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#1
Posted June 17th 2012, 1:26am
The husband and I will be in San Diego in mid-August. Sadly, a work trip for me (which means boring boxed lunches), but the nights are all ours.

We are interested in at least one night of fine-dining (preferably a place with an interesting tasting menu).

We're also looking for great sushi, looking more for a traditional joint rather than a trendy one. I can't pull off trendy anymore.

Finally, any recommendations for a "not-to-be-missed" seafood restaurant? I'm not afraid to dig in with my bare hands.
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#2
Posted June 17th 2012, 1:09pm
vesuvius wrote:The husband and I will be in San Diego in mid-August. Sadly, a work trip for me (which means boring boxed lunches), but the nights are all ours.

We are interested in at least one night of fine-dining (preferably a place with an interesting tasting menu).

We're also looking for great sushi, looking more for a traditional joint rather than a trendy one. I can't pull off trendy anymore.

Finally, any recommendations for a "not-to-be-missed" seafood restaurant? I'm not afraid to dig in with my bare hands.


You may wish to start by checking out these threads:

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=8581

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=31600

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=19876
_______________________________________

Leek
SAVING ONE DOG MAY NOT CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT IT CHANGES THE WORLD FOR THAT ONE DOG.
American Brittany Rescuealways needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog.
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#3
Posted June 18th 2012, 11:18am
For sushi, Kaito Sushi in Encinitas. They serve traditional Edo-mae sushi that is unmatched in Chicago. Reservations required.

For a tasting menu, I have not found a better place than Georges at the Cove's TBL3 tasting. You need to make arrangements in advance (check their website). It's the most "unique" to San Diego - I find other places just mediocre or too generic.

For seafood... let me know when you find it! I still haven't found what I'd call a GREAT seafood place in this town (shocking, yes)
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#4
Posted August 29th 2012, 8:13am
Okay. I've perused all the threads and am still uncertain. I'll be in SD for work next week. Lunch is spoken for, sadly, but I can have my own breakfast (if I eat early) and my own dinners (Tues/Wed/Thu). So far, I've made one reservation (El Take It Easy) and have been considering Cafe Chloe for one night (it looks perfectly fine but somehow doesn't excite me). Also considering Yakitori Yakyudori (though Kearny Mesa seems like a long cab ride) and would have considered Zocalo but it appears to be gone. I would probably have gone to George's but a $65 cab ride each way is a fare too far. So I'm stuck.

Staying at the Marriott in the Gaslamp district. Any recs for dinner (or even b'fast?). I have no particular preferences cuisine-wise (though it would be nice to find something I can't get here) and don't care whether it's low-budget or $$$$. I just want a really enjoyable time. B'fast needs to be reasonably close to the hotel or a shortish cab ride; dinner can be (relatively) farther.

Help! (Puppy, are you there?)
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Gypsy Boy

"I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
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#5
Posted August 29th 2012, 9:14am
TBH, I don't get El Take it Easy. The food is just not very compelling. I appreciate their ethos, but they rarely deliver for me (I've been there ~3 times, and I don't think I can bring myself to give them another chance). In that same area, I would recommend the Linkery (its sister restaurant), Jayne's Gastropub (great cocktails), Urban Solace, or Blind Lady Alehouse (especially if you're into beer) instead.

Closer to the Gaslamp, try Counterpoint, Alchemy (both eclectic) or Cucina Urbana ("Italian"). Cafe Chloe is solid, but like you said, unexciting.

If you do go to Kearny Mesa, Yakyudori is really fun, as well as Okan (it serves certain items that're hard to find elsewhere).

I'm afraid I can't really help with breakfast, except the Broken Yolk in the Gaslamp (food is OK, but it is a local institution).
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#6
Posted August 29th 2012, 9:47am
Bless you and thank you.

Sorry to hear your multiple takes on El Take It Easy. The menu is intriguing (I think) and I've heard good things. Now you give me pause. However, you also give me options, which is even more important. Got some homework cut out for me.

Any such thing as a good breakfast burrito in town?
_______________________________________

Gypsy Boy

"I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
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#7
Posted August 29th 2012, 11:03am
A good friend was in San Diego for work last year and enjoyed the breakfast at Cafe Chloe. Since dinner there doesn't excite you, maybe switch up your plans.
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#8
Posted August 29th 2012, 12:39pm
Cafe Chloe is good, but unexciting.

Just a few more things I'd add to your list for options:

1) Craft and Commerce for drinks
2) I really dig Neighborhood for simple bar food done very well
3) I like Saltbox but a lot of people have varying opinons on it, but a solid place at least for a snack
4) My wife and I have really been digging the Del Mar outpost of Davanti lately- I enjoy it for solid wine bar food.

By the way Puppy- since you like Linkery, what about Sea Rocket Bistro for simply done seafood?

Another sushi option for you as well-

Hane Sushi (or is it Sushi Hane) is the sister restaurant of Sushi Ota and a lot closer to you and quite good. It's got a little of that sceney vibe, but mainly because of its location. The Ankimo is especially delightful.

The debate always rages in San Diego about which is better Ota or Kaito- I think they're equally good at what they do, but they do their own things differently.

For driving, by the way, don't forget about Uber. Similar pricing to cabs, but I've never been ripped off by an Uber driver and have been by plenty of cab drivers.
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is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
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#9
Posted August 29th 2012, 2:19pm
Lolitas by Petco Park should have pretty good breakfast burritos (and also carne asada fries).

jpschust - I liked Sea Rocket, but the original chef left to run the kitchen at Counterpoint. Have not been back since he left, so I can't comment on the food.
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#10
Posted August 29th 2012, 2:55pm
Havent been there in about 2 months but it was solid. The sea urchin was fantastic.

Carne Asada fries, much like animal style fries are something that shouldn't rightfully exist but are so damn good.
_______________________________________

is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
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#11
Posted August 30th 2012, 2:19pm
You must go get baja fish tacos somewhere.
_______________________________________

Leek
SAVING ONE DOG MAY NOT CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT IT CHANGES THE WORLD FOR THAT ONE DOG.
American Brittany Rescuealways needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog.
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#12
Posted August 30th 2012, 2:25pm
leek wrote:You must go get baja fish tacos somewhere.


I won't dispute that...gotta recommendation?
_______________________________________

Gypsy Boy

"I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
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#13
Posted August 30th 2012, 7:39pm
I've enjoyed Blue Water Grill, South Beach Bar and Grill, George's, Rubio's Tin Fish. My favorite is South Beach, but part of that may be the nearby ice cream shop and being about 20 feet from the beach (I love to walk on the beach)

http://www.seriouseats.com/2008/03/best ... ornia.html
http://www.sandiegomagazine.com/San-Die ... ish-Tacos/
http://blog.sandiego.org/2010/07/san-di ... fect-pair/
_______________________________________

Leek
SAVING ONE DOG MAY NOT CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT IT CHANGES THE WORLD FOR THAT ONE DOG.
American Brittany Rescuealways needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog.
Avatar
#14
Posted September 5th 2012, 9:52am
Thanks for the recommendations; now I just need to find the time to get to one (or more) of them.

Dinner last night was at The Linkery which, sad to say, disappointed. (Tried two different house-made sausages--linguica and fresh Polish--but both were dry and neither had much flavor. House-made sauerkraut was nothing special and the pickled veggies were overwhelmingly cucumbers with a smattering of other things. Nice place, great promise--I love that they offer different sausages a night from a list that looks about two hundred long or so--maybe I just chose the wrong stuff.) Breakfast this morning at Cafe 222 (chosen for proximity and hour of opening); excellent (shredded) corned beef hash--best I've had in quite a while, though they mixed it up into a pancake of sorts with potatoes, onions, etc. Still, very well done. A nice place.

My question: anyone have any experience with Chopahn? It's a white tablecloth Afghan place that I passed on my walk. A number of pretty unusual things and white tablecloth Afghan is not exactly common itself. At 750 6th Street, between F and G. Looked quite promising. Also, Cafe Istanbul? Still have one dinner open and it's getting harder and harder to choose....

Thanks, everyone, btw, for all the input. The biggest issue has been the cost of taxis here. I never thought I'd say that Chicago taxis are reasonable but compared to what they charge here.... I guess no one takes taxis in southern California, everyone drives.
_______________________________________

Gypsy Boy

"I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
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#15
Posted September 6th 2012, 12:44am
I'm sorry you had a poor meal at the Linkery :(

Taxis are indeed super-expensive... looking forward to more reports on places you've tried...
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#16
Posted September 6th 2012, 12:22pm
Gypsy Boy wrote:The biggest issue has been the cost of taxis here.

I know overnight hotel parking in the Gaslamp is $25-35, but even at that range, the rental may still be worth it if just 2 days. It lets you go to dinner on Convoy, so you can eat some half decent izakaya/pho!!/KBBQ.
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#17
Posted September 7th 2012, 5:29pm
The best laid plans....

(Short final post in the works re a very good breakfast at Cafe 222 and a very interesting--and enjoyable--dinner at El Take It Easy (sorry, Puppy :) ).)

So: I ended up having to have a completely unexpected lunch and, with little time to investigate anything other than what was walking distance, took myself to Cafe Istanbul. A doner kebab joint. Not much exceptional on the menu but I had a lamb wrap and gotta say it was really quite tasty. All the ingredients were very fresh, the lamb had nice flavor and char and was quality lamb, and I was left thinking I'd return with no hesitation to try other things on the menu. For $6 or so, it's a real winner.

Cafe Istanbul
921 6th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 544-1700
http://www.cafeistanbulsd.net

Then, in another completely unexpected development, my dinner plans got hijacked and I was taken out to Operacaffe--a white tablecloth Italian place run, apparently, by a couple from Florence, iirc. Not the greatest Italian meal I've ever had but much better than I anticipated. I had a carpaccio di tonno (with extremely thinly sliced ahi) and ravioli boscaiola (porcini, sage, pignoli, a creamy butter sauce). A little taken aback at how much I enjoyed it. The bottle of Tormaresca Bocca di Lupo Castel del Monte 2006 (a blend of aglianico and cab) from Puglia was wonderful. At six years old (and 13.5%) it's a wine that could stand even more aging but the tannins were well-balanced and it had a lot of flavor and good body. Pleasant to quaff and good enough to stand up to a little analysis and thought. Cannoli for dessert; not Natalie's (but then, what is?) but certainly acceptable (no better). All in all, as I suggested, I enjoyed it more than I expected I would, tribute in part to the synergistic effect of an enjoyable dinner companion and great conversation. But, in fairness to the restaurant, I'd be curious to return and try other things on the menu. Don't think it's a destination, but given where we were, it was much better than I had any reason to expect.

Operacaffe
835 4th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 234-6538
http://www.operacaffe.com

Finally, and again upsetting my applecart, never had another breakfast outside the hotel. I was eagerly anticipating Lolita's at Petco and even Cafe Chloe for breakfast but got sabotaged twice. So I guess I'll have to return to SD--though hopefully when the heat and humidity are both a little lower.

Many thanks to all for the suggestions; I only regret I wasn't there long enough to try everything out.
_______________________________________

Gypsy Boy

"I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
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#18
Posted September 7th 2012, 8:08pm
Among my big complaints with Linkery and El Take It Easy- the 18% mandatory tip. No, not for groups, for EVERYONE.

Ate at El Take It Easy a couple of nights ago- middling, not worth the $$ but not awful.
_______________________________________

is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
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#19
Posted September 7th 2012, 11:47pm
Do you live in SD, jpschust? We should have a meal sometime!
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#20
Posted November 27th 2012, 11:33am
I have never been to San Diego and am going for NYE. Does anyone have any recommendations for dinner on NYE for about 10 people? We eat everything, we like everything. Just looking for somewhere that has great food and that is fun.

Thanks
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#21
Posted November 28th 2012, 12:46pm
Shaggywillis wrote:I have never been to San Diego and am going for NYE. Does anyone have any recommendations for dinner on NYE for about 10 people? We eat everything, we like everything. Just looking for somewhere that has great food and that is fun.

Thanks
Do you know where you'll be in San Diego- it's a pretty big place and I could easily guide you better if I knew where. Immediately a few places come to mind (whisknladle, flavor, and a few others).
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is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
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#22
Posted November 28th 2012, 4:42pm
I second the rec for Whisknladle. They easily accommodate groups and their food is wonderful. It's one of my go tos in San Diego!
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#23
Posted December 10th 2012, 9:11am
Will be visiting San Diego soon, and I welcome any suggestions for reasonably-priced (no steak places) restaurants that would be good for a group (including a couple of young children). Would love to find a great Chinese restaurant of the caliber that we have here in Chicago. I also read about a Russian-Georgian restaurant called Pomegranate. Anyone know it?


On a related note, I'm curious what rush hour traffic might be like in San Diego on the freeways on, say, a Thursday evening around 5 or 5:30? I think we're staying in an area that doesn't seem to have a lot of great restaurants, and I have a feeling we're going to have to get in the car and travel a few miles on the freeway to get to some good eats. Just wondering what we could be in for traffic-wise.... Thanks so much!
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#24
Posted December 10th 2012, 4:45pm
Yes I'll be staying in South Park if that helps any.

Thanks for the recs guys!!
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#25
Posted March 14th 2013, 9:55am
I'm heading to San Diego next month for work. I visit a friend there every few years but this trip I'll be staying downtown near the conventions center. I've read through the threads on this site and I have the following spots on my list:

El Zarape for fish tacos

Ota and/or Kaita for Sushi

Yakitori Yakyudori

The Linkery

Cafe Chloe

Bread on Market for lunch

I'll probably hit Bread & Cie for sandwiches


Anyone have updates on must-try places? I will probably try and rent a car for a day or two so I'm not averse to traveling for a good spot.
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#26
Posted March 14th 2013, 10:53am
My two favorite places:
The Green Flash -- simple seafood right on the beach
701 Thomas Ave, San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 270-7715

Sevilla -- tapas in the Gaslamp, don't miss the shrimp in hazelnut brandy cream sauce
353 5th Ave, San Diego, CA
(619) 233-5979
_______________________________________

What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
-- Lin Yutang
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#27
Posted March 14th 2013, 10:06pm
I will second Sushi Ota in PB and Yakitori Yukyudori. I've heard great reports from Kaito, but we prefer to take cabs and stay closer to town and go to Ota - the food has always been excellent. Yukyudori is a can't-miss in my opinion - I will never go to SD without going there again.
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#28
Posted March 15th 2013, 5:08pm
I really enjoy drinking at Pizza Port. After 3 (or 6) pints, the pizza becomes barely edible.

Whisknladle is great, but it's in La Jolla, which to the college kids, is almost not a part of San Diego? It's freakin' far. Since you're going to be in La Jolla, might as well stop by Bird Rock Coffee, SD's Intelligentsia.

Sushi OTA is about as good as Bob San. The 1500 yelp 4 stars are ridiculous. It's as if nuke sub sailors came home from sea and haven't had sushi in a year? *shrug*
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#29
Posted March 16th 2013, 4:16pm
Agree with TonyC on Sushi Ota - I don't get the hype. Kaito, on the other hand, is miles better than anything else around in terms of product quality.

I would recommend Super Cocina for the type of Mexican food that is not prevalent in Chicago.

If you're into cocktails, I highly recommend Noble Experiment. If you need food close to the convention center, Prepkitchen in Little Italy and Cucina Urbana are decent.

Yakyudori is great when the master is there. Another great place in the area is Robataya Oton.

I would skip The Linkery and go to Urban Solace (for food) or Blind Lady Alehouse (for pizza/beer) instead if you're in that area.
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#30
Posted March 16th 2013, 4:39pm
Oscar's Mexican Seafood on Turquoise in La Jolla is great for ceviche and fish tacos.

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