Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Diego >
May 21, 2011 06:47 PM

Dinner in Downtown San Diego Monday........suggestions????

Any suggestions for dinner Monday night in Downtown San Diego.......medium budget so Cowboy Star is out of the running.

It doesn't even need to be a nice place...dives welcome!! I just want it to be REALLY GOOD food.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. That last requirement is a tough one.

    The best you'll find down there is mediocre, IMO, though there are some places that are better than others. There's a place down there called Basic, that has New Haven-style pizza. I haven't eaten there, but at their newer sister restaurant in North Park called URBN, and I found it to be excellent. The simpler the pizza, the better. Try the red pie with parmigiana and basil.

    1. Try the Kabob Shop or some beef stew and a pint at The Field.

      5 Replies
      1. re: wanker

        WOW, never expected things to be so limited. What if I'm willing to drive a bit? say 5-10 minute drive?

        1. re: luegar

          That opens up your options a lot. Starlite, on India St., is good. Alchemy, up the hill from downtown in South Park, is also good. Both places source local produce for their dishes. I think Alchemy is a little better, but both are good spots that'll range between $15-30 depending on what you order and if you're having a beer or other drink with your meal.

          3175 India Street, San Diego, CA 92103

          1. re: luegar

            They aren't.

            Cafe Chloe
            Fish Market - casual and noisy downstairs, very good and less casual upstairs
            El Vitral
            Hop on the blue line trolley going to Old Town, get off at the Little Italy stop, walk east 1 block to India and you've got a gazillion restaruants one right after the other. Most are decent but not *outstanding*. Buen Appetito is pretty good, Bencotto has a lot of fans, there is a Burger Lounge in LI serving grass fed beef. Or stay on the trolley to the Washington St. stop. Walk east (under the freeway) a couple of (long) blocks to India St. then go south a few doors and up the stairs to the Wine Vault. Best value menu in town. Usually about $25-30 for a 5 course pre fixe that is usually good to very good.

            Downtown is fairly easy to navigate between walking and the trolley. The Gaslamp is highly skewed toward the tourist dollar so what you find are places that are positioned and marketed for the tourist/conventioneer or the twenty-something club customer. The food is mostly average and the prices tend to be rather high for what you get. Surprisingly, in downtown SD some of the hotel (i.e. Hyatt Manchester, Marriott at the Marina, U.S. Grant to name a few) food is better than many of the restaurants in the Gaslamp.

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

            JSix Restaurant
            616 J Street, San Diego, CA 92101

            El Vitral Restaurant
            815 J Ave, San Diego, CA 92118

            1. re: DiningDiva

              I was thinking about Cafe Chloe, but if Cowboy Star is too expensive, not sure how well Cafe Chloe will fit into the OPs budget.

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

              1. re: Josh

                I think there are some menu options that are a little less than Cowboy Star. I hesitated too, but figured someone migh as well put it out there

        2. Wine Vault in Little Italy
          Dobson's..mussel bisque en croute, burger and beers.
          Fish Market Downtown..sushi bar or Oyster bar
          Basic for pizza
          Cafe Chloe

          Happy hours abound in the Gaslamp..

          3 Replies
          1. re: Beach Chick

            Thanks so much! I think I'm going to decide between the Fish Market and Wine Vault.

            1. re: luegar

              Call ahead for the Wine Vault to see what their prix fixe menu is and cost..make a reservation.
              Do not eat in the downtown restaurant at the Fish Market..only the O-bar or the sushi bar..
              Top of the market upstairs is excellent but very pricey..
              Have drinks on the back bayfront patio..
              Have fun and report back!

              1. re: luegar

                I don't think that the Wine Vault serves dinner on Monday, call ahead.

            2. Neighborhood or Cafe Chloe would be my suggestions downtown.

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

              1. Saffron on India St, could be a nice choice. Here's their website address:


                7 Replies
                      1. re: cstr

                        Oh yes. Many times. I have no plans to go back at this time.

                        1. re: Josh

                          not asking about your plans but, what were your food experiences, given the price point and cuisine. Please no personal preference speals about sourcing or grass fed et al.

                          1. re: cstr

                            I used to eat at Saffron many years ago, when it was only a rotisserie chicken place, before the second half of the restaurant opened, and I was a fan. I thought the chicken was very good, and I liked the sriracha and peanut sauces (though I wasn't a fan of the "salsa" (laughable) or the chutney (too sweet)).

                            In later years, after the second half opened, I enjoyed some of the noodle dishes, like the Vietnamese Noodles, or the Drunken Noodles, but that was with no other frame of reference. I used to also be a big fan of their soup if I was sick with a cold, which I would load up with the dried chile powder to help clear my head.

                            However, it's seemed to me that over the past several years the place has been in steady decline. Our last visit there, the noodles were soggy and greasy, with overcooked vegetables and bland sauce. The visit prior to that was nothing special either. At some point, you just have to cut your losses. There are other spots that I think deliver better value for the money, more frequently.

                            I'm sure Sue Mei-Yu is a nice lady. She's obviously fabulously wealthy, and has done well for herself. I don't feel like contributing to her fancy La Jolla lifestyle when she can't be bothered to ensure her restaurant is putting out decent food.

                            1. re: Josh

                              Interesting about the veggies. We noticed that too, several months ago, when we got take out. There was something "soapy" about the vegetables. However, the dirty rice was still good.