HOME > Chowhound > San Diego >

Discussion

eating for one...suggestions for an upbeat, friendly meal

Coming to San Diego for the first time in November for a conference. Will be staying at US Grant hotel (Gaslamp area) - no car and limited travel budget (damn health care employment - no money for extras when travelling!). Looking forward to some "alone time" to experience a few tasty restaurants. I prefer to eat at a nice bar vs a table when travelling alone. I love the chance to chat with locals or other tourists. Seafood would be great but I will eat absolutely anything. A good beer selection would be a plus and/or a variety of wines by the glass. More than anything, I would like to find a place where I can dine by myself and not stick out like a sore thumb (although good food would be another important criterion!). Smaller plates would also be great, as I could try a few different items this way. I have read that the gaslamp area may not be the best for good restaurants, but given my limited ability to travel, this area would be preferred (though a short taxi ride is do-able).

Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Cafe Chloe has a nice winebar (and the best food in your area) which is perfect for you. Two other options for restaurants with bars (and good food downtown) are JSix and Cowboy Star

    1 Reply
    1. re: honkman

      +1 on Cafe Chloe.
      Kaito is excellent but a haul with a pricey cab ride north. You could take the Coaster to the Encinitas station and then cab it from there to Kaito, if you're really motivated.

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

    2. omakase at Kaito in encinitas would be ideal

      1. +1 Cafe Chloe, J-Six and Cowboy Star. Cowboy Star bartenders are very friendly and knowledgeable about food, and the restaurant also has bar type seating looking into the open kitchen. Don't be put off that they specialize in steak, they also serve very good seafood. I think you will also find excellent food at the bar in your own hotel at The Grant Grill. Another great dining bar is practically across the street at Dobson's. A certain member of this board would really recommend the Mussel Bisque en Croute (that comes with a generous splash of Harvey's Bristol Cream).

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

        1 Reply
        1. re: foodiechick

          I wonder whom that would be...hee hee
          Mussel Bisque en croute is fab at Dobson's across from the US Grant hotel..sit in the bar area and sling back a couple glasses of wine or beer and enjoy the great ambience of it all.
          Love the Grant Grill, Jsix, Oyster Bar/Sushi bar at the Fish Market Downtown, Cafe Chloe and Cowboy Star.

          1. re: Island

            @ Island...indeed ASHA
            @ other SanDiego Hounds..thanks for the tips! Everything sounds great..hopefully will be motivated to try Kaito even if it means a bit of a hike!

          2. +1 for Cafe Chloe.

            The Neighborhood might fit your beer bill - awesome selection and a bar to eat at.

            Not food worthy (but with excellent beers) is Downtown Johnny Browns.

            The sushi bar at The Fish Market has some of the better sushi in town. Lots of solo diners. Not a fan of the main restaurant however...

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

            Downtown Johnny Brown's
            1220 3rd Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

            1. I would do Cowboy Star for sure. They have a nice bar and they also have a "chef's counter" (it's an open kitchen) where you can talk with the sous chef while you eat. Take your pick of the two. As a warning it is a steakhouse for dinner, so expect to pay modest steakhouse prices (but it's exceptional in taste and quality).

              I did do Cafe Chloe as well (and alone that day), but the bar scene was very meh. Everyone kinda ignored me and I didn't get any of the conversation that you mention. The food was good though and they did have a nice selection of wines by the glass.

              For beer, I would agree with Neighborhood as they have an extensive selection of beers, but I was seriously underwhelmed (we actually sent it back) by the food, although we only ordered 1 item for sharing. I did really enjoy the beer and I liked that they had flights of various craft and imported beers.

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

              1 Reply
              1. re: karaethon

                I think the meat quality at Cowboy Star is great but their appetizers (foie gras and steak tartare were recently average at best) and sides are just OK. I wish they would up their game a bit on everything else on their menu beside the meat to be on a similar level as some of the best restaurants (Cafe Chloe, JSix) in this area - but still definitely a good option downtown.

              2. on a similar topic - do most places have happy hour specials in san diego? is there a good way to find out what's hot on various nights?

                1 Reply
                1. re: redhead

                  Currant is a great spot for happy hour.

                2. Dobson's would be my top pick for eating at the bar. Cafe Chole is good, but not great.

                  La Puerta has a good Happy Hour and a nice bar to sit at.

                  Here is an okay website for Happy Hours and the website for the SD Reader.

                  http://kingofhappyhour.com/sandiego/n...
                  http://www.sandiegoreader.com/specials/

                  -----
                  La Puerta
                  560 4th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

                  6 Replies
                      1. re: Beach Chick

                        again - many thanks. sucks that I actually have to present at this conference when all I really want to do is eat, drink and play!!

                    1. re: scottca075

                      Haven't eaten at the bar at Dobson but the food we had was very underwhelming and way overpriced especially compared to Cafe Chloe which as good ad it gets in SD for mid price bistro style food.

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

                      1. re: honkman

                        And I found Cafe Chloe underwhelming despite the fact that I really wanted to like it a lot. It is cute, local and the staff was just terrific, but the food was very average I thought. It was no where near the quality of the Farm House Cafe, but I'll try Cafe Chloe again because I never judge a place cpmpletely by one or two experiences.

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

                        Farm House Cafe
                        2121 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116

                        1. re: scottca075

                          interesting. although I haven't gotten to Farm House Cafe yet, we've always liked Cafe Chloe. Food for us is definitely above average and always well-executed.

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

                          Farm House Cafe
                          2121 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116