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Jan 11, 2001 11:01 AM

In San Diego for 5 days - Dinner Recomendations

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I will be in San Diego for 5 days -- we need 4 really good places to go for dinner. I will be with a group of 6. We will be in the area in mid-February. We are staying at the Four Seasons Aviara. We would like a good steak place, seafood, french, Italian, etc... Any advice or tips will be appreciated!


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  1. Drive to Tijuana, catch the dog races at Agua Caliente, then spend your winnings on supper at Carnitas Uruapan just down the street, where they cook the pigs in vast copper kettles of boiling lard. It is perhaps the single best way to spend an evening in the world.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Pepper
      victor lieberman

      At last someone with a point of view in San Diego.
      These other posts violate all good chowhound behavior!
      Ruth Chris??????????? Big Daddy's Roadhouse?????????/
      Are you kidding me?

      I would throw in Juanita's Taco Shop on Coast Higway
      and Jorge's in a strip mall on El Camino Real. Down and dirty Mex.


      1. re: victor lieberman

        I don't know San Diego, so I can't speak to those tips, but the way to counteract unchowhoundish talk is not to simply cluck your tongue in disapproval. The solution is to relentlessly post about GOOD places, and encourage one's chowhound friends to do likewise. THAT way, when true-blue hounds come around, they'll see stuff they can sink their teeth into, and respond in kind. The process will accelerate until you San Diego hounds have yourselves a resource as incredibly useful as those enjoyed by our NYC, SF, LA, Boston, and Chicago hounds.

        Again, I can't speak to any of the tips you've mentioned (which might, for all I know, be really good places....or not), but most people currently eating in inferior places would be DELIGHTED to learn of better alternatives (me too, for that matter!). Don't get bugged or dismissive, just provide pointers toward the land of milk and honey for them by suggesting superior alternatives. And be jealous of their impending revelatory happiness. In other words: be a chowhound!


        1. re: Jim Leff
          victor lieberman

          You are correct.
          I am abashed.
          OK, here goes:

          The tortilla soup at Jorge's on El Camino Real
          in Encinitas. The real thing, made from scratch.
          Jorge' used to run a big place and now has a hole in the wall. Also his chile verde burritos.

          Bronx Pizza in U district is actual East Coast stuff,
          thin crust and bursting with flavor. The fresh garlic is intense. It's moist heat and crowded and noisy
          and rude.

          There's a chinese/dim sum place on Midway just up the hill from Jack Murphy Stadium that is the rival of the
          the Hong Kong Chinese places in LA like Mon Kee and
          ABC seafood. Their pork potstickers and fried tofu
          are actually better. Very few caucasians which is the way it should be. Go early on the weekend.

          Across the street from there(in the strip center on the other side of Midway) is a Philly Cheese Steak Shop. Great grease and onions bubbling on the grill.
          Amarosa rolls. Definately in the class of Philly's Best in Irvine and Garden Grove. Only been there once, so I don't know if its consistent. But it was quite good the one time.

          Nobu in Solana Beach is the best sushi/japanese food in the area. Many other people have written about it and it is wonderful. Very fresh. Nearly reasonably price and the sushi chefs have the perfect sense of humor (The we're in the same club attitude without the arrogance).

          Rosanna's in old Encinitas (not the one in the Town Center) has the best Sausage and peppers sandwhich on their own bread that I have ever had. Their bread is a cross of a baguette and and a Mexican bollillo (sic).
          Crusty on the outside and soft in the middle.

          Good eating,


          1. re: victor lieberman

            Victor - I haven't heard of half these places and they sound amazing. So glad you came back to post your suggestions. I grew up around the corner from Nobu and other than distinguishing themselves by never asking for "proper ID" I had thought their food forgettable...however, it's been ten years since I've been so I'll give it a try the next time I'm in town.

            1. re: Lisa Bee
              victor lieberman

              Yes,and I was up all night realizing that I gave the wrong street name.

              The dim sum place and the Philly Cheesesteak place
              across the street are on CONVOY not Midway.

              And I should point out that Jorge's is in New
              Encinitas and in the Boll Weevil/Union Bank Center.


    2. Ashley, I assume you've read the earlier notes on San Diego here on the board so I will try not to be too duplicative. If I were you I'd go to Tapenade (La Jolla and $$ but superb) For seafood, since you're staying up the coast I'd go to Charlie's (it's on the water in Cardiff-just south of where you are. Great food, esp the calamari and the crab cakes) For steak,, there's a Ruth Chris in Del Mar (I haven't been but it's getting very good reviews from folks whose judgment I trust.) We've also had two top notch dinners at Belle Fleure (in the high end factory outlet shopping center near your hotel) it's a winery and restaurant.

      As an aside, there is a winery in Solana Beach (about 2 blocks from the beach.) The name is Witch Creek (the grapes come from inland but they make the wines here.) It's worth a stop.

      Hope this helps

      Bob Foster, San Diego

      1. Unfortunately, you've not had the benefit of great advice yet. Take this to the bank:

        +BEST STEAK: Donovan's - (LaJolla)
        +Seafood: Pacifica Del Mar (Del Mar)sit outside
        +Mexican: Las Olas (Cardiff-by-the-Sea)
        +French: Mille Fleurs (Rancho Santa Fe)

        These places are all within 20 minutes of your hotel. Please let me know what you think.

        1. s
          Stephanie Wolanski

          Mr. Robert's recommendations sounded good. If you want to stay close to the La Costa/Encinitas area, there are also great local spots. I live in the neighborhood of the Four Seasons. Along Highway 101 in the Leucadia area, there is a favorite spot called Big Daddy's Roadhouse Grill. Don't be fooled by the name. The food is outstanding. Their garlic marinated pork loin and steaks are always perfect. Their pastas and fish are always great and they serve local brews (try Arrogant Bastard Ale if you like dark ale). Lots of fun and always filled with locals.
          For great fish and chips go to DJ Hackers near corner of Hwy 101 and Encinitas Blvd. Their standard fish and chips (extra crispy) and Mexican Fish Chowder always satisfy my seafood cravings. A walk across the street to Moonlight Beach is great at sunset.
          Up in Carlsbad there are several great spots, a good late night haunt is Tom Giblins Irish pub, usually has live music and trivia contest on Tuesdays. The draft beer is always just right, food is variable but the shepherd's pie is always good.

          1. How's Bertrand's?