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Really Good Budget Eats in San Diego? (downtown and the Beaches)

Hope above is fairly self-explanatory. Have not been to SD in a few years. Taking a short holiday on a very tight budget, no car. Fairly well-travelled, adventurous palette, shun Fast Food/corporate chains

I seek recommendations in: Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, Coronado, Downtown, Gaslight Quarter, Old Town.

Seafood, (oysters, fish tacos esp.) "ethnic" (whatever that may mean to you), local specialties, food trucks(only if they're exceptional). Give me something I might not find at home, which is Vancouver, BC.

Preferably you &/or a trusted source have dined there in last 3 months. Been stung too many times by the well-meaning "nice little place I found years ago" rec's.

Before you jump on me for 'not searching first' - I did! But was frustrated by somewhat clunky site, shortage of time, relevance, etc. Mostly the time thing.

Many thanks in advance!

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  1. I enjoy the pho at Pho Point Loma- fits your description.

    1. Go to Azucar at Newport and Sunset Cliffs in OB. Inexpensive but wonderful pastries, sandwiches and desserts

      5 Replies
      1. re: nessy

        Darband 5th Avenue. Persian food in the downtown area.

        I'm curious how you will get to some of those places (Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach) without a car.

        1. re: SteveRB

          I'm pretty good at working my way around public transit scheds, supplanted with cabs. Thx for the suggestions!

        2. re: nessy

          Love Azucar.... their Cuban pressed sandwiches are very tastey.

          Besides World Famous, JRDN Restaurant at Tower 23 has a very good happy hour.

          Downtown does not have many values, though the happy hour at Grant Grill inside the US Grant is very good....for something unique you may or may not find in Vancouver, Sadaf is excellent Persian food.

          1. re: El Chevere

            Another vote for Azucar. I'm there almost daily so I can vouch that it's still good :-)

            Other great places on the other side of the hill/Point Loma are Tender Greens & Con Pane.

            A little farther afield is another vote for Pho Point Loma.

            Happy hour at the Brig for fish tacos in Shelter Island or Coronado is another good rec.

            You didn't mention if you're here over a weekend but I also love the Little Italy Farmer's Market on Saturdays as a nice place to sample our local produce, fresh uni, etc. with a beautiful view to the bay.

            Enjoy your visit and please report back!

            1. re: El Chevere

              Oooo! Good call on Sadaf. Excellent food and friendly service.

              There is an Afghan place on 6th just south of F Street called Chopahn. I know this violates the OP's request, but I have not eaten there. However, I can tell you the menu looks delicious, and it appears to be run by a family.

              On the more casual end is Cafe Istanbul on 6th Avenue, just north of F Street. They serve Moroccan food. Their rice pudding is to die.

          2. OB - No great cheap ethnic food here. Actually I'm not even sure I've ever eaten a meal there......

            PB - Papa Luna's Empanadas on Garnet.

            Coronado - Maybe Delux Dogs? Not a lot of cheap and ethnic over there.

            Downtown - Kabab Shop, JWok, not sure you want cheap seafood.

            Old Town - This is a tourist area. Good and cheap aren't really on the itinerary. I would go to El Patio if I had to eat there. But no should have to eat there.

            There are tons of great budget ethnic spots in SD. Just not so much in the places you mention. In my humble opinion.

            2 Replies
            1. re: y6y6y6

              Good call on "cheap seafood". I would of course be willing to bump up to "moderate" if the quality merits. Thx for suggestions!

              1. re: vcinbc

                Oscar's Mexican Seafood in PB has good seafood tacos. Not as good as the stuff in South county, but you'd have trouble getting there without a car. It's over hyped, but good.

                Mariscos German Beyer truck on Imperial is likely the closest honest seafood taco place to the locations you mention.

                Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill is close to downtown and has great seafood sandwiches. You'll stand in line there most likely.

                The Fishery in PB is a bit more upscale, but has reasonable prices for what you get.

                Just as an FYI - If was was taking out of town friends for exactly what you're asking for I'd go to the Mariscos Issac truck in Imperial Beach. But that's way south.

            2. Go to Barrio Logan, sort of SW of downtown San Diego.

              Places to try there include:

              Filipino Food & Bakery (just opened) http://filfood.com/
              Las Cuatro Milpas
              La Fachada (technically in Logan Heights, but who's counting)

              1 Reply
              1. Las Cuatro Milpas

                A must go to! Get the rice and beans with chorizo and eggs.