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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!

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  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.

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      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).

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        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...

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

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