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NYC coming to SD

ashleylau Mar 6, 2013 08:51 AM

Hi all,

I'm planning on visiting SD in a few months with the beau (I like to plan far ahead...hah). I tried looking at other must-eat SD Chowhound discussions but couldn't find everything I was looking for.

We truly enjoy all types of food and drink and are looking for must-eats/must-drinks in the SD area. Coming from NYC and having great food and drink, I know a few days in SD can't cover everything...but we plan to be there for about 4 days days and want to get a general feel for the food and drink culture here as much as possible.

Our budget is fairly open—looking for hole-in-the-walls as well as fine dining in all cuisines. Also looking for great cocktails bars and popular night time venues/areas.

Definitely on our to-eat list:
- brunch/breakfast
- fine dining
- something local and unique to SD
- Mexican restaurant
- one or two places in La Jolla
(these can overlap)

We are going to try to get around SD using public transportation even though a few friends have told me it'll be easier with a car...

Thanks in advance!
A

  1. o
    oerdin Mar 18, 2013 04:44 AM

    Oh, and you like Craft & Commerce try Polite Provisions in North Park as it is owned by the same people but has a distinctly different flair to it. You can even get several different types of Vodka (including the locally made one by Ballast Point's distillery) which is something which is deliberately not sold at C&C.

    http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/f...

    1. o
      oerdin Mar 18, 2013 04:20 AM

      Make sure you bring your passport with you and take a day trip down to Tijuana because believe it or not that Mexican border city has a very happening and surprisingly sophisticated food scene. It's well worth your time to read some blogs, check out some newspaper reviews, or even watch some shows from the Food Network about TJ.

      1. d
        DougOLis Mar 16, 2013 10:45 PM

        Not much help on the breakfast front but here's a sample itinerary of meals you could do. Obviously you can move the days around but I did bundle the Lunch/Dinner locations at least somewhat geographically. I think Noble Experiment is only open Wed-Sat so that would have to be one of those nights.

        Lunch #1
        Super Cocina

        Dinner #1
        The Linkery or El Take It Easy or Alchemy

        Drinks #1
        Toronado (if The Linkery) or Hamilton's (if Alchemy). Polite Provisions and Seven Grand are near Toronado (kind of) if you want cocktails too

        Lunch #2
        Aqui Es Texcoco & Mariscos El Pescador

        Dinner #2
        Cafe Chloe

        Drinks #2
        Noble Experiment

        Lunch #3
        Pho Cow Cali

        Dinner #3
        George's TBL3

        Drinks #3
        Drink closer to where you stay so you don't have to drive

        Lunch #4
        Stone Brewing (visit Lost Abbey/Port, Rip Current and Pizza Port while you're up North too)

        Dinner #4
        Kaito

        Drinks #4
        Drink closer to where you stay so you don't have to drive. O'Brien's Pub will probably be on the way back if you want a beer though.

        Drunk food:
        Carne Asada or California burrito from any taco shop (Saguaro's in North Park was my local choice when I lived there).
        In 'n Out

        1 Reply
        1. re: DougOLis
          polldeldiablo Mar 17, 2013 11:08 AM

          +1

          Nice sample itinerary taking locations and times into account.

        2. ashleylau Mar 13, 2013 11:17 AM

          Okay I've narrowed down places and picked the following:

          // food //
          - Super Cocina
          - Extraordinary Desserts
          - Mariscos German taco truck
          - Snooze
          - George's (La Jolla)
          - In-n-Out Burger (personally don't love or hate it but the bf hasn't had and we need to get this in)

          // drinks //
          - Blind Lady Ale House
          - Craft & Commerce
          - Noble Experiment (I'll make reservations 1 wk in adv.)

          Looking for 1-2 more things I MUST/SHOULD eat. It's very hard to pick since I'm in SD for such a short period of time :(

          33 Replies
          1. re: ashleylau
            j
            JRSD Mar 13, 2013 11:46 AM

            If you are not going to eat and only going for beer selection I would recommend Toronado over Blind Lady. They have more taps and tend to have more local IPAs on tap. Their bottle list is also quite extensive.

            The food at Toronado is not bad but I like Blind Lady's better.

            1. re: JRSD
              ashleylau Mar 13, 2013 12:00 PM

              Yeah I'm probably going just for the beer selection. I'll look into Toronado! thanks!

              1. re: ashleylau
                ashleylau Mar 13, 2013 12:09 PM

                any opinion about The Reagl Beagle?

                1. re: ashleylau
                  j
                  JRSD Mar 13, 2013 02:05 PM

                  I haven't been.

                  1. re: ashleylau
                    Fake Name Mar 13, 2013 02:57 PM

                    I've been to the beagle, and encourage you not to miss the Tostada Mixto at the 9Seas truck.

                    1. re: ashleylau
                      Josh Mar 13, 2013 03:04 PM

                      Don't bother.

                      1. re: ashleylau
                        jmtreg Mar 14, 2013 11:49 AM

                        Re: Regal Beagle - Decent beer list, okay food, great area (my old neighborhood. . .*sniff*), but not really a destination. Go with Toronado or BLAH. Though with Toronado, you can walk up 30th to Tiger!Tiger! (BLAH's sister restaurant), and enjoy more beer.

                        1. re: jmtreg
                          ashleylau Mar 14, 2013 11:52 AM

                          Ok thanks everyone... i'll skip the beagle

                    2. re: JRSD
                      r
                      RB Hound Mar 13, 2013 01:27 PM

                      There is very little overlap between what Toronado will have on tap and what Blind Lady will have on tap, and the vibe is entirely different. Worth doing both. :)

                    3. re: ashleylau
                      k
                      karaethon Mar 13, 2013 11:50 AM

                      I would still say you should get sushi from one of the "top" places here. This would be Kaito, Shirahama, or Ota (price arranged low to high and quality/taste arranged high to low).

                      This will probably not be too much different from what you can get in NYC, but the price should be much less compared to what you normally expect. With that said, I suspect the local San Diego uni is something you cannot get in NYC and is usually exceptional.

                      Another food place to consider is Whisknladle...

                      For the place you listed for drinks, try to leave some room for dessert as well.

                      1. re: karaethon
                        ashleylau Mar 13, 2013 12:00 PM

                        I put Ota on my list as well, thanks!!

                      2. re: ashleylau
                        c
                        cstr Mar 13, 2013 12:23 PM

                        I'd swap out Snooze for Cafe Chloe.

                        1. re: ashleylau
                          honkman Mar 13, 2013 12:53 PM

                          San Diego strength is the bounty of great local produce (some of the best in the US) and some fo the best restaurants in SD for the use of the produce are "bistro-style" (mid price) ones like El Take It Easy, Linkery, Alchemy, Starlite. I would add 1-2 of these restaurants to your list to cover some San Diego specific restaurants in your list.

                          1. re: ashleylau
                            ipsedixit Mar 13, 2013 02:44 PM

                            Take out Extraordinary Desserts. If you have to go there, just "window eat" but don't actually buy anything.

                            I still think you should do Carnitas Snack Shack.

                            1. re: ashleylau
                              z
                              zmirzlina Mar 13, 2013 02:54 PM

                              I'd cut out Extraordinary Desserts. They look amazing but I find the desserts aren't that tasty. Save the calories and have another local beer or a fish taco. Heck, it's vacation. Have both.

                              1. re: ashleylau
                                Josh Mar 13, 2013 03:08 PM

                                If it were me I'd skip Snooze and In-n-Out. Burger Lounge is a small chain that started in San Diego and is far superior to In-n-Out while offering a similar product. The classic style cheeseburger at Burger Lounge is really good (and not listed on their menu).

                                1. re: Josh
                                  c
                                  cstr Mar 13, 2013 03:31 PM

                                  For a lot of travellers, In-n-Out is a cult type destination, a novelity and must try and IMO, fast burger food. Burger Lounge is good but, just another burger joint, certainly no following like I-n-O.

                                  1. re: cstr
                                    Josh Mar 13, 2013 08:05 PM

                                    I get that, but on the other hand I can tell you that many out-of-state people I've met who've tried In-n-Out don't get what all the fuss is about. It's a slightly better fast food burger.

                                    1. re: Josh
                                      ipsedixit Mar 13, 2013 08:35 PM

                                      Same could be said for Burger Lounge.

                                      Or Shake Shack in NYC.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                        Josh Mar 13, 2013 09:10 PM

                                        Yeah, I wouldn't call Burger Lounge a destination. I guess my feeling is if you feel like having a burger it's a good spot, and a better choice than In-n-Out (and certainly better than Hodad's or Rocky's).

                                        1. re: Josh
                                          Dagney Mar 13, 2013 09:49 PM

                                          I'll take Anny's over Burger Lounge or In-N-Out any day.

                                          1. re: Dagney
                                            Josh Mar 13, 2013 09:58 PM

                                            Looks good. Pity about the grain-fed beef.

                                    2. re: cstr
                                      polldeldiablo Mar 15, 2013 01:24 PM

                                      In n out also has 1 huge advantage especially in san diego, how many other moderate burger places are open after midnight in S.D. if the OP does decide to go to in n out, I would go when every other better option is closed

                                  2. re: ashleylau
                                    Rodzilla Mar 14, 2013 12:26 AM

                                    Keep the In N Out,

                                    if you're a sushi fan make a reservation to sit at the bar at Kaito or Ota, but I would opt for the former (you'll save a lot of money, and can take a beautiful drive up the 101) there's also Hane if you're staying downtown.

                                    Craft & Commerce and Noble Experiment are from the same group, so don't fret if you only make one.

                                    Weekend Brunch at Urban Solace is worth checking out, make absolutely sure to get cheddar biscuits.

                                    Carnitas Snack Shack

                                    Eclipse Chocolate rather than Extraordinary Desserts

                                    Oscars Mexican Seafood if you don;t feel like traveling to find Mariscos

                                    check out one of the farmers markets

                                    1. re: Rodzilla
                                      ashleylau Mar 14, 2013 06:17 AM

                                      thank you rodzilla!

                                      1. re: ashleylau
                                        Josh Mar 14, 2013 07:41 AM

                                        Agreed with Rodzilla on everything except In-n-Out. :-)

                                        1. re: Josh
                                          ashleylau Mar 14, 2013 08:39 AM

                                          haha unfortunately i'm keeping in-n-out....only for the bf. If i had a choice, I wouldn't go back. It's just ok. I don't think it's better or worse than shake shack in nyc either.

                                          1. re: Josh
                                            jmtreg Mar 14, 2013 11:51 AM

                                            Blasphemer! J/k.

                                          2. re: ashleylau
                                            y
                                            yanks26dmb Mar 14, 2013 08:25 AM

                                            To follow up on the above..

                                            If you are planning on Noble Experiment..you need to text exactly at MIDNIGHT, one week prior. I've been trying to make reservations here for a long time, and finally asked them why they're always booked. They told me people scramble to text right at midnight, one week out..

                                            Also..I've been to both sushi Ota and Kaito, numerous times. There is no price difference as far as I can tell. Both are expensive, but much less expensive than what you'd pay in NYC for that quality sushi.

                                            On a whole, Ota is definitely my personal favorite and the best sushi I've ever had..although, I've had individual dishes at Kaito that would classify as "best ever". Granted, I've never been to a place like Urasawa....but I don't have 8 bills to drop on dinner for one anyways, so it's moot.

                                            One more tip on craft and commerce and Noble experiment...both are very popular and good. If you're looking for something (still downtown) but under the radar, and imo better than craft and commerce (never been to noble experiment), I would suggest Lion's Share. The food is actually really good too - I had the antelope sliders just last weekend.

                                            1. re: yanks26dmb
                                              ashleylau Mar 14, 2013 08:38 AM

                                              thanks yanks. I already have an reminder set on my phone to text Noble experiment :) (yelp was helpful hah)

                                              I think i'm going to Ota and Lions's share was on my maybe-list. So hard...so many choices, so little time :(

                                              1. re: ashleylau
                                                y
                                                yanks26dmb Mar 15, 2013 10:31 AM

                                                Ha, honestly, don't get too overwhelmed with the San Diego food scene....save that for SF.

                                                I'm in SF a LOT so if you've got any specific questions about places up there, I'd be happy to answer. Just a quick bit of advice, save your fine dining for SF, but be sure to make reservations well in advance...

                                                PS - if you go to Ota or Kaito for that matter, be sure to get the Uni sashimi. Willing to bet you won't find Uni in NY as fresh and tasty as what we get locally here in San Diego. That, and the salmon belly at Ota is divine...

                                                1. re: yanks26dmb
                                                  ashleylau Mar 15, 2013 07:51 PM

                                                  thanks, i am saving my fine dining for SF. i'm overwhelmed by SF's food....so many places look amazing haha.

                                                  thanks again for your help

                                          3. re: Rodzilla
                                            ipsedixit Mar 14, 2013 07:44 AM

                                            While I like Urban Solace, I think their cheddar biscuits are severely overrated, if not downright just not very good.

                                        2. ashleylau Mar 13, 2013 07:12 AM

                                          Also just realized I won't be in SD during the wknd so brunch isn't really an option. Any good breakfast places that are open during the weekdays?

                                          16 Replies
                                          1. re: ashleylau
                                            Fake Name Mar 13, 2013 08:19 AM

                                            I like Snooz- if you get there early.

                                            Otherwise, nothing is worth that wait.

                                            1. re: Fake Name
                                              DiningDiva Mar 13, 2013 08:55 AM

                                              I like Snooze too. They do a nice job and the coffee is good

                                              1. re: DiningDiva
                                                ashleylau Mar 13, 2013 10:13 AM

                                                Just looked at Snooze's menu. Looks pretty good. It'll be a wait even on a regular weekday (I assume most ppl would be working?)

                                                1. re: ashleylau
                                                  ipsedixit Mar 13, 2013 10:16 AM

                                                  People don't really "work" in San Diego.

                                                  They just eat, surf, and post on Chowhound. Rinse. Repeat.

                                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                                    ashleylau Mar 15, 2013 07:58 PM

                                                    haha...so by getting there early...what time does that mean? i want to go there early enough where i don't wait long but hopefully not early as in when they open at 630 am

                                                    1. re: ashleylau
                                                      ipsedixit Mar 15, 2013 09:32 PM

                                                      I think if you get there by 8 a.m, esp. on a weekday, you'll be fine. Might have to wait 10 minutes or so, but otherwise you should be good to go with a table with no probs.

                                            2. re: ashleylau
                                              ipsedixit Mar 13, 2013 08:22 AM

                                              Parkhouse in University Heights.

                                              Who doesn't like mashed potatoes for breakfast?!

                                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                                honkman Mar 13, 2013 09:11 AM

                                                mashed potatoes for breakfast ?

                                                1. re: honkman
                                                  DiningDiva Mar 13, 2013 10:01 AM

                                                  Yes...topped with an egg (runny yolk) they are surprisingly good

                                                  1. re: DiningDiva
                                                    honkman Mar 13, 2013 10:09 AM

                                                    For lunch or dinner - yes, but for breakfast I prefer something light

                                                    1. re: honkman
                                                      ipsedixit Mar 13, 2013 10:15 AM

                                                      That was my thought too honkman, but give it a whirl.

                                                      It's not spa food, nor is it a continental breakfast, but then it's also not corned beef hash with pancakes and a side of ham.

                                                      1. re: honkman
                                                        DiningDiva Mar 13, 2013 11:25 AM

                                                        Surprisingly, they are lighter than you think when reheated.

                                                      2. re: DiningDiva
                                                        ipsedixit Mar 13, 2013 10:15 AM

                                                        Yes! Yes! Yes!

                                                    2. re: ipsedixit
                                                      c
                                                      cstr Mar 13, 2013 09:31 AM

                                                      Rough night?

                                                      1. re: cstr
                                                        ipsedixit Mar 13, 2013 10:14 AM

                                                        Rough life.

                                                    3. re: ashleylau
                                                      k
                                                      karaethon Mar 13, 2013 11:45 AM

                                                      Claire's on Cedros is a "brunch place" that is open on weekdays so you have all the bases covered there :)
                                                      http://clairesoncedros.com/

                                                    4. Dagney Mar 12, 2013 10:10 PM

                                                      As long as we are talking Vietnamese, Pho Hoa at Euclid Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard has arguably the best Pho in Southern California.

                                                      A Chau at Menlo and El Cajon Boulevard makes an excellent Vietnamese Iced Coffee and sandwiches.

                                                      1. polldeldiablo Mar 12, 2013 12:43 PM

                                                        Uh, just tried que huong for the first time and while there is vietnamese food in nyc, I don't recall any really authentic vietnamese especially since the good ones I remembered in ny chinatown by colombus park are gone. I'm not sure it's worth going to that neighborhood though as there's literally nothing there for a tourist. Maybe someone else who's had que huong can determine if it's good enough for her to try.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: polldeldiablo
                                                          ipsedixit Mar 12, 2013 03:54 PM

                                                          You're absolutely right that NYC is really really weak in terms of Vietnamese.

                                                          I've never been to Que Huong, but if the OP wants a decent bowl of pho, I would recommend Pho Hoa (also in the City Heights are).

                                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                                            polldeldiablo Mar 12, 2013 05:24 PM

                                                            I should of specified since there are so many pho places in san diego. I meant non-pho dishes. I can't elaborate as the dish I had was technically vietnamese but not as much as a regular dish would have been. I had a goat hot pot(it was unusually cold for san diego so a hot pot was in order).

                                                            1. re: polldeldiablo
                                                              ipsedixit Mar 12, 2013 09:13 PM

                                                              Non pho place I would hit up is K Sandwiches.

                                                        2. Josh Mar 11, 2013 09:45 PM

                                                          Late to the mix, and no longer a resident. We moved to San Francisco several months back but periodically visit SD still. My wife and I love eating in NYC, and my advice to you is to temper your expectations. As others have already pointed out SD's strong suit is more mid-priced and lower than high end.

                                                          This are the places on our "must eat" list when we go back to visit:

                                                          Aqui Es Texcoco - This is a hole-in-the-wall Mexican spot down in Chula Vista (about 15 minutes south of downtown) specializing in lamb barbacoa. You order by weight, which allows you to pick the parts you want. I always go for a combo of rib and cabeza. They make a fantastic onion/habanero topping which cuts the richness of the lamb perfectly. They also have grilled quail which is excellent.

                                                          Super Cocina - Another hole-in-the-wall, serving home-style Mexican cooking. I suggest lunch vs. dinner for this one. Try samples of the day's dishes and use that as your guide. Their goat is delicious, so make sure to ask for a sample of that. It's very hard to go wrong here.

                                                          Alchemy - Creative farm-to-table food, interesting wine list, and good specialty cocktails. They have a menu of street food-influenced starters which I suggest checking out. The lengua tacos are great. They are next-door to one of SD's best beer bars, Hamiltons Tavern.

                                                          14 Replies
                                                          1. re: Josh
                                                            ashleylau Mar 12, 2013 08:18 AM

                                                            thanks. def. going to super cocina! will see if i can fit the other suggestions as well.

                                                            i'm visiting SF right after SD too :D

                                                            1. re: ashleylau
                                                              Beach Chick Mar 12, 2013 08:51 AM

                                                              Heads up on Super Cocina...food is served in steam tables..if your not a steam table chica, this is not the place for you..plus, it is meat centric.

                                                              Mariscos German Seafood Mex truck is fab.
                                                              Some of my faves.
                                                              Las Cuatro Milpas
                                                              Aqui es Texcoco
                                                              Romesco's
                                                              Bull Taco..more for the oceanfront eating
                                                              Oscars

                                                              Have fun Ashley!

                                                              1. re: Beach Chick
                                                                ashleylau Mar 12, 2013 08:58 AM

                                                                dont mind steam tables!

                                                                i also will prob check out mariscos german seafood mex. truck

                                                                A

                                                                1. re: ashleylau
                                                                  Beach Chick Mar 12, 2013 09:43 AM

                                                                  Breakfast/Brunch at Rancho Valencia Resort would be a lovely way to start the day..
                                                                  Drive up the coast from La Jolla on the coast highway up through Del Mar and go east, to Rancho Santa Fe.
                                                                  Have a drinks on the way back at the Lodge at Torrey Pines or drinks at George's in La Jolla..3 levels and you can do more casual at sunset.

                                                                  www.ranchovalencia.com

                                                                  1. re: ashleylau
                                                                    r
                                                                    RB Hound Mar 12, 2013 11:58 AM

                                                                    Though it probably is obvious from context, "german" does not mean "German". :)

                                                                    1. re: ashleylau
                                                                      y
                                                                      yanks26dmb Mar 12, 2013 01:43 PM

                                                                      no no no.....don't "prob" check out mariscos german seafood truck.....

                                                                      CHECK IT OUT! :)

                                                                      1. re: yanks26dmb
                                                                        Josh Mar 12, 2013 02:26 PM

                                                                        Eh, it's OK. Mariscos El Pescador crushes it.

                                                                        1. re: Josh
                                                                          c
                                                                          cstr Mar 12, 2013 03:14 PM

                                                                          Crushes it...Not!

                                                                          1. re: cstr
                                                                            Josh Mar 12, 2013 05:11 PM

                                                                            It does, though. Srsly.

                                                                          2. re: Josh
                                                                            Fake Name Mar 12, 2013 03:27 PM

                                                                            9Seas in the Gala Foods parking lot.

                                                                            Get the Tostada Mixto.

                                                                            Balance your plate on a trash can or a barstool.

                                                                            1. re: Fake Name
                                                                              ashleylau Mar 13, 2013 06:59 AM

                                                                              I just read that Mariscos german seafood truck is not 9seas truck? Also read that it's not as good? is that true?

                                                                              1. re: ashleylau
                                                                                Fake Name Mar 13, 2013 07:08 AM

                                                                                I lose track of the trucks and the names, and I see little difference in the food anyway.

                                                                                I believe the 9seas used to be Mariscos German, but I dunno.

                                                                                But I like the 9 Seas Tostada Mixto.

                                                                      2. re: Beach Chick
                                                                        c
                                                                        cstr Mar 12, 2013 09:01 AM

                                                                        Let's be careful here BC, Super Cocina's main entree's and soups are 'braised' meaning meats that have a loooong cooking process in liquid, i.e. stew like. So they are kept warm in steam tables but, are homemade, very flavorful and very reasonable. You can try several items for short money.

                                                                        1. re: cstr
                                                                          Beach Chick Mar 12, 2013 09:23 AM

                                                                          Food/sauces rocks but for me, not eating meat and steam tables was not a good combo for me.
                                                                          Just wanted A to have a heads up.

                                                                          She is going to love Mariscos..gobenator tacos and ceviche tostada..

                                                                  2. ashleylau Mar 11, 2013 10:07 AM

                                                                    tbl3 seems to be mentioned a lot for fine dining in SD. VERY interested but could I get a few more suggestions?

                                                                    thanks

                                                                    29 Replies
                                                                    1. re: ashleylau
                                                                      y
                                                                      yanks26dmb Mar 11, 2013 11:08 AM

                                                                      Are you looking for more fine dining suggestions strictly...or suggestions in general?

                                                                      I have a few suggestions, but what is your price point?

                                                                      1. re: yanks26dmb
                                                                        ashleylau Mar 11, 2013 11:12 AM

                                                                        fine dining suggestions. any price is fine. Just looking for a few more suggestions even though tbl3 looks like a place I would enjoy.

                                                                        1. re: ashleylau
                                                                          y
                                                                          yanks26dmb Mar 11, 2013 11:18 AM

                                                                          Truthfully, there are no fine dining options in San Diego that couldnt be replicated (and exceeded) in NYC. That said..

                                                                          Mille Fleur in Rancho Santa Fe
                                                                          Pamplemousse in Solana Beach
                                                                          Addison in Del Mar

                                                                          Addison is probably the best of the bunch (and most expensive). But again, I don't think you'll find anything that leaves you utterly blown away...It's all very medicore when compared to New York high-end dining options.

                                                                          1. re: yanks26dmb
                                                                            ashleylau Mar 11, 2013 11:21 AM

                                                                            hrmm ok. would you suggest I just stick to tbl3 then?

                                                                          2. re: ashleylau
                                                                            El Chevere Mar 12, 2013 08:19 AM

                                                                            Ashley:

                                                                            How adventurous are you and how far are you willing to travel...for a truly good dining experience that will be unique and knock your socks off, there is a great, critically acclaimed restaurant in Tijuana called Mision 19. Excellent food, great cocktails, great wine coming from the Guadalupe Valley outside Ensenada, awesome ambiance.

                                                                            http://mision19.com/

                                                                            Question is--do you feel like driving to a parking lot on the US side of the border (20-25 minutes from downtown SD), walking 12-15 minutes (to get through the border and then getting in a cab that will await you a few minutes afer you have crossed), and then a 10 minute drive to the restaurant...so, 50 minutes (maybe 60, tops) to get to the restaurant and add another 20-30 minutes for border crossing upon return (yes, only 20-30 minutes IF you go during a weeknight and come back after 7:30).

                                                                            Might be worth a visit....food is quite good and unique.....BTW, same family owns this restaurant as the Romesco's restaurant in the Bonita section of Chula Vista (US) that was mentioned previously.

                                                                            1. re: El Chevere
                                                                              bocasdeltorro Mar 12, 2013 09:00 AM

                                                                              Here is a review last month for Mision 19 by a london food blogger. Personally, I give it a 10/10.

                                                                              http://cheesenbiscuits.blogspot.com/2...

                                                                              1. re: El Chevere
                                                                                DiningDiva Mar 12, 2013 09:40 AM

                                                                                Why drive and park, it's getting harder and harder to do that now. Take the blue line trolley to the border, hop off and walk across. Then cab it to the resto.

                                                                                I've eaten numerous times at Mision 19 and love it, but like almost any restaurant with a celebrity chef it can be inconsistent. I've had meals there that were absolutely phenomenal and I've had meals there that were merely good :-).

                                                                                I actually now prefer Erizo to Mision 19. I know it's not like comparing apples to apples, but it's the same chef, and same (Baja Med) approach, just to impeccably fresh seafood done very creatively. The octopus carpaccio is amazing and the scallop ceviche with mango is positively addictive. There are hard core fans fo the chicharron de atun as well as the ceviche de tres almejas (3 clams), and the best classic fish taco I've eaten in a long time was at Erizo. Easy, breezy, relaxed with just about perfect seafood.

                                                                                With a list of addresses and some pocket change for cabs it's possible to go all over TJ and eat great food. Just remember to bring your passport to get back into the U.S.

                                                                                1. re: DiningDiva
                                                                                  ipsedixit Mar 12, 2013 10:05 AM

                                                                                  Let me just add this.

                                                                                  DO NOT and I mean DO NOT drive across the border. It will literally take you hours and hours to get back across.

                                                                                  Walking is definitely the way to do it.

                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                    DiningDiva Mar 12, 2013 10:26 AM

                                                                                    All 10 thumbs up on this one. Border waits in a vehicle are insane unless one has a SENTRI pass.

                                                                                    The pedestrian lines are usually shorter from the late afternoon on and the cross can be anywhere from no wait at all to about 2 hours.

                                                                                    1. re: DiningDiva
                                                                                      j
                                                                                      jayporter Mar 12, 2013 04:03 PM

                                                                                      The "Ready" lanes at Otay have often been "only" 30-60 minutes the last few months. Except on Sundays when they've been 30-120 minutes.

                                                                                      1. re: jayporter
                                                                                        DiningDiva Mar 12, 2013 06:19 PM

                                                                                        I still think SENTRI is better than Ready. I've never had good luck at Otay :-( even got shuttled into secondary there.

                                                                                    2. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                      Dagney Mar 12, 2013 12:58 PM

                                                                                      +1 on this. Actually, +1 million times.

                                                                                      1. re: Dagney
                                                                                        ashleylau Mar 12, 2013 01:15 PM

                                                                                        I would love to go to TJ (been once before, years ago) but unfortunately I don't think I can make time for it. I'll keep it in mind for another time. thanks everyone!

                                                                            2. re: ashleylau
                                                                              Dagney Mar 11, 2013 11:14 AM

                                                                              Fine dining is a little tricky in San Diego. Our strength lies in the small scale, neighborhood house. Excellent fine dining, featuring wonderful food, ambiance, AND service, is a bit of a unicorn in our fair city.

                                                                              Two "well known" fine dining rooms that come to mind are Bertrand's at Mr A's, and The Marine Room, but both of those places have lackluster food...:(

                                                                              Addison at the The Grand Del Mar would be an excellent choice. It is a very choreographed, intense, long dinner, but well worth the splurge.

                                                                              We have aggressively warned you against the Gaslamp, but there is a place called Bice, located at 425 Island Avenue. I have not personally dined at Bice, but it does receive good reviews on the SD Chow board. Also, there is a place called JRDN, located inside the Tower 23 Hotel, in Pacific Beach.

                                                                              I know there are some decent places in La Jolla and environs more north. Beach Chick? You are pretty well-versed in North County.

                                                                              1. re: Dagney
                                                                                ashleylau Mar 11, 2013 11:22 AM

                                                                                hmm thanks for the info. good to know!

                                                                                1. re: ashleylau
                                                                                  y
                                                                                  yanks26dmb Mar 11, 2013 01:07 PM

                                                                                  Just to follow up - I've been to JRDN numerous times. I don't think I'd call this fine dining, but it is a decent, albeit over-priced place, directly on the beach. Great ambiance and a decent crowd. Cocktails are pretty so-so. Food is hit or miss. For a vibe and setting you could never get in NYC, I'd recommend JRDN....but the food, again, is nothing to write home about.

                                                                                  I too have heard decent things about BICE, but have never been. That said, for someone coming from NYC, I'd be hesitant to recommend Italian...it simply won't compare to what they can find back home.

                                                                                  Posideon is another place that comes to mind, located in Del Mar. Food is overpriced and a hair better than average, but the ambiance, location, and vibe are second to none. I would definitely recommend a happy hour or weekend daytime visit (assuming the weather is nice). This is a quintessential San Diego experience...

                                                                                  1. re: yanks26dmb
                                                                                    Dagney Mar 11, 2013 04:06 PM

                                                                                    Lol, like I said, fine dining in SD=unicorn...:(

                                                                                    1. re: Dagney
                                                                                      ipsedixit Mar 11, 2013 04:12 PM

                                                                                      I don't mean this in a derogatory way, but in many respects SD county (not just the city) is like a large suburb in terms of culinary development.

                                                                                      Lots of really good quality local flavors and interesting nooks and crannies to find inventive and sometimes very unique foods, but nothing in terms of really high-end dining that one might find in a major metro area (despite our little city being the 8th largest in the U.S.)

                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                        ashleylau Mar 11, 2013 04:17 PM

                                                                                        Gotcha. I'm fine with that. Just didn't know fine dining in sd = unicorn in dagneys words. :)

                                                                                        1. re: ashleylau
                                                                                          ipsedixit Mar 11, 2013 04:30 PM

                                                                                          In SD, I think your time, money and efforts are best spent on more "hole-in-the-wall" and mid-ranged restaurants than seeking high-end dining, with the possible exception of TBL3 and perhaps omakase at either Hane Sushi or Sushi Ota (both are high-end in terms of food/sushi bar experience, but not necessarily price).

                                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                            yakigyoza May 15, 2013 03:01 AM

                                                                                            I know I'm super late to this post but the OP mentioned going in a few months and I was poking around this thread because I wanted to see if anything new and interesting popped up recently since I haven't been in SD for 5 months and I'm due to go back this weekend.

                                                                                            ipsedixit hit the nail on the head about spending your money in SD on more "hole-in-the-wall" establishments. I've never been to TBL3 but my friends went last year. From what they told me, it is the most equivalent to NYC fine dining experience in SD but for $170 a head with an additional $90 for beverage pairing, I'd rather spend a few bucks more and get the tasting at EMP in your hometown.

                                                                                            Many of the places mentioned on this thread are decent to good but will not blow your mind or even be memorable. For instance:
                                                                                            - Addison had impeccable service but average (heavy at times) food. I actually preferred Amaya's brunch over Addison's tasting.
                                                                                            - Kitchen 1540 was decent but this was when Chef McCabe ran it. I'm not sure how well the new chef is doing but I'm not sure if it's even remotely comparable.
                                                                                            - Cafe Chloe and Farm House Cafe are decent and cozy but nothing spectacular.
                                                                                            - Urban Solace is okay for drinks but the food is average at best.
                                                                                            - Starlite has even worse food than Urban Solace and they are known more for their Moscow Mule-esque drinks.
                                                                                            - Sushi Ota and Kaito are the best sushi joints in SD so if you're a resident and you're craving sushi, this is where I would go but for your trip, I don't think it's worth it, especially if you're accustomed to good sushi/sashimi.
                                                                                            -Extraordinary Desserts has decent desserts but the food is extremely underwhelming.

                                                                                            So when I visit, I always try new place but I tend to prefer the less exciting but consistently above average places that are pretty affordable like Market in Del Mar, Cowboy Star for steak (they serve bison as well), Carnitas Snack shack for a snack, and a few ethnic eateries that happen to be in whatever area I'm visiting.

                                                                                            In summary, stick with the more hole in the wall places.
                                                                                            - Try fried fish tacos (TJ Oyster) or El Pescador but be ready to drive as both are in Southern SD (Chula Vista).
                                                                                            - Try some al pastor (most people get carne asada) fries with pico de gallo, sour cream, and guac as a snack.
                                                                                            - If you really want a good quality meal but don't want to feel ripped off since you have so many better options for your cash in NY, maybe try something like Cellar Door if you're ok with communal seating and can secure a spot in time. I haven't been yet but I've been wanting to go and have heard great things. I hope Cellar Door is similar to El Ideas in Chicago because I was blown away by that dining experience.

                                                                                            Hope this helps.

                                                                                    2. re: yanks26dmb
                                                                                      El Chevere Mar 12, 2013 08:14 AM

                                                                                      Bice is a chain restaurant with locations in 20+ cities. Asking a NY'er to eat there or any other chain is like asking them to choose Morton's (now owned by Landry's--an even bigger chain) over Peter Luger....fuhgettaboutit.

                                                                                      1. re: El Chevere
                                                                                        ashleylau Mar 12, 2013 08:18 AM

                                                                                        good to know...prob will pass on bice then!

                                                                                        1. re: ashleylau
                                                                                          El Chevere Mar 12, 2013 08:02 PM

                                                                                          Save your Italian fix for SF... Delfina in The Mission very good (stop by Tartine Bakery next door as well) and I still to this day love Caffe Sport in North Beach... Slanted Door for Vietnamese very good.

                                                                                          1. re: El Chevere
                                                                                            DiningDiva Mar 12, 2013 08:18 PM

                                                                                            Oh my. . .Caffe Sport, I haven't thought about that place in years. I had a good friend (2nd gen. Italian) who adored Caffe Sport

                                                                                            1. re: DiningDiva
                                                                                              El Chevere Mar 12, 2013 08:55 PM

                                                                                              I could bathe in their pesto sauce, it's that good..

                                                                                            2. re: El Chevere
                                                                                              polldeldiablo Mar 12, 2013 11:25 PM

                                                                                              OP should be weary going to tartine bakery, shortest line I've been on in last 3 visits was 45 mins waiting out the door to order. Getting a seat is entirely different LOL.

                                                                                    3. re: Dagney
                                                                                      ipsedixit Mar 11, 2013 02:15 PM

                                                                                      Been to Bice, don't really consider it fine dining.

                                                                                      It's good, but not fine dining.

                                                                                    4. re: ashleylau
                                                                                      k
                                                                                      karaethon Mar 13, 2013 11:52 AM

                                                                                      TBL3 is probably the only thing a New Yorker would like.

                                                                                      If that doesn't work, I think you could also consider Addison and AR Valentien.

                                                                                      While we had a few other options that were noteworthy, they have closed over the last 2 years, so those are really the only noteworthy ones.

                                                                                    5. Rodzilla Mar 10, 2013 06:33 AM

                                                                                      Definitely on our to-eat list:
                                                                                      - brunch/breakfast
                                                                                      Urban Solace weekend Brunch
                                                                                      - fine dining
                                                                                      Georges Modern TBL3
                                                                                      - something local and unique to SD
                                                                                      Oscars Mexican Seafood Tacos
                                                                                      - Mexican restaurant
                                                                                      Super Cocina
                                                                                      - one or two places in La Jolla
                                                                                      Georges, Nine-Ten for Lunch, Mediterranean Room at La Valencia

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: Rodzilla
                                                                                        ashleylau Mar 11, 2013 06:53 AM

                                                                                        thank you for these simple, straight-forward suggestions :D

                                                                                      2. ashleylau Mar 7, 2013 08:03 AM

                                                                                        Ok we are going to rent a car! thanks for all the recommendations and tips so far. VERY HELPFUL!

                                                                                        1. El Chevere Mar 6, 2013 08:32 PM

                                                                                          also in Bonita, I would highly recommend Los Arcos or TJ Oyster House for lunch--great, restaurant quality fish tacos. These would be lunch alternatives to Romesco's which would be your dinner alternative.

                                                                                          1. El Chevere Mar 6, 2013 08:13 PM

                                                                                            I agree with one of the recommendations for Romesco's Baja Med Bistro in the Chula Vista suburb of Bonita for truly unique Baja Mexican seafood (high quality) and not the gringo (of which I am) cuisine of refried beans and lard. This would be IF you have a car...well worth a visit. Great wine coming from the Baja region as well--give Santo Tomas Merlot a shot.

                                                                                            I might add The 3rd Corner in Ocean Beach as well--very nice wine bar bistro with delicious food and very reasonably priced.

                                                                                            Agree with the comment on what to avoid (Cohn Group, Malarky, etc.)

                                                                                            1. chris2269 Mar 6, 2013 07:35 PM

                                                                                              You could also catch the Coaster up the coast. $11 dollars round trip from right down town San Diego. Come up to North County Carlsbad or Oceanside. Carlsbad station has lots of great places and Oceanside does too. Carlsbad Yoshino and Paon, Oceanside TBG BBQ and Petite Madeline.

                                                                                              1. k
                                                                                                Katherine H Mar 6, 2013 06:10 PM

                                                                                                I think others have given you lots of good spots to hit up. I'd like to weigh in on the transportation issue. I think it's pretty easy to navigate around downtown, Hillcrest, and North Park via public transport, with major bus lines running along Broadway, University, and 30th St. and reasonably plentiful cabs. There are quite a few worthy restaurants and bars in these areas. Getting to the beach areas and La Jolla is another story. You might want to look into Car2Go, which is a car-sharing program. I think its home area does not extend very far north (perhaps not even to La Jolla), but I find it handy for getting around central San Diego, and it does include Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, and Point Loma. My fiance and I will often use it to get to places where we know we'll be having a few drinks - then we can just ditch the car there and take a cab home. It costs $35 to join and then 38 cents a minute while you're using it, so you'd have to do the math to see if it's worthwhile vs. getting a rental car or just using all cabs and public transport. Have a great trip!

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: Katherine H
                                                                                                  ashleylau Mar 7, 2013 08:08 AM

                                                                                                  Def will look into car2go..if that doesn't work, we'll just rent a car thanks!

                                                                                                2. jmtreg Mar 6, 2013 05:11 PM

                                                                                                  In addition to everything else mentioned (all good recs), you have to fit in either a taco truck (I'll get to in a sec), or a taco shop. The taco shop, in particular, is somewhat unique to San Diego. I'm sorry to say that the worst burrito I ever had was in New York City. Granted, it was a sketchy looking joint, but that's what all taco shops are supposed to be a little bit sketchy. Think of a taco shop like a pizzeria or bagel shop.

                                                                                                  Now, each neighborhood of San Diego has a few favorites to try. If you're staying in the Gaslamp, either Valentines (Market and 9th), or Lucy's (2nd and C), are pretty good. Mexican Fiesta on India Street (and Cedar?) serves fantastic adobada tacos. Lucha Libre, which was on Man v. Food, is an okay-to-good taco shop, and not necessarily worth the lines.

                                                                                                  The thing to eat at these taco shops is not fish tacos (that's for the taco trucks, I'll get to shortly). All taco shops serve fish tacos, but must do it poorly. Instead, go for burritos or tacos containing carne asada (grilled steak), carnitas (pork!), adobada (marinated pork!), and pollo asado (grilled chicken). Rolled tacos, or tacquitos, are also a good thing to order.

                                                                                                  As far as taco trucks go, the Mariscos trucks serve great fish tacos. As you make your way down 30th Street (and I hope you do, and the bus goes down 30th), there is a good Mariscos truck in the South Park neighborhood called Mariscos 9 Seas (or 7 Seas).

                                                                                                  Lastly, try as much beer as you can, particularly if you like IPAs.

                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: jmtreg
                                                                                                    polldeldiablo Mar 6, 2013 08:15 PM

                                                                                                    +1 to the beer, I forgot to mention that as we have some of the best craft beer in the country.

                                                                                                    1. re: polldeldiablo
                                                                                                      El Chevere Mar 13, 2013 06:57 PM

                                                                                                      Speaking of which, why not consider Stone Brewing Gardens in Escondido?.... Great beer, beer garden, ambiance and decent food.

                                                                                                      1. re: El Chevere
                                                                                                        polldeldiablo Mar 15, 2013 01:13 PM

                                                                                                        Stone might be too hoppy for someone who doesn't drink similarly hoppy ipa's. Also I thought they moved to downtown San Diego at the old wonder bread building or something. Maybe that was another brewery or something.

                                                                                                        1. re: polldeldiablo
                                                                                                          Josh Mar 15, 2013 03:29 PM

                                                                                                          You certainly know your beer!

                                                                                                          1. re: polldeldiablo
                                                                                                            El Chevere Mar 15, 2013 03:50 PM

                                                                                                            You have them mistaken for Mission Brewing Company, downtown.

                                                                                                            Stone is supposedly opening another gardens and bistro location in Liberty Station--not sure when it is scheduled to open.

                                                                                                      2. re: jmtreg
                                                                                                        ashleylau Mar 7, 2013 08:07 AM

                                                                                                        ahh extremely useful info regarding tacos. thanks jmtreg!

                                                                                                      3. ipsedixit Mar 6, 2013 04:07 PM

                                                                                                        I'm not going to repeat what alot of other folks have already said cuz you've gotten some great recs already, but let me add a few that have not been mentioned.

                                                                                                        - brunch/breakfast
                                                                                                        Prado (at Balboa Park)
                                                                                                        Grant Hill (waffle bar on Sundays)

                                                                                                        - something local and unique to SD
                                                                                                        Carnitas Snack Shack
                                                                                                        Pomegranate Russian-Georgian Restaurant
                                                                                                        Muzita Abyssinian

                                                                                                        - Mexican restaurant
                                                                                                        Romesco

                                                                                                        Oh, and just a get a car. It'll make your trip *that* much more enjoyable.

                                                                                                        1. polldeldiablo Mar 6, 2013 12:25 PM

                                                                                                          Drive, definitely. Being from manhattan originally, my suggestion would be to stick to what san diego is known for and avoid what you can get better in nyc such as chinese, korean, indian, brazilian, russian and jewish deli. I'll only mention 2 places that are centrally located and viable by public transit in case you don't want to drive.

                                                                                                          Sab E Lee (thai) in linda vista which is near fashion valley.

                                                                                                          Super Cocina(Regional mexican) near north park.

                                                                                                          Both especially the latter have no ambiance so it's strictly for just the food.

                                                                                                          Any other places would be best suggested by others who have had more experience than I have.

                                                                                                          Watch out for our potholes :p

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: polldeldiablo
                                                                                                            ashleylau Mar 7, 2013 08:06 AM

                                                                                                            Nice to know what I should avoid too! thanks a bunchh

                                                                                                            1. re: ashleylau
                                                                                                              y
                                                                                                              yanks26dmb Mar 7, 2013 08:14 AM

                                                                                                              Coming from NYC, and as someone who used to live in Jersey many years ago and knows NYC well, you should absolutely make Super Cocina and German's Taco Truck can't miss places. Just nothing like it back east...

                                                                                                              1. re: yanks26dmb
                                                                                                                ashleylau Mar 11, 2013 07:18 AM

                                                                                                                def. going to super cocina since it's been mentioned more than once!

                                                                                                          2. Beach Chick Mar 6, 2013 10:49 AM

                                                                                                            Public transportation is nothing like NYC..rent a car, its about $15-$20 a day...

                                                                                                            Everyone has given you great places to dine..
                                                                                                            My fave's:

                                                                                                            Rancho Valencia Resort
                                                                                                            George's
                                                                                                            Eddie V's in La Jolla
                                                                                                            AR Valentien at the Lodge at Torrey Pines
                                                                                                            Marine Room...drinks and apps only!
                                                                                                            Tower 23 JRDN for drinks and apps
                                                                                                            Grant Grill at the US Grant Hotel
                                                                                                            Jsix at Hotel Solamar
                                                                                                            Las Cuatro Milpas
                                                                                                            Crown Room at Hotel Del for brunch
                                                                                                            Tender Greens
                                                                                                            Starlite for drinks

                                                                                                            1. DiningDiva Mar 6, 2013 10:42 AM

                                                                                                              Your friends are right :-). Depending upon where you home base yourselves, getting around San Diego is much easier with a car than our rapid transit system. If you are planning to stay in the downtown/Mission Valley area, accessing and using public transit will be easier than if you plan to stay up in La Jolla. San Diego is a very large metropolitan area spread out over a pretty good chunk of real estate. Fastest way to get between to points is usually by car.

                                                                                                              The 30th St. corridor from Adams Ave. down to South Park probably has the greatest variety of places in San Diego and will give you a fairly representative cross section of the city. Starting with Mayahuel on Adams and 30th (acutally a block West of 30th) and ending with Alchemy in South Park you will find almost everything you're interested in including a number of places featuring local craft beers (Blind Lady Ale House, Ritual Tavern, Tornado among them), El Take it EZ for locally sourced Baja influenced food and drinks, pizza at Basic or Caffe Calabria, farm-to-table at the Linkery, great bistro-style at Urban Solace, the interesting and sometimes unusual at the Smoking Goat, local and sustainable seafood at Sea Rocket, and great street food bites at Alchemy...and that really only scratches the surface.

                                                                                                              For fine dining try TBL3 at Georges Modern in La Jolla

                                                                                                              1. k
                                                                                                                karaethon Mar 6, 2013 10:35 AM

                                                                                                                If you use public transportation, your options will probably be severely limited. With that said, if you are relying on public transportation, where are you staying?

                                                                                                                As far as what is unique and local to SD, there are probably two things - mexican seafood tacos and craft beer

                                                                                                                Here's a list of places you can probably check out in general

                                                                                                                brunch/breakfast:
                                                                                                                - Cafe Chloe
                                                                                                                - Claire's on Cedros

                                                                                                                fine dining:
                                                                                                                - TBL3 @ George's California Modern (also La Jolla with a great view)
                                                                                                                - Addison
                                                                                                                - Kaito Sushi (not fine dining persay, but the best sushi experience you'll find)

                                                                                                                Nice "Bistro-style" places to eat
                                                                                                                - Cafe Chloe
                                                                                                                - Starlite
                                                                                                                - Alchemy

                                                                                                                Nice Hangout/bars/cocktails
                                                                                                                - Craft and Commerce
                                                                                                                - Knotty Barrel
                                                                                                                - Noble Experiment (needs reservation)

                                                                                                                More "unique" to SD places
                                                                                                                - Blind Lady Ale House (craft beer)
                                                                                                                - Mariscos German Taco Trucks
                                                                                                                - Oscar's Mexican Seafood

                                                                                                                Here's also a list of places to avoid
                                                                                                                - Cohn group restaurants
                                                                                                                - Malarkey "fabric empire" restaurants
                                                                                                                - Places in Old Town

                                                                                                                31 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: karaethon
                                                                                                                  ashleylau Mar 6, 2013 10:36 AM

                                                                                                                  Thanks what are some places that are only accessible by car? We might consider it if it is severely limiting without one. thanks for the recommendations so far!

                                                                                                                  1. re: ashleylau
                                                                                                                    k
                                                                                                                    karaethon Mar 6, 2013 10:42 AM

                                                                                                                    Generally, it will be very difficult to get to La Jolla unless you have a car or call a cab. Most of the public transportation is centered around downtown and Mission Valley.

                                                                                                                    San Diego is really unlike New York in 2 respects:
                                                                                                                    a) the public transportation is severely lacking
                                                                                                                    b) everything is really spread out

                                                                                                                    I think of the places I listed, the only places you can get to easily (assuming you're staying downtown) with public transportation are Cafe Chloe, Starlite, Craft and Commerce, Knotty Barrel, Noble Experiment

                                                                                                                    Someone else can correct me if I'm wrong.

                                                                                                                    1. re: karaethon
                                                                                                                      r
                                                                                                                      RB Hound Mar 6, 2013 03:36 PM

                                                                                                                      Even if you *can* get to a place via public transit, it often is a needlessly long trip. If you know that places A and B are near trolley stops or are a relatively short bus ride between each other (meaning no transfers, and probably meaning an express line), you could spend over an hour going 10 miles. It is just not worth it for the number of things in your want list.

                                                                                                                      1. re: RB Hound
                                                                                                                        ashleylau Mar 7, 2013 08:04 AM

                                                                                                                        mm thanks for the tip. we will rent a car!

                                                                                                                  2. re: karaethon
                                                                                                                    Dagney Mar 6, 2013 03:53 PM

                                                                                                                    +1 on the above, and I would add Farmhouse Cafe for brunch, Tacos El Panson, Mama Testa's, and Super Cocina for Mexican food.

                                                                                                                    1. re: karaethon
                                                                                                                      y
                                                                                                                      yanks26dmb Mar 7, 2013 08:06 AM

                                                                                                                      As far as places what to avoid, the above are spot on, but I'd like to add anything on 5th avenue...or almost anywhere in the gaslamp for that matter.

                                                                                                                      1. re: yanks26dmb
                                                                                                                        Dagney Mar 7, 2013 11:16 AM

                                                                                                                        Sadly, this is all too true. The Gaslamp should be avoided. Especially at night, unless you have an affinity for hundreds of hysterical drunk people.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Dagney
                                                                                                                          y
                                                                                                                          yanks26dmb Mar 7, 2013 01:11 PM

                                                                                                                          Only ones in short dress :)

                                                                                                                          1. re: yanks26dmb
                                                                                                                            ashleylau Mar 7, 2013 01:18 PM

                                                                                                                            hahaha

                                                                                                                            so what are some nightlife spots that we should hit up? I def. want to check out Blind Lady Ale House.

                                                                                                                            does SD have any good cocktail bars? NYC has a lot and I really enjoy them despite the prices

                                                                                                                            1. re: ashleylau
                                                                                                                              jmtreg Mar 7, 2013 02:42 PM

                                                                                                                              Actually, yes. The Starlite is a very good cocktail bar, and there a couple Downtown (Craft & Commerce, maybe), that I've heard good things about.

                                                                                                                              1. re: ashleylau
                                                                                                                                DiningDiva Mar 7, 2013 04:53 PM

                                                                                                                                Starlight - http://www.starlitesandiego.com/
                                                                                                                                Noble Experiment - http://themixster.com/the-noble-experiment-east-village/
                                                                                                                                Lion's Share - http://lionssharesd.com/cocktails.html
                                                                                                                                Polite Provisions - http://politeprovisions.com/
                                                                                                                                The Grant Grill - http://www.grantgrill.com/
                                                                                                                                Saltbox - http://www.saltboxrestaurant.com/
                                                                                                                                El Dorado - http://eldoradobar.com/
                                                                                                                                Seven Grand - http://sevengrandbars.com/seven-grand...

                                                                                                                                Best mezcal selection is at Mayahuel
                                                                                                                                Best selection of tequila is at El Vitral and El Agave

                                                                                                                                1. re: DiningDiva
                                                                                                                                  foodiechick Mar 9, 2013 01:23 AM

                                                                                                                                  I heard that original El Vitral by Petco closed. What does the Diva know?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: foodiechick
                                                                                                                                    El Chevere Mar 9, 2013 01:10 PM

                                                                                                                                    They claim to be remodeling, though I suspect it has closed with the more affordable (per the 20/30 somethings that live in the immediate area) Blind Burro having opened up.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: DiningDiva
                                                                                                                                    ashleylau Mar 11, 2013 06:54 AM

                                                                                                                                    thank you!

                                                                                                                                  3. re: ashleylau
                                                                                                                                    y
                                                                                                                                    yanks26dmb Mar 7, 2013 10:05 PM

                                                                                                                                    Absolutely. Lion's Share makes the best old fashioned I've had in San Diego - the other cocktails are very solid as well. Craft and commerce is one of my favorite places in town - they make a great Pisco sour..something I haven't been able to find a decent version of since I got back from Peru. Good food for the most part, and a good crowd. Very busy on weekends, go early and get your name down on the list.

                                                                                                                                    I'm actually not so big on Starlite, for drinks or food. A good 75% of their cocktails have ginger beer in them. I don't know about you, but for me, it makes the drink way too sweet. Food is only so-so.

                                                                                                                                    Prohibition is downtown, in the gaslamp. It's supposed to be like a secret speakeasy, so you need a password to get in, which is simple to get - you just text them. Long, narrow, cocktail lounge. Very dark inside, they'll sometimes have a live jazz band playing. Solid to very solid cocktail fruits.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: yanks26dmb
                                                                                                                                      ashleylau Mar 11, 2013 06:52 AM

                                                                                                                                      thanks!

                                                                                                                                  4. re: yanks26dmb
                                                                                                                                    Dagney Mar 7, 2013 11:53 PM

                                                                                                                                    Lol.... The girls in the Gaslamp don't wear dresses, they wear very tight t-shirts that are stretched out long enough to resemble a dress-like garment.

                                                                                                                                  5. re: Dagney
                                                                                                                                    El Chevere Mar 7, 2013 04:18 PM

                                                                                                                                    Gaslamp is perfect if you are in your 20's....agewise, IQ, and/or income.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: El Chevere
                                                                                                                                      globocity Mar 8, 2013 06:02 PM

                                                                                                                                      The derogatory statement about IQ is unnecessary.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: globocity
                                                                                                                                        El Chevere Mar 9, 2013 01:11 PM

                                                                                                                                        but accurate...I did leave out the part about having King Stahlman on speed dial, and the requisite wardrobe consisting of Ed Hardy t-shirts and wallet chains.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: El Chevere
                                                                                                                                          Josh Mar 9, 2013 01:39 PM

                                                                                                                                          The Gaslamp is a great place to reaffirm all of one's negative views about the species.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Josh
                                                                                                                                            Dagney Mar 9, 2013 06:08 PM

                                                                                                                                            I work in the Gaslamp every weekend from the dinner hour through bar break. The level of over the top drunkenness and COMPLETE lack of social decorum is pretty astounding.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Dagney
                                                                                                                                              El Chevere Mar 9, 2013 09:42 PM

                                                                                                                                              and how many other cities (Tijuana, perhaps) do you see restaurants hire 19 year old girls whose job is to stand in front of the restaurant and explain to passerbys what's on the menu that is displayed at the entrance....either these potential customers are naturally dumb and have never seen a menu before in their lives and/or cannot read or they are completely naive to the fact the only thing these 19 year old girls do is add even more cost to the final bill of an already overpriced and non-memorable meal.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: El Chevere
                                                                                                                                                polldeldiablo Mar 9, 2013 11:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                Well those restaurants you speak of specifically on fifth avenue do that specifically to pull in a tourist before someone else grabs them similar to a touristy spot in paris where someone throws plates on the ground just to attract attention. Unfortunately most tourists walk the beaten path.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: polldeldiablo
                                                                                                                                                  El Chevere Mar 10, 2013 07:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                  can you name me any other city where this is done...I travel a lot and cannot think of any other place (outside of Amsterdam for non-food related matters)....cheap gimmick that only adds to the cost of an already overpriced, mediocre meal.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: El Chevere
                                                                                                                                                    El Chevere Mar 10, 2013 07:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                    While we're speaking of the Gaslamp (and I apologize if this hijacks the thread)...does anyone know what the average square foot lease goes for in the Gaslamp?....reason I ask is tonight I am dinining in Palo Alto. I am not a realtor, but there is far more wealth in that specific area (University Avenue by the Stanford campus) and one would think a restaurant lease would be more expensive there than the Gaslamp, yet they have much better restaurants that are serve food for considerably less money that similar restaurants in the Gaslamp....one of two scenarios--the population there is far less transient and they could not get away with serving mediocre food at high prices OR do the landlords in the Gaslamp charge excessive rents and are able to get away with it, forcing restaurant owners to put our mediocre product at higher prices....would love to know the answer...I'll see if I can find out the cost per sq. foot when I have dinner tonight in PA

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: El Chevere
                                                                                                                                                      polldeldiablo Mar 10, 2013 09:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Gaslamp is surprisingly overpriced as far as leasing spaces goes. About 5 years ago I saw a spot for lease that I was considering for retail purposes at fifth between j and island. When I called them up they said it would be $5 per sq/ft so one would think it's over $5 sq/ft by now. As a comparison my friend in nyc leased a spot on 36th street between 5th and 6th avenue(2 blocks from empire state building) with ground floor exposure/basement for $2.50 sq/ft. Tell me if you don't see something wrong with that. This is obviously detrimental for the san diego food scene as most tourists just go to the gaslamp restaurants which mostly survive the first year only if they have a name attached to them.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: polldeldiablo
                                                                                                                                                        El Chevere Mar 10, 2013 11:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                        Thanks...then that would explain why the food is better and cheaper in Palo Alto which--along with NYC--is a far more higher disposable income/exclusive area. I'll see if I can nose around and find out the cost per sq. footage tonight but itdefinitely would appear the Gaslamp landlords are greedy and why I do not support the businesses in the area even though I live minutes away.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: El Chevere
                                                                                                                                                      Fake Name Mar 10, 2013 11:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Sure.

                                                                                                                                                      Last summer in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue was a nearly identical experience with concentrated shoopping/dining district and plenty of carny-types outside by the posted menu.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: El Chevere
                                                                                                                                                    Josh Mar 10, 2013 05:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                    But if I eat there then she will sleep with me.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: Josh
                                                                                                                                                  r
                                                                                                                                                  RB Hound Mar 10, 2013 12:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                  As if you would know, Josh. It could be really cool now for all that you know. You left here, traitor.

                                                                                                                                                  [snicker]

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