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Texan coming to SD!! Help me eat!

What are some cant miss local place to eat? Most of the time we will have 10 and 12 year olds in tow but want good local fare.

Also, where is a nice place to eat (adults only) to celebrate that also has a killer ocean view?

Thanks for your help.

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  1. Austin, Dallas, Lubbock, El Paso, San Antonio, or Houston? Need to know before I recommend.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pickypicky

      Originally from El Paso but 35 years in Dallas.

    2. For the "can't miss" spots we need more info on the types of places aside from being kid friendly, what do you want to eat and where are you staying?

      Georges Modern or Flavor Del Mar for your adult celebration with killer ocean view. There are others, but Georges is somewhat of an institution and I was incredibly impressed with a local trip to flavor.

      I would do Urban Solace for brunch,

      if you are big time sushi fans, sneak out without the kiddos for Omakase at Kaito. Not worth it if you're going to set at the table with kids.

      are you still going to be looking for Mexican food?

      1. Former Dallas girl here. Lots of Texans and Dallasites helped establish parts of San Diego. Specifically La Jolla. They first settled in the area around La Jolla Shores, so let us start there.
        Kid friendly:

        Piatti, very good local Italian neighborhood kind of place. This time of year- call and make a reservation on the patio.

        Barbarella. Across the street from Piatti and owned by the manager that opened Piatti back in the day. Great pizza, salad, salmon. A fave among locals and tourists in local hotels.

        Ocean views: Georges Ocean Terrace is always the go to rec for out of town visitors. But I also now include Eddie V's. Even better view. Do happy hour on the upstairs terrace if you don't feel like paying the dinner prices. Very solid.

        5 Replies
        1. re: foodiechick

          Gotta say, I wouldn't send an out of towner to Barbarella. It's ok, but the menu is pretty basic - Piatti has better food. Do agree with the George's rec. It's the best "killer view" restaurant in town by far - fine dining downstairs, more casual upstairs on the terrace.

          1. re: Alice Q

            That is kind of why we like it...laid back. It feels like we are at our beach home (even though we obviously don't have one) or a neighborhood party. It is a place to relax outdoors on a beautiful summer night and I think they deliver on the basics when you just want to chill. The few pastas and pizza they serve are the same recipes at Piatti (via Barbara), I think their fish dishes are more interesting, and I much prefer their salads. They also offer fresh oysters which is a big plus for us. I will say, that the risotto at B is horrific.

            We are regulars at Piatti as well, but in the summer...it is Barbarella for us. So agree to disagree.

            1. re: Alice Q

              'Gotta say, I wouldn't send an out of towner to Barbarella'...or a local.

          2. Tyler/Fredericksburg girl here. To continue the La Jolla theme: A Dallasite first sent me to El Pescador where you'll have the best fish sandwich of all time. Make sure you add avocado. If the kids get restless send them next door to Mitch's Surf Shop. And in LJ within one block of each other, there's the Coffee Cup for breakfast, Burger Lounge (SD's own burger chain of grassfed beef burgers) and Herringbone, one of the city's newest hotspots. The chef is from LA and serves whatever she pleases -- sustainability and local and lo-cal be damned. 100 yr old olive trees growing (or maybe growing) inside the place and DJ at night. Brand new, and my first meal there was good. Very expensive at night. And loud, so maybe not your grownups night out. Lunch and dinner. Great suggestions from Foodiechick, but then she's a Dallas girl!

            1. Dallas= La Jolla

              George's at the Cove ocean terrace or the bar
              Eddie V's
              LJ Shores restaurant...great oceanfront dining casual for the kids
              Alfonso's for nachos, margs
              Bahia Don Bravo's in Bird Rock
              Wave House in Mission Beach..ride the Belmont Park roller coaster and kids ride the wave..rent bikes at Hamels
              Green Flash in Pacific Beach
              Mission or Coffee Cup for breakfast
              Glider Port in LJ
              Brigantine in Del Mar...everyday happy hour for the fish tacos are very good..(make sure you go to Del Mar race track for the ponies)
              Cheese Shop in LJ Shores for sandwiches at beach..Jeff's burgers too.
              Fish Market Downtown bayfront patio with drinks and apps..oyster bar/sushi bar or Top of the Market..not the downstairs resto!
              Bali Hai in Shelter Island

              2 Replies
              1. re: Beach Chick

                Pretty solid list up there by Beach Chick. If you're in OB, definitely check out South Beach at the end of Newport Ave. Great mahi, lobster, oyster, and all sorts of anything-from-the-ocean tacos. The place is always packed. It's always been a first come seat yourself sort of thing, but I've heard they opened an upstairs recently. Not sure if they've changed the grab-a-table-if-you-can routine, but it's still worth it. It's right on the beack and pier so after meal walks are a given. I seem to recall getting carded on my way in, so I'm not sure what the child/age restriction is - you may want to give them a call to make sure the little ones can eat too.

                1. re: chezwhitey

                  seriously? what wrong with phils? the crowd, the hype, sure, but still damn tasty in my book.

                2. Thanks for all the recs!

                  I am making a iist...

                  Blue Water Seafood

                  Aqui es Texcoco in Chula Vista for potato taquitos and barbacoa
                  South Beach in OB for fish tacos but get the sauce on the side
                  Bull Taco

                  Fish Market Oyster bar downtown for oysters and anchor steam on tap..sushi bar is great too with bayfront patio for drinks and apps.

                  Carnitas' Snack Shack
                  Las Cuatros Milpas


                  Hacienda de Vega
                  TJ Oyster Bar in Bonita

                  Barrio Star
                  top of the market
                  island prime
                  the fishery
                  c level

                  One last question....what are some good family friendly places in Little Italy?

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: ricker10

                    Your list is very far-flung and some places may not be worth the drive if you are not already going to be in the area. Be aware that the Hodads in Ocean Beach often has a huge line and is definitely not worth waiting on line for. Your kids will not be allowed in South Beach.

                    Not that they are bad, but island prime, c level, bull taco, south beach, and fish market are places that would not be worthwhile for the food if the view was not included.

                    1. re: ricker10

                      For simplicity I'm just making a note on some of your recs

                      Hodads - another option for a good burger with food celebrity touch is RGang Eatery from Top Chef contestant Chef Rich Sweeney.

                      You have a lot of similar Mexican places. They're all special in their own way, but for making the most out of your trip you may want to narrow it down.

                      Aqui es Texcoco, Las Cuatros Milpas, Bahia's Don Bravo, I'll also throw in Super Cocina

                      Georges Modern is a definite. Not sure where all the Cohn Restaurant group is coming from, but I wouldn't call them destination spots in SD.

                      TJ and FIsh Market - I lean towards the latter for the reasons you mentioned

                      Carnitas - pork fan...absolutely.

                      Barrio Star no point in paying that amount for tacos

                      Katio if you love sushi
                      Flavor Del Mar as an alternative to Georges
                      Tower 23/JRDN also have a pretty nice view - haven't eaten at either though

                      LITTLE ITALY W/ KIDS - Pappaleccos is pretty popular, Landinis seems to be the rec for a kid friendly pizza place

                      Where are you staying?

                      1. re: Rodzilla

                        Ditto. 'specially Cohn Group remark. But differ on Barrio Star and recommend it as a great breakfast place. Chef Isabel is an under-appreciated SD landmark imo for reliable tasty, cross-cultural breakfasts all day.

                        Also, why a SD burger at all when you're from Texas? If you must, have your burger at JRDN where there is great people watching on the boardwalk.

                        1. re: pickypicky

                          Burger joint Hodads is because my kids love DDD and saw it on the show and said we have to go there.....

                          We are for sure doing George's and I have a reservation for the nicer part but I might change since I really like the menu from the terrace better.

                          As far as Cohn Group, not sure about what is what but I really want to eat at non chain local fare.

                          We are staying one street off Balboa Park.

                          BBQ in Dan Diego????? Do we really need to have that discussion as to why the heck the answer is NO?? :)

                          1. re: ricker10

                            The Cohen Group is a local restaurant group that has 10 or 12 places doing different things. They've been highly successful. Their restaurants are nicely done and cater to middle San Diego. In most of them the food is decent but nothing particularly interesting or outstanding one way or the other. They are roundly dispised on this board. While some of the scorn is deserved, some of it is not. I think the biggest problem most of us have with the Cohen Group restos is that they promote mediocrity and don't do much to develop food or menus in SD that move in more creative and innovative directions.

                            Hodad's certainly isn't awful and it is fun. Your kids will probably like it, and you may too. Is it the best burger in town? Probably not, but that doesn't sound why you're going.

                            1. re: ricker10

                              Cohn Group is a chain of San Diego restaurants that includes Island Prime/Clevel. See Dining Diva's comment above. If you're in SD on a Saturday, the Farmer's Market in Little Italy is wonderful. Fun to stroll and eat. One of our best and it has a view of the Harbor.

                              In Little Italy I like Craft and Commerce, a very cool bar with amazing homemade corndogs and other homey dishes. Underbelly is owned by same folks and has only ramen noodles, but VERY interesting and delicious ramen noodles-- and great range of craft beers on tap. Both restaurants are open air and cleverly designed to complement their food.

                              1. re: ricker10

                                If you are going to Hodads you might want to go on Wed. afternoon when the OB Farmer's Market is going,

                                It will be crowded, but it has a nice SoCal beach vibe that the kids might enjoy, not just farmers but quite a few other vendors make it kind of a Market/street fair hybrid.