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One week in Mission Beach, need recs

I am traveling to San Diego with family for Spring Break and we are staying on the boardwalk in North Mission Beach. We are looking for recommendations both in and around Mission Beach, as well as some places in and around downtown or other places that we should absolutely check out.

We will have a car, but we would like to find some local places that we might be able to walk/bike to. Any type of food is fine, but a few specific things we are looking for are fish tacos, sushi, and a place we could go to for breakfast. Also, if there are any places that are not as close but that are definitely worth driving to, those recommendations would be appreciated as well.

Thanks for the help!

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  1. For breakfast I suggest you hoof it up to Kono's in Pacific Beach, where Crystal Pier meets Garnet Avenue. Solid breakfast options (nothing fancy) at 1980s prices. PLUS, if you snag a table on their secret deck behind the shell shop, you'll have one of best dining views in town.


    1. You can also try Costa Brava for Spanish food.


      Costa Brava
      1653 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

      1. Sushi - Kaito Sushi in Encinitas

        For the mexican tacos, I'd hit up a Mariscos German truck. It's not going to be what you were expecting when you say "fish tacos," but it will be much better. You should be able to search the boards for one of the many locations and figure out which is the best for you.

        Kaito Sushi
        130-A N El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024

        Mariscos German truck
        Cable St and Santa Monica Ave, San Diego, CA

        1. Fish Tacos - one of my favorites remains Taco Motion on Garnet in Pacific Beach, but La Playa is closer to you - though I'd recommend almost anything off their menu, the breakfast burritos remain my favorite in SD. It's not the 5lb one you'll get at Kono's, but you won't wait an hour in line either.

          Sushi - if you're serious about sushi, follow karaethon's advice and make the long drive to Kaito. If you've got deep pockets and don't want to drive so far, Sushi Ota is still a solid option, imho. Otherwise, most of the sushi in MB and PB is pretty mediocre, but if you're from a place where sushi is scarce, you can have something passable at most places.

          Breakfast - La Playa breakfast burritos. Mission Coffee Cup (MB) or Isabel's Cantina (PB), also great for lunch and dinner. The Catamaran also has brunches that are more family friendly and you can eat right on the beach. If there are younger folks in the family and the weather allows, the Wavehouse is fun spot for people watching and buffet brunch (not Chow-worthy, but fun with kids).

          I'd also highly recommend the Fishery in PB (Cass St) as a nice slice of SD family beach city. Most of the fish is local and there is a strong emphasis on local seasonal produce.
          Gaglione Bros in MB, across from the roller coaster, serves up solid Philly cheese steaks.
          If you like fried fish, there's some good quick eats to be had along the Quivira Bay strip (Sportsman's Seafood), if you make it across the bridge.
          Sorry I can't recommend more spots in spots in MB... Most are tourist traps or in the hotels. Hope the great weather keeps up for you!

          Mission Coffee Cup Cafe
          1111 Wall Street, La Jolla, CA

          5040 Cass Street, San Diego, CA 92109

          Sushi Ota
          4529 Mission Bay Dr, San Diego, CA 92109

          Taco Motion
          1313 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

          Gaglione Brothers Famous Steaks & Subs
          728 Ventura Pl, San Diego, CA 92109

          Sportsmen's Seafood Restaurant
          1617 Quivira Rd, San Diego, CA 92109

          Wave House
          3125 Ocean Front Walk, San Diego, CA 92109

          1. The Rubicon Deli in Mission Beach has excellent sandwiches. PB Fish Shop is nice spot to sit outside with a fish taco, sandwich, or plate and has a great craft beer selection. Another vote for Isabel's Cantina (PB) for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The Mission (MB) is a little polarizing -- most love it, a few don't -- but it's worth a try since you're staying in the area. Personally I've never understood Kono's appeal (big servings of heavy but mediocre breakfast food) although it's an institution for sure. An outdoor breakfast or lunch at JRDN (Tower23 Hotel in PB) is a pleasant setting for people watching and the food's good.

            1 Reply
            1. re: CTDub

              Kono's is a one trick pony. Only order the #1 - #4 egg burritios all of which are excellent, and the size of a small cat. Kono's potatoes are pretty good too. The rest of the menu is just bleh.

            2. Since you will be in North Mission, you may be as close to Garnet Ave. in Pacific Beach, as you are to the roller coaster in South Mission. With that in mind here are some PB recs:

              Latin Chef: Freddy, an accomplished Peruvian Chef, turns out great South American food in his casual little restaurant on Garnet Ave. Try the Aji de Galina, or his awesome anticuchos.

              Surfside Sushi: This Mission Ave. Sushi Bar is a cut above the rest (PB must have the most Sushi Bars and Tattoo Parlors per capita in the nation), though by no means on the level of Kaito or Ota it is, however, walkable or an easy bike ride for you.

              The Tap Room on Garnet Ave: Here you can try San Diego's epic craft brew scene. Don't leave town without sampling some Lost Abby and Alesmith products.

              Pasta Espresso: This tiny dive on Hains Ave around the corner from Garnet Ave. features tasty house-made pasta and sauces at cheap prices.

              Bare Back Bar and Grill on Mission Blvd: I just love the Bare Little Lamb, lamb burger here. It is super Juicy, and comes with a delicious blue cheese-mint dressing.

              Latin Chef
              1142 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

              Pasta Espresso
              Garnet Avenue Haines, San Diego, CA 92109

              Surfside Sushi
              4527 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109

              Tap Room
              1269 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

              2 Replies
              1. re: Captain Jack

                Double the rec on Rubicon Deli. Cass Street Bar and Grill also has one of the best salads argueably in San Diego. Oriental Fish Salad.

                1. re: dbwave

                  I am always stunned by the quality of the food that comes out of that tiny kitchen at Cass St. Bar and Grill.

              2. Let's not forget Saska's for a great burger and they do have sushi...Luigi's for a slice and a side salad.
                Green Flash for sunset drinks and app's oceanfront...and the beloved World Famous at the Surfer hotel..great happy hour fish and lobster tacos and perfect place to ride the beach cruiser up to..decent for breakfast too.
                Filippi's for cheap decent Italian for the family...Surf Taco for great Mex taco shop and Surfside sushi..
                Cafe Athena for Greek has a great falafel.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Beach Chick

                  Chef Bates makes a fantastic lobster bisque at World Famous.

                  World Famous
                  711 Pacific Beach Dr, San Diego, CA 92109

                    1. re: Beach Chick

                      Stole the words right from my mouth... :)

                2. Just wanted to check in to say thanks for all the recommendations, we really appreciate it.

                  All of the recs so far seem awesome and pretty much right up our alley, so we are definitely going to check them out. I like that they all seem like they are pretty close to where we are staying, but we were wondering if there are any recommendations for places that would be worth traveling for? We will probably spend some time in downtown, so if there is somewhere we should check out if we are in the neighborhood, we would appreciate that too. And if there are any other places we just absolutely must check out, regardless of where they are located, let me know.

                  Thanks again!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: bottlerockets5

                    Well...most amazing bar I've ever been to -- remarkable drinks: Noble Experiment. It's downtown, and way worth the trip. You've got to make reservations a bit in advance.

                    1. re: bottlerockets5

                      When you say you're visiting with family does that mean you have young kids?

                      La Jolla: George's Ocean Terrace has terrific views and good food -- worth going to as it shows off the highlights of our coastal living well; Whisknladle has a short, interesting, and tasty menu of local/seasonal ingredients.

                      Downtown: Cafe Chloe (French bistro) and Cowboy Star (quality steaks plus other options) are favorites here and I love both of them. Searsucker is not really a Chowhound favorite but is a lively, new, fun place to eat in the Gaslamp.

                      Cucina Urbana (west of Balboa Park) is perhaps the most widely loved fairly recent new restaurant, but make reservations early as tables are tight.

                      North Park and South Park are both neighborhoods east of Balboa Park, and have had San Diego's most vibrant urban restaurant/bar scene in recent years. Good choices include Alchemy (South) and Urban Solace (North), but there are many other choices that people on this board could help you with.

                      Quick (non-restaurant) note about places with good views that are fun for visitors (since you have a car): Cabrillo National Monument (tip of Point Loma), Mt. Soledad (La Jolla), and the Torrey Pines Gliderport (La Jolla) all offer spectacular views if they fit into your plans. Think about getting sandwiches from Rubicon Deli (Mission Beach) or La Jolla Cheese Shop and having a picnic at the Gliderport.

                      Regarding Saska's for sushi in Mission Beach, we used to live a block from them and went pretty often. Not the best sushi in the area (I would agree with either Surfside for a beachy feel or Sushi Ota for some of the highest quality sushi in the vicinity), but not bad if you're looking for something walkable.

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

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

                      Cowboy Star Restaurant & Butcher Shop
                      640 10th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

                      Alchemy Restaurant
                      1503 30th St, San Diego, CA

                      Sushi Ota
                      4529 Mission Bay Dr, San Diego, CA 92109

                      1044 Wall Street, La Jolla, CA 92037

                      3768 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109

                      Point Loma Cafe
                      4856 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92106

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

                      CUCINA urbana
                      505 Laurel Street, San Diego, CA 92101

                      George's Ocean Terrace
                      1250 Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037

                      611 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

                      1. re: CTDub

                        Nope, no young kids. Thanks for checking though.

                        1. re: bottlerockets5

                          You have to be careful about saying you're "with family" -- makes me start to censor my recs for family-friendly... ;)

                        2. re: CTDub

                          The Torrey Pines gliderport has an outside burger/grill place, where we usually get great BLTs and sit on their little deck...so much fun to watch the paragliders take off from that spot, but bring a jacket as it can get chilly up there. Every time we have out-of-town visitors, an afternoon at the gliderport, coupled with a walk on one of the trails at Torrey Pines state park, usually ends up being a highlight of their trip. We haven't been there for about a year, but I assume that little grill place at the gliderport is still open so there's no need to bring a picnic unless you prefer it (and I agree that sandwiches from Rubicon deli are great!)

                      2. Sorry this reply is a bit late, but I did want to check in with one more question for everyone. My brother, who I am meeting in San Diego, recently got engaged and so we were thinking of doing a celebratory dinner one night we are there (it will actually be close to his birthday too, so lots to celebrate). If you could recommend one place that you think has the best food, either in Mission Beach or San Diego in general, where would you recommend we go? He would probably prefer something sort of modern American-ish, but anything pretty much goes.

                        Don't know if anyone will see this as this thread is a little old by now, but I thought I would try this first instead of creating a whole new thread. Thanks in advance for any responses, we appreciate all the help.