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Dining in La Jolla/Pacific Beach on a budget

I'm curious to hear what fellow CHers have to say about this - I've been tasked with organizing a dinner for 5-6 people on a relatively small budget, and in a relatively restricted area encompassing LJ and PB. Cost will probably need to be under 30 per person for food (before tax/tip, not including drinks). Where would you go?

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  1. Piatti in La Jolla would be a good choice. Many items $20 or less, and decent food w/ nice atmosphere.

    1. Are you looking for a sit down with several courses, or would you be content with just grabbing sandwiches or something? Maybe Prep-Kitchen, though whisknladle didn't wow me,georges ocean terrace (starting to get up there) zanzibar in PB, world famous in PB.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Rodzilla

        It'd have to be a sit-down place and it has to take reservations (Prepkitchen doesn't)

      2. It's not PB but the drive is not too far (5-10 minutes) - Starlite might be a good option. If you have to stay in LJ or PB Piatti might be indeed at decent option. Other possibilites might be Latin Chef (good peruvian food), Sammy's Pizza (the appetizers and pizzas are actual not bad). Otherwise other good options are more expensive

        4 Replies
        1. re: honkman

          Yeah, Starlite is probably going to be a bit out of the way, but I'll definitely keep it in mind - had forgotten about it.

          How does Piatti compare to Osteria Romantica? Haven't been to either, but the latter seems popular.

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          Starlite
          3175 India Street, San Diego, CA 92103

          Osteria Romantica
          2151 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla, CA 92037

          1. re: shouzen

            Haven't been to OR but Piatti is in general one of the best options for (not really authentic but also not overly americanized) Italian food in SD.

            1. re: shouzen

              I found Osteria Romantica very disappointing. How about Costa Brava?

              1. re: mayache

                Did Costa Brava and the food is ok, not great. I thought I could get better food in SD at the price I paid ($50 w/o ETOH). The papas bravas were good, but the white asparagus tapa was white asparagus out of a can. Beef short ribs were flavorful, but a tad overcooked (caramelized w/ an overly dry edge) and something I could pull off at home. I have a vague recollection that the veggies on the plate were not that interesting.

                I'd pick Piatti's or Latin Chef over Costa Brava. Roppongi's at happy hour is a great bargain and their apps/tapas easily feed 2-3 people.

                -----
                Costa Brava
                1653 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

                Latin Chef
                1142 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

          2. agree on Piatti, it's a solid choice. Roppongi also comes to mind - most of their entrees run in the mid $20 range, but you'd definitely be within budget if the table ordered a bunch of small plates and a couple of entrees...as long as you're all sharers :)

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            Roppongi Restaurant and Sushi Bar
            875 Prospect, La Jolla, CA 92037

            Piatti - La Jolla
            2182 Avenida de la Playa, La Jolla, CA 92037

            7 Replies
            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              The best way to experience Roppongi is during their extended happy hour hours, deeply discounted Asian tapas and some drink specials. We had a lovely dinner on the garden patio at Piatti tonight, only a few entrees over $20. Great for this kind of group. Skip OR.

              1. re: foodiechick

                I was also thinking Roppongi at happy hour. Tasty food for not a lot of $$$.

                1. re: bizzwriter

                  I know a lot of people like Roppongi but after a few visits I have problems to see the appeal of the food (even at HH).

                  1. re: honkman

                    It's not just Roppongi, it's pretty much all the restaurants in the Cohn Group (with the exception of Prado; which is inconsistent itself)

                    1. re: karaethon

                      I don't think Roppongi is part of the Cohn group but one of the restaurants of the Ladeki group which also owns the Sammy's Woodfired Pizza chain.

                      1. re: honkman

                        Oh really? I always thought of it as Cohn Group for some reason. Regardless, my comments about Cohn group places stands, and I agree with you that Roppongi is not a good place for the taste to money ratio.

                        1. re: karaethon

                          Probably the San Diego Hype Machine is to blame. ;-)

            2. Piatti's
              Cafe Athena
              Tapenade 'sunset menu'
              Manhattan's