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Restaurant recommendation for a gift?

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My brother and his DC are moving to UCSD for grad school. Was looking to get them gift certificates to 1, or maybe a few, restaurants as a graduation gift. Planning to spend around $100. Was thinking maybe $50 for 2 good places? I don't mind if the gift wouldn't totally cover dinner, but I am not looking for a place that will break the bank either. They have pretty eclectic food tastes and no dietary restrictions, so any place is in play. I am looking more for fun, funky places with good atmosphere that 22 year olds would like, but 22 year olds that have good taste in food. thanks!

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  1. I'd go with a couple of In and Out gift cards..
    George's at the Cove ocean terrace in La Jolla..
    Piatti's
    Flavor Del Mar..great happy hour
    Starlite
    Bahia Don Bravo taco shop

    8 Replies
    1. re: Beach Chick

      In'n'Out is horrible

      1. re: honkman

        In your opinion but someone who is 22 years old, would really enjoy it...imho

        1. re: Beach Chick

          I think he will enjoy Burger Lounge much more

          1. re: honkman

            BL is a good call too.

        2. re: honkman

          In N Out would provide many good meals for a grad student. Get them gift certificates for In n Out and Burger Lounge and let them do a burger tasting!

          1. re: daantaat

            We recently had for the first time in three years a double-double Animal style from In-n-Out and the "taste" of the patty was awful especially if you have eaten some beef of even decent quality, the quality of the bun is laughable and the fries were always lousy - so I don't really see how In-n-Out could provide even one decent meal

            1. re: honkman

              it provides a quick, cheap meal and is what it is. If I don't want to get out of my car and need to eat on the run, it is good for what it is. Sometimes I do not have the time or patience to go to a sit-down restaurant for a burger but don't want to hit up Mickey D's either, so In n Out suffices.

        3. re: Beach Chick

          +1 for In N Out and maybe Roy's.

        4. Rock Bottom Brewery in LJ might work.

          rockbottombrewery.com

          1. George's Ocean Terrace, Truluck's for HH, and Starlite.

            1. DC is?

              2 Replies
              1. re: alcoholic29

                My first guess was Damn Cat, but then the OP said they were both 22 and I figured a 22 y.o. cat probably wouldn't be too interested in a gift certificate to any restaurant...except maybe The Fishery.

                My second guess is Domestic Companion?

                1. re: DiningDiva

                  Thanks for all the help! DC is dining companion (maybe slang limited to the Boston board, where I usually I am reading?) although domestic companion would also be accurate

              2. If I were picking two places, I might do something like:
                Wine Vault
                and
                Alchemy (though this could easily be swapped out for some of the other SD places that specialize in good preparations of local food, e.g. Ritual Tavern, Sea Rocket Bistro)

                1 Reply
                1. re: hye

                  In addition to Ritual, which has very good chow and fun atmosphere, Linkery might be a good choice.

                  thelinkery.com
                  ritualtavern.com

                2. You can try Bali Hai on Shelter Isalnd to for some Polynesian food. This and other restaurants in the area are immensely popular with the boating crowd, since all offer tie-ups at their docks. Start with lobster wontons or the volcano pupu platter featuring little samples of a lot of appetizers. For entrees try one of the many flaming wok dishes or go for one of their classics such as shrimp in Bali Hai sauce or Kapahulu steak, a New York strip grilled with shiitake cream sauce & topped with fried onions. It might be a little pricey but it should be worth it.

                  1. I'm 23 if that helps :D

                    For right in La Jolla you might try El Pescador for a few moderately priced meals. Though I'm not sure it will offer the atmosphere you're looking for.

                    I'm with Beach Chick on Flavor Del Mar would be a great place for a night out, and the happy hour at their wine bar Sip would be great as well.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Rodzilla

                      You're 23 Rodzilla...such an old soul with so much knowledge and wisdom...awesome grasshopper.
                      ; )

                      1. re: Beach Chick

                        lol, thanks Beach Chick :D