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Visiting San Diego what should I NOT miss?

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!

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  1. 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

      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!

        1. re: DoctorChow

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

          1. re: globocity

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

          1. re: RdBchAndy

            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. 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

              Does it help if you pull up on a Bultaco?

            2. The Fishery

              Soda & Swine

              Carnitas Snack Shack

              El Borrego

                1. 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

                    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

                      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

                        What gets me is the carrots.

                        Carrots in ceviche.

                        Love it.

                  2. 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. Tender Greens

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

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Cathy

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

                        1. re: cstr

                          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

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

                            I'm shocked.

                          2. re: cstr

                            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

                              I think your rec for TG was a great one.

                          1. re: jmtreg

                            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

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

                              1. re: honkman

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

                              2. re: Googoomiser

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

                                1. re: The Office Goat

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

                              3. 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

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

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

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: Dagney

                                      They are also saying Tito's and Kabob House.

                                      1. re: Dagney

                                        Have they just returned from Colorado?

                                          1. re: ipsedixit

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

                                            1. re: Dagney

                                              I'm glad you took that in good humor.


                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                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

                                              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

                                              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. 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

                                                Pretty much anything at Tacos el Gordo is excellent.

                                                1. re: fattieontheinside

                                                  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

                                                    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!!