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Nov 10, 2003 02:47 AM

Near San Diego State

  • m

Need a good place for lunch, salads, sandwiches that type of thing near San Diego State.

Also any good Mexican or Italian places for dinner.

Will be there for four days next week.


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  1. Alas, SDSU is miles from the culinary centers of San Diego. When I was a student there (long years ago), I survived on a daily meal of cheeseburger (deluxe), fries and coffee at the Aztec Center student union's cafeteria. For variety, I'd sometimes eat at the East Commons where I'd have a cheeseburger (deluxe), fries and coffee. If you want something noteworthy to eat that isn't manufactured fast food, you're going to have to get into your car.

    Having said that, you can get on Alvarado Rd. (the frontage road of I-8) at College Ave, go east about a mile and a half, and you'll be at one of San Diego's few really good deli/restaurants, D.Z. Akins. There's also a bus that goes right by it from SDSU.

    For dinner, get on the eastbound I-8 at College, take the next off ramp (Lake Murray Blvd), and go north about a mile and a half to Baltimore Dr. In the little shopping center is Trattoria Antica, the best Italian food east of Balboa Park (lunch M-F, dinner nightly).

    Good luck, and if you're stuck without transportation, you can get a pretty good deluxe cheeseburger right on campus. ;-)
    . . jim strain in san diego.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Jim Strain
      Kathleen Mikulis

      I can't say more good things about D.Z. Akins (a.k.a. "The Deez"). I'm not exaggerating this at all but my friends just drove to San Diego from the Bay Area just so they could eat at The Deez and Lotsa Pasta in Pacific Beach for every meal. Their afternoons were spent wasting time in their Motel 6 room. Anyway, the food at The Deez is that good. Plus there's a framed picture of Bosom Buddies great, Peter Scolari.

      There's also a wonderful Italian place called Ciao Bella I tried for the first time the other night (I'm visiting from out of town but grew up here). It's located in a strip mall at Baltimore and Fletcher Pkwy. Authentic Italian. Great specials. Very thick accents. It's wonderful.

      1. re: Kathleen Mikulis

        I did a search for D.Z. Akins and found their website. Their prices for a sandwich seem kind of high. They better use good quality meats and give you a lot of it to make it worthwhile.

        Hopefully I will be able to make it there on Wednesday.

        And from a post above looks like prime rib on Thursday night for me.

        1. re: MDHound

          D.Z. Akins serves abundantly, to say the least. You will waddle out, licking your lips and planning your next visit.

          1. re: MDHound

            DZ Akins does use good meat and the portions are very large. Too large in my opinion, but then I've never been a big fan of sandwiches, especially overstuffed ones. Also, you need to remember San Diego is one of the most expensive places to live not only in California, but the U.S. Prices are high for a lot of things ;-)

            There used to be far more choices in the immediate (i.e. walking distance) area surrounding SDSU, but they've fallen victim to the university expansion. If you are on campus, Aztec Shops really does a decent job with the food, it's definitely better than when I was there in the early to mid 70s. (Hey, Jim, East Commons was complete renovated a few years a go, it's no longer the dungeon it used to be. West Commons was more my style back then). You could do a lot worse than just stay on campus to eat for lunch.

            If you have a car you can do a couple of things. Go East on Montezuma till you hit El Cajon Blvd. Keep going East, there are tons of little restaurants of every imaginable variety (and quality) between Montezuma and Baltimore, turn around at Baltimore and then go West, even more choices. Or, you can go down College Ave. till you hit El Cajon or University and go West. Once again, huge numbers of places to eat. In San Diego, the bulk of the ethnic eateries are concentrated along University and El Cajon from about 70th St. to Park Ave. Even at the extreme ends of these streets you'd never be more than 5-8 miles from SDSU and both University and El Cajon run East/West in a straight shot. Some of the best non-fine dining in San Diego is on these 2 boulevards.

            1. re: Gayla

              Gayla - My wife doesn't care for "too much meat" in her sandwiches as well, as for me, I did finish the "fressor" w/fries during lunch one day...BTW I also like DZ's Fried Chicken for some reason.

              1. re: KirkK

                Don't forget their deee-licious matzo-ball soup! It's some of the best I've had anywhere...and the kreplach is really good, too.


              2. re: Gayla

                I wonder if anyone out there can recommend a restaurant
                within walking distance to Cox Arena. I am attending the Gingle Ball Concert on Friday, 12/5. Most any style is O.K. Thanks in advance. C

        2. As a current SDSU student I must warn you that parking is hell. I never leave campus until I leave for the day. I don't know what your parking situation will be though. Anyways, my solution is to brown bag my lunches to campus on most days, but if faced with a situation where I must buy on campus, I will either buy a pasta salad or sandwich from Starbucks (there are two on campus) or buy greek salad or the hummus plate from Daphne's Greek in the Aztec Center. Not delightful fare but tasty enough that eating it is not a chore.

          1. Any updates since this very old thread for a nice, but not too lengthy dinner before a concert at SDSU?

            6 Replies
            1. re: torta basilica

              Our favorite Italian restaurant - Antica Trattoria - is located one exit east and about a mile north of SDSU. I think they open at 5 most nights. They have had some good press recently so reservations are a good idea, especially if you have time constraints.

              Another spot we frequent is Toshi's, a Japanese/Sushi restaurant on El Cajon Blvd, a few blocks west of College. After suffering a lot of mediocre sushi places in the area, we were pleasantly surprised at the quality of their fish. The selection is pretty basic but it's fresh, good quality, ample portions and great prices. We love the $5 softshell crab appetizer - a screaming deal. Sure, it's not the best sushi in town, but it's decent and far and away the best you'll find in this area.

              And if you don't make dinner before the show, there's always Bully's East and I think their kitchen stays open pretty late.

              1. re: torta basilica

                Very good sandwiches at La torta, well within walking distance near the main entrance. Tons of food, very casual, and pretty cheap.

                1. re: ipe

                  We're going to the open air theater - which would be most convenient? They all sound good, although very different experiences!

                  1. re: torta basilica

                    Toshi's is closer to State. I'd make a reservation if you want to sit at the sushi bar.

                    Have fun!

                    1. re: mimosa

                      I want to second the Toshi's recommendation. We live close enough that we can walk there which means it is a very frequent destination for us. If you want to try something unusual, get the sushi nachos. Diced halibut, salmon, tuna, cilantro, lime juice, and jalapenos on a fried wonton skin. Spicy and refreshing!

                2. re: torta basilica

                  I had a nice dinner at Sala Thai(6161 El Cajon Blvd) before a recent Cox Arena concert. It's less than a 5 min. drive away. Family run, good food and very pleasant atmosphere. The restaurant is in a big strip mall so most of us left our cars there and carpooled to the concert - very convenient.

                3. Near SDSU, there is the Kensington Grill on ADAMS Ave. It is a great neighborhood place. Ponces on Adams is also an inexpesive Mexican place. In Hillcrest.Mission Hills we like Jimmy Carters on Washington Avenue. The chef is from Oaxca, Mexico and the they offer regional dishes for under 10. This place is not fancy, but very good. Some people we know go there 1 or 2 a week. You will see the same people if you go there enough.

                  DZ Akins also offers what the call the Mini Sandwich and soup. The mini sandwich is pretty large and the sould is a whole bowl. It is a great meal.

                  Sala Thai has been refered to above, very good as well.

                  1. We ended up at Toshi's, which was a great & reasonable rec. I had good maguro & uni. Were really hungry, so we split a shrimp & veg tempura, which was large & delicious. Continued on to a crunchy roll for my 16 year old that she loved and I decided to go collegiate & had the Aztec roll - very very good. Think we got out of there for about $36 without tip... Had a few reminders of the tempura during the Damien Rice concert, but all in all, worked out perfectly! Thanks to all - I really want an excuse to check out Antica & Bully's now, but it's a bit of a drive from Newport...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: torta basilica

                      Glad you were well fed! Next time definitelty try to make time for Antica.