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Jul 10, 2011 09:49 PM

Looking for a request along transit route

Hey everyone,

I have a very specific request that I hope you can help with.

I'll be in town for a conference in early August. I'll be arriving early Monday afternoon and the conference starts Tuesday morning. I'll be staying at the Bayfront Hilton and I'm planning on grabbing a quick bite at Tin Fish when I get in and then exploring a bit.

At some time i the afternoon/evening I'd like to head up to the Hillcrest Trader Joe's to grab some wine and supplies for the room. I'm planning on buying a transit pass and taking public transportation to TJ's from near Petco Park. I'd like to hear of any recommendations for a moderately nice place to dine alone (and have a beer/wine or two) in the neighborhood near the TJs or anywhere along the route. (It will be on a Monday, that might impact what's open.)

Thanks much,

The Tin Fish
2750 Dewey Rd, San Diego, CA 92106

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  1. Arent you going to be nearer liberty station? I'd say you were better off going to the TJ's at liberty station and maybe getting a bite to eat at tender greens or one of the other places? Wine steals is a fun place to get a glass of wine.

    6 Replies
    1. re: jennywenny

      I was pretty sure that I was closer to the University Ave. location, but I checked just in case. It's almost twice as far to the Liberty Station store and 54 min. vs. as little as 19 minutes by public transportation.

      Last year I was at a different hotel and went to the Truxton Rd TJs - it was a mess, I had to go by taxi and the driver had no clue where it was - at least he was nice and turned off the meter and charged me a flat fee. Coming back was even worse - I had the restaurant call a cab for me and it was over one and a half hours later, before I actually got in a taxi. They kept getting snagged by patrons from the bar around the corner.

      1. re: Kilgore

        Jenny made that remark because the map of Tin Fish is showing the Liberty Station location. It is a chain you know I assume you want to go to the Tin FIsh across from your hotel.

        That TJs is the newest (and largest, with the widest aisles) location out here. It's just West of the airport in the old Naval Training Center, which was sold to the City and now is called Liberty Station. It's an odd location for people not familiar. But Tender Greens in Liberty Station is really good.

        The Hillcrest location is 3.33 miles from your hotel, The Liberty station location is 5.86 miles. I love our system of Public Transportation.

        As far as restaurants near the the TJs, I can't think of anything close by that I like anymore but the taco shop in the same mall as the Starbucks. So many good places have closed in that area.

        1. re: Cathy

          Thanks Cathy,

          when I travel, I much prefer public transport to car rentals and taxis. I'm planning on purchasing a multi-day transit pass, so if there's anything along the route - I don't mind stopping along the way.

          1. re: Cathy

            'I love our system of Public Transportation'

            I have never ever heard anyone state or write that they loved our transit system in SD..
            It's pretty antiquated vs. The Bus in HNL or other great transit systems in the US or Europe.

            Personally, I like the TJ's in Liberty Station way better than the one in Hillcrest..
            The route is a scenic straight shot along the water.
            Tender Greens is an excellent choice and walking around the bayfront area is nice too.
            I've biked from that area from the Gaslamp and the Hilton Bayfront might have a shuttle service.
            Tin Fish is mostly fried but's fun for a Padre game.
            McCormicks and Schmicks at the Omni has a great everyday happy hour...the bridge from the Hilton just opened up in April and its a great way to cross over.


            1. re: Beach Chick

              BC- Sarcasm. 19 minutes for 3.3 miles, 54 minutes for a bit less than 6 miles.

              Kilgore- assume the bus you would take to get to University would be on Fifth. Caffe Vergnano 1882 and Chocolat are right at that intersection and have small meals/snacks as well as desserts. Definitely more in that area than closer to the TJs.

      2. Jakes on 6th is not a bad option for a wine bar. It's right next to yakitori yudori which is a very good yakitori place that has bar seating for one.

        1 Reply
        1. Hillcrest has Ortega's Restaurant for Puerto Neuvo style Mexican food, Khyber Pass for Afghan food, Bayu's for Ethiopian, Pho on 5th for Vietnamese, The Wine Encounter, Bianco Rosso, Wine Steals for wine bars, Ristorante Arrivederci, Busalacchi's, Cucina Urbana and Charisma Cucina Italiana for Italian, Amarin Thai for Thai, Hexagone for French, Lalo's Tacos or Mama Testa's for tacos, Kazumi for sushi and Bombay for Indian.

          Mama Testa
          1417 University Ave Ste A, San Diego, CA 92103

          Cucina Italiana
          4705 Clairemont Dr Ste A, San Diego, CA 92117

          495 Laurel Street, San Diego, CA 92101

          Khyber Pass Restaurant
          523 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

          6 Replies
          1. re: scottca075

            Thanks scottca075, so it sounds like there should be plenty of decent places to pick from up in Hillcrest.

            Your recs are just the type of places I was looking for since I'm dining alone. Off the top of my head, I'm most interested in Ortega's, Khyber Pass, Amarin Thai and Bombay. Any thoughts on those or is there a hidden gem elsewhere on the list or in Hillcrest that I should consider?

            To be honest, if I was picking up my own tab, I'd probably just hit up one of the taco places.

            Amarin Thai Restaurant
            6755 Mira Mesa Blvd Ste 109, San Diego, CA 92121

            Khyber Pass Restaurant
            523 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

            1. re: Kilgore

              Kilgore, there are probably more restaurants per square foot in Hillcrest than in any other part of the city. While the tourist all flock to the Gaslamp, residents tend to more frequently visit Hillcrest. It is well served by rapid transit and very walkable. Because there is so much traffic and foot traffic through Hillcrest I'm not sure there's much there that would qualify as hole in the wall.

              Across the street from the Tarder Joe's you're planning to go to is a restaurant called Aladdin's. It's not necessarily the best representation of middle eastern food by any stretch, but their house made pitas are continuously made, warm and addictive. They also have a passionfruit marinated shrimp salad that pretty good and a half order is more than enough.

              About a block and a half east from TJs is Tre Pocellinis, tucked in between Mama Testa and Baja Betty's.

              Brian's American Eatery is around the block from TJs. And it would be a long walk (10 minutes?) over to Bruno's up on Park Blvd, home of what is arguable the best pizza in SD.

              If you go West on University to 5th, you will find Chocolat. Go back torwards downtown on 5th, you'll find a plethora of restaurants...Ostera Origana, Papalecco, The Tractor Room, Hash House a go go (where the portions are so large you can stock your hotel room for a week with the left overs)

              Literally, all you have to do once you've finished at Trader Joe's is walk back out to University, go West (most likely to your right) and start walking and you will be able to find more restaurants than you care to think about. Both Park Blvd. and University, along with 4th adn 6th Ave. are major bus routes. You should not have too much difficulty finding some place to eat.

              Mama Testa
              1417 University Ave Ste A, San Diego, CA 92103

              Brian's American Eatery
              7947 Balboa Ave, San Diego, CA 92111

              Baja Betty's
              1421 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

              The Tractor Room
              3687 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

              1. re: DiningDiva

                Great! Sounds like I'll be using my public transportation pass to head up to Hillcrest more than once.

                Last year we were in the Sheraton by the airport and stuck at the Marina. I had trouble finding anyone who wanted to venture very far - a taxi to the Gaslamp was standard. This year I'm glad that I'll have transit options available - now just to find some conference goers who will venture out with me.

              2. re: Kilgore

                I would skip Bombay and Amarin Thai. Both are pretty Americanized and given that there are better options in Hillcrest, I would go elsewhere.

                Amarin Thai Restaurant
                6755 Mira Mesa Blvd Ste 109, San Diego, CA 92121

                1. re: daantaat

                  Any Hillcrest Thai or Indian suggestions?

                  1. re: Kilgore

                    sadly, no. The best Indian is in the Miramar/Black Mountain area, which is quite a schlep north from Hillcrest by public transportation. It's only 15-20 minutes-ish by car, but given our lovely public transportation, who knows how long it would take.

                    For really good Thai, and probably the best in SD, Sab e Lee in Linda Vista on Ulric St. is only 5-10 min north of Hillcrest by car. I'm not sure how the food has been lately b/c it's been a while since we've been there, but it was definitely not Americanized. And if you asked for spicy, it was SPICY and still had flavor! I know there are bus routes up there.