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Jan 10, 2012 10:40 AM

Late Night Eats

I'll be flying in to San Diego next month for work and will be arriving a little later in the evening. By the time I check into my hotel and clean up to go out, I'm guessing it will be closer to 11pm or so. What's around the Gas Lamp area (The Omni Hotel) that is within walking distance or a short cab ride. Doesn't necessarily have to be upscale, just good eats. Are there any good spots still open at that time frame, or am I stuck with room service?

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  1. I'm not 100% on this, but I think the Starlite lounge, which is closer to the airport, serves food as late as 11 p.m.- it has pretty good food and cocktails. Were I you, I'd take a cab to the Starlite from the airport, have a nice dinner, and then cab it to your hotel.

    Brian's 24 serves your basic diner fair 24/7, and its about 5-6 blocks from the Omni. I haven't eaten at Brian's 24, but have had fairly good meals at its companion restaurant up in Hillcrest.

    The Asian Bistro, which is in the Hillcrest neighborhood, serves decent (as in good-tasting, not necessarily authentic) Thai food until 3 a.m. That might be an expensive cab ride, though, and the food really isn't worth it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jmtreg

      Starlite serves regular dinner until 10pm during week (and 12am during weekends), after 10 pm they have a very short "emergency" menu until 12am (which will still be better than most room service). Another option might be Basic (downtown)

    2. McCormicks and Schmicks is in the Omni and I like getting their happy hour menu at the bar with a drink..great bartenders
      Basic for some great pizza across the street.

      5 Replies
        1. re: stevewag23

          McCormicks and Schmicks: 12 AM

          Basic: 2 AM

          I'd ask if Googling was too difficult for you, but I know you'd respond with "but why would I need to do that if I have others that will do it for me?", so I won't ask.

          1. re: RB Hound

            Well, I just called over to see if you were correct.

            "McCormicks and Schmicks: 12 AM"


            They shut down dinner at 10pm and shut down happy hour menu promptly at 11:30, the hostess told me, "you better get here by 11pm" if you want anything to eat.

            "Basic: 2 AM"


            I just talked to the hostess.

            She said, "you better get here by 1am if you want to eat here".

            If you haven't noticed, sometimes things you read on the internet are incorrect.

              1. re: stevewag23

                They both bent the truth?

                I'm crushed, just crushed.

                Either way, I don't think there is a regular here that didn't think "ask SteveWag" when they saw this thread title.

        2. Taco shop?

          Sounds like there are some good suggestions, but if the flight is late there is a MXN (ex Santana's) taco shop on Rosecrans about 5 minutes from the airport. You could even have the driver take you through the drive-through.

          5 Replies
          1. re: svnirvana

            Thanks for all the recs guys/gals, I appreciate it. Never been to McCormick & Schmicks, and the menu does look appealing. But, I will be flying to San Fran after the work part of the trip ends, so there will be lots of opportunities for good seafood there. I do love a good pizza, and the atmosphere sounds about right, so I just may have to try Basic. Keep the recs coming though, I love having options.

            1. re: Bran808

              I'd probably do Basic. Not a ton of options down there that are worth a damn. Basic is one of the few bright spots. They roll up the sidewalks (at least for dining) early in this burg.

              1. re: Bran808

                i've lived in sf and live in sd now. sd has much better seafood. in sf, oh my god though, i can recommend you so many places to eat!

                1. re: churroe

                  "sd has much better seafood"

                  Where do you recommend in san diego for seafood?

                  1. re: stevewag23

                    it was just an overall general statement regarding the prevelance of seafood offered in the two cities. san diego is all about fish tacos and (let's say) fish sandwiches in fish markets whereas san francisco's culinary focus isn't. san franciscans could give two shits about bread bowl clam chowders.

                    as far as recommendations, i just moved here (4 months ago) but it seems like the appropriate responses are:

                    south coast for fish tacos -- i live in ob. makes sense. they're good and i take my guests from out of town here.

                    el pescador - i like it and i work in la jolla, but this just isn't memorable. who really cares about this place?

                    and from what it looks like kaito sushi -- i've never been and can't afford to, but i feel that one super great sushi restaurant in a region with subpar sushi usually isn't as special as a super good sushi restaurant in a region with super good sushi restaurants. i'm not a sushi snob at all, but i don't like the crappy stuff either.

                    mariscos german? - yet to go, but how exciting can really great fish tacos be in a region filled with really great fish tacos?

                    i'm just saying don't waste your waistline eating seafood in san francisco; no one cares about it there.

            2. Despite what others want to believe, San Diego is no different than most places in this country in regards to limited late night dining options during the week. It's safe to say that most kitchens close by 10 or 11pm.

              That said, here's a list of restaurant/bars in and around downtown you might look into that should still be serving food at 11pm.

              Walking distance from your hotel -

              La Puerta - 1:00am
              Knotty Barrel - midnight
              Brian's 24 - 24 hours
              Nicky Rotten's - midnight
              Bolillo Torta - midnight
              The Corner - midnight
              Basic - 1am
              Lion's Share - midnight
              Funky Garcia's - midnight
              Lincoln Room - midnight
              Sultan Shawarma - 3am

              $6 cab ride to Little Italy -

              Underbelly - midnight
              The Waterfront - 1am

              $10 cab ride to Hillcrest

              - Asian Bistro - 3am
              - Saigon on 5th - 3am
              - City Deli - midnight
              - Crest Cafe - midnight
              - Izakaya Masa - 1am (a little further in Mission Hills)

              But if you arrive on a weekend night, the choices will be greater.

              22 Replies
              1. re: hungerpane

                That is my point exactly.

                Most of those are "bars", not restaurants.

                And that is a pretty grim list of places to eat as well. Might as well throw some 24hr Jack in The Boxes on there to pad the list some more. Maybe some 7-11's for the hot dogs.

                In fact, your list could actually double as a list of "Restaurants to Avoid in San Diego".

                So I guess that list does have some value.

                1. re: stevewag23

                  I think hungerpane's list is a good one and for late night eats, I want to eat in a bar/restaurant..

                  BTW, It's sacrilegious to bag on the maker of the beloved Jack in the Box tacos..

                  1. re: stevewag23

                    Mostly grim. I like Basic and Underbelly.

                    2 out of 18 ain't bad.


                    1. re: Josh

                      Yeah, I would say the same thing, 2 out of 18.

                      And Basic is not that great. Underbelly is good.

                      Many of those places are downright disgusting.

                      When someone uses "Funky Garcia's" and "Nicky Rotten's" to make a point, you know they are at best on shaky ground.

                      1. re: stevewag23

                        I've been to Basic once, and URBN once. I thought both had very respectable New Haven-style pizza. One of the caveats with that kind of pizza is the fewer toppings, the better. The clam pizza at Basic I really liked, and I actually thought it bested the one we had at Frank Pepe's in New Haven.

                        Funky Garcia's is the perfect Gaslamp restaurant name. It neatly summarizes all you need to know about the place.

                        1. re: Josh

                          Yeah, the gaslamp does have some great restaurant names.

                          "Funky Garcia's", "Nicky Rotten's" and "Rockin' Baja Lobster!".

                          Pacific beach weighs in pretty good as well with "Gringo's".

                          There is kind of an unwritten rule that if anyone uses any of those to make their case, they have already lost the debate.

                          1. re: stevewag23

                            Nicky Rotten's killed me when I first saw it. The weird gangster fetish escapes me. I was once at Wine Bank looking at a bottle of Laphroaig, and the owner was enthusing about how it was John Gotti's favorite scotch, like that was a selling point.

                            1. re: Josh

                              Oh yeah, I forgot that Nicky Rottens has that corny gangster theme going for it.

                              My only possible guess as to the theory and reasoning behind that was that it opened during the height of the Soprano's and they were looking for run-off of fans from that show.


                              1. re: stevewag23

                                Sounds about right. I'm sure the food is great.

                                1. re: stevewag23

                                  Was sort of surprised when Nicky Rottens got a good review for their burger on Serious Eats (although the burger didn't sound that appealing to me):


                                  1. re: CTDub

                                    They wouldn't be one of my top picks , if I were in the Gaslamp and starving, I'd opt for it.

                                    1. re: cstr

                                      So you are giving it the "if I was on a deserted island" seal of approval.

                                      I agree. Although I may just opt for mangoes and papayas.

                                      1. re: stevewag23

                                        Hmmm...never thought of those lucious fruit trees. You're right, fruit would be the way to go!

                            2. re: Josh

                              If Basic is anything like Frank Pepe's, I'm in. My wife and I ate there a few years back on our East Coast Honeymoon and I was in love ever since.

                              1. re: Bran808

                                I thought it compared pretty favorably to Frank Pepe's. I didn't think either were as good as Modern Apizza, though.

                                1. re: Josh

                                  Man, what I wouldn't do for a large white clam pizza from Frank Pepe's!


                                  1. re: Beach Chick

                                    I wasn't that impressed. I thought Basic's was better.

                                  2. re: Josh

                                    Hey Josh, are you referring to Sally's Apizza next to Pepe's?

                                    1. re: cstr

                                      No. We were there at lunch time, and Sally's wasn't open. Modern Apizza is located in a different part of New Haven, but has been there since 1934.

                              2. re: stevewag23

                                Ha..'"Funky Garcia's" and "Nicky Rotten's"
                                You got a valid point there steve-o.

                          2. re: hungerpane

                            With these options (and very few even decent options) I would prefer to stay hungry instead of wasting calories on some crappy food

                            1. re: hungerpane

                              On that list I'd try Izakaya Masa, City Deli, Underbelly, URBN Basic, and Bolillo Torta. Unless I was in a pizza mood Izakaya Masa would be my choice.