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Jul 21, 2012 07:37 PM

From DC to SD! Need places to write home about!

I'll be in SD (first timer) for a week and need recommendations for dinner!

I will be staying in La Jolla area near UCSD. Distance away from my location as well as price are NOT big deciding factors. I'm happy to dine out at a 5 five restaurant serving haute cuisine or divey joints as long as it is reputable. Recommendation on Breakfast and Lunch joints will be helpful as well.


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    1. Will you have a car? And have you searched the boards already?

      5 Replies
      1. re: DiningDiva

        I will have a car and yes I did preliminary searches on yelp and these restaurants caught my eyes. Are they popular among locals?

        Fish Market
        Phil's Barbeque? (a friend who visited SD raves about it on daily basis)
        Broken Yolk? (saw it on man vs food)

        I hear that SD has a plethora of mexican food foodtrucks. Know of any good ones I can flag down???

        1. re: BoomY

          Fish Market...downtown, oyster bar is pretty good, upstairs is very good, downstairs, pedestrian at best
          Piatti...been awhile since I've been, but usually pretty good...chain
          Phil's...don't know why your friend is raving, big portions of not "low and slow" or smoked
          Broken Yolk...don't. Huge portions, so-so food (i.e. not bad, not food)
          Rubio's...acutally not too bad for a quick lunch
 might want to check out the recent discussions on the board, not recommended

          There are not necessarily a plethora of food trucks in SD. The Marisco's German trucks are very good. Closest one to La Jolla is on El Cajon Blvd. around 35th or 37th. El Pescador is in Chula Vista, about a 30-35 minute (depending upon traffic) straight shot down the I-5 from La Jolla. Same parking lot is the torta ahogada truck. Both are very good, don't know if they're good enough to warrant a trip from La Jolla to Chula Vista (board regular "cstr" will say they are)

          Closer to LJ for Mexican food is Super Cocina on University between Cherokee and 37th. This is (literally) home-style Mexican cooking. Do not be put off by the steamtable service, most of what is in it is conducive to being held in moist heat. They will give you a taste of whatever you want...even if it's everything on the steamtable!!

          El Take it Easy on 30th just a few doors north of University is doing some creative and interesting Mexican inspired drinks and dishes. The owner has fairly deep ties to the Baja culinary scene and the dishes on his menu and drinks on the bar menu reflect that.

          Isabel Cantina (on Feldspar a few doors west of Cass) in Pacific Beach does delicious Mexican inspired breakfasts along with the more traditional breakfast offerings. This is my nephews favorite breaskfast place in SD, I have to take him every time he visits.

          San Diego's Mexican claim to fame is not the fish taco but the carne asada burrito. Check out Rudy's in Encinitas for a food rendition. Add french fries to it and you have the unique SD invention called a California Burrito.

          Nine-Ten in the Grand Colonial Hotel in La Jolla does an excellent (if not noisy) job with lunch and dinner, but the surprise meal is breakfast. Relaxed, straightforward, tasty and affordable given it's location.

          George's CA Modern and Eddie Vs both deserve some consideration for La Jolla dining as does El Pescador for their stellar fish sandwiches. Alfonso's is an old LJ stand by for Maggies and nachos.

          1. re: BoomY

            Instead of searching Yelp you should search CH were your question is asked in some similar form on a regular basis. The overlap between restaurants prefered on Yelp and this board is low. Of the restaurants you suggested only Piatti is decent for lunch but not a first choice in SD

            1. re: BoomY

              Piatti- You have better Italian at Dino
              Fish Market- You have better fish anywhere in DC
              Rubios- I lean to the quesadillas rather than the fish tacos.

              We used to live in DC so I know that food scene pretty well.

              A few nice places that do well here: I'd try to hit George's for a slightly later dinner to see sunset. What they're doing in the main dining room is great.

              Also, one thing DC does not have is good sushi (Taro is so mediocre compared to a lot of places here). Try to hit Ota or Kaito (you can read through the board to figure out what is great).

              One great experience, even though the food is far from authentic is Bull Taco.

              Truluck is good, but i think overly expensive. If you can hit it during happy hour that's good, but other than that not worth your time.

              Other than Ray's I don't think DC does steak very well unless you are at one of the chains (and even that's not great) so I'd hit Cowboy Star.

              Also, I might consider Sea Rocket Bistro if for nothing else than the sea urchin if you eat that.

              Just a few places- this doesn't get to all your mexican food- others are far more qualified than me to touch on that.

              1. re: chetatkinsdiet

                Don't go to Bull's Taco - great view but really overpriced, lousy food

          2. El Pescador Fish Market and Burger Lounge are good lunch options in La Jolla. The Cottage in La Jolla is great for breakfast.

            El Pescador Fish Market
            627 Pearl Street
            La Jolla
            858 456-2526

            Burger Lounge
            1101 Wall St
            La Jolla
            858 456-0196

            The Cottage
            7702 Fay Ave
            La Jolla
            858 454-8409

            1. Make reservations for sunset at Georges Modern or Flavor Del Mar.

              Get sushi at Kaito in Encinitas or try for Ota and sit at the bar.

              Get lunch at super cocina one day, and one of the Mariscos taco trucks on another.

              Have Brunch at urban solace.