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Foodie Visiting San Diego for Work for 2 Days

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Hello Fellow Chowhounds,

I will be traveling to the San Diego area alone for work. I will be arriving on Tuesday morning and leaving on Thursday morning. My hotel is in La Jolla, but I will have a car. I am willing to drive up to 45 minutes for good food. I will eat just about anything and I prefer authentic local cuisine over American versions of it.

I've been reading a lot of the chowhound posts and it looks like there are a ton of great places to eat in the San Diego area. However, I'm a bit overwhelmed by the number of great options. Here's a list of what I think are the best (or to me most memorable) places to eat in the San Diego area:

Kaito Sushi or Sushi Ota
Cowboy Star
Alchemy
Cucina Urbana
Las Cuatro Milpas or Super Cocina

I'm from Michigan so I was hoping for a dining experience I can't get back home (which is a lot of boring Midwestern fare). Any thoughts on my choices above? Am I missing any restaurants? Anyone know how much is the Omakase at Kaito Sushi or Sushi Ota? Are there any other farm to table restaurants in the area?

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

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  1. I am willing to spend up to $50 for food alone (without gratuity and alcohol).

    2 Replies
    1. re: manhong

      *Super Cocina way, way, WAY over Las Cuatro. Go for breakfast or lunch.
      *Alchemy and Cowboy Star are solid choices and you should add Cafe Chloe to your list.
      *I can take or leave Cucina Urbana, certainly not bad or substandard in any way, just doesn't float my boat all that much

      You should be able to eat well for $50 sans drinks, tax and tip

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

      1. re: DiningDiva

        Agreed with Cucina Urbana as good but nothing special for SD. Would substitute it with Linkery as good place (which started it more or less in SD) for true farm-to-table in SD and good beer selection.

    2. Looks like you have a full plate already - haha - for just a couple of days. Besides the places that the guidebooks will list (like George's, etc.) I'm going to mention Whisknladle right in La Jolla.

      I'd second The Linkery. Maybe not wildly, but a person should be aware of it.

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      Linkery
      3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

      Whisknladle
      1044 Wall Street, La Jolla, CA 92037

      1. Kaito over Ota for sure. Omakase would probably run somewhere around $70.
        Definitely Super Cocina over Las Cuatro Milpas.
        Everything else looks good on your list.

        Your most true farm to table restaurants are going to be The Linkery (North Park), El Take It Easy (North Park), AR Valentien (La Jolla), Alchemy (South Park), Sea Rocket (North Park), and J-Six (Gaslamp). Blanca and George's use a lot of local produce as well.

        Next week is actually Grass Fed Beef Week in San Diego and if you go to Burger Lounge (there's one in La Jolla) for lunch they'll provide you with a voucher for a free item at most of the restaurants I just listed above.

        http://grassfedbeefweek.com/

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        Linkery
        3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

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

        El Take It Easy
        3926 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

        1. Add Okan. homestyle Japanese food and something you definitely won't get in MI! A gem of a place!

          omakase at Kaito can be as much or little as you want. We've eaten really well for $50-60/pp w/o alcohol. Skip Ota and go to Kaito. Allow extra time for traffic up the 5 freeway.

          If you don't want to drive one night, Prep Kitchen is quite good.

          If you need breakfast/brunch, Coffee Cup Cafe on Wall St in La Jolla is very good and cheap.

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          Coffee Cup
          1109 Wall St, La Jolla, CA 92037

          1. Thanks everyone for the tips. I think I'm going to Kaito Sushi one night for dinner, and either Whisknladle, Sea Rocket, Cowboy Star, or Alchemy for dinner the other night. I'll probably stop by Cafe Chloe for breakfast/lunch and hopefully Super Cocina for lunch as well.

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

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

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

            Whisknladle
            1044 Wall Street, La Jolla, CA 92037

            1 Reply
            1. re: manhong

              I live in Encinitas but have never been to Kaito.
              I did recently go to Sushi Ota and it was excellent, very high quality sushi and reasonable price.
              Maybe try both?

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

            2. I thought about trying both, but I think that will be too much sushi over 2 days. I think I'm going to go with Kaito Sushi and save Sushi Ota for next time.

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

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