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Jan 7, 2014 10:03 PM

Graduation Dinner

Hi San Diego Chowhounds! I am in need of a little foodie help here. My kid is graduating (yay!) from USD in May (Memorial Day weekend to be exact) and I've got a bit of family coming in from around the state to be there for the ceremony. While I've yet to understand why a university would hold it's graduation on a holiday weekend, thus ensuring the frustration of all non-locals, I've still got to plan a graduation dinner on the Sunday evening of Memorial Day weekend. I will have between 10 and 15 family members for dinner. Because of the busy holiday weekend, a lot of places I've checked are not accepting reservations. Though the graduating senior, his father and I would love to hit up some of the more deliciously adventurous spots in town, the family would prefer something more...basic (heavy sigh). Not too expensive please (I've got college loans to pay back!) - maybe $15 or so per person per entree. And somewhere in San Diego, downtown, beach areas, Point Loma, or near the University would be great! Thank you in advance! If you're coming to Sonoma County I'd be happy to return the favor!

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  1. Well, I will stand by for the rotten tomatoes, but Pizza Nova in Point Loma might fit the bill. The prices are within your budget, and I have always had solid, efficient service there. I am not sure if they accept reservations. They definitely have a good selection of dishes designed to please a wide variety of palates.


    1. Tender Greens in Liberty Station
      Pizza Nova
      Brigantine for everyday happy hour in Shelter Island
      Casa Guadalajara in Old Town

      1. That's a tight budget, I agree that you may have to hit up some happy hours. In addition to BC's Brig rec, here's a happy hour website that may help you out.

        1. Thank you! If I up my budget..maybe to $20 or so per entree prices - does that change things significantly? I'm positive that the grandparents wouldn't be fine with happy hours (though I am forwarding that link to my kid)! I'm looking into Pizza Nova too and Tender Greens.

          1. Can you do a late lunch?

            Pony Room at Rancho Valencia Resort in Rancho Santa Fe would work for a late lunch in your price point of $20 or less pp and they have a fab trio of quiche/salad/soup for $14..lunch trios are the way to go and are delicious.

            Front patio is lovely and would be great for a party of 15+

            Cafe Athena in Pacific Beach is a great place for lunch/dinner for good Greek food.


            6 Replies
            1. re: Beach Chick

              Come on- RVR is FAR away from USD- might as well send them to Berlin.

              I'd look closely at Solare in Liberty Station. I'd fix the menu in advance to control costs. I've had a few solid meals there- very family-type place.

              On the other hand…
              I'd consider < affixes helmet > Tio Leos.

              No, the food is not out-of-this-world (or any other world, for that matter) but it's very casual, easy, close and inexpensive.

              1. re: Fake Name

                Berlin...let's say more Montebello.
                Google maps says 20.9 miles and 27 minutes..
                Mostly all freeway.
                I would only suggest this is if it is only for lunch..

                You know how wonderful it is there..probably your best lunch with friends...evah!

                  1. re: Fake Name

                    Never thought I'd see the day.

                    Glad you have that helmet on.

                    Yes, it's easy (except getting in and out), close, and inexpensive.

                    Otherwise, sorry my friend, uggh.

                    IMO, of course.

                  2. re: Beach Chick

                    Sad to say - no late lunch - the graduation ceremony is at 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm ish. By the time we fight the traffic and get out of there, my guess is that it'll be 6:30 or so. And with the elderly family, I have to stay in the area. This would be so much easier if not for the holiday weekend....

                    1. re: deniseredeker

                      Well, maybe you can set things up with Stones at Liberty Station. They can accommodate 10-15 people at a table if you reserve. I think.

                      A nice setting, not too far from USD, and not too expensive. Good food and beer, too.