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please review my restaurant list near Manchester Hyatt

b
bawc Aug 20, 2011 06:56 PM

We will be in SD the last week in August, staying at the Manchester Hyatt with our 8 y,o. DS. I have trolled through the boards and have come up with the following list, but I am not sure if appropriate with a child. BTW, he eats steak, oriental, rice and beans, sausage, but no pizza, cheese, eggs, sandwiches or chocolate! We will have a car. Would love some more suggestions. We are doing the usual child friendly itinerary during the day.

Neighborhood
Mama Testa
Cafe Chloe
Cowboy Star
J-Six
Ota (do they have cooked japanese as well as sushi?)
George's in La Jolla
Alchemy
? eat lunch in Coronado?

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

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

  1. p
    Pegmeister Sep 18, 2011 09:46 AM

    I arrived yesterday, and I'm also staying at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, and while I was just too tired from the flight to seek out some of the chowish suggestions, I still felt I should comment on the 2 places I did stop. First, stop late lunch at Redfield's in the hotel for some prime rib sliders served with aujus and a horseradish sauce. If you like your beef, more well, like myself, you will be happy enough with this choice. Au jus was a little too salty for me. The staff was very efficient and friendly, but the drink prices were really high. Guess I should expect this when dining in a hotel restaurant. The bar was actually quite full, somewhat boistrous and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. Later I ventured out for a walk, wasn't really hungy but ended up stopping at the Harbor House for happy hour. Again, friendly staff and patrons, drink prices were reasonable with a good pour and the fish taco for $4.95 was actually quite good.

    -----
    Harbor House Cafe
    714 N Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054

    7 Replies
    1. re: Pegmeister
      c
      cstr Sep 19, 2011 06:36 AM

      You'll find the best drink and app prices at HH. Also, the Patriots won, must have been all that noise at the hotel bar!

      1. re: cstr
        p
        Pegmeister Sep 19, 2011 06:55 AM

        I was in Old Town yesterday and watched the last half of the game at Miguel's. They were having happy hour as well. I just had their Mexican shrimp cocktail, which I loved. Totally different flavors from anything I ever experienced. Later I stopped at Roy's and had the crunchy lobster potstickers, which were another hit. I really liked the outdoor bar there and the staff was tremendous. Oh, and I kept very low key at Miguel's when the Patriots won

        1. re: Pegmeister
          DiningDiva Sep 19, 2011 09:34 AM

          "Oh, and I kept very low key at Miguel's when the Patriots won"

          You would have been just fine celebrating the Pats win ;-). We like our sports, and we even like our sports teams, but we're not fanatical about it like other parts of the country. It pretty much would have been a non-issue.

          1. re: DiningDiva
            r
            RB Hound Sep 19, 2011 11:01 AM

            One caveat, DiningDiva - if we are talking about the Raiders, all bets are off.

            1. re: RB Hound
              DiningDiva Sep 19, 2011 11:35 AM

              Okay, I'll grant you that one :-D. Yes, if Pegmeister been a Raider fan and that been a Raider game, she would have been best advised to keep her mouth shut.

            2. re: DiningDiva
              p
              Pegmeister Sep 19, 2011 07:19 PM

              Thanks all, I met some fun people and everyone was good natured and good company. Today after walking for many hours at the zoo, I ended up at FishMarket. My initial order was alaskan crab legs, potato au grautin and steamed vegetables. Can't go wrong with that. I then had the presence of mind to ask if the sushi bar had uni. Let me tell you that those uni roles were beyond description. I did the happy dance and that doesn't happen often. I definitely plan to get back there before I leave, and when I return to Boston, I will forever say, "it's just not as good as San Diego". Thanks all for suggesting I give uni a try here.

        2. re: Pegmeister
          Davwud Nov 3, 2011 04:45 PM

          I had the fish tacos at the Harbor House last weekend and loved them. I've never ordered them anywhere so all I had to go on was my own home made (not deep fried either) and while I'll still take my own, these really were great.

          DT

          -----
          Harbor House Cafe
          714 N Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054

        3. Beach Chick Aug 22, 2011 07:01 AM

          I would add in the Gaslamp..
          Searsucker for Sunday Brunch
          Cowboy Star
          Fish Market Sushi bar downtown bayfront..
          Jsix at the Hotel Solamar
          Blind Lady Ale House..close by

          www.gaslamp.org

          14 Replies
          1. re: Beach Chick
            b
            bawc Aug 22, 2011 11:07 AM

            Wow, thanks for all the great replies.
            I thought George's has a terrace which was less formal, and that might work for lunch during the week?
            My son loves Shabu-Shabu, so Toshi San would thrill him.
            Is Kaito in Encinitas close to Carlsbad? We might be staying there one or two nights when we do Legoland. Otherwise, I will not be able to convince DH to drive that distance after a long day sightseeing or parks...
            DH would love really good mexican, we can't get that in Providence much either. As long as there are rice and beans DS would be satisfied....and chulas!

            1. re: bawc
              DiningDiva Aug 22, 2011 01:24 PM

              * Yes, George's has a Terrance and yes it is a good choice for lunch.

              * Yes, Encinitas and Carlsbad are close together, they are neighboring beach communities

              * The VAST majority of Mexican in San Diego is taqeria/taco shops and combo plate, buried in yellow cheese places. Some of the taco shops are very good. In the North County (i.e. Encinitas/Carlsbad/Leucadia area) some of the perennial favorites are Bety's, Juanitas, Rudy's, Fidel's and Tony's Jacal. In San Diego, the best homestyle Mexican is at Super Cocina. El Comal on Illinois does a nice job, and if you want jumbo Margaritas and mariachi's check out Casa Guadalajara. Not exactly sure what a "chula" is since it's slang for loud, brassy women, and somehow I'm pretty sure that's not exactly what your DS is looking for. It's also a the front end of a town in southern SD county, Chula Vista.

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

              Tony's Jacal
              621 Valley Ave, Solana Beach, CA 92075

              Casa Guadalajara
              4105 Taylor St, San Diego, CA 92110

              El Comal
              262 3rd Ave, Chula Vista, CA 91910

              1. re: DiningDiva
                b
                bawc Aug 22, 2011 01:36 PM

                Whoops, Churros (?) the mexican donut dessert was what I was thinking of.

                How far is Alchemy from the hotel? Ditto Super Cocina?

                I think Mama Testa's is near the zoo, but for lunch it might be a hike to go there and then return to Balboa park for museum visits...

                Friends have invited us to a restaurant in a wine store (DS and his friend are oenophiles). Would that be the Wine Vault?

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

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

                1. re: bawc
                  DiningDiva Aug 22, 2011 02:52 PM

                  Churros are not in particularly abundant supply in San Diego, and usually not house made. I'm sure you can find them though.

                  Alchemy is probably a 10-15 minute drive from your hotel in moderate traffic and very much worth finding. I really like Alchemy and I've seen families with children of all ages there.

                  Super Cocina isn't that far from the zoo, but due to all the stoplights, traffic and busses down University, it's probably about 10 minutes beyond the zoo.

                  No, it's not really a good idea to leave the zoo, walk to Mama Testa's and then walk back to the zoo. It's totally doable, but you'll waste a lot of time doing that. Depending upon how much time you plan to spend at the zoo, I'd do Mama Testa afterwards for a late lunch or early dinner. As for the zoo, remember that the animals are most active in the early morning and evening hours. They sleep alot during the day.

                  Restaurant in a wine store sounds more like 3rd Corner in OB. It's an interesting concept and the food I've had there has always been good.

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

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

                  1. re: DiningDiva
                    foodiechick Aug 22, 2011 03:18 PM

                    Restaurant/wine store could be Wine Vault, WineSeller and Brasserie, 3rd Corner OB/Encinitas and a few other "wine bars" that do retail and food.

                    1. re: DiningDiva
                      r
                      RB Hound Aug 22, 2011 03:32 PM

                      Costco churros - I think $0.75. Much better than the ones that cost 4 times as much that are available at Sea World, the Zoo, Legoland, etc.

                      1. re: RB Hound
                        DiningDiva Aug 22, 2011 04:15 PM

                        Pretty sure the ones at Sea World, the Zoo and Legoland are the frozen, precooked churros :-)

                    2. re: bawc
                      t
                      The Office Goat Aug 23, 2011 11:37 AM

                      The only place I've been to, recently, that made their own churros from scratch is El Take It Easy on 30th. My kids love them -- ETIE was my then 4-yr-old chocoholic daughter's top choice for "graduation" from preschool specifically for the churros' dipping sauce (she treats it like a shot glass once the churros are exhausted).

                      But I probably have the worlds' only kids who dream of a dinner of octopus and chocolate...

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

                      1. re: The Office Goat
                        DiningDiva Aug 23, 2011 03:17 PM

                        slapping myself up longside the head...El Take it Easy! Of course, how could I have forgotten that. I *knew* they did them.

                        1. re: The Office Goat
                          t
                          The Office Goat Sep 15, 2011 02:14 PM

                          Well, just to update in the name of completeness, we went last weekend and there were no more churros to be had on the menu at El Take It Easy. Don't know when/if they are coming back (the menu there is in a constant state of flux).

                          My daughter was ... irritated.

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

                          1. re: The Office Goat
                            j
                            jayporter Sep 15, 2011 04:45 PM

                            I just asked the chef and he said the churros will return to El Take It Easy's dessert menu in a little while, but with a new setup.

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

                            1. re: jayporter
                              t
                              The Office Goat Sep 15, 2011 05:12 PM

                              Thanks! My daughter may now conditionally remove you from her "list" as long as the chocolate sauce is somewhere. ;-)

                              1. re: The Office Goat
                                j
                                jayporter Sep 23, 2011 08:18 AM

                                I was having a drink there last nite and, lo and behold, churros were going out to a table. Looked like the same setup as before. I didn't follow up to ask details, but they're there.

                    3. re: bawc
                      d
                      daantaat Aug 22, 2011 09:16 PM

                      Encinitas is the next beach community south of Carlsbad. Kaito is roughly 10 min south of Legoland.

                      Mama Testa's fries their own churros to order, which are less doughy than Costco's. However, I am not a churro expert, so I couldn't tell you if they are as good as non-frozen ones.

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

                  2. d
                    daantaat Aug 21, 2011 08:35 PM

                    Mama Testa's is good and definitely kid-friendly.

                    re: Ota, I would skip it and head north to Kaito, in spite of the 30-40 minute drive. You could plan to spend part of the day at Legoland in Carlsbad, if your kid is into Legos (they have a Star Wars exhibit going on right now) and then head back down south to Kaito for dinner. Kaito has a much more laid back atmosphere. They also have non-sushi items.

                    another Japanese option is Okan on Convoy Ave., about 15 minutes north of downtown. Lots of non-sushi options and they're very kid friendly.

                    George's California Modern ONLY if he's very well-behaved. It's a formal dining room downstairs.

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

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: daantaat
                      k
                      karaethon Aug 22, 2011 10:35 AM

                      I prefer Oton over Okan, but that may just be me....

                      Also, I wouldn't necessarily go to George's on a weekend. It seems like they get too busy and the quality goes down.

                      1. re: karaethon
                        honkman Aug 22, 2011 11:56 AM

                        I never had a quality difference on weekends with Georges.

                        1. re: karaethon
                          d
                          daantaat Aug 22, 2011 09:13 PM

                          I like both but somehow end up at Okan more often. I think it may have to do w/ feeling less claustrophobic at Okan than Oton.

                          1. re: daantaat
                            s
                            shouzen Aug 23, 2011 12:01 PM

                            I look Okan when it's warm outside, and Oton when it's cold (or as cold as it gets here, anyway) :)

                      2. Rodzilla Aug 20, 2011 08:44 PM

                        Almost missed the dairy sensitive, I was wondering about the no pizza/chocolate

                        Georges is great, but please, please, please make sure the little guy will be on his best behavior - especially if you're opting for Modern.

                        Ota does have non-sushi items, but Kaito is in Encinitas is better and cheaper. Especially worthwhile if someone in your party is a big sushi fan.

                        14 Replies
                        1. re: Rodzilla
                          b
                          bawc Aug 21, 2011 05:46 AM

                          Thank you for the recommendations in Coronado. We do want to visit the Hotel Del, so would we be better off driving than taking the ferry for lunch and beach one afternoon?

                          I think we will skip Neighborhood as per your recommendations. If George's is that formal then we will skip it, and try something else in La Jolla/Torrey Pines. Any recommendations?

                          Actually, he is not dairy intolerant, he could eat ice cream until the cows come home, just a selective eater...he often considers eating an optional activity.

                          I am the sushi fan of the family, and the offerings are pitiful in Providence where we live now. How long is the drive to Encinitas from downtown, and would it work with DS?

                          Where is Blind Lady Alehouse?

                          1. re: bawc
                            j
                            JRSD Aug 21, 2011 09:04 AM

                            The food at Blind Lady is excellent, but there is not a large number of items on the menu other than Pizza. The charcuterie plate and salads are very good but if you son is very picky and will not eat pizza, there is a good chance that he will not like anything there. There would be more choices at Neighborhood than Blind Lady that are not sandwiches or pizza. Also, FYI, I have never found the service at Neighborhood to be rude as noted above.

                            1. re: bawc
                              c
                              chezwhitey Aug 21, 2011 01:51 PM

                              the drive from downtown to encinitas is about 30-40 min depending on traffic. I would stick to Ota. The quality is excellent and closer to downtown.

                              1. re: bawc
                                scottca075 Aug 21, 2011 03:51 PM

                                In La Jolla I'd look at Nine-Ten maybe instead of George's, I think it is better anyway.

                                You also might consider El Zarape on Park Blvd instead of Mama Testa's.

                                http://elzarape.menutoeat.com/

                                Sushi Ota probably has a better, more complete menu for your DS. Encinitas is 30-45 depending on time of day and the route you take.

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

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

                                1. re: scottca075
                                  honkman Aug 21, 2011 05:31 PM

                                  We had recently quite a disappointing meal ar 9-10 and wouldn't recommend it. Georges has much better food.

                                  1. re: honkman
                                    scottca075 Aug 22, 2011 08:06 PM

                                    Did you write a review someplace about the experience?? Have you been before and the quality has dropped?

                                    1. re: scottca075
                                      honkman Aug 23, 2011 12:27 AM

                                      We haven't written about 9-10 yet on our blog but will hopefully soon (backlog is very long). We had been to 9-10 so far multiple times for lunch and think it is one of the better places. Our prefered way to go to restaurants in general is for long tasting menus and we recently try to focus also on SD and started to visited more SD restaurants for them. Unfortunately 9-10 turned out to be quite a disappointment compared to other restaurants in SD. The food was uninspired, not very creative and there was not a single course which left a lasting impression. Compared to our tasting menus as Blanca, Kitchen 1540, Rancho Valencia and Georges it was actually one of the most expensive ($/course) but at the same time not even close in terms of quality and execution to the other restaurants. (We normally really like cheese courses but it was actually the first time that we had such a short tasting menu (5 course) anywhere when one of the courses was a cheese course (which is always a very cheap way for a restaurant to "complete" a course) and than it was even again a very disappointing course with one small piece of cheese and some rather stale bread). In addition, the service was very rushed (first time that we were asked in any restaurants on our way to the table by the hostess what we want to drink) and underwhelming with many small problems, e.g. wine pairings were forgotten for different courses, we had to ask for silverware, cocktail orders were forgotten etc.

                                      We often complain on CH that we have to go to LA, SF, LV for good creative food (and tasting menus) but actually find more and more places in SD were you can have such tasting menus (even if it often requires contacing the chef before to discuss it) which are on the same level as places in other cities but 9-10 is not one of them. It's more a place for people who never had a tasting menu or experience with upscale places before and want to try one without any danger to go out of their culinary comfort zone.

                                  2. re: scottca075
                                    DiningDiva Aug 22, 2011 08:59 AM

                                    I think Mama Testa is more kid friendly than El Zarape.

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

                                  3. re: bawc
                                    Rodzilla Aug 21, 2011 08:43 PM

                                    Georges has 3 levels with varying degrees of formality - the Modern is the most. Shouldn't be a problem if your kid is on his best behavior - I'm just remembering my own restaurant tendencies at 8 years old :)

                                    If you're the sushi fan, you owe it to yourself to pay Kaito a visit. They have enough cooked items to keep everyone content http://sushikaito.com/Menu.aspx

                                    Ota is probably only worth the price if you can sit at the bar for omakase - and the omakase at Kaito is still superior (and about half the price) further, Chef Kaz is the best - he and his staff are the bests hosts around.

                                    I'm doubting you're going to sit for the omakase with an 8yr old, so I would skip the packed dining room and prices of Ota.

                                    Hane downtown gets favorable reviews, but a potential best kept secret (I've only visited once) is Toshi-San Sushi and Shabu Shabu in La Jolla http://www.toshi-san.net/
                                    Nobody talks about the place, but I had some great pieces from their sushi-B platter. This may be your best bet.

                                    1. re: Rodzilla
                                      c
                                      chezwhitey Aug 22, 2011 01:51 PM

                                      If she's the only one who really likes sushi, do you think it would be worth it for her to sit there for 2 hours while food is constantly being delivered to her while her husband and 8 year old sit there and scratch their a....? The sushi dinner specials at Ota are more than adequate and prices are not unreasonable for the quality by any stretch of the imagination.

                                      If you are going to be near encinitas, sure, go to kaito, but just keep in mind that if you want omakase which is the main reason for going to this place, it's going to cost you 75-150.

                                      1. re: chezwhitey
                                        d
                                        daantaat Aug 22, 2011 09:12 PM

                                        what were you eating at Kaito that added up to $150? was that including alcohol? Morita-san will graciously stay within a price range if you need him to.

                                        1. re: chezwhitey
                                          Rodzilla Aug 22, 2011 09:21 PM

                                          Chez, you might want to read what I said again.

                                          I thought I made it pretty clear that I doubted she was going to take part in an omakase meal with her family. I was just mentioning that if she were, Kaito would be the top spot.

                                          I gave her recommendations for place that I thought would be more worthwhile in terms of location, quality, and expense.

                                          1. re: Rodzilla
                                            c
                                            chezwhitey Aug 23, 2011 10:15 AM

                                            I guess I made the leap since I know you are a big fan of kaito's omakase and saw your post on your experience there (nice review btw). My bad.

                                            That being said, I don't quite understand why you seem to have an aversion to ota's regular menu. I think their sushi is excellent and certainly better than anything she can likely get in providence. btw, we don't even know what kind of sushi the OP likes, straight ahead, rolls etc.

                                            1. re: chezwhitey
                                              Rodzilla Aug 23, 2011 11:52 AM

                                              fair enough, and my seeming aversion to Ota is only because I don't feel it's worth a visit in the OP's case. It's busy, tight, moderately upscale and likely uncomfortable for an 8 year old. I've had their assorted nigiri platter and while it's certainly acceptable quality-wise, I don't think it's as good as what you would get at the bar and didn't think it was any better than Toshi-san.

                                              When someone tells me they're a sushi fan, I generally take it to mean nigiri and traditional items as opposed to fusion or Americanized rolls. Either way - ota wouldn't be a place to visit for those.

                                  4. j
                                    JRSD Aug 20, 2011 07:16 PM

                                    Burger lounge or Coronado Brewing Co would work for lunch in Coronado. Cafe 222 or the Mission (either East Village or North Park) may also be good for lunch.

                                    Hodads is also kid-friendly downtown although the burgers do not get consistently positive reviews on this board. I think the shakes and onion rings are better than the burgers.

                                    FYI - In case it alters your thinking, Neighborhood is an upscale bar and not a restaurant.

                                    -----
                                    Cafe 222
                                    222 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

                                    Hodads Restaurant
                                    5010 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: JRSD
                                      a
                                      aloha925 Aug 20, 2011 07:32 PM

                                      Actually, Neighborhood is a restaurant. Though it is not my favorite, I believe quite a few people on this board enjoy the food.

                                      1. re: JRSD
                                        foodiechick Aug 20, 2011 07:34 PM

                                        Neighborhood is very much a restaurant, especially during the day. Appropriate for a child at night...not so much. Unfortunately, since the op says he does not eat sandwiches, it still may not be a good fit.

                                        Any of the places at the Coronado Ferry Landing are kid friendly, the two better choices being Candelas (upscale mexican) or Il Fornaio (italian). Take the ferry boat over from downtown for a fun time and awesome views. I would also recommend Sheerwater at the Hotel Del Coronado for lunch and then a stroll on the vast beach. That is actually more of a car ride (though a great one over the bridge and down Orange Avenue), as it is on the opposite end of the island from the Ferry Landing.

                                        http://www.neighborhoodsd.com/menu-lu...

                                        1. re: foodiechick
                                          j
                                          JRSD Aug 20, 2011 08:33 PM

                                          Do you consider a gastropub as a restaurant or bar? Their website says that they are modeled after gastropubs and specialize in beer and pairing beer with food. Also, a large portion of the space is devoted to a bar area vs. having more tables with a bar.

                                          I think that it would be OK to take kids there during the day, but some people would rather not take their kids to a place that could be seen as being more of a bar than a restaurant. All of the starters I have tried there have been good - the corn dogs in particular since DS eats sausages... Definitely a place to go if you want to get a great beer downtown.

                                          1. re: JRSD
                                            foodiechick Aug 20, 2011 10:26 PM

                                            I do actually think of gastropubs as restaurants...and bars. I think most of the gastropubs in San Diego are pretty serious about their food operations, the best example being Blind Lady Alehouse which is very kid friendly.

                                            1. re: JRSD
                                              Fake Name Aug 21, 2011 07:57 AM

                                              Gastropub, restaurant, bar, or whatever, I wouldn't go.

                                              Rude folks.

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