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feedback on my itinerary please

My husband and I arrive Friday afternoon for a conference for 5 nights. Staying at Hilton Bayfront. His only free day is Sunday, but he will have nights free for dinners. I am free the whole time. I've been trolling the boards and here is what I have tentatively come up with. Input is greatly appreciated. I like good design and atmosphere, but with good food. We want mostly casual and lively, but nothing too young and hipster. We are 39/40. We were in SD 3 years ago and stayed in La Jolla/Torrey Pines the whole time, so that is why I've left that area out. Been to George's!

Friday- arrive around 3. Explore around hotel and Gaslamp.. Dinner at Bencotto or Cucina Urbana?
Sat- Little Italy farmers market and some shopping. Dinner at Neighborhood, then drinks at Noble Experiment.
Sunday- brunch at Cafe Chloe, then ferry or water taxi to Coronado, rent bikes to explore island, happy hour fish tacos and Candelas. Late dinner near hotel at Knotty Barrel or Basic if still hungry.
Monday- Shop and explore in Hillcrest/Mission Hills. Dinner at Seersucker? Or Craft and Commerce? Too Hipster?
Tuesday- maybe antique mall or museum? Dinner at Urban Solace.

I want Mariscos German truck for lunch one day. Where is it?
Am I missing anything great? Should I make changes, substitutions or switch things around? I may have to because i dont have any reservations yet. Where do i need them? i don't think we are getting a car, was planning to cab and trolley. Is that a bad idea?

thanks in advance!

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  1. Friday - Cucina Urbana will require a reservation.

    Sat - Good. Reservations for Noble Experiment

    Sun - Good.

    Mon - Since you're already hitting two consotorium holding spots (neighborhood, noble experiment) I would probably look somewhere other than Craft & Commerce - it's also likely a bit "hipster" for your taste. Don't waste your time at Searsucker, there's better to be had - you could head back towards little Italy and check out Prep Kitchen, or Bankers Hill for similar New American type cuisine. Ogawashi (Sushi/ Japanese same designer as Craft & Commerce) or Saltbox at the Palomar both on 5th and C are options as well.

    Alternatively you could just stay in Hillcrest for dinner, I would recommend Akinori Sushi or Dbar.

    Tuesday - Urban Solace...excellent call, make a res to be safe.

    1. I would add Jsix at the Hotel Solamar.
      Grant Grill at the US Grant.
      Bice is good.
      Cowboy Star for steaks.
      Oyster bar at the Fish Market.
      Drinks at the Top of the Hyatt.
      Since you're doing the ferry, you gotta go for the Mussel Bisque at Dobsons.
      Basic is great..happy hour at Omni is fun.
      Ped bridge from hotel is perfect to get to the Gaslamp.
      They have segways on Coronado..drinks at the Hotel Del.

      1. I'll add Starlite for drinks with apps.
        Tender Greens at Liberty Station is fab for lunch.

        1. Saturday and Sunday are excellent. Skip Seersucker and swap in Starlite Lounge. And how about Ortega's for the Hillcrest portion? I recommend Bencotto over Cucina Urbana which I personally find fucking insufferable- like TGI Fridays for foodies. My friends in the local Italian community agree. Better: get burrata and ham and drown it in superb olive oil along with your excellent pizza at Caffé Calabria.

          Head to Mariscos German truck if you must, but I'm currently in love with Mariscos El Pescador truck that's semi-permanent down in Chula Vista - a bit out of your way, but the only area with food approaching good regional Mexican in SD county if you wanted, say, a superb fish taco without whipping out the passport. I know I recommended Ortega's above, but that's different: a chippy-salsa-margarita neighborhood place with great service and consistently good food. Some here love Super Cocina, but you could make better use of your time eating at a couple spots in Chula Vista. DiningDiva is your authority here.

          I see that I've turned this into a Mexican steeplechase for you, but the fact that you're not above heaven-sent roach coaches means something.

          Cheers!

          1. Thank you all for the feedback. With so much to choose from, it's hard to decide. I think we will just leave Monday night open and go to one of your suggestions based on what we are in the mood for. I had Prep Kitchen and Bankers Hill on a list already. Ogawashi looks great for sushi! I keep reading about Jsix and Bice, but from the pics, they look more subdued and more formal. Am I wrong?

            7 Replies
            1. re: Tiffpolm

              Jsix can be a bit more formal than, say, Prep Kitchen. But in a good way, and it's one of my favorite places in/around DTSD for both lunch and dinner. Great great tuna sandwich. Bice is probably on the formal side of the ledger.

              Also, if you are going to do sushi, I highly recommend Shino Sushi + Kappo in Little Itlay.

              1. re: Tiffpolm

                I would recommend skipping Bankers Hills, we have visited serveral times over the years and it has very mediocre food. If you want to stay in the same area I would recommend Avenue 5 as a much better alternative with great, innovative food and much better service.

                1. re: honkman

                  I had the same experience with BH,(see, we once again agree)
                  but returned recently over my protests and had a very good meal. The music was not as loud, and the skirt steak was excellent. Place seemed much less harried and frenetic. I'm putting it back on the list.

                  1. re: Fake Name

                    How recently was it ? We went back about 7-8 months ago and it was disappointing again.

                    1. re: honkman

                      About 8 weeks ago.

                      I'll grant you, it could be a fluke, but I definitely got a very different "vibe" from the place. I'm naturally a cynic, so I struggle to give appropriate credit where it's due.

                      My experience, as in all things, may vary from yours.

                      1. re: Fake Name

                        My meal there was about 8 weeks ago and I thought it was much better than Brooklyn Girl

                        1. re: karaethon

                          Agreed.

                          I need to try BG again- now I'm an optimist. I can walk there. I want it to be good. I want it to just be hiccups and the loss of the chef. I'm motivated.

              2. So if we decide to do sushi, should it be Hane, ebisu, ogawashi or Shino sushi + kappo? I have recs for all!

                3 Replies
                1. re: Tiffpolm

                  Hane and Shino are quasi-related restaurants. I've been to Shino more (simply because of proximity), so I'm biased towards Shino. But you can't go wrong with either place.

                  Been once to Ogawashi, and it was one time too many.

                  Never been to Ebisu.

                  1. re: Tiffpolm

                    Don't forget Akinori!

                    Any of them will be quality choices. Hane would likely be the choice for the connoisseur, I mentioned Ogawashi because I can speak for the quality on from recent visits, it's closer to your hotel, and likely the most affordable.

                    Monday nights sit at the bar in front of Chef Matt - he'll have a bandanna on. You won't be disappointed.

                    1. re: Rodzilla

                      Nothing compares to Kaito, to drag out an old saw,

                  2. Fri - You'll need reservations for either restaurant on Friday, but both are good

                    Sat/Sun - I would switch in Knotty Barrel for Saturday for dinner/drinks and then do drinks at Noble after the Coronado trip.

                    Mon - I would recommend you stay near the Hillcrest/Mission Hills area for dinner since you're already there. Some good options are: Banker's Hill Bar and Grill, Starlite, Brooklyn Girl, Akinori

                    Try to get reservations where you can as it will make things easier. Cab/Trolley should be ok with your general itinerary if you don't mind some walking, although the mission hills/hillcrest day will require more cabs

                    1. Might want to add Wine Vault and Bistro to your list....

                      1. I just noticed that restaurant week starts on Sunday. Do you have to order the Prix Fix restaurant week menu if the restaurant is participating? Is it generally a good experience and value or best avoided? I think the only one on my list would be if we go to Bankers Hill.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Tiffpolm

                          Restaurant week should be avoided as the service and food is often lacking. Some restaurants also only offer a very restricted menu. You should only pick restaurants which don't participate at restaurant week

                          1. re: honkman

                            Maybe I'm being temporarily elitist but I would actually think going to good restaurants that don't participate in restaurant week would be better than normal due to quieter traffic/better service.