Philly 'hound in town for two days.
Coming to SD in April for my first time ever....with my wife and 4yr old daughter. Daughter eats anything and is VERY well behaved at restaurants. Need some advice on where to eat.
Gonna be looking for lunch Sunday, Dinner on Sunday and Monday, and breakfast on any day.
We'll eat anything...price is no option, but I have no interest in paying for the sake of paying.
Staying in the Gaslamp area, will have a car...but would prefer not to need it. Thai, Mex, seafood..all good..and mostly whatever is local. Not interested in getting anything I can get at home (..and I cook in a Philadelphia steakhouse).
Ok, I wouldn't normally recommend this BUT if you are doing the touristy thing and taking the trolley to Old Town to sight see, and if it is nice outside (it is supposed to be):
In Old Town, go to the Cosmopolitan for Sunday brunch. It is a large outdoor area to enjoy the weather. The Brunch has a good local slant and it damn yummy. The dinner there is a mess, so only go for brunch. You can get a nice margarita and they have a fair selection of local beers as well.
You're going to need your car anyway to see some of the best around SD.
Sunday lunch - stop at Oscars for fish tacos on the way up through Birdrock to La Jolla Cove - do some touristy things and then finish with dinner at Georges in time to catch the sunset.
Monday - Breakfast at Las Quatras Milpas then maybe a Coronado trip?
Since your tourists from Philly, I would suggest the tourist route but with good local food.
Bali Hai for sunset dinner
Lunch at George's in La Jolla on the ocean terrace..walk around village and see the seals..take the daughter to Birch Aquarium.
I would take a water taxi over to Coronado via Gaslamp and have brunch at Crown Room at Hotel Del or 1500 Ocean for seafood dinner...Candelas for happy hour.
Taking a drive up the coast on the PCH to Del Mar and then over to Rancho Santa Fe by way of Via del la Valle is stunning..
Chino Farms in RSF is where a lot of the big name chefs get their produce and then have an early dinner at Rancho Valencia Resort..Pony Room or Veladora.
We have the best taco shops around and few are bad..you want to eat at carne asada burrito and wash it down with a cold Pacifico..horchato or the hibiscus is my choice.
If you find a good chile relleno, will you please report back..hee hee
Tender Greens is local and good for lunch..Point Loma/Liberty Station
Fish Market Downtown back patio for drinks and apps watching the boats go by..Top of the Market is excellent or the sushi/oyster bar..do not go to the resto downstairs!
Brigantine for everyday happy hour Shelter Island..great fish tacos and kids welcome..Coronado location as well across from the Del.
I would do breakfast at Las Cuatro Milpas under the Coronado bridge...carnitas with fresh flour tortillas is the ticket..not that I would know anything about that.. ; )
You need a car bro..prices for a rental are reasonable for around $20+ a day..its the parking at your hotel that blows..
Have fun and report back..
My recommendations are slanted towards those where you have a view or atmosphere that reflects San Diego.
I think there are few options that showcase SD more than AR Valentien at the Lodge at Torrey Pines. Beautiful setting, great food. Not hole-in-the-wall, but you definitely know you're in SD. Same for George's. Both places offer a great view with great food.
Bali Hai or C-Level for a great view of downtown SD. C-Level has better food by far, but the price point is naturally higher; both are stunning for the view.
On the other end of the dollar, Super Cocina. Great food, cafeteria style, but you will know you're not in Philly. Super Sergios, naturally. Las Cuatro Milpas.
RIP Flavor Del Mar.... sigh.
Here are some suggestions, I'm sure other more seasoned SD vets (aside from DiningDiva) will chime in eventually:
For Sunday brunch you might consider Prado (at Balboa Park) or Grant Hill, which just started a build-your-own waffle bar, and might be a nice treat for your daughter.
For dinner on Sunday or Monday, you might consider George's in La Jolla or Cowboy Star, a steakhouse to see what the competitors are doing. If you want sushi, try Shino in Little Italy which is close by to where you are staying. Another option in Little Italy would be Monello, which just opened and does a pretty good calzone.
If you want Mexican, you can head over to the Barrio Logan or Logan Heights neighborhoods, which is about a couple miles SE of the Gaslamp area. Places to try there include Las Cuatro Milpas and La Fachada.
You should probably consider trying Super Sergio's, it's one of the more popular Mexican places in San Diego for carne asada.
Hope that helps. Enjoy your visit.
Cafe Chloe is an easy walk outside the Gaslamp at 721 9th Avenue. Salad Style is located at 6th Avenue and F Street and is an excellent choice for a casual lunch. You should try Vietnamese while in town, as San Diego has some wonderful Vietnamese fare. My picks would be Pho Hoa at Euclid Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard for good Pho, and A Chau at 46th and El Cajon Boulevard for Vietnamese sandwiches.
As you will no doubt quickly learn, your car will be pretty indespensible ;-).
The Sunday morning farmers marekt in Hillcrest might be a pretty good option for breakfast or lunch. It will also give you an idea of what's in season and available locally this time of year. Hillcrest is not too far from downtown (close to the zoo and Balboa Park) and if you don't want to eat your way around the farmers market, there are many restaurants within walking distance.
ETA...another option for Sunday morning that is realtively close to the Downtown/Gaslamp area is the new (i.e. less than 6 months old) San Diego Public Market in Barrio Logan. http://www.sandiegopublicmarket.com/
This is a very new operation from one of our better farmers market managers and it's an every changing eclectic band of vendors and food options. Definitely an option for breakfast or lunch.