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I would appreciate recommendations for dining in San Diego. I am especially interested in a good deli, seafood in Seaport Village, Italian, Dim
Sum, anything near our hotel in Little Italy, and any places that we shouldn't miss. We're looking forward to spending about five days in San Diego in February with a car. Thank you for your suggestions.

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  1. Mona Lisa's in Little Italy has a sandwich thats good. Point Loma Seafoods cannot be missed. sorry so late to your post

    2 Replies
    1. re: callmetomforshort

      Try a calimari sandwich at Point Loma Seafood. Tender squid steak, good bread, simple but delicious. Doubt you'll find it in Boise. And the atmosphere at PLS is great. On the water, lots of people, fun walking neighborhood to look at boats.

      1. re: callmetomforshort

        At Mona Lisa they have a great sandwiches. the Number 11, Caprese is fantastic, fresh mozzarella cheese, basil leaves and fresh tomato with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It is one of the freshest foods one can eat on a hot day.
        I am not a fan of Fillippis unless you like overly thick tomato sauce and pizza that is unremarkable. If forced to go, as I have been in the past. I order one of two items, spaghetti with olive oil and garlic or shells with peas. I am indifferent about peas but the Shells with peas is very good/a light white sauce with roasted onions in a large bowl. Very good with parmesean cheese.
        Also Mona Lisa i think has a better deli section with larger selection

      2. If your hotel is in Little Italy, you'll find plenty of great food within walking distance. There's Louisiana Food Shoppe with great Southern food, creole, fish dishes and po' boy sandwiches..typical NOLA food. There's Chinese at China Camp, Po Pazzo's for steaks, Sushi Fix for sushi, and some of the best dessert, bistro's/cafes and coffee places in San Diego are clustered in a 4 block radius of Little Italy. Enjoy!

        1. You will have plenty of fine choices right in Little Italy - all within walking distance. But one place that doesn't get a lot of print is Pete's Quality Meat. Right on India Street (Little Italy's main street): Outstanding sandwiches in a friendly, low-key atmosphere. And the guy behind the counter? that's Pete. A true carnivore's paradise at very reasonable prices. Closed Sunday (as I found out the hard way...).

          Indigo Grill (also on India) is terrific. A great menu that never disappoints. It may be in Little Italy, but this is not an Italian restaurant instead focusing on Pacific (Mexico to Alaska)flavors. Deborah Scott (Chef/Partner) is a wizard completely deserving of every award. The service, while typically relaxed San Diego style, is adequate. The restaurant itself is gorgeous.

          Of course there's plenty of Italian. Increasingly, it's more high-end, but Filippi's is a classic old style Italian Restaurant with an Italian market in front (again, on India). Simple, sturdy food at prices that will make you smile. Red-checkered tablecloths, bottles of Chianti hanging from the ceiling, they've been at this location for something like 50 years and I doubt the decor has changed much, but neither has the quality. Family owned and operated, you'll feel (and taste) the love. The line starts forming about 6:30.

          Stay away from Grab and Go Deli, after a sandwich there, Grab and Go is what you'll have to do...

          Welcome to San Diego. Hope you have a wonderful time.

          1. I'm not sure that's really fair about Grab N Go. They aren't the best sandwiches you'll ever eat, but I've never been poisoned by one! I would also encourage you to branch out from Little Italy. There are some decent places around there, but a lot of mediocre ones too. I also don't like Indigo Grill, but that's a matter of personal taste.

            There have been several recent posts where people have recommended numerous restaurants in and around downtown - maybe do a quick search for San Diego and you should find the threads. Enjoy your trip!

            1. Too many superior options, all of which are close by, to eat the drivel they serve at Grab and Go. If you were stuck in the desert on I-15 and your only choices were a sandwich at GAG (pun intended) or a hotdog at 7-11, I guess you'd take the sandwich, but it'd be a close call...

              As far as Indigo Grill, ya know, it seems to be one of those places that people either really like... or really don't - as you said, it's personal taste. But to me, Deborah Scott is a local culinary star that provides an exemplary slice of what is becoming a San Diego school of cooking: local in-season ingredients (e.g. Chino Farms - I've never once seen a Sysco truck out front) used to meld several different styles - in this case eastern Pacific Rim - kind of an Alice Waters south (obviously no one approaches Ms. Waters, not yet anyway...). She's an ideal choice for a guest to sample true local cuisine. Many people find Indigo Grill eclectic and delicious, but not everyone. Joan may, like you Miss Q, not like it at all, but it's more than worth a try.

              Joan, would suggest you use Seaport Village strictly for a snack. Although the scenery is beautiful, my experience is that the food there runs from forgettable to atrocious. Harbor House and Edgewater won't offend you, but there are so many much better options (especially since you have a car) I'd hate to see you spend your cash on what are essentially Outbacks or Red Lobsters by the sea (with smaller portions).

              And please don't be fooled by The San Diego Pier Cafe. A fabulous setting jutting out into the water, but consistently some of the worst food San Diego has to offer. This place has been here for years. And, like a spider, lures unsuspecting tourists into their revolting web of effluent. About every three or four years, I give it a shot - seduced by its beauty - hoping for some, make that any, improvement. Every time I walk away (barely), holding my stomach in disgust and swearing never again to be tempted by the alluring siren by the bay. But, I'm a sucker for a pretty face. You must be stronger than I.

              I agree with everyone here about Point Loma Seafood. Like Little Italy, the Point Loma bay front also was for years an ethnic enclave. Point Loma was a Portuguese community. Both have a great fishing heritage, but Point Loma has preserved its a little better. This is a place the locals, with good reason, love. I think you will too.

              If you really want to spend some cash, yet stay close to your hotel, both Bertrand at Mr. A's and Laurel are just a very short drive away (near Balboa Park). Mr. A's is located atop a midrise, but high on a ridge, and boasts an absolutely spectacular view of San Diego. Bertrand also owns the legendary Mille Fleurs in Rancho Santa Fe. Continental menu and, with a few exceptions, superb. Laurel is not quite the "in" spot it used to be, but still very good and pretty darn swanky - you enter above floor level and descend on a grand staircase to your table. Talk about making an entrance! It's straight out of the movies. Owned by Tracy Borkum of Chive and Kensington Grill fame (both real favorites of mine). Outstanding wine list. Laurel also has a relatively inexpensive tasting menu. $35/person. Add $20 for wine. It's great. Each has inexpensive valet parking.

              Two last notes, both are in Little Italy: The Waterfront Bar and Grill has a terrific burger and a plethora of inexpensive beers. I think it's been there since the 1940s and is nearby on Kettner. Extraordinary Desserts on Union Street is Karen Krasne's second oasis of sweet decadence (the other is on Banker's Hill in SD). Open well into the evening, you'll want to indulge yourself here, probably more than once.


              1. Emerald on Convoy has excellent dim sum (cart service).

                China Max on Convoy also has dim sum (order off menu). China Max is probably the best single Hong Kong style seafood house in town.

                Alot of good Vietnamese places in SD. Saigon out on El Cajon Blvd is a good place to start.

                No deli in town worth your time or money.


                1 Reply
                1. re: Ed Dibble

                  No delis in town worth your time or money? Sure, there isn't anything on the order of Katz's deli on the lower east side but D.Z. Akins sure does hit the spot. Without a doubt it is the best Hebrew deli in town and worth people's time and money.

                2. Another little gem that might be worth the drive or the ferry ride is Il Fornaio in coronado. it is a chain but has very good food and I like their seasonal chef's offerings. But mostly they have a fabulous view at sunset. You look back at the SD skyline with boats and ships passing

                  1. ralph sandwiches in La Jolla (the supermarket)

                    i kid you not they have amazing fresh made sandwiches.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: clayfu

                      The absolute best sandwich I ever ate came from Ralphs in LJ. But it happened to be the night my son was born and my ILs brought it to me at the hospital- a turkey, jack and avocado with bacon on sourdough, and they HEAPED the bacon on it. It, in truth was probably just OK, but it was the most important sandwich I've had. Never forget it.

                      back to chowhounding...


                      PS: I happily eat GrabnGo sandwiches- Italian Village Special, hold the peps, on a regular basis, can't stand Indigo Grill, (revoke their squeeze bottle license!) and think the burgers at the Waterfront are second-rate or lower. Blasphemy, I know.

                    2. Filippi's has best meatball sandwiches and sausage/spaghetti plates, but I agree with the other posting about the pizza, not that great. The meatballs though, they keep me coming back.

                      Go there and don't worry about the line, it's a single file through their Italian deli/store.

                      san diego food blog

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: stangoldsmith

                        If your looking for deli/diner type food downtown then go for the cheese shop. It's on fourth and G street, i think. They also have a branch up in La Jolla.

                        As everyone else has pointed out, Point Loma Seafood is great, but if you are looking for something close to Seaport Village and Little Italy, then the Fish Market is great for fresh seafood as well. It's more expensive than Point Loma Seafood, but they also have more variety. The lobster BLT is fantastic.The Fresh Market is just north of seaport village, right next to the Aircraft carrier. They have an upstairs called Top of the Market, which is their "white table cloth" place. The view is great and food is also very good, but you can't miss by going to either Point Loma Seafood, the fish market or the top of the market.

                        As willinsd noted Mr. A's really can't be beat for fine dining in sd. The view and food is simply fantastic. Also Island Prime, owned by the same lot as Indigo Grille, is a great place out on shelter island.

                        Hope you have fun.

                        1. re: stangoldsmith

                          For pizza it is hard to beat Woodstocks Pizza. I have a soft spot for Woodstocks since it was the standby back in my college days in Isla Vista but the San Diego location still serves up flavorful pies made with real ingredients instead of the junk most chains pass off.

                        2. island prime has great service =).

                          lobster baked potato is also the bizomb!


                          1. Board and Brew in Del Mar is EXCELLENT!! I would be willing to argue that they make the BEST sandwiches in all of san diego!!