors, La Puerta is a steal.

            Or, if you visit Balboa Park, give nearby Porkyland in Hillcrest for an easy taste of good Mexican food. Mama Testa's and their amazing salsa bar is great too. For a wonderful vibe, sitting at the bar at Yakitori Yakyudori in Hillcrest is great too for a great and fun experience (make reservations).

            You gotta go to our beaches, so go to Pacific Beach and get some seafood afterwards at the Fishery for a really nice meal and excellent fish. Or dip into La Jolla, see the cove, and give one of their swanky restaurants a try. The terrace at George's is a fantastic view, and the food is great.

            For just outside of downtown, Wine Vault is good, so is Blue Water a block away. The bar Starlite is also great, with a great vibe and atmosphere, and you gotta get a mule. Otherwise, in Northpark Urban Solace is good, but just a little too out of the way from anything else, for visitors, I think.

            With that in mind, don't trek out to places like Super Cocina, Mariscos German, or anything up in Clairemont unless you really have time on your hands. Even then, it's a locals thing that I think a lot of out-of-towners have a rough time with, since it oftentimes involves eating at a place where they don't speak english (not a bad thing, but can be for some), and isn't really high on decor or ambiance (again, not always a bad thing). The food is wonderful, but that can also come down to local tastes. Not everyone likes a buttered tortilla filled with shrimp covered in half a pound of cheese, being served out of a truck in a parking lot in front of a liquor store. If you're the adventurous type, go for it. But I think we tend to overshoot the mark a little on our recommendations around here, and sometimes forget that many of our recommendations are more risky than we think they are. It's one thing to recommend a great hole-in-the-wall when it's nearby to where you're staying, and when you have a lot of other options nearby, but it's another when you recommend a place that will probably eat up a lot of unnecessary time getting to and from. Especially when there's usually stuff that's within the same ballpark of quality that you can get right down the street or nearby to where you're staying.

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

            Yakitori Yakyudori
            3739 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

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

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

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

            Starlite
            3175 India Street, San Diego, CA 92103

            Mariscos German
            3515 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

            California Mexican Restaurant
            2147 E Vista Way, Vista, CA 92084

            Balboa Park
            1549 El Prado Ste 8, San Diego, CA 92101

            La Puerta
            560 4th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

            1. I would not go to Phil's BBQ. Even my friends who were big fans a couple of years ago have cooled off in their love of this place. Also, it's not in a fun part of town. Lots of beige malls and bad traffic.

              Urban Solace I think is a good choice for lunch. I live in the area and have never had a bad meal there.

              For dinner I can add to your list Candela's for high end Mexican food and Ortega's for mid-level Mexican. They make wonderful 'queso fundido', which is a Mexican kind of fondue, and their own flour and corn tortillas to go with it.

              Have never been to Oceanaire, but have heard good things. I've been to Cafe Chloe many times, although I like it more for brunch and lunch, since it gets crowded sometimes and the tables are small.

              My top favorites for dinner would be Farmhouse Cafe for a casual but excellent meal in a neighborhood sort of place, not that far away from downtown, or the Marine Room for a fancier, old fashion kind of place.

              One last thing. I had the best green sauce chilaquiles breakfast at Candela's only a couple of weeks ago. I've had many variations of this dish and this was the best yet. Very flavorful, although not hot spicy at all. Weekends only.

              Hope you enjoy your stay!

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

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

              Oceanaire
              San DIego, CA, San DIego, CA

              Phil's BBQ
              3750 Sports Arena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92110

              Marine Room Restaurant
              2000 Spindrift Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037