Cheap eats in San Diego area for two broke traveling students
My boyfriend and I are going to be visiting San Diego (also hitting La Jolla, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, and Oceanside-- little biking trip up the coast) and are looking for some good places to eat for relatively cheap - about $10 a person and under, the kind of stuff you see on Diners, Drive ins, and Dives. (We already have Blue Water Seafood, El Indio, and Hodad's on our list from that show!) I'd really appreciate your suggestions!
Also, any good bars in those areas that you could recommend? Thanks!
I wouldn't put too much emphasis on DD&D. I'd skip El Indio and Hodad's. Maybe Kono's in PB for a large filling cheap breakfast, Bare Back Grill, also in PB, for a good burger and reasonable happy hour. In LJ, El Pescador for a great grilled fish sammie. Super Cocina, in NH on Univ & 36th, for excellent Mex slow cooked food, Marisco's German truck, on Univ & 35th, for one dollar fish tacos.
I like Blue Water a lot- but that's not in your budget. It might seem like it from the program, but I find it as expensive as a good fish restaurant.
Up San Diego Avenue from El Indio is a small typical taco shop called "Dos Brazos". I live very close to both of these places- closer to El Indio, and have not been to El Indio in over 12 years. I go to Dos Brazos, and if I'm feeling sad, lonely, depressed, anxious, happy, elated, energetic, tired, or otherwise emotional, I get their carnitas burrito. You see, just as art has a pedigree, Dos Brasos used to be Nico's, and I suspect they, like the baker of a fine sourdough bread uses a starter, are using grease similar to Nicos. Perhaps they reverse-engineered the Nico's burrito in their lab to duplicate that dining experience.
This burrito is a work of art. That's right, it's art you can eat. It has that crispy-soft griddled tortilla, the spicy deliciousness of the fatty pork with the little fried bits.
I'd eat 20 of their carnitas burritos before I'd go to El Indio.
In fact, I have. And now, dammit, I might need to today.
re: Fake Name
re: Fake Name
Absolutely right. And their breakfast burritos were personally responsible for my friend Eric gaining 30 lbs (he worked right across the street and ate one of said "Special Breakfast" burritos everyday). He was soo pissed when I moved just up the hill from Dos Brasos. Damn. . .I love my new place, but I miss that taco shop.
As others have said, skip El Indio and Hodad's. Undoubtedly someone will come on and defend Hodad's, but Hodad's is a big waste of time. When Hodad's was not a TV star, it was worthwhile, if you were in the area. I lived in that 'hood for 8 years, and ate at Hodad's many times. After moving out of the area, I did not. It's just an OK burger.
Guy Fieri is a knucklehead, IMO. The places in SD he recommends are all exceedingly average at best (Blue Water a notable exception).
If you're looking for cheap eats, Blue Water's a bad spot. Their good fish is expensive.
Here are some better suggestions, which are bikeable from the coast:
Marsicos Beyer Truck, on Imperial and 22nd - much better fish tacos than Blue Water. A relatively easy ride up from downtown.
Tacos El Paisa - Forget the cross street, but it's also on Imperial. Great street tacos, makes El Indio look even more pathetic than Dos Brasas. Could hit this on the same ride as the mariscos truck.
For burgers, try Burger Lounge in Little Italy. Some people don't like the place, but they're wrong.
Mona Lisa Deli, also in Little Italy, makes very tasty Italian subs.
Pete's Meats, also in Little Italy, makes very tasty subs with stuff like meatball, grilled veal, and eggplant. Very good and affordable.
Monkey Paw Pub and Brewery, on 16th and G St. Great beer selection.
Downtown Johnny Brown's. Ditto.
Newport Pizza and Ale House
OB Noodle House - all three of these have great beer selections
I don't know if Hodad's is worth a visit, but you might enjoy walking down funky Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach (especially in the evening), where Hodad's is located. At the end of the Ocean Beach pier is a diveish cafe (Ocean Beach Pier Cafe) to warm up, get some fries, and enjoy the view.
In Solana Beach, check out Rudy's for burritos and other taco shop treats. I also like Claire's for breakfast/brunch...you can find items that are around $10. Mozy's Cafe in Leucadia has some interesting items as well and is very good. East Coast Pizza in Cardiff is not bad and cheap.
As far as bars go, Encinitas Ale House has a nice selection of beers.
+1 on both Claire's and East Coast Pizza. I actually think East Coast Pizza is way ahead of Pizza Port...
On the north side of Encinitas (is it technically Leucadia?), down highway 101 is Fish 101. It is very similar to Blue Water, but you should be able to get the fish sandwiches for right around $10.
In the Oceanside area,
Beach Break Cafe
Don's Country Kitchen (Locations in Carlsbad and Oceanside).
Ty's Burger House
Breakfast Club Diner