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San Diego Vacation - Where To Eat?

hamburgermaster Jan 31, 2012 08:06 PM


I am vacationing in SD again (staying in Coronado) in several weeks. I've been to SD numerous times but end up dining at the same restaurants (Phil's BBQ, Wasabi Sushi, In&Out and Ruth's Chris). I was wondering if any of you can provide any good eats? I am not picky and will eat just about anything. Price is not much of a factor since this is my vacation. I will have a car and willing to drive. Note that the only time I think of Mexican food is when I am I'm SD. Portland,OR does not have good Mexican food like SD. Any recommendations would be great!



  1. Fake Name Mar 7, 2012 08:44 AM

    "Business #1 (Spot Available! Rent now! This is where the first Mexican Restaurants business in San Diego will be featured."

    Yeah! Great resource! Helpful! New! Unbiased!

    1. scottca075 Feb 5, 2012 01:31 PM

      For sushi I'd look at Sushi Ota in Pacific Beach, for steak besides Cowboy Star you have Donovan's in downtown and The Wellington Steak and Martini Lounge in Mission Hills (just up from Downtown).

      For Mexican, besides Super Cocina (which is a counter serve, hole-in-wall, but with great food), you have a range of full serve restaurants from El Borrego Restaurant in City Height, El Agave in Old Town, Romesco Baja Med in the Bonita area, Candelas Coronado and El Comal in North Park. Some of these are upscale, some more down home, all have pretty good, unique food.

      No one has mentioned Vietnamese/Chinese, but Saigon and Minh Key in City Heights are pretty good, not sure if you get Viet in PDX, I would assume so.

      San Diego is big in the gastropub/tavern scene. There are a lot of places worth looking at; The Linkery, Jayne's Gastropub, Alchemy, The Smoking Goat, Alexander's, Urban Solace, Toronado, Ritual Tavern, Sea Rocket Bistro, Blind Lady Ale House, Small Bar, Cafe 21 and not quite in that category, but worth a look is the Farm House Cafe. A lot of these places have amazing beer selections. and good food to go with it.

      On Coronado you have some nice little places like Tartine, Burger Lounge, Coronado Brewing Co, Chez Loma, Swaddee Thai Restaurant and Sapori. Sapori gets reviews all over the place, but I've several good meals there.

      For a comparison of my tastes, places I like in Portland are Paley's Place, Little Bird, Pazzo (as I usually stay at the Vintage Plaza), Red Star Tavern & Roast House, Pok Pok, Simpatica and Le Pigeon.

      2 Replies
      1. re: scottca075
        hamburgermaster Feb 5, 2012 08:12 PM

        Sounds like we have similar taste. Thank you for the break-down of all the restaurants. I am planning on doing brunch so Farm House Cafe would be perfect. I love Hash House but not willing to get up early to beat the line. For Viet, I love Pho Convoy. I wonder why my brother keeps taking me to Stone Brewery if there are so many great gastropubs/taverns near by?

        1. re: hamburgermaster
          ian langdon Feb 6, 2012 02:55 PM

          I've died several times doing that drive out to Stone. Better to go to Leroy's Lounge in Coronado and get an Arrogant Bastard and some decent pub grub.

      2. c
        cstr Feb 4, 2012 08:14 AM

        If you like some excellent Mex seafood, try Marisco's Godoy in Chula Vista off the Palomar Rd. exit on the 5 south or the Marisco's truck off Industrial Ave in the Toys R Us parking lot for some baja fish tacos or a goubenador (shrimp) taco or a tostada mixta (a variety of seafood) or drive to Super Concina on University near 35th for some slow cooked braised Mex dishes or FN's favorite place Super Sergio's for some carne asada tacos or burritos'.

        2 Replies
        1. re: cstr
          hamburgermaster Feb 4, 2012 08:46 AM

          Thanks cstr. Marisco's seems to be a top recommendation. It is definitely on my list.

          1. re: hamburgermaster
            cstr Feb 4, 2012 10:03 AM

            Here's a few website menu's.


        2. p
          pickypicky Feb 4, 2012 07:30 AM

          I'm curious. What made you reach out for suggestions, if you aren't picky? The places you have chosen in SD on past trips could be anywhere and some are everywhere. If we knew what had spurred this new interest in real (and locally great) food, then there are plenty of wise folks here to steer you right.

          11 Replies
          1. re: pickypicky
            hamburgermaster Feb 4, 2012 08:44 AM

            Great question. I reached out for suggests because it seems like I always end up at the same restaurants when I am in SD. What I meant to say was that I am willing to try new restaurants and want to visit more restaurants then the ones I listed. The restaurants listed were recommendations from my bro, who lives in SD. They are great places. Portland does not have great BBQ, sushi, or In&Out. There is a Ruth's Chris in PDX but I prefer the one in SD because my bro always ends up paying;). So far, there has been great recommendations from the locals and I am very excited! I just gained 10lbs thinking about it.

            1. re: hamburgermaster
              RB Hound Feb 4, 2012 09:36 AM

              You'll get a lot of debate if you opine that San Diego has a great BBQ place (especially if you put Phil's in that category). :)

              1. re: RB Hound
                hamburgermaster Feb 4, 2012 09:57 AM

                I will probably get shot for making this statement but Phil's BBQ is the best BBQ I've had so far. I've been on business trips in Memphis and tried all the well known BBQ joints. Phil's is still better. This is all relative since PDX does not have any good BBQ at all. Very sad. I am open to suggestions on new BBQ joints to try and would like the locals to change on mind on Phil's. OK...you guys can shoot me now;)

                1. re: hamburgermaster
                  Josh Feb 4, 2012 11:50 AM

                  Then you haven't had BBQ. I'm not sure that Memphis is especially well-known for it, either. Texas is really the home of it, and the BBQ there can be incredible.

                  It's not a food done well in SD.

                  1. re: Josh
                    mayache Feb 4, 2012 12:54 PM

                    Memphis is actually very well known for barbecue. Memphis-style is one of the four major styles of BBQ in the US (others are TX, Carolina, and KC).

                    1. re: mayache
                      Josh Feb 4, 2012 02:14 PM

                      Interesting - thanks for the info. Sounds tasty.

                      1. re: Josh
                        DiningDiva Feb 4, 2012 02:30 PM

                        Here Josh, check out this link for Memphis in May -http://www.memphisinmay.org/worldcham...

                  2. re: hamburgermaster
                    hye Feb 4, 2012 11:50 AM

                    On the other hand, there are some fantastic places in PDX. (at least in my case, the Portland chowhound board steered me well when I visited.)

                    1. re: hamburgermaster
                      RB Hound Feb 5, 2012 10:54 AM

                      I don't think most people's objection to Phil's is the flavor of the product; just them calling it "barbeque". A quibble about the cooking technique and such.

                      1. re: RB Hound
                        Fake Name Feb 5, 2012 12:17 PM


                        Oh, fellow Chowhound, I object to the use of "quibble". Quibble is arguing about small, meaningless detail, like which side of the bed to exit. The definition of BBQ is certainly not meaningless. Does one "quibble" about filling the cars tank with water or gasoline? I think not.

                        Quibble. Sheesh. This is serious stuff.

                  3. re: hamburgermaster
                    Josh Feb 4, 2012 11:47 AM

                    San Diego doesn't have great BBQ either.

                2. f
                  FireFlyFiftyFive Feb 3, 2012 04:36 PM

                  If you might like steak and steak stuffs as you mentioned Ruth's Chris you might want to check out Cowboy Star. I haven't been personally I can't believe it but always seems to get love here with Hounders.

                  1. g
                    gmk1322 Feb 1, 2012 09:57 PM

                    Make a reservation and take the drive to Kaito Sushi in Encinitas, such good sushi

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: gmk1322
                      daantaat Feb 2, 2012 09:08 PM

                      +1 on Kaito.

                    2. d
                      daantaat Feb 1, 2012 09:44 PM

                      Romesco's in Bonita is Baja-Mex--when you look at the menu, think more Spanish-Mediterranean kind of food. Overall, the food is good. Their beef tongue tacos are excellent.

                      Mama Testa's in Hillcrest is still good for tacos, even though they have slipped a little.

                      Spread and Urban Solace in North Park are both very good, but similar to what you can get in PDX.

                      If you want good Japanese, do yourself a favor and hit up Okan, Oton, Izakaya Sakura and Yakyudori Yakitori and Ramen, all in the Convoy area.

                      1. Beach Chick Feb 1, 2012 06:54 AM

                        Brigantine everyday happy hour in Coronado has great fish tacos..
                        Las Cuatro Milpas under the Coronado bridge in SD for carnitas..
                        Mariscos German seafood truck in City Heights
                        Super Cocina
                        Aqui es Texcoco in Chula Vista for fab potato taquitos

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Beach Chick
                          cstr Feb 1, 2012 07:09 AM

                          Don't forget the Zucchini Flower and Poblano Pepper Quesadillas!!! yum yum... for those non-carnivors.

                          1. re: cstr
                            Beach Chick Feb 1, 2012 07:16 AM

                            Got that right brother sledge...great, now I've gotta go all the way down to CV and get an order of papas taquitos, zucchini flower quesadilla...
                            The food is so frigging good!

                            1. re: Beach Chick
                              cstr Feb 1, 2012 07:47 AM

                              Did you know that there is an Vamos es Texcoco on 951 E. Vista Way in Vista, same great menu!! and I think it may be closer to you.

                              1. re: cstr
                                Beach Chick Feb 1, 2012 08:00 AM

                                Thanks..forgot they have a place up in Vista which is still far..
                                Could take RSF rd and avoid the horrid 78..
                                I see they have bean rolled tacos too...wonder what those bad boys taste like.
                                The potato rolled tacos are the best I've ever had!


                          2. re: Beach Chick
                            Fake Name Feb 1, 2012 02:38 PM

                            Carnitas at Las Cuatro Milpas?

                            I think not....but I like everything there.

                            1. re: Beach Chick
                              DiningDiva Feb 4, 2012 02:33 PM

                              I don't necessarily agree 100% with this guys POV, but this blog post has the best photos of food at Super Cocina that I've come across - http://theeatenpath.com/2010/02/11/su...

                              Scroll to the end of it for a list of other places (most will be familiar to this board) he blogged about. I agree with some but not others...

                            2. h
                              hye Feb 1, 2012 12:27 AM

                              "(Phil's BBQ, Wasabi Sushi, In&Out and Ruth's Chris)"
                              -- that list makes me sad. :(

                              Super Cocina (~36th & University) in Normal Heights is good for homestyle Mexican cooking.

                              You can also try some of the taco trucks for fish tacos complete with "authentic" ambience. There are a couple different Marsico's German locations, but I like Mariscos El Pescador which is located in the Chula Vista Toys'R'Us parking lot off of Industrial Blvd.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: hye
                                hamburgermaster Feb 1, 2012 06:46 AM

                                Thank you hye! I will check out these restaurants.

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