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Nov 1, 2010 09:31 AM

Downtown (?) restaurant recommendations?

I'll be in San Diego for a week of meetings next week and was hoping for some restaurant recommendations. I'm staying here ( and won't have a car. I'm not sure how easy downtown (is this considered downtown?) is to get around as this will be my first visit.
I'm up for any type of food and any price range (it will just be me during the week, and then the family is joining me for the weekend so I'll just plan to hit the more family friendly places while they're with me).

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  1. You're in a great spot for chow. Search this board for Little Italy and you'll find some good ones. I enjoy Burger Lounge, Bencotto, and Red Velvet Wine Bar. Others nearby are Currant and Dobsons for (to save beachchick some typing) the mussel bisque en croûte. That should keep you busy on that side of town.

    Now, cue the CHs who'll tell you to drive to LA for better food. FYI, anything north of the 5 is LA.

    <ducking flames>

    1 Reply
    1. re: Fake Name


      I suggest the Fish Market downtown next the US Midway at the sushi bar or the Oyster Bar..
      Love Dobson's for the mussel bisque and they have a great burger.
      Currant or Grant Grill at the US Grant Grill..

    2. Cowboy Star on 10th Ave. and Cafe Chole on 9th Ave.. Both would require a short cab ride, but well worth it. Will you have a car for the week-end?

      8 Replies
        1. re: cstr

          We haven't decided on a car or not. I'm trying to decide if the expense of renting one and paying to park it is worth it. Husband and daughter (2.5yo) will be here Friday morning - Sunday evening, I know we're going to hit the zoo, but don't know what else. The hotel has a shuttle to some of the "major" attractions, but I don't know if that is enough. Should I rent a car?

          1. re: ijack

            I think that renting a car - for flexibility in dining as well as flexibility in sightseeing - is a veru good idea for the weekend.

            1. re: ijack

              Most car rental agencies offer great week-end rates.

              1. re: ijack

                You don't have to rent a car at all. Where you are located you can walk, take the ferry to Coronado, use the shuttle, the trolley and if you need to, take cabs.

                If you were staying 2 weeks or something maybe. But you are only there for a weekend, so no need.

                1. re: stevewag23

                  They have a 2 year old in tow, Steve, and have stated the desire to do some of the kid-friendly things. They'll spend quite a bit of time getting from point A to B, something that might not go over well with their daughter (I know it sure didn't with ours).

                  I get the impression (but please correct me if I'm wrong) that kids aren't your specialty.

                  1. re: RB Hound


                    No they are not. (Do kids walk at two? Or are they still crawling?)

                    However, it is never to soon to teach kids about the environment and to not be dependent on foreign oil.

                    1. re: stevewag23

                      Our public transportation is far from the best, but you're in one of the best areas of town to use it so worth checking out. People with children use it all over the world so why not here.

            2. Well, I do know something about two year olds, and they LOVE trains and trolleys. And you're close to both. Train is for long distances, and probably not what you're after. But the Santa Fe Depot is less than a block away, and the trains line up pretty close-in- you can get safely close and a terrible Two will love it.

              The trolley will take you to the Gaslamp if you really want, but not a lot of fun for a Two. The Children's Museum, however is a HOOT and Two will love it.

              20 Replies
              1. re: Fake Name

                We have no problems walking and were planning on kind of tailoring our trip to not need a car. Obviously we don't want to walk all day, but I appreciate the info on public transportation.
                I think our "main" plans are the zoo, the children's museum and the beach. Is there a nice beach close by?
                Thank you again for all your help!

                1. re: ijack

                  A nice beach will trigger more controversy than a nice place to eat. Personally, with a child, I'd go to Coronado. But that might be a little tricky without a car.

                  1. re: Fake Name

                    Ferry to Coronado. He will be steps from the landing.

                    1. re: stevewag23

                      Sure- but the beach is on the other side of the island. Bays don't count.

                      1. re: Fake Name

                        Come on, Coronado isn't Australia or something.

                        It is a ten block walk to the ocean from the ferry.

                        1. re: stevewag23

                          Yeah, but that "beach" by the ferry landing is really a wading pool. Of course that may be just right for a Two.

                          1. re: stevewag23


                            Not with a Two. It's a little like invading Normandy with all the support gear.

                            It's not outside the realm of possibility- a good stroller, couple backpacks, your GTG.

                            You're not wrong- but I wouldn't set up a visitor for that.

                            1. re: stevewag23

                              Walk ten blocks in Southern Cal? Ha ha! That's a good one! ;)

                              You could rent a surrey at the Coronado Ferry Landing, though!

                              1. re: steveprez

                                ijack, it depends on where you're from, but there aren't many beaches on the planet that can top Coronado. I wouldn't go to the little beach near the ferry landing, but would go to the far west side...the waves aren't very big, and your toddler will love splashing around in the ocean with you. Take the ferry over to Coronado, and even if you have to get a cab to get to/from the beach, it will be a very memorable day. Bring your hats and pack a blanket. water and/or a picnic, and you'll have a great time. It's really a world-class, magnificent beach that shouldn't be missed, especially with kids. The sand is super powdery and wonderful for a toddler to play would be ideal if you could get an umbrella...I can't recall if they rent them there.

                                The zoo is great, and also Legoland (about 30 mins north in Carlsbad) is amazing fun for kids, but your little one might be just a tad too young for it. Not sure...check their website. If you decide to go to Legoland, you would want a car, but if so, it's very convenient...only a mile or two off I-5 North.

                                For kid-friendly weekend eats, we love Burger Lounge, which is somewhat close to your hotel and also has a location on Coronado. Otherwise, while you're here by yourself, two of my favorites downtown are Cafe Chloe and Cowboy Star.

                                Is there anything in particular that you want to try while you're here that you can't get at home or that's quintessential San Diego fare (like fish tacos)?

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

                                1. re: carli

                                  I'm from CO and we have a great selection of food here, but I'm always looking to try "quintessential" food, so I would love recommendations!
                                  Sorry about the beach debate, it sounds like Coronodo is the place to be so we'll make it work. We only get to see the beach a couple times a year and the two loves it :)
                                  I'm a little bummed that you have beach weather this week and it's only supposed to be in the 60's next week . It's still in the 60's here! Oh well, you can't win them all :)

                                  1. re: ijack

                                    Don't despair. Our weather is quite changeable and it's not impossible or unrealistic to expect that we might have a coule of days of really nice weather next week. We had a couple of days of 80* weather last week, then a few days of ovecast and then a few days of 90* weather this week. If we're in that kind of weather pattern where we get a few days of good weather followed by a few days of less good weather, your chances of hitting some good weather are pretty good. We didn't really have summer this year, but it's certainly is starting to look like it's just a few months late!

                                    Normal is night and morning low clouds and fog - especially at the coast - followed by mid-morning clearing and temps in the mid-70s.

                                2. re: steveprez

                                  I know, I have been spending too much time out of the country this year.

                                  What I consider "walkable" is all skewed and out of wack these days.

                                  1. re: stevewag23

                                    No I think that's an easy walk too, but not with a kid, beach gear and walking back with a full tummy would not be high on my list. I think from ferry landing to the Hotel Del area it's a quick shot on the bus though. Probably not too bad a bus ride from downtown either and it's a nice view across the bridge. That website I gave you has a good plot the route feature. You can also take a one day San Diego Old Town Trolley Tour that will get you to many of the tourist highlights, Zoo, Balboa Park, Ferry Landing and the Hotel Del side of Coronado, etc. Can get off and back on at each stop, maybe eat your way around town. :>) Re: Coronado, agree with the others, if you want the beach you have to get beyond Ferry Landing and the bay side. I wouldn't dip a toe in the bay.

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

                                    1. re: stevewag23

                                      'I have been spending too much time out of the country this year'

                                      1. re: Beach Chick

                                        Next on NOVA:

                                        Berlin, the Culinary Center of the Universe.

                                          1. re: Fake Name

                                            Finally a true believer of the greatness of Berlin

                                          2. re: Beach Chick

                                            Dinkelsbühl. Way better than Berlin.

                                            1. re: stevewag23

                                              I just realized that I have lunch free tomorrow. Is there somewhere close to my hotel that I can get fish tacos?

                                              1. re: ijack

                                                Short cab ride or trolley ride and short walk to Blue Water.

                                                Anthony's is real close to you, not sure how good their fish tacos are though.