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LA Chowhounder looking for recs in DT/Gaslamp District

TailbackU Aug 16, 2010 11:26 AM

SD is probably one of my favorite cities in the world, but my food experiences have always been lacking. Of the many many times I've visited, I can't remember a single truly memorable meal. I am looking for recommendations on all food that is good in the DT/GD area, preferably walking distance from the Se Hotel.

Looking mainly for dinner and brunch recs, as our lunches will be had at the hotel pool most likely. Will be coming down over Labor Day weekend.


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  1. Josh RE: TailbackU Aug 16, 2010 11:48 AM

    Memorable food isn't found in the Gaslamp.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Josh
      RB Hound RE: Josh Aug 16, 2010 12:01 PM

      Memorable food in a good sense, Josh. :)

      TailbackU - or maybe that should be ProbationU ? :) - it would be somewhat helpful if you let us know some of the more hyped places you tried that did not impress you. If you stuck to the tourist/hotel guides or some of the "local favorites", it is a different thing that if you tried many of the places that get good Chowhound reviews.

      1. re: RB Hound
        TailbackU RE: RB Hound Aug 16, 2010 02:11 PM

        honestly, i don't remember the names of the places that I've already tried because I didn't really care to remember them. I'm basically just looking for good restaurants that you would take an out of towner foodie for some good chow.

        And is Josh implying that there are no good restaurants in the Gaslamp District? I find that hard to believe with the sheer number of different restaurants in that area.

        1. re: TailbackU
          Josh RE: TailbackU Aug 16, 2010 06:11 PM

          Food in the Gaslamp ranges from dreadful to acceptable. Memorable isn't to be found there. I don't know why you find that hard to believe. The Gaslamp is oriented wholly around conventioneers and tourists, apart from the clubs, which are for drinking and dancing. If you go outwards to the East Village, there are a couple of good spots (Cafe Chloe, Cowboy Star), but compared to the great food you can find in LA, I'd say memorable might not be the best descriptor.

          If you're willing to drive, you can find much better food.

          1. re: TailbackU
            daantaat RE: TailbackU Aug 16, 2010 08:56 PM

            if you haven't figured it out by now, the answer to "is Josh implying..." is yes. If you're willing to drive out of downtown to nearby Hillcrest or North Park, you'll greatly increase your options for good food.

      2. m
        mayache RE: TailbackU Aug 16, 2010 02:15 PM

        This is one of the most frequently asked questions on the board, and the one that probably inspires the most snark (and the most variations of "there's nothing good there"), but here are some specific recs:

        Cafe Chloe -- French bistro, a board darling, great food and a nice atmosphere
        Cowboy Star -- one of the best in SD IMHO, a Western-themed steakhouse, slightly kitsch but very serious about food (and not just steak)
        Neighborhood -- pretty good burgers, they refuse to serve ketchup which I find obnoxious but the burgers and fries are good
        JSix -- in the Salomar hotel, Californian/American cuisine, emphasis on local/sustainable
        Basic -- I wouldn't say "memorable", but good New Haven-style pizza and one of the better pizza spots in town
        Grant Grill, Dobson's -- haven't been to either of these spots, from what I hear they are good if a bit conservative
        Currant Brasserie -- also haven't been here, but it's been well reviewed
        Kebab Shop -- low-key Turkish-type kabobs, tasty but I hear they have better ones in Berlin

        All these places are walking distance from your hotel. The more Eastern ones (e.g. Cafe Chloe) are on a border with a rougher neighborhood, but just stay aware and you'll be fine.

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

        JSix Restaurant
        616 J Street, San Diego, CA 92101

        3 Replies
        1. re: mayache
          TailbackU RE: mayache Aug 16, 2010 02:18 PM

          Perfect!! This is exactly the type of response I was looking for. Thanks so much...will look into these places. We LOVE turkish style kebobs!!

          1. re: mayache
            honkman RE: mayache Aug 16, 2010 03:08 PM

            Strongly second Cafe Chloe, Cowboy Star and JSix

            1. re: mayache
              stevewag23 RE: mayache Aug 16, 2010 09:45 PM

              Good list, I don't think any are technically in "The Gaslamp" though. Except J-Six.

              I would go to Cafe Chloe or Oceanaire.

              Or maybe check out that new place Searsucker by San Diego's own Celebrity Super Star, Brian Marlarkey.

            2. Fake Name RE: TailbackU Aug 17, 2010 04:52 AM

              There is a sometimes fantastic restaurant in the Sé Hotel called Suite and Tender. They just completely changed their menu, so you'd be a pioneer, but the chef has a solid reputation.

              Otherwise, you've been well guided.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Fake Name
                stevewag23 RE: Fake Name Aug 17, 2010 10:33 AM

                Suite and Tender is pretty expensive. And that hotel has be absolutely pulverized by the economy.

                I would be a little leery about eating there, for food turnover reasons. Not to take away from Fake Name's suggestion, just sharing info.

              2. t
                TailbackU RE: TailbackU Aug 17, 2010 02:01 PM

                Any good brunch/breakfast recommendations?

                5 Replies
                1. re: TailbackU
                  DiningDiva RE: TailbackU Aug 17, 2010 02:03 PM

                  Cafe 222
                  Avoid at all costs Richard Walker's Pancake House

                  Cafe 222
                  222 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

                  JSix Restaurant
                  616 J Street, San Diego, CA 92101

                  Pancake House Restaurant
                  1000 N 2nd St, El Cajon, CA 92021

                  1. re: DiningDiva
                    stevewag23 RE: DiningDiva Aug 17, 2010 02:34 PM

                    Cafe Chloe again for breakfast.

                    There is also a broken yolk downtown, but I have never been.

                    "Avoid at all costs Richard Walker's Pancake House"

                    Is that place really that bad? They always have huge lines. (I do know that huge line doesn't equal good).

                    1. re: stevewag23
                      DiningDiva RE: stevewag23 Aug 17, 2010 04:09 PM

                      Ooo, good call on Cafe Chloe for breakfast. I totally forget they're open for it, and I've even eaten their for breakfast :-).

                      Regarding Richard Walker - extremely noisy, lots of hard surfaces, nothing to mute the sound. Expensive for what you get, i.e. the price per value ratio is w-a-y off. Food is marginal at best and staff was rude.

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

                      1. re: stevewag23
                        Josh RE: stevewag23 Aug 18, 2010 02:38 PM


                      2. re: DiningDiva
                        TailbackU RE: DiningDiva Aug 18, 2010 11:09 AM

                        cool thanks, these will be our breakfast spots!

                    2. Beach Chick RE: TailbackU Aug 18, 2010 11:32 AM

                      I like going to the Waterfront for breakfast and a bloody in Little Italy.
                      Parkhouse Cafe in Hillcrest for breakfast.
                      Las Cuatro Milpas for some of the best Carnitas and flour tort's in Barrio Logan.
                      Fish Market Downtown for drinks and app's on the bayfront patio.
                      Take the water taxi from the Gaslamp over to Coronado..you can go and have Sunday Brunch at the famous Hotel Del..pricey but good.
                      Quarter Kitchen at the Hotel Andaz has a great breakfast..
                      Have fun and report back!


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Beach Chick
                        nileg RE: Beach Chick Aug 22, 2010 02:39 AM

                        The Parkhouse Cafe is in University Heights, though not far from Hillcrest.

                      2. m
                        mcgrath RE: TailbackU Aug 19, 2010 09:06 AM

                        Make this a 3rd or 4th vote for JSIX. Not "memorable", but everything is made from scratch, mostly local and sustainable, and most importantly, it always tastes really good. You will not be disappointed and its an easy walk from your hotel.

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