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Mar 20, 2012 06:25 AM

Flying solo in San Diego for 2 days

I'm traveling to San Diego for an interview this weekend. I'll be flying solo while I'm out here and looking for recommendations on places to eat. I'm staying at the Manchester Hyatt and will not have a rental car - leaving me stuck within walking distance of the Gaslamp/East Village/Oldtown.

I'm open to anything, but am hoping to get some good Mexican food while on the West Coast. Seafood? Whatever is worth having! A balance of cheap eats and mid-upper range food would be great as I have a per diem.

Finally, I'm not sure if its worth mentioning, but I'm also a young woman in a relationship (although the SO is staying at home). So, I'd prefer to stay away from singles bars, anywhere that I may feel weird eating alone, and any place that may be unsafe.

Appreciate your help!

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  1. If you key in the words "manchester hyatt" in the top right search space of this page, you will be directed to several threads with requests similar to yours. The hotel right next door to yours is the Marriott Marquis/Marina, and keying that in will produce similar results. I'd respectfully suggest you do a little research first, come up with some possibilities, then ask for rec's for your particular situation from that list. Just seems a more efficient way to do things.

    Old Town is not walking distance from your hotel. East Village is about a 15 minute walk. I'm not aware of any recommendable Mexican places that are walking distance other than maybe El Vitral.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mcgrath

      I did do a little research on the board, but mostly people were asking about groups/couples. I read those recommendations and appreciate the time it took people to write them. I'm not sure if the recommendations change substantially based on the fact that I would be by myself.

      (Real talk: I'm from Baltimore. There are tons of places I would feel totally fine eating alone, but many great places high on recommendation lists there that I wouldn't. I am not sure if San Diego is similar.)

      Again, I'm sorry to post a repeat topic. I suppose I should have phrased it thusly: is there anywhere I should avoid?

    2. While it is not the most convenient, using the trolley or bus will greatly expand the area you can consider. The Number 2 bus runs up broadway/30th street to get to North Park and there are tons of recommendations for places in North Park/South Park - The Linkery, Urban Solace, Mariscos German truck (parking lot of IGA). I have enjoyed El Take it Easy recently as well.

      You can take the Trolley to Chula Vista where there are many Mexican Mariscos restaurants but I am not familiar enough with that area to tell you which are accessible from the Trolley.

      1. As McGrath pointed out you're not really within walking distance of Old Town, but you ARE within easy striking distance on the trolley. The Orange Line trolley runs directly in front of the Manchester Hyatt. You can take it going East 2 stops to American Plaza, hop off, cross the tracks and take the Blue Line trolley all the way to Old Town. It's really easy and if you're at all unsure, just ask the concierge at the Manchester for better directions.

        If taking the Blue Line trolley to Old Town...
        - Get off the trolley and head East on Taylor St. 2 blocks will bring you to Casa Guadalajara. It's not necessarily the best Mexican in town, but it serves all the usual suspects and does a reasonably good job at it. If the weather is nice ask them to seat you on the patio, or even if the weather isn't so great, there are heaters out there.
        - There are usually a few taxis out in front of the transit station in Old Town, you can take one the few blocks to El Agave, which is a semi-upscale Mexican restaurant in Old Town that specializes in mole and tequila. They can be very good, or they can be just average depending upon who's cooking in the kitchen. They've been around for ages.

        You can elect to get off the Blue Line trolley at the Washington St. stop and begin walking East on Washington St., go under the freeway and up to India St. Once on the other side of the freeway you will come to
        - Lucha Libre, certainly not the best taco shop in town (and fairly dispised on this board) but it's kind of fun in a tacky kind of way

        Or continue past Lucha Libre up to the stoplight, cross the street and you'll find Gelato Vero on the corner. Once again, not the best gelato in town, but very serviceable and a great stop for something sweet on your way back to the trolley stop. Walking down India, the first place you'll come to is
        -Saffron, which does rostisserie chicken and interesting sides. Been around a long time, can be uneven, but is usually pretty good, quick and reasonable. Up the stairs from Saffron is
        - Wine Vault & Bistro, which is very good, would probably require reservations, tho' a single walk-in could probably be accommodated. Very good, and often inventive, food and a great 5 course meal for $25-$30, just be aware that portions can be small.
        - Shakespeare Pub is next door to Wine Vault. What else is there to say, it's a pub and it can be a pretty fun stop.

        Keep walking down India past the pub and you'll end up at 2 restaurants that have been featured on the (dreaded) Diners, Drive-ins and Dives
        - El Indio, one of the older taco shops in San Diego and routinely based on this board as being inauthentic, over-rated, poor quality, and on and on. It's a busy, high volume place (usually a line out the door on weekends) doing the standard, tacos, rolled tacos, burritos, nachos and it's all pretty standard. Their chips, however, are really good.
        -Blue Water Grill is right next door to El Indio and as the name implies is a seafood market/restaurant. The fish taco is good and you can get it with your choice of fish and style of preparation. I prefer their sandwiches, but you can also get salads and plates.

        Back on the Blue Line Trolley, from American Plaza take it 2 stops to County Center/Little Italy, get off and walk 1 block east to India and you're in Little Italy where you will have more choices than you could possibly eat at in 2 days. You can search the board for Little Italy and get hundreds of threads.
        -Songo di Vino is a nice little stop for a glass of wine and sandwich, cheese plate, charcuterie, etc. It would be an easy place for a single woman to be alone and not be bothered.
        - Benncotto
        - PrepKitchen
        - Underbelly
        - And so many more.

        Very close, as in walking distance, to your hotel is Lion Share. The food is good, the drinks creative and I think you'd probably be comfortable there.

        Things can happen anywhere but by-and-large San Diego is pretty safe and the areas in which you will be should be very safe and not particularly threatening to a single woman out by herself. When in doubt, have the bar, restaurant, club, whatever call you a cab back to the Hyatt. There was a long thread last year started by a woman from Boston who was planning a solo trip to SD for Sept. 2011. See if you can find that, there were a ton of recommendations on it for her.

        And while you're at the Hyatt, don't forget to go up to the bar on the 40th floor for a drink and spectacular view of the Bay.

        3 Replies
        1. re: DiningDiva

          The long thread you mentioned from last year was by "pegmeister" and can be located by just searching that name above. An excellent thread for OP.

          1. re: mcgrath

            Thanks! I just checked this out. Exactly what I need. I appreciate you hunting down the screen name.

          2. re: DiningDiva

            Wonderful! I really appreciate your recommendations AND notes on places to avoid. Printing this out, and stuffing it in my bag now.