HOME > Chowhound > San Diego >


Torontonian coming for a short visit - approve?

Hi Chows,
I'm coming for a very short and very impromptu visit. I'm hoping to catch a couple of good bites while I'm here, although I'm only here from very very late on Thursday (flight gets in at 11PM) and I leave on Sunday afternoon, and I need to work remotely on Friday. I'm hoping for something that locals love and different from the Toronto scene. From what I have been reading, Mexican is definitely on the list, and Food Trucks!
1. I am staying around Ash and 10th
2. On Friday, I need to work somewhere with reliable wifi and not a library or anywhere else that I need to be quiet, as I have to make calls - a cafe would be good. Alternatively, I think I have a place to work around Friars Mission Center - not sure yet - so a lunch rec/late breakfast around there would be nice.
3. I'd like to wander wander wander...any favourite places for just random walking around and noshing? Old Town?
4. We have a car

So I'm thinking:
- my friend wants to try a place called Phil's BBQ as it is an "institution"
- I'll be closer to the ocean - so I'm thinking that seafood will be better. THEREFORE...I should try fish tacos/burritos! Mexican + seafood in one go
- Fishery for fish tacos or Mariscos German (.gobernator tacos, fish, marlyn tacos?)
- Seafood: Oceanaire for oysters or Fish Market Downtown?
- Noble Experiment for a cocktail
- Azafran Cuban Food
- Super Cocina
- Go to La Jolla Cove and see the seals
- Any ideas for really old school Mexican? Or San Diego-an? I heard something about bacon lollies...hahahaha. Made me smile.

And, my goodness, this taco map is genius: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&...

as a fellow google mapper, big ups to you!

Thursday night: Get in from the airport too late for anything to be open
Friday night: Dinner or Food truck fun then head to Noble experiment for cocktails
Sat: Go to ocean and grab some Mexican or Food truck fun
Sunday: If I can wake up early...a good breakfast would be loved


Erin :-


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

San DIego, CA, San DIego, CA

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

Mariscos German
2802 Ocean View Blvd, San Diego, CA

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. For item #2, you might want to look into Hive Haus. It's near where you're staying, and is a co-working space where you can get a quiet place to work with wi-fi for a pretty cheap rate.

    Item #3, Old Town is definitely NOT where you want to go. I'd actually suggest the 30th St./University Ave. area for that mission. Lots of places to get great local beer (one of the things SD does really well), and good food at a lot of places in the vicinity.

    Also, on Thursday night, you might have enough time to grab a bite at Starlite. They have a late night menu, though I'm not sure quite how late they're open.

    3175 India Street, San Diego, CA 92103

    2 Replies
    1. re: Josh

      Thanks Josh!
      Starlite looks like a great option - it's open until 2AM and my friend and I are both night owls.
      The Hive is so neat! I've never heard of co-working before. Great tip :)

      3175 India Street, San Diego, CA 92103

      1. re: ekim256

        Starlite had only their regular menu until 10pm and a limited late night menu until midnight but cocktails until 2am. SD isn't really the place for anything late night (>10pm) beside some underwhelming Mexican drive throughs

    2. Definite yes on Noble Experiment, but be sure to make a reservation NOW.

      Regarding the wandering thing, I suggest Pacific Beach. It's fun to wander along the coast/boardwalk, out to the end of Crystal Pier, and up and down the main drag -- Garnet Avenue. Tons of bars, little hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and tattoo parlors if you are so inclined. You can walk the boardwalk south through Mission Beach and check out the Giant Dipper roller coaster in Belmont Park, built in 1925. If there's one place that says "San Diego" to me, it's PB.

      Old Town? Not so much.

      1. Definate yes on the Marisco's German truck at 35th & University for great baja fish tacos, marlin and the gobernator. Also, just a few blocks up, Super Cocina, here's there website. http://supercocinasd.com, here's a review from an excellent blogger, http://exilekiss.blogspot.com/2010/07....

        Agree with Josh, avoid Old Town for food.

        If you want to sneak in some good craft beers and a burger, Ritual Tavern is a good starting point or if you're in PB, I find Bare Back Grill has some bar food at good prices.

        For breakfast, there's Cafe Chloe, Parkhouse Eatery, Broken Yolk and Kono's both in PB as well. Enjoy your stay.

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

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

        Parkhouse Eatery
        4574 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92116

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

        Bare Back Grill
        624 E St, San Diego, CA 92101

        2 Replies
        1. re: cstr

          The Ritual is in North Park. . .that would be one hell of a walk to PB.

          1. re: jmtreg

            They said that they have a car.

        2. Azafran is way up north in Oceanside. It will be a 30 minute drive up the 5 (or more). Not worth the drive in my opinion.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kitchenhag

            Yeah. . .don't come to San Diego for Cuban food, and don't go to Miami for Mexican food.

          2. Something you might consider for Saturday is a visit to Ocean Beach. There are a few cool spots worth checking out (Newport Pizza and Ale House, Pizza Port), and for old-school faux Mexican food, there's a place that's been there since the 1960s called Nati's. Shaun Cassidey used to eat there, and his photo still graces the entrance in his Nati's t-shirt. It's San Diego's hippie neighborhood, with all that implies.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Josh

              Definitely second the suggestion to stop by Ocean Beach if you have some time and the sun is shining. If you're looking for a quick breakfast before a walk down to the OB Pier I love Azucar for cafe con leche and delicious pastries. You could try Pizza Port in OB for some lunch and craft beers. Another option is Sessions Public at dinner time for a few small plates and a really great beer selection. I think Nati's is a fun throwback/nostalgia place but SD has much better options for Mexican.
              On the other side of the penninsula, next to the San Diego Ba, is Point Loma. I'm a big fan of Point Loma Seafoods for their mixed Louie Salad and tuna sandwiches (bring cash - no credit cards taken) and The Brigantine for fish tacos.
              Have a great trip!

              Point Loma Seafoods
              2805 Emerson St, San Diego, CA 92106

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

              San Diego, San Diego, CA

            2. Personally, I'd skip Phil's unless you want to go there just to say you experienced it, in that case I'd go to hodad's over Phil's. BBQ is fine, but personally, the line doesn't justify the wait and I'm biased because I like Texas BBQ way better. If you want fish tacos, with a access to the waterfront, I'd also suggest south beach in OB or brigantine, both have solid fish tacos.

              I'd skip oceanaire and fish market, both are chains and not really special to san diego. If you are going to be in la jolla, George's ocean terrace is nice, spectacular views on a clear day and good food. One place I'd really recommend is Okan. While it is not representative of San Diego per se, I still think it is one of the best and relatively most unique places in the city by far.

              As for a nice quiet cafe to work at, there are a few on along adams ave in kensington. This is a nice local neighborhood that is fun to explore should you desire a work break.

              6 Replies
              1. re: chezwhitey

                I agree that South Beach's fish tacos are solid in the sense that they aren't liquid or vapor, but that's as far as I'll go.

                1. re: Josh

                  3 posts on this thread already and you've yet to suggest Blind Lady, what gives?

                  1. re: chezwhitey

                    Their check was late this month.


                    1. re: Josh

                      Still busting gut on that one...very funny Josh.
                      ; )

                    2. re: chezwhitey

                      I guess nobody assumed she would be looking...

                  2. re: chezwhitey

                    i would skip Georges Ocean Terrace - great view but only average food.

                  3. Thanks everyone! I'm in SAD now...working at Friar's Mission Centre today. Early lunch recs that are within walking distance?
                    - La Paloma
                    - Aromas
                    - La Gran Terraza

                    Hitting Mariscos German tomorrow YAH!! :D
                    And tonight we're going to Noble Experiment. You guys = awesome.
                    Not sure where to go for dinner yet!

                    Erin :)

                    Mariscos German
                    3515 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

                    La Paloma Restaurant
                    116 Escondido Ave, Vista, CA 92083

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: ekim256

                      Unfortunately, the area you're staying around is pretty much a culinary wasteland. La Paloma is barely OK. Try to get to Super Cocina if you can.

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

                      1. re: cstr

                        my friend shot it down :[
                        Sad face about culinary wasteland! I'll probabyl just pick something simple up from Aromas or another cafe around here then

                        1. re: ekim256

                          based on a lady's rec, i'll be going to El Portal Fresh Mexican Grill...we'll see how it goes hehe

                          El Portal
                          1655 Brandywine Ave, Chula Vista, CA 91911

                          1. re: ekim256

                            El Portal isn't awful. Not particularly authentic but it's a step up in execution than many taco shops.

                            El Portal
                            1655 Brandywine Ave, Chula Vista, CA 91911

                            1. re: DiningDiva

                              given the area, I think it was my best bet. Really full now though, it came with chips and the sweet lady behind the counter gave me a cup of corn cake too :3
                              I like how there's a self serve salsa area
                              The burrito was decent :-) For the price, (<$6) I'm good with what I got. There's better but there's far far worse! I hope its nice and sunny tomorrow for my wanderings!

                              1. re: ekim256

                                it's supposed to get colder over the weekend. There's a saying around here...May gray and June gloom. It gets more consistently sunnier in July-Sept.

                                1. re: daantaat

                                  Well, that just means that I'll have to give your city another visit. Maybe I'll time it with a food festival or something.

                                  1. re: ekim256

                                    Food festivals? We have food festivals? The best weather is usually from the middle of August to the middle of October, plus the odd few days in January where we always seem to get a stretch of 80* days. After Labor Day is the ideal time to come because the tourists have mostly gone home but the weather is still good.

                    2. yumm... Mariscos German has been the highlight of my trip so far!
                      Leaving tomorrow - going to grab brunch before I go at either Cafe Bleu or Ave 5 :-). Heard they're both good and they're on the way to the airport!

                      Mariscos German
                      3515 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

                      Cafe Bleu
                      530 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

                      1. Quick report - i normally blog then post but work is too busy these day <_< I just pulled an all nighter but I fear that I'll forget to write a trip report, so here's something short and sweet for now:

                        Mariscos German was the best! yes! Soup! Shrimp taco was the best out of the gobernator, fish taco, and ceviche. My goodness, I could eat out of that truck on a daily basis. Lucky San Diego. Lucky.
                        George's Ocean Terrace - very very good mussels. Bad dessert. Mediocre mains.
                        Brigantine - I thought their fish taco was good until I went to Mariscos.
                        At La Jolla, I went to a random ice cream shop - I honeslty forgot the name - you pay 39 cents an oz for toppings and ice cream. The owner is super nice. Truthfully, I only liked one of his flavours - the berry sorbet - but thankfully he let me sample a few so I realized that
                        Breakfast at Ave 5 - great fluffy omelette

                        Until next time...because there will certainly be one! My first urban-trip to California was lovely- so friendly!
                        Thank you!!!

                        Mariscos German
                        3515 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

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