HOME > Chowhound > San Diego >


Need recommendations --Conference week in San Diego

Hello all:
Will be viisting in November for a week. Several days are devoted to conference and social events surrounding that. Thinking of renting a car the last few days. Staying in gaslight. Need some recommendations for dinner for four NY/NJ folks visiting for the first time. We like just about everything, especially seafood. Looking for any exceptional recommendations within walking distance of convention center (up to a mile), for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The two days with rental car broadens our horizons as well. What should we not miss? As always thanks so much--New Orleans was a delight thanks to all the chowhound recommendations we got!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Do some searches. This question gets asked constantly.

    1. For much more searching success, use "Gaslamp" and not gaslight.

      Edit: in case you didn't see this yet, are you into craft beers? I'm guessing not, but you never know...

      1. Which convention center? Bay, Civic, or Town & Country?

        1. There are many similar threads, but here are where I direct all my guests who are visiting San Diego for the first time.

          The Rental Car is what is going to get you to the spots you won't want to miss:

          Georges Modern in La Jolla - Go at sunset, one of the best views in SD..and if there is "San Diego" type of cuisine - it's here.

          Urban Solace in North Park - contemporary comfort food, casual, one of the best brunch spot in SD - great beer and wine selection (try anything from Societe Brewing)

          Kaito Sushi in Encinitas - if any of you really love sushi, make reservations for the bar. If you're just fans of rolls and stuff like that there are plenty of suitable spots that are closer - but if you really want to experience some of the best SD (and maybe SoCal) has to offer go here. Drive up the 101 for a great view.

          Oscars in Birdrock/North Pacific Beach - San Diego is famous for fish tacos, this hole in the wall taco shop makes the best ones.

          1 mile of Convention Center:
          Cafe Chloe is a favorite of the boards for any time of day
          The Mission for breakfast/brunch
          Neighborhood for a burger and beer
          Jsix, Saltbox, Cowboy Star all likely to please

          1. The Mariscos German Beyer truck is about a one mile walk, maybe a little less. If you really want to walk that far, it's unique SD eats, and quite good.

            8 Replies
            1. re: y6y6y6

              I'm staying at the Marriott and am obsessed with finding this truck. Drove by a couple of locations yesterday to find an empty parking lot. Can someone confirm the location and hours of any Mariscos German Beyer truck?

              If I can find it, that will satisfy my snack and lunch craving, but is there any recommendations for a really good mexican food experience that is kid-friendly (proximity to convention center area a plus, but not essential).

                1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

                  Shameful to say that I don't use FB, so I can't use the link.
                  Does it say where they are today.
                  Even more shameful: I own FB stock.

                  1. re: non sequitur

                    4285 Fairmount Ave
                    (between Orange Ave & El Cajon Blvd)
                    San Diego, CA 92105
                    Neighborhood: City Heights
                    (858) 864-6889


                    call ahead to make sure they are there.

                    1. re: Beach Chick

                      Omg - I thought from earlier references that I'd be able to walk there from the convention area. As a truck, it obviously moves. I also get the sense there's more than one truck - does the FB page only track one of them? Was the earlier post referring to a one-mile walk outdated?

                      1. re: non sequitur

                        Here is the restaurant location which is close to SD Convention center..cab it.

                        2802 Ocean View Blvd
                        (between 28th St & 29th St)
                        San Diego, CA 92113
                        Neighborhood: Logan Heights
                        (619) 239-3782


                        1. re: Beach Chick

                          At location now, and I'm not seeing anything. Did they change name? This is becoming a huge challenge.

                2. re: non sequitur

                  Mariscos German truck is a good find and the gobenador and the marlyn tacos are off the chain good.
                  Las Cuatro Milpas under the Coronado bridge is excellent..
                  Also, Aqui es Texcoco in Chula Vista for their potato taquitos and barbabcoa...fantastic!
                  Casa Guadalajara in Old Town is decent if you want the cheesy goodness experience.
                  Romesco's in Bonita is excellent.

                  Can take the water taxi over to Miguel's in Coronado from the Gaslamp..or next door at the Brigantine for the fish tacos..everyday happy hour and kid friendly..
                  ;- )


              1. Neighborhood Ale House. Get the chorizo corndog and any burger. Great beer and wine selection. Brooklyn hipster x San Diego cutester. Open air- indoor dining. 1.1 mi from the Manchester Hyatt.

                A block away, Cafe Chloe (B,L,D). Probably the only place on the SDCH board everybody loves.

                5 Replies
                1. re: pickypicky

                  1/2 a block from the Manchester Hyatt, 1 block from the Marina Mariott and 2 blocks from the convention center...Lion Share. Creative cocktails, interesting food. Antelope burger anyone?

                  1. re: DiningDiva

                    For those of you kind enough to respond with some great suggestions--thank you. Gaslight was an auto correct error. I was not aware there are 3 convention centers-it is not listed under any of the names given--just San Diego Convention Center and its on W Harbor. So which one is that? I did some searches, but that does get tedious. I always get better results when I list my specifics on the boards. We do like craft beers--have a reocmmendation? Thanks again to all.

                    1. re: breezymom

                      So now we have autocorrect to blame for the "gaslight" misnomer? Excellent. :)

                      All within the Gaslamp/ East Village area:

                      I third the Neighborhood suggestion - food and beer. Downtown Johnny Brown's has a nice tap selection. The Beer Company gets little mention in beer circles, but is worth a stop if you have time. Monkey Paw has some interesting beers. I like a few of Mission Brewery's options, though I have not been there. I've not tried the Tipsy Crow. I like some of Karl Strauss's beers, though they don't have guest taps. Not too keen on the Gaslamp Rock Bottom, but it has been a long time since I've been there.

                      1. re: RB Hound

                        Not sure when in Nov you are coming but San Diego Beer Week is in Nov. Check out www.sdbw.org for a listing of events. I went to Tipsy Crow for an event last year and the happy hour menu was decent and had some amazing Oskar Blues stuff on tap. Pours were VERY expensive, though.

                        Taking into account usual beer selection/quality of food I would rank those places: Neighborhood, Monkey Paw, DJB, Karl Strauss, Tipsy Crow, Beer Co, Yard House, Rock Bottom.

                        The waffle fries at Monkey Paw were outstanding and the food at Johnny Brown's was not great. Love the chorizo corn dogs at Neighborhood which also has 2 for 1 local pints at HH. I like the beer from Mission Brewery but they do not have food.

                        Coronado may be accessible for you (cue the BC water taxi comment) where Coronado Brewing and Leroys are located. Also, Craft and Commerce in Little Italy has excellent food, beer selection and cocktails.

                        1. re: JRSD

                          'cue the BC water taxi comment'..ha ha ha
                          Water taxi is an excellent mode of transport to and from the Gaslamp to Coronado island... www.sdhe.com
                          Hotel Del Coronado is lovely..Leroy's Lounge, Brigantine for everyday happy hour..great fish tacos and marg's..Miguel's on the patio..Candela's.

                          Dobson's for the mussel bisque en croute...sublime
                          Jsix at Hotel Solamar
                          Cafe Chloe
                          Grant Grill
                          Basic for pizza
                          Marriott rooftop across from Petco Park for drinks
                          Tin Fish for fish tacos and cold beers
                          Top of the Hyatt for drinks

                          Get in that rental car and haul ass out of downtown!

                          La Jolla..

                          George's at the Cove and dine at the ocean terrace..
                          Drinks at Marine Room
                          AR Valentien at the Lodge at Torrey Pines Hotel
                          Lunch/Dinner at Eddie V's
                          Lunch on the back patio of Hotel La Valencia overlooking the Pacific.

                          Del Mar

                          Flavor Del Mar
                          Kitchen 1540
                          Tony Jacal's for Mex

                          Rancho Santa Fe

                          Inn at Rancho Santa Fe

                2. There is a wonderful place in Carlsbad where you are always welcome....they serve great food and wine! They will also gladly serve your friends! It is private but open to all from Breezy Point and their friends.

                  Agree with the Cafe Chloe recommendation. There are a few ok places in Gaslamp and Little Italy. It is a touristy area with some fun bars....food is mostly just ok.

                  Another fun spot is the Prado in Balboa Park. It is not walking distance but is a unique San Diego experience and the park is a must La Jolla is also a great San Diego experience with some good restaurants. I can make recommendations there too. Our food in SD does not come close to New Orleans or New York but our weather and views are amazing.

                  If you have a car, I also recommend Market in Del Mar. Your friends in Carlsbad love it!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: LadyEats

                    Thanks for the shout out LadyEats!! As it happens, we will be having dinner one night with my niece who lives in Carlsbad, so your suggestion is most welcome! Am I missing something, or did you forget to name the great place in Carlsbad?

                    1. re: breezymom

                      Ok--I get it now--thanks Niece! See you in three weeks!!

                  2. In addition to some of the great recs already, I'd jump on the trolley and head to Little Italy for Craft & Commerce, Prepkitchen, Bencotto, Davanti Enoteca or La Villa.

                    No one's mentioned Roy's I don't think, it is at the Marriott Marquis right at the Convention Center and I think they still do great seafood.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: scottca075

                      I'm always a bit amazed that Roy's doesn't get mentioned more for DTSD.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Never bern to the downtown but the one in La Jolla has very underwhelming food for very high prices. I am always amazed that there are people who think Roys has even decent food.

                        1. re: honkman

                          I am amazed by a lot your opinions on food, but then the SD board has always had a level of arrogance and nastiness that is hardly commiserate with the quality of food available in SD.

                          Roy's isn't cheap, but not "very high prices" and the food is much better than decent, it is good to very good and if you've never been to the Downtown location, how can you even comment on it?

                          1. re: scottca075

                            Interesting that if somebody doesn't have the same opinion as you he/she is automatically arrogant/nasty - and yes I still think that Roy's is overpriced food for the quality you get. (and I mentioned before that my comment was for the La Jolla location) I had to many business dinners there where the food was just plain boring and often not well executed, e.g overcooked fish or vegetables.

                            1. re: honkman

                              Hi Hounds, we hate to interrupt the chow talk, but it's starting to get personal in this part of the thread. We'd like to remind everyone to focus on the chow, rather than commenting on other posters. With many passionate, opinionated hounds, we expect all sorts of differing opinions that make these boards truly chowy. But we also expect folks to disagree in a friendly manner. Thanks!

                            2. re: scottca075

                              Because it's a chain. I don't need to go to every Cheesecake factory to tell you what it's like. Roy's is very meh across the board from the original location to all the outposts. You could do a LOT better for your money even at chain seafood restaurants.

                            3. re: honkman

                              Roy's is not a bad place for families with younger children that want a decent place to eat. They have the procedure down, so that as soon as a kid sits, they bring some complimentary food to put in front of them. Nice to keep the kids happy and quiet. Thank goodness I'm past those days. On the other hand, my kids, now older, have pretty high food expectations and when they chose a restaurant for special occasion, B-Day etc., it almost breaks us. Thankfully they are still too young to drink!

                              1. re: honkman

                                It's all relative.

                                When the tableau you are looking at is the Gaslamp restaurant scene within walking distance of the Convention Center, Roy's is a very viable choice.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  Even in the gaslamp close to the CC are a number of better option - Cafe Chloe, JSix, Cowboy Star, Saltbox, Bice