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San Diego trip with kids--where to eat?

Hi all, we're planning a trip to San Diego with two little ones (4 yrs & 8months). We're staying at Comfort Suites near Mission Valley (on the map, it's right by highway 8 and another hwy, 168). We plan on going to the zoo one day and sea world another, staying 3 nights all together. Where are some good places to eat for cheap with little ones? Prefer not to drive too far, and happy hours would be a plus :) We'll be there Tuesday, Wed. & Thursday night. Thanks!

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  1. It's highway 163 - think you read the 3 as an 8. :)

    It sounds lame, but a lot of people (including some here) like the barbeque items at Sea World. It isn't cheap, but eating within a theme park rarely is.

    If you like craft beer, Pizza Port Ocean Beach isn't too far from Sea World, and has a somewhat kid-friendly vibe.

    I can't recommend a lot in Mission Valley. I'd like to, but nothing comes to mind. It's chain restaurant Heaven there. If you find yourself in Fashion Valley Mall, you could do a lot worse than Stacked.

    This thread from last fall has a lot of stuff in it which pertains to your location: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/877501

    1. Thanks, I'm sure we'll end up doing lunch inside the park/zoo but I'm determined to find something else for dinner :) Any ideas for where to go eat by the beach? We're driving in early Tuesday so we want to stop and let the kids play/hang out by the beach for dinner that first night at least. Thanks for the ideas so far!

      1. In my opinion, no trip to Sandy Eggo is complete without a trip to Roberto's. With kids in tow, head to the one in Mission Beach. It's on the northwest corner of Mission Blvd and Ventura Blvd, right across the street from Belmont Park and it's rides. Kids love the place, and there's no admission charge, you just pay for the rides you want. Order the rolled tacos at Roberto's. It's mandatory. If the 4-yr-old doesn't like green goo, have them hold the guacamole.

        If you're not in the mood for classic SD street food, Luigi's at the Beach (pizza and beer) and Starkey's BBQ are in the same block.

        Old Town is right next to Mission Valley with plenty of Mexican restaurants. One of the ones my kid liked best at was La PiƱata, on Juan Street. It's named for all the colorful pinatas hanging from the ceiling. It's outdoor dining area feels like you're in a tropical jungle, with lush plants to keep it shady and cool. Good food, huge portions and friendly service. It's menu is maybe a buck or 2 cheaper than some of the more popular tourist spots in the area.

        1. Mama Testa's would be a good stop for dinner after the zoo and kid friendly. As would Blind Lady Ale House or Bruno's Pizza. Pt. Loma Seafood would be nice after SeaWorld kid friendly and the patio up top is a nice view. Usually a seal in the water as well which makes for entertaining diversion.

          1. If you skip Mr. Frostie's I'm reporting you to CPS. It would be akin to child abuse.

            http://www.mrfrosties.com/

            15 Replies
              1. re: Fake Name

                Bahahaha love it, yay! Thanks for the great ideas. We're doing the safari park and legoland the two days following this trip, any suggestions up that way? We're staying in a hotel closer to safari park...I wanna say its in like Carlsbad? Or something like that...

                1. re: emarie527

                  Can't recommend anything up that way, not familiar with the food. But if you ask for directions to the "safari park" people will look at you funny. Say it with me now.... "Wild Animal Park" :))

                  1. re: DuffyH

                    Now called:

                    "San Diego Zoo Safari Park"

                    1. re: Fake Name

                      Hahaha ok I'll be careful to only ask Google for directions soas to not be mocked :P and the hotel says carlsbad/vista? Eh, it seems we'll end up driving but with an 8 month old being up before the sun is routine so we'll have time to get there :) any good coffee places along the way?? Thanks for the tips everyone :)

                      1. re: Fake Name

                        Really? Well, color me corrected. When did that happen?

                        1. re: DuffyH

                          I thought you were just joking about how the locals have not yet adapted to the name change, Duffy.

                          It's been close to 3 years now.

                          1. re: RB Hound

                            Yeah, joking. That's it, I was joking. *sigh* I wish. Nope, just revealing my ignorance. This is what happens when you move away. You miss all the updates.

                            But Safari Park? Seriously? What was wrong with WAP? Are you next going to tell me locals now call the state "Cali"? *shudder*

                            1. re: DuffyH

                              The Zoo decided to rename it "San Diego Zoo Safari Park" to highlight the outdoors ("safari" if you will) aspect of it, and probably to have "San Diego Zoo" in its title (to highlight the connection). I think if anything, it was sort of a tourist move. Locals still call it "Wild Animal Park".

                              I wish they would have rebranded the eateries there. They have a pretty nice fudge shop (if you like fudge), but for the most part the food remains sort of bland.

                              RB is always known as the home of the newlywed and the nearly dead. I guess we moved from there because we reached the "no longer newlywed" state.

                    2. re: emarie527

                      Carlsbad is not much closer to the Safari Park than downtown San Diego. Long trip across 78 and through Escondido.

                      BeachChick will recommend Hacienda De Vega in the south regions of Encinitas when you are out at the entity formerly known as the Wild Animal Park. I'm not sure how kid friendly it is, but it sort of a nice place with decent Mexican.

                      Added after the fact: Beach Chick will claim it is a 10 minute drive, but she drives one of those tiny sports cars at about 100 MPH. I'd call it 20 minutes to be safe.

                      Again - I'm not sure how much you are into craft beer, but if you are there are options near both. I don't think Stone's joint is very kid friendly (at least in terms of food), but Pizza Port Carlsbad might fit the bill.

                      1. re: RB Hound

                        'Beach Chick will recommend Hacienda De Vega'..
                        You got that right bruddha RB.
                        ; )

                        Hacienda de Vega is lovely and about 10 minutes from Safari Park..hit it up on the way home to Carlsbad.

                        www.haciendadevega.com

                        1. re: RB Hound

                          Hacienda de Vega's in "the south regions" of Escondido, rather than Encinitas. And I've seen rugrats running all around the outdoor area, so guessing there must be a decent kids' menu (we were having too many drinks to care about noise).

                          1. re: pine time

                            Sorry, pinetime, brain hiccup - too many "E" cities. I used to live 2 miles from there (thus my user name) and visited often.

                            1. re: RB Hound

                              No problem for locals, of course, but the OP out-of-towner could get seriously lost! (Altho' I drove right past Hacienda de Vega 3 times before I found it, myself.)

                              1. re: RB Hound

                                I lived in RB for a few years. Is it still known as the home of the newly-wed and nearly-dead? :)

                    3. My kids (4 ad 7) love Hacienda de Vega in Escondido, and yes it is more like 15 min from the Safari Park. I personally think the food at Legoland is the best compared to all the amusement parks, you should try the apple fries. The aquarium cafe has a nice organic selection and there is a fresh fruit selection in many places in the park. Near Legoland in Carlsbad you have Miguel's cocina, it is OK but they have a great quesso blanco dip. In-n-Out is down the street. Depending where your hotel is, off the 78 you have Teri cafe for good ramen, yakisoba and teriyaki...great great prices.
                      Stone brewery is great for kids too..they have a great fish stick meal as well as flat breads.
                      In San Marcos you have the SD famous Phil's BBQ and good Pho at Pho San Marcos. Also Philly Frank's for cheesesteaks.
                      Escondido is full of great mexican eateries.