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Visiting San Diego what should I NOT miss?

Googoomiser Jan 7, 2014 12:22 PM

I will be in the SD area for a week and I want to experience great local restaurant. From hole in the walls, food trucks to high end dinning. I do love good Mexican coming from Toronto we have limited Mexican. No need for Chinese recommendations we have lots at home. Please help me out. Thanks!

  1. Dagney Jan 7, 2014 12:30 PM

    Super Cocina-City Heights (Mexican home cooking)
    El Charco-Chula Vista (Mexico City deliciousness)
    El Borrego-City Heights (Barbacoa)
    Tacos al Panson-City Heights (Street tacos, burritos, etc..)
    El Salvadoreno-Logan Heights (El Salvadoran food! to die for!)
    Calbi Taco Truck-wherever they appear (Korean BBQ meets the taco)

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dagney
      Katherine H Jan 7, 2014 03:46 PM

      Sadly, I think El Charco is closed. Kirk K reported they were closed for remodeling back in October (http://mmm-yoso.typepad.com/mmmyoso/2...), and a Yelp reviewer reports the sign is still up as of 12/28. Too bad as I loved that place!

    2. honkman Jan 7, 2014 01:11 PM

      TBL3 at Georges

      1. d
        DoctorChow Jan 7, 2014 01:43 PM

        Cafe Chloe
        Cucina Urbana

        2 Replies
        1. re: DoctorChow
          globocity Feb 2, 2014 07:15 PM

          I miss liking Cucina Urbana. Sadly, it is off my Go To list.
          Good call on Chloe.

          1. re: globocity
            DoctorChow Feb 2, 2014 07:50 PM

            Huh. What was it that soured you on Cucina Urbana, globocity?

        2. r
          RdBchAndy Jan 7, 2014 04:07 PM

          Carnitas Snack Shack

          1 Reply
          1. re: RdBchAndy
            The Office Goat Jan 8, 2014 10:54 AM

            But if you go, park on the same (north) side of the street as the restaurant if you can (busy street, not a good crosswalk).

            It's all outdoors (including the wait in line) so bring clothing appropriate for hanging out outside.

            Go hungry, order lots.

          2. Fake Name Jan 7, 2014 04:38 PM

            BullTaco in Cardiff.

            Yes, not the absolute 100% best tacos in the universe. But you can't beat the view, and the tacos are pretty good.

            Of course, you may need a double-blind test to accurately decide if you like them.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Fake Name
              Tripeler Feb 2, 2014 04:53 PM

              Does it help if you pull up on a Bultaco?

              1. re: Tripeler
                Fake Name Feb 3, 2014 05:16 PM

                Pursang, yes.

                Matador, maybe.

            2. ipsedixit Jan 7, 2014 06:39 PM

              The Fishery

              Soda & Swine

              Carnitas Snack Shack

              El Borrego

              1. SaltyRaisins Jan 7, 2014 08:23 PM

                Starlite Lounge

                1. c
                  cstr Jan 8, 2014 07:30 AM

                  Marisco's Pescador taco truck in the Toys R Us parking lot off the 5 south in CV. Also, El Pescador on Pearl St in LJ for a great grilled fish sandwich.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: cstr
                    Fake Name Jan 8, 2014 08:40 AM

                    Ate at the truck for lunch yesterday. Easily the best Tostada Mixta in town. Rich in ingredients, pretty complex for taco truck food.

                    I always order it "to go" because it's much easier to eat from a cup with a fork. The hip technique is to get the perfect seafood/tortilla ratio in one bite, and having the tortilla on the side allows one to fine tune the mixture.

                    1. re: Fake Name
                      cstr Jan 8, 2014 10:10 AM

                      I like that technique rec, really smart. Have to agree, the mix of different seafood is excellent. I especially like the pieces of pulpo. There have been times where I have a brown paper bag with, well a 12 ozer. Perfect pair.

                      1. re: cstr
                        Fake Name Jan 8, 2014 10:25 AM

                        What gets me is the carrots.

                        Carrots in ceviche.

                        Love it.

                  2. b
                    Beach Chick Jan 8, 2014 07:40 AM

                    Las Cuatro Milpas
                    Georges at the Cove
                    Pony Room at Rancho Valencia Resort
                    Robertos's Taco Shop in Del Mar and Solana Beach
                    Tony Jacals
                    Hacienda de Vega in Escondido
                    Marine Room for drinks and apps in La Jolla
                    Aqui es Texcoco
                    Bull Taco in Cardiff

                    1. c
                      Cathy Jan 8, 2014 09:11 AM

                      Tender Greens

                      Toronto can't give you salads all year with fresh, local ingredients like TG can.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Cathy
                        cstr Jan 8, 2014 10:13 AM

                        Really, can't get fresh ingredients, have you ever been to Toronto, way more metropolitan than SD.

                        1. re: cstr
                          honkman Jan 8, 2014 10:22 AM

                          I don't even think the salads at Tender greens are very good. Many of the mentioned restaurants, e.g. Alchemy, Urban Solace, Starlite etc. use similar good ingredients for salads but in a much more creative way.

                          1. re: honkman
                            Fake Name Jan 8, 2014 10:36 AM

                            "I don't even think the salads at Tender greens are very good. "

                            I'm shocked.

                          2. re: cstr
                            Cathy Jan 8, 2014 02:27 PM

                            I grew up in Detroit. Yes, I've been to Toronto in the winter.

                            I was making an alternative suggestion to the majority of Mexican food suggestions. I thought suggesting something that San Diego County, which has the greatest number of Farms in the USA, might offer as a local selection would be something unique for someone visiting from a City with a current temperature of 14º.

                            1. re: Cathy
                              globocity Feb 2, 2014 07:16 PM

                              I think your rec for TG was a great one.

                        2. jmtreg Jan 8, 2014 10:16 AM

                          Fathom Bistro

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: jmtreg
                            Googoomiser Jan 8, 2014 02:21 PM

                            WOW Thank you SD!! Nice to see all your support and please keep it coming.

                            I can see from the replies that I'll diffidently get my fill of good Mexican.

                            Any one know where to get some uni/sea urchin?

                            1. re: Googoomiser
                              honkman Jan 8, 2014 02:24 PM

                              Uni in dish or as a fresh ingredient so that you can use it in a dish ?

                              1. re: honkman
                                Googoomiser Jan 8, 2014 02:32 PM

                                A restaurant that serves it Japanese style and other ways too. I heard SD harvest allot of Uni.

                              2. re: Googoomiser
                                The Office Goat Jan 8, 2014 02:45 PM

                                Go to one of the farmers markets and they will open it up and hand it to you.

                                1. re: The Office Goat
                                  honkman Jan 8, 2014 03:05 PM

                                  The farmers market in Little Italy on Saturday morning might be a good option

                                2. re: Googoomiser
                                  SaltyRaisins Jan 8, 2014 03:08 PM

                                  For uni: Sushi Tadokoro.

                              3. d
                                djquinnc Jan 8, 2014 02:37 PM

                                I used to travel down to SD quite a bit from LA. Here are a few of my favorites:

                                Albie's Beef Inn for the piano bar, smoked marbled mirrors, velvet paintings of nudes, and waitresses that still call you “Hon.”

                                Buon Appetito in Little Italy for really good Italian food in one of my favorite SD neighborhoods.

                                The Mission in North Park for great breakfast/brunch. Hopefully, Ralphie or Miss Moore will be one of your servers.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: djquinnc
                                  globocity Feb 2, 2014 07:18 PM

                                  Ummmm Buon Appetito is by no means a destination for someone asking "what should I NOT miss?"
                                  It is fine for a hungry passerby.

                                2. k
                                  kmoto Jan 8, 2014 06:48 PM

                                  Buona Forchetta is a non-Little Italy Italian charmer with truly good pizza (but they also have pasta and salads).

                                  1. Dagney Jan 8, 2014 09:02 PM

                                    My squad mates are saying Tommy burger, Hodads, Luigi's, and Slaters.

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: Dagney
                                      Dagney Jan 8, 2014 09:06 PM

                                      They are also saying Tito's and Kabob House.

                                      1. re: Dagney
                                        ipsedixit Jan 8, 2014 09:15 PM

                                        Have they just returned from Colorado?

                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                          DoctorChow Jan 8, 2014 09:22 PM


                                          Not nice, ipse.

                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                            Dagney Jan 8, 2014 11:23 PM

                                            L O L!!! We're knuckle dragging cops! What can I say?

                                            1. re: Dagney
                                              ipsedixit Jan 9, 2014 07:57 AM

                                              I'm glad you took that in good humor.


                                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                                Dagney Jan 9, 2014 01:07 PM

                                                Oh, trust me, I have to set them straight occasionally. Like my one squad mate from the Bronx who favors Pizza Hut....huh? just...what?

                                              2. re: Dagney
                                                Beach Chick Jan 9, 2014 08:27 AM

                                                We all LOVE our SD Finest!!!

                                            2. re: Dagney
                                              The Office Goat Jan 9, 2014 08:27 AM

                                              Tito's or Tita's? If not, add Tita's to the mix, too.

                                              Nothing like Tita's for a massive helping of filipino BBQ (chicken or pork), some adobo, pancit, some banana fritters, and impatient flop-sweat-inducing glares from the servers behind the counter.

                                            3. re: Dagney
                                              DiningDiva Jan 8, 2014 09:30 PM

                                              Oh god, I haven't been to Tommy's in ages, and it's probably not the best burger, but that's actually not a bad suggestion.

                                            4. f
                                              fattieontheinside Jan 9, 2014 09:24 AM

                                              Skip Buona Forchetta - pizza crust is fine... until their soupy sauce makes it soggy.

                                              Tacos el Gordo in Chula Vista is delicious. Hubby likes the adobada, but I think the tripe taco is addicting.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: fattieontheinside
                                                cstr Jan 9, 2014 12:28 PM

                                                Pretty much anything at Tacos el Gordo is excellent.

                                                1. re: fattieontheinside
                                                  jmtreg Jan 9, 2014 03:25 PM

                                                  Good suggestion on Tacos El Gordo.

                                                  Second, Buona Forchetta serves a Neapolitan style pizza, and the soupiness is characteristic of the style.

                                                  1. re: jmtreg
                                                    Googoomiser Jan 27, 2014 07:53 AM

                                                    Just returned to frosty TO and missing the SD weather already. Thank you to all for your suggestions. Loved carnitas snack shack (got the T shirt), Fathom bistro (just had a beer) our hotel was directly across the rd, El Pescador (excellent), Uni at the farmers markets (little italy, Ocean beach) yum yum!, missed calbi taco, Tortas Ahogadas (interesting), Robertos's Taco Shop and lost of other mexican offerings certainly got my full of good mexican!! Thanks again and looking forward to visiting again!!

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