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Mar 9, 2012 07:28 AM

Family Dining Suggestions

We're headed to San Diego with the kiddos (two families), and staying in Pacific Beach. We're doing the typical tourist stuff (Legoland, Zoo, etc), but are looking for some really good, family-friendly dining options. We'll be in town from Sunday to Friday.
We will have a car, so travel shouldn't be an issue, though we'd probably try and coordinate meals with our daily outings (Zoo, Legoland, Safari Park, Aquarium, Coronado). Our budget is Moderate-to-Cheap, but splureges aren't out of the question. Also lucky to have kids that eat, or will try, just about anything! I'd love some good Chinese, Mexican, Italian/Pizza, Sushi, Burgers (though In-and-Out is a treat for us TX folks) and possibly some gastro-pub type places. Not sure if the latter is possible, but the grown-ups LOVE good beer!!
Looking forward to the suggestions, and the trip!!

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  1. You're in luck with beer places in SD, the craft beer capital of the US, keep in mind most places will not allow anyone under 21 in. Here's a thread for you.

    6 Replies
    1. re: cstr

      That is not accurate, cstr. Most places that serves food (Pizza Port, Karl Strauss, etc.) do not have age restrictions. Any place calling itself a "gastropub" certainly lets in kids (though I don't think any of those places are must stops, but I digress).

      1. re: RB Hound

        Pizza Port was on our list, suggested by a friend. Thanks for the info!

        1. re: yaqui316

          Pizza Port will definitely let your kids in; the game area is part of their vibe. The Ocean Beach location is probably closest to you, though Solana Beach is not that far up the coast. Some people like their pizza, most of the rest are OK with it, but that isn't the primary reason one is there. :)

        2. re: RB Hound

          Yah OK, I was thinking of places like South Beach Bar & Grill, they seve food but have an age restriction.

          1. re: cstr

            South Beach is not exactly known for its craft beer prowess. :)

      2. Tender Greens in beautiful old renovated Navy depot Liberty Station-- before/after eating great place for kids to run free. TG is absolutely topnotch reasonable CA fresh, in food and concept. The architecture of the former Navy barracks is beautiful and a rare bit of saved SD history. Normally, we like to tear down anything over 40 years old.

        Lunch outside at the Catamaran Resort, another great place for kids. A few feet from the table is a beach, where kids can play. They have a new chef who's working hard to elevate the food above usual hotel fare and create SD-centric dishes. (I think you can park free if you eat there. not sure. we usually walk or ride bikes on the boardwalk to get there.) Noted mid-century architecture and grounds contain parrots and waterfall. . .

        Outside the Catamaran Resort loading dock is a taco dive frequented religiously by Mission Beach locals and Catamaran kitchen crew. I think it's called La Playa, but you can't miss it on east side of Mission Blvd in the CR's shadow.

        Lots of families at The Fishery, some of the freshest fish in town. (not cheap) And Cantina is another great SD restaurant, with fusion food and decor; open doors and fresh air.

        If you and kids are truly adventuresome, look for one of our famous seafood taco trucks. Unforgettable. Plenty of info on other threads for them. Search Mariscos German to start.

        Search for any of these places on CH and you'll learn more. Always happy to help out a fellow TXan.

        5040 Cass Street, San Diego, CA 92109

        Mariscos German
        3515 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

        Catamaran Resort Hotel
        3999 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109

        966 Felspar St, San Diego, CA 92109

        Tender Greens
        2400 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106

        1. Alfonso's for Mex in LJ..
          George's at the Cove up on the ocean terrace for lunch or sunset drinks and dinner
          Sammy's Pizza in LJ
          Filippi's in Pacific Beach
          Piatti's in LJ Shores
          LJ Shores restaurant at the Hotel LJ Shores
          Jeff's Burger for lunch at LJ Shores or Cheese Shop for beach fun
          Bahia Don Bravo's in Bird Rock/LJ for great fish tacos and Mex
          Cafe Athena in PB
          Tender Greens

          Prado when your at the SD Zoo
          Kings Fish House or Karl Strauss at Legoland
          Hacienda de Vega when at Safari Park
          Brigantine in Coronado for everyday happy fish tacos

          1. Ribs if you go to SeaWorld.

            1. if you're going to Legoland in Carlsbad, the best sushi in the county is at Kaito Sushi in Encinitas, which will be on your way back down to PB.

              Blue Ribbon Artisanal Pizzeria in Encinitas is very good. mostly open for dinner and a few days/wk for lunch. check their website for exact hours.

              good Chinese is lacking in SD, so save your $$ and eat other food.

              also do a search for the places that you are going to. This is a common request on the board and there are lots of suggestions already in place.