Best San Diego cheap eats? Also, advice for Region, Laurel
I'm visiting SD this weekend and have heard good things about Region and Laurel. Are they nice for dinner?
Also, how is the restaurant at the Loews? A friend is a chef there and we might stop by?
And most importantly, where can we find great cheap eats? Like taco trucks, or anything else SD is known for? We are adventurous!
Sadly, San Diego itself is not known for taco trucks, but everyone seems to want to try a few fish tacos.
El Zarape on Park Blvd in University Heights has good fried fish tacos for $1 and they offer other interesting seafood options for a couple dollars more. Everyone recommends Mama Testa on University Ave in Hillcrest for authentic Mexican taqueria food. I also have heard may recommend Super Cocina way down the street in City Heights for family-style mexican, but I wasn't so impressed after one visit.
Vietnamese food is on of San Diego's strengths, especially when price is a consideration. Kirk has a whole list of great Pho and Bahn Mi places, where beef soup can be had for under $5 and a foot-long sub for $2. For accessibility I recommend K Sandwich in Linda Vista, and Kim Chan off of El Cajon Blvd (check out Kirk's blog for the hidden location) for a more challenging Bahn Mi experience. I enjoy the efficient service, good parking and $4 bowls of Pho at Pho Da Cao on El Cajon, but if you are up farther north towards Mira Mesa, Lucky Seafood is the best, according to Kirk.
Other good options for cheap eats are Mama's Bakery in North Park for Lebanese food, most any noodle place you pick along Convoy up in Kearny Mesa, Bronx Pizza in Hilcrest for some of the best thin-crust pies on the west coast, yummy pupusas at El Salvador on Imperial to the east of downtown, and hand-made icecream (try the fruit flavors) at Mariposa Ice Cream in my neighborhood, Normal Heights. You can find all these places on Google Maps, as you probably know.
I was last at Region in early April -- would definitely recommend it. It sounds like you're there weekend only, but they have a prix-fixe dinner on Monday nights that's a bargain at $31 for 3 courses.
Can't believe nobody recommended Super Cocina. That's the best Mexican in San Diego, hands down. They're on University, 5 blocks west of the 15 freeway. If you're adventurous, then you should NOT miss this place. Homestyle Mexican cooking, like they eat in Mexico.
Cafe Cerise is a good dinner destination if you're looking to spend a little money.
You should also check out The Linkery in North Park. They have a very creative menu, and they really do pay attention to their food in a way that few restaurants do.
Super Cocina is very good, but not for the easily intimidated. If your only exposure to Mexican is El Torito or Taco Bell, be prepared for some different dishes. Their spicy pork is very good as are the carnitas when available. I also like the sopa de res (beef soup) on cold days.
Cafe Cerise wasn't there the last time I checked. Maybe someone can confirm this?
I second The Linkery in North Park. Very good food with an owner that cares about his craft. Believe it or not, their burger is worth a try if you can share it. Just don't miss out on the delicious sausages.