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Need recommendations for Chinese, Korean, Italian, Taiwanese, Japanese etc within 20+ mins of Legoland

K K Jun 2, 2011 05:56 PM

I did look through some of the search results, so have some vague idea of what might be out there, but asking in case I missed something specific.

Looking for eating places within 20 ish minutes of reasonable driving distance between Carlsbad and San Diego (airport), hopefully not too far away from the I-5.

Interested in recommendations for

- Any good and reasonably priced nosh that makes great use of local ingredients? Any organic or vegan or raw type restaurants? I know that's a wide spectrum.

- Japanese - The more specialized the restaurant, the better. Sushi is likely not going to be on the top of the list, so as much as I want to try Ota or Kaito, I'll keep them in mind, but not so sure the fam will want to go there (or a yakitori place). Izakaya would be fine, or a place that specializes in udon, or soba. Any other kinds of Japanese around on par with LA/Torrance/Gardena standards?

- Korean....is there anything around that close to the level of LA Korea town or Orange County? Or if it is a full BBQ restaurant, do they have non BBQ dishes that are really good? Short rib bone soup....seafood pancake, and non spicy options?

- Chinese. I'm sure I'm clutching at straws here, but looking for good Cantonese (probably asking too much) or authentic regional Chinese (not Sichuan) in the vein of San Gabriel Valley. Taiwanese would be great too, or a place that does noodles/beef noodle soup and dumplings, or Northern Chinese.

- Italian. Any solid regional Italian around the area? Or perhaps East Coast style Italian American?

- Vietnamese. Anything beyond pho?

- any good Mediterranean in the area? Greek, Palestinian, Turkish etc

Thanks so much in advance.

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  1. c
    chezwhitey RE: K K Jun 3, 2011 09:50 AM

    - Any good and reasonably priced nosh that makes great use of local ingredients? Any organic or vegan or raw type restaurants? I know that's a wide spectrum.

    Not much selection here that I know of. People will point to linkery for locally sourced stuff, but this place is definitely not vegan or raw. In fact not sure if it is organic either. might be though. not close to carlsbad, 40 minutes maybe?

    - Japanese - The more specialized the restaurant, the better. Sushi is likely not going to be on the top of the list, so as much as I want to try Ota or Kaito, I'll keep them in mind, but not so sure the fam will want to go there (or a yakitori place). Izakaya would be fine, or a place that specializes in udon, or soba. Any other kinds of Japanese around on par with LA/Torrance/Gardena standards?

    Okan or Sakura may fit the bill. Yakiyudori or Yokohama will work for yakitori. All these places are on convoy, 25-30 mins from carlsbad.

    - Korean....is there anything around that close to the level of LA Korea town or Orange County? Or if it is a full BBQ restaurant, do they have non BBQ dishes that are really good? Short rib bone soup....seafood pancake, and non spicy options?

    Closest one I can think of is Buga (convoy area). Manna just opened which has a branch in l.a. Can't personally vouch for this place though.

    - Chinese. I'm sure I'm clutching at straws here, but looking for good Cantonese (probably asking too much) or authentic regional Chinese (not Sichuan) in the vein of San Gabriel Valley. Taiwanese would be great too, or a place that does noodles/beef noodle soup and dumplings, or Northern Chinese.

    don't bother.

    - Italian. Any solid regional Italian around the area? Or perhaps East Coast style Italian American?

    I like buon appetito, have heard bencotto is good too, but those are in little italy, maybe 30 mins from carlsbad. Can you be more specific about east coast italian?

    - Vietnamese. Anything beyond pho?

    Yes, but 35-40 from carlsbad, in city heights, a pretty sketchy neighborhood at night. Haoi Hue for bun bo hue. Pho King(go figure) for Hu Tieu.

    - any good Mediterranean in the area? Greek, Palestinian, Turkish etc

    No.

    1. p
      Pentagarn RE: K K Jun 3, 2011 02:24 PM

      For Japanese, I've heard great things about Yu Me Ya up in Encinitas, which isn't far from Legoland at all. Haven't actually made it up there yet, but I have a few friends who rave about it. That might be a good option.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Pentagarn
        phee RE: Pentagarn Jun 6, 2011 06:25 PM

        Good suggestion, but, if you go, get there when they open. The place is fairly small, and fills up quick.

      2. e
        Encinitan RE: K K Jun 3, 2011 03:38 PM

        If you have any interest in Banh Mi, there is a good place for it in west San Marcos. The name of the establishment is Banh Mi. It is less than 10 miles from Legoland.

        http://www.yelp.com/biz/banh-mi-san-m...

        1. d
          daantaat RE: K K Jun 3, 2011 05:08 PM

          Japanese: Yu Me Ya in Encinitas is close to Carlsbad, about 10" off the 5 freeway. Only open for dinner. Excellent food.
          Okan and Izakaya Sakura will take you inland about 10" off the 5 freeway and are about 20" north of the airport.
          Yakitori Yakyudori and Ramen are in the same neighborhood as Okan and Sakura but 3-5" off the 52 freeway.

          Korean:
          Buga is the best we have here. They have a full menu of non-BBQ items. However, if you are used to OC and K-town, save your time and $$ for those spots.

          Chinese:
          if you're used to SGV, forget about finding good Cantonese or otherwise around here. What is available is slim pickings at best and falls below SGV standards. The "best" is Ba Ren, which is Sichuan. They're pretty good and will fill the craving nicely when it hits. We are sorely needing a good place for nieu ro mien and potstickers.

          Pho--Mira Mesa has Lucky Pho and Pho Cow Cali. Both are a good 15" east from the 5 and out of your way to Legoland. They are in decent neighborhoods.

          There's a Cali Baguette for banh mi on Convoy, but I can't vouch for the quality.

          Palestinian, Turkish??? are you kidding?

          overall, SD has several very good Japanese places that are non-sushi. Several good pho and Vietnamese. Anything more exotic, got to head back up to LA/OC.

          -----
          Yakitori Yakyudori
          3739 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

          6 Replies
          1. re: daantaat
            d
            DougOLis RE: daantaat Jun 6, 2011 10:43 AM

            Well, we do have a sizable Chaldean population in East County.

            1. re: DougOLis
              Ed Dibble RE: DougOLis Jun 6, 2011 01:49 PM

              Last time I was in the area, I had a great meal at Sultan in El Cajon -- but that's way too far away for OP.

              1. re: DougOLis
                d
                daantaat RE: DougOLis Jun 6, 2011 08:51 PM

                Where would you go for good Palestinian or Turkish food?

                1. re: daantaat
                  c
                  Cathy RE: daantaat Jun 7, 2011 09:39 AM

                  The owners of Sultan (the restaurant and baklava store next door) are from Turkey. There are several other baklava places in El Cajon which sell 'made with simple syrup, not honey' baklava, so I assume they are also Turkish.

                  Alforon and Garden Fresh Grill and Smoothies are owned by Jordanians.

                  El Cajon was one of the five U.S. locations for Iraqi voting in 2005. There are many refugees (and the East County Refugee Center brings in at least 2K a month http://www.eastcountyrefugeecenter.org/) living in East County, and about 30 grocers and at least 50 small restaurants owned by and for their community are located in El Cajon, La Mesa and San Diego.

                  None of these are within the 20 minute drive for the OP, but they are very much a presence in San Diego County.

                  1. re: Cathy
                    d
                    daantaat RE: Cathy Jun 7, 2011 10:04 PM

                    Thanks for the info! We heard Alforon was good, so we'll have to check it out some time.

                    1. re: daantaat
                      Ed Dibble RE: daantaat Jun 8, 2011 10:14 AM

                      Alforon is very good. Owned by a Lebanese, I believe.

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