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Need dinner (and maybe lunch) recs for a week in SD

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Hello, fellow hounders,

NYC chowhounder coming to San Diego for a seminar/conference for 6 days. Really need some good recommendations for places to eat! Here's some details:

1) Conference is at the Town and Country on Hotel Circle North, so any lunch places would have to be near here (if there are any). Dinner can be further afield.

2) All cuisines are great EXCEPT pizza/pasta places--gluten intolerant, unfortunately.

3) It would be great to have some places that can handle groups (6-10).

4) Casual is better. Food trucks/carts are perfectly acceptable.

5) Cheap (<$15 entree) is great, moderately priced ($15-$25 entree) is fine, more expensive would have to be REALLY special.

6) If there's any place that's really unique to San Diego, that's a big plus.

Chowhound had always had my back when I've needed to find great food while travelling. I promise to report back after the trip!

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  1. As someone on this board once said...Hotel Circle is one of Dante's circles of H*ll. Not much in the way of interesting food. The T & C backs up to the Fashion Valley Mall where you will find access to the Green Line trolley and lots of bus lines, but not particularly decent food. You may want to consider using rapid transit. The Green Line will get you to Old Town where you can transfer to the Blue Line which will take you into downtown. The bus lines will take you up to Adams Ave and the 30th St. corridor. If I am not mistaken the T & C has a rental car office on property, it might be worth your while to rent a vehicle for an evening. Cabs are plentiful in SD, but not particularly economical.

    Adams Ave. and the 30th St. corridor are not too far away and offer a lot of options in the casual category. There are any number of places that offer craft beers and/or local (and often sustainable) dining. Hillcrest is also very close to the T & C and probably has more restaurants per block than anywhere in SD. Most would probably fit the criteria you listed.

    Most places can easily handle a party of 6, if you're going to be 10 you might want to at least give the restaurant a heads up.

    4 Replies
    1. re: DiningDiva

      Thanks, DiningDiva. Any specific restaurants I should check out?

      1. re: DiningDiva

        Mayahuel - for mole and mezcal
        Blind Lady Ale House - on Adams close to 30th
        Jaynes Gastropub
        Hamilton or Tornado - craft beer
        Ritual Tavern - craft beer and bistro-ish food
        El Take it EZ - 30th and Uni, farm to table bar
        The Linkery - probably the only fully farm-to-table restaurant. Can be uneven but the concept is solid
        Urban Solace - bistro food
        Sea Rocket Bistro - local, sustainable sea food, but you said you didn't want sea food
        Smoking Goat - hole in the wall with very good food
        Alchemy - stick to the tapas menu and sit at the bar

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        Linkery
        3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

        Urban Solace Restaurant
        3823 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104

        Blind Lady Ale House
        3416 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA

        Ritual Tavern
        4095 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

        Sea Rocket Bistro
        3382 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

        1. re: DiningDiva

          Nice list! Looks like we have the same restaurants on our rotation. But you didn't just call The Smoking Goat a hole in the wall, did you? Supposedly, they are are expanding into the space next door that use to be North Park Fish Market.

          A few more I'll add :

          Bleu Boheme - French
          Cafe 21 (Normal Heights - location) - Azerbijiani/Persian
          Pomegranate - Russian/Georgian
          Il Postino - Italian
          Alexander's - Italian

          1. re: DiningDiva

            Our last visit to Linkery was really great. They seem to have turned a corner.

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            Linkery
            3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

        2. Here's a few options for dinner:
          1) The Devilicious food truck does dinners at some Mission Valley Apartments on Tuesday and Wednesdays. Schedule and address posted at: http://deviliciousfoodtruck.com/

          2) You can follow DD's advice and take the trolley, to Gaslamp/downtown, which opens up your options. Once you're in gaslamp, there are a variety of other threads you can search that have restaurant recommendations.

          3) Agree on DD's suggestion of going to Hillcrest as well. What defines San Diego is the craft beers so you should definitely find a place with an extensive list and sample those

          4) Super Cocina, but I think transportation will be an issue

          1 Reply
          1. re: karaethon

            Actually, transportation to Super Cocina isn't that hard. #6 bus from Fashion Valley to Uni & 30th, transfer to the #7 bus which goes right past SC. The bad part is, it's probably a 30-45 minute bus trip and unless the OP can go in the middle of the day (i.e. for lunch) Super Cocina isn't at it's best for dinner.

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

          2. If the weather is nice and you aren't tied up too late on Wed. afternoon you could head over to Ocean Beach for the weekly Farmer's Market (opens at 4). Lots of foodstalls and crafts in addition to the fresh produce, along with a couple of bands. Several good Beach Bars and Fish Taco places down the block towards the beach, and one of my favorite area dive bars, Pacific Shores Cafe, right in the middle of the market.

            I wouldn't call it "UNIQUE" to San Diego, but there is a real strong SoCal Beach vibe there. You don't say when you are going to be in town, but best case would be one of the weeks when we are having a Santa Anna and it is 78 degrees and sunny (like this week) it wouldn't be as much fun if it was raining.

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            Pacific Shores Cafe
            4927 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107

            1. Thanks to everyone, these look like great suggestions. I'm actually arriving tomorrow, so will report back on my return to NY!

              1 Reply
              1. re: fudjunkie

                For what it is worth, it should be really good outdoors till Friday, then it should cool down for the rest of your stay. Don't expect it to be horrible during the rest of your stay, but expect it to cool down a lot starting Friday night. Plan your outdoor dining for your first couple of days...

              2. Check out 2good2B bakery/cafe. It is a completely gluten free restaurant. Not bad.

                1. So I've returned and here's my report; although it's very, very short :( A committee I was on decided to meet in the evenings, and with only one exception, i NEVER GOT TO LEAVE THE HOTEL <grrr>! I did get one excursion to Old Town, and went to El Agave. Great tequila selection, and I thought the mole was delicious. Other than that, nothing worth mentioning, EXCEPT I did manage to make ti to the 2Good2Be bakery in Encinitas after my conference was over. The bread is pretty standard gluten-free fare, but the muffins and cupcakes were exceptional (did not try the vegan versions, just the regular gluten free).

                  Thanks again to all who responded. I now have a great list for my next trip, which hopefully will be for pleasure, not business. Oh, and the concierge at my hotel was very impressed by the list, adding his vote of approval, and saying, " you know some really hip people."

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                  El Agave
                  2304 San Diego Ave Ste B, San Diego, CA 92110

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: fudjunkie

                    Chowhound and hip that's not something I oftem hear in one sentence