Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I will be in San Diego and La Jolla for an upcoming weekend. If you have any recommendations for moderately-priced restaurants with lively atmospheres, send 'em my way. Taco stand suggestions also appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I swear by the shrimp burritos at Fin's.

It's a small chain of fish taco, etc., places in strip malls. There is one in Mission Valley and one in La Jolla. Nothing to look at but the best damn shrimp burrito I've ever had. [As of August 19th, 2012, there is only one Fin's left, in La Jolla.]

Seriously.

Mr. BLB and I are planning a trip to LA and Hawaii for the winter and I'm working on a plane to fly into San Diego just for a stop at Fin's before driving up to LA.

They are that good.

Beyond that, I've had nice meals in the Gaslamp District but nothing sticks out in my memory.

Enjoy!

Jennifer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kiyo's sushi. 531 F St in the Gaslamp. Total hole in the wall. Go. Go early, sit at the bar and ask the oldish guy behind the sushi bar (that's Kiyo) to feed you. Be adventurous. Ask questions. Engage. Then you get the really good stuff, like hand rolls with perfectly cooked, gelatinous-essence-of-bluefin tuna (it's the skin). Marinated sashimi to frickin'-die-for.

I get about two weeks in San Diego each year. I eat dinner at two restaurants, essentially. Region [Closed, summer of 2006] in Hillcrest (think the late, lamented Rupperts with more friendly people and more, better, ingredients) and this joint.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Beyond that, I've had nice meals in the Gaslamp District but nothing sticks out in my memory.

That is kind of how I have always felt about the restaurants in the Gaslamp, noting bad, just nothing memorable.

If you like steak, I would recommend Rainwater's on Kettner [Closed in December, 2009]. It is the best steakhouse on the west coast, and only rivaled by Ringside in Portland.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like we are going to spend the majority of our time in La Jolla (although we have rented a car given that they were only $19.99/day...and about that much for gas!). I'll come back with a report on anything we find that's worth eatin'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hate to send you to a chain -- a local chain -- but Rubio's fish tacos are scrumptious. I ate at one of its locations last spring. All I can say is yum. Fresh ingredients, big tacos.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have returned from San Diego and La Jolla, returning sunburned and pretty "eh" about the dining options out there. I had hoped for a taco stand on every corner, to go along with the salsa played on easily 65% of the FM stations, but really struggled to find what I sought.

Oh well, the company was pleasant. smile.gif

Our most enjoyable meal of the trip came from some anonymous sandwich shop on Avenida de la Playa. My turkey sandwich came with lots of avocado spread, was followed by a very fresh chocolate cookie and all of it was washed down with a huge homemade lemonade. Yum.

On Saturday night, my friends and I were determined to find a decent Mexican restaurant in La Jolla. Sadly, our research turned up only one spot: Alphonso's [Open since the mid-1980s] After a round at the bar (three margaritas of different frozen/traditional, salt/no-salt varieties and a dos equis amber for me: $24), we sat on the outdoor patio. Thank goodness for the heat lamps because it's nothing like DC's all heat and humidity, all the time weather.

The food was fine, nothing exceptional. We started with "chunky" guacamole which was OK, but Rosa Mexicano need not worry about me finding a new favorite. The "chunky" reference, from what I can tell, was more about the large slices - yes, slices - of tomato and onion atop the avocado puree; not chunks of avocado. The chips were weird, seemingly twice fried. Again, oh well.

I had a carne asada quesadilla that was easily twice the size of my head for about $14. My friends had, respectively, a spicy shrimp burrito (she confirmed that it was indeed spicy), a beef enchilada and a steak tostado. The total price (w/o drinks) with tip was less than $20 so although it didn't knock our socks off, nor did it put a dent in our wallets.

I only have vague recollections of our Sunday late-night dinner at La Dolce Vita in La Jolla due to afternoon alcohol consumption. [i had "celebrated" Labor Day to the fullest extent, surrounded by women in super-large Mary Kate Olsen sunglasses. Mine made me look like John Lennon by comparison.] I recall cheap white wine, something covered in alfredo sauce and a bitter-tasting tiramisu. Maybe you shouldn't go to La Dolce Vita. Unless "Forever Fondue" (yes, seriously) is booked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife and I were in San Diego about 4 weeks ago and hit a few restaurants. One of the common themes that I noticed at every restaurant was the genuinely friendly and helpful service that we got, whether we were at a local bagel shop or a fancy restaurant.

Our first night we went to Star of the Sea. I had heard that it was one of the best restaurants in San Diego, and we were hoping to find a great seafood restaurant while on vacation. The good: service was fantastic from start to finish. The bartender was very friendly and guided us about what tourist traps were good and which ones to avoid. Our waiter recommended some very nice wines and was knowledgeable about the menu. The room was beautiful, and every table has a view that overlooks the water. The bad: nothing was bad, but for many dishes we found that the sum of the parts does not equal the whole. For an appetizer, I had the white pepper shrimp. My memory fails me right now, but the shrimp came with a sweet sauce to balance out the spiciness from the pepper. The combination was very good, and I enjoyed it. Clearly, they were going for the spicy-sweet balance, but was it necessary to serve this dish with an apricot fritter? The apricot fritter was tasty on its own, and would have made a great dessert, but it was way too sweet and was totally out of place being served with the shrimp. My wife's swordfish came with Langoustines, Squid Ink Tagliatelle, Baby Fennel, AND Lobster Bolognese. All of the components were fine on their own, but together they overwhelmed the swordfish. My Ahi Tuna Gremolada was a surprising large portion, however, the tuna was very thin. As a result, it was cooked closer to medium than medium-rare. Overall, the meal was ok. At a lower price point, it would have been excellent. Most seafood restaurants that I have been to use simple preparations show off the freshness of the fish. I am not opposed to variety, but for a place that prides itself on fresh seafood, the "star of the sea" seems to play second fiddle to the creativity and whimsy of the chef's preparations.

For our last night in San Diego we went to Indigo Grill. While located in Little Italy, the menu reflects a nod to Mexico and the southwest US. If I lived in the neighborhood, I could definitely see making a habit of sitting at the bar and ordering an appetizer and a glass of wine from their fairly extensive wine list. Even though we were the last dinner seating of the night, service was friendly and we were not rushed. The portions are Flintstones big – think Cheesecake Factory on steroids. Fortunately, our waiter told us this ahead of time. We started with an arugula, frisee, and radicchio salad that contained dates wrapped in pancetta, cojita cheese, and flatbread tossed with a vinaigrette dressing. My wife's entrée of a blueberry glazed rack of lamb was very good and included an outrageously good fennel and potato casserole as well as mixed greens, a corn tamale, flatbread, and a red onion-caraway marmalade. My flat iron steak special was pretty good (no Ray's) and also included mixed greens, corn tamale, flatbread, Pico de gallo, and probably 3 or 4 other sides. There was huge variety (almost too much) each plate. We really didn't have room for dessert, but I was craving sweets. We ordered what was essentially a Baked Alaska served with a mint chocolate chip ice cream. What they brought out was the size of a football helmet. It was very good, however, the mint ice cream was overwhelming. A basic vanilla would have been perfect.

Our 2nd night in San Diego proved to be the best meal, hands down. I want to thank Jake for his excellent recommendation of Kiyo's in the Gaslamp district. This is a place that tourists walk right by and ignore as they wait in line for 90 minutes at the Hard Rock Café. That's what I love about it. From the outside, it looks like a total hole-in-the-wall. Inside isn't overly fancy, but you will find some of the freshest sushi anywhere. The sushi counter was completely packed; with locals laughing it up with the guy behind the sushi bar (yep, that's Kiyo). We were seated at a corner table that had a great view of the television, which was showing what appeared to be the Japanese version of Solid Gold. We ordered a combination of rolls and nigiri. The rolls were enormous; overstuffed not with rice but with large hunks of fresh tuna. Nigiri were just as fresh as each piece just melted in our mouth. Kiyo's seems to be a little heavy-handed with the wasabi hiding under the nigiri, but that was fine with us. The service was very friendly and efficient.

Edited by DonRocks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
if you guys have a chance, place definitely should be tried , Brigantine in Coronado by the water. fresh seafood and the best potato skins stuffed with crab meat and seared ahi tuna sandwich.

If I recall correctily, Brigantine shares ownership with Miguel's--good casual mex...ah yes, confirmed--check out the website. One other place that's good for lunch when I visit my sister in San Diego is Dakine's. Sure would like to have a place like this downtown! :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Our 2nd night in San Diego proved to be the best meal, hands down.  I want to thank Jake for his excellent recommendation of Kiyo’s in the Gaslamp district. 

Glad you enjoyed it. But do try to catch it before it fills up in the evening (or go for lunch)...you'll get the full fish-geek treatment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Extraordinary Desserts- The cutest dessert cafe ever and their cakes are wonderful. I believe it's near Balboa Park (sorry my friends took me there). I have linked their website.

Local eats- California Burritos- They are burritos stuffed with french fries. It is great after a late night of partying. Ask a local or a UCSD college student and they should know what you are talking about!

Acqua Al 2- Authentic Italian. I went to the original restaurant in Florence. The food in Florence was amazing. I haven't been to this on in SD, but I'm sure it would be up to par to it's mother restaurant. Try their Pasta Sampler and Balsamic Steak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Extraordinary Desserts is, well, extraordinary. But it doesn't serve wine and it isn't open late enough (and it's very crowded). But oh doctor, is it good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I picked up takeout from a new Thai place, Amarin (3373 Rosecrans St) on my way to my hotel this evening. I really wanted to like it since the people were so nice and the folks eating in the restaurant seemed to be enjoying themselves. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed with the two things I ordered. I started with the Tom Yum soup with shrimp. While the shrimp were cooked well, the soup lacked both the hot and sour aspects that make it one of my usual favorites. It was a little sour, but seemed to have been tamed down considerably for western tastes. The mock duck gaprow I ordered looked impressive and the vegetables were cooked to a nice crisp tender stage. The mock duck looked like boneless pieces of duck meat with the skin on. I love meat but ordered this since my curiousity got the better of me regarding what mock duck looks like. The gaprow had very little heat and not enough Thai basil flavor for my taste. Like the soup, this dish seems to have been westernized. I wish I could have liked the food more since it's so conveniently near my customer location.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ISO pasta for my carb loading friend.

I'm heading to San Diego Saturday, partly for work and partly to watch my friend run her second marathon. A crew of us is staying at the Hyatt on Market Place, and I'd love to arrive armed with suggestions of decent spots nearby to get a pasta dinner Saturday night.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where not to eat: Fred's (Mexican) in the Gaslamp District. I went in with my three tired, hungry runner friends not expecting much, and well, we didn't get much. Fred's has a habit of putting ranch dressing on pretty much everything (tacos, enchiladas, you name it). At least it was cheap ($80 including tax, tip, entrees all around, one drink each and two shared appetizers). Still, gross.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just came back from a short business trip to San Diego and tried a place in Del Mar called the Blackhorse Grille.

Website

The menu is divided into small plates and entrees; we chose to stick with the small plates because they looked really interesting and were offered at half price during happy hour (4-6). We ended up ordering: Grilled Sea Scallops, Ahi Poke, Smoked Trout Dip, Dungeness Crab Lettuce Cups, Thai Eggplant, and Tempura Green Beans. The scallops were huge, cooked to a nice medium rare and came three to an order on little mounds of potatoes mashed with a little corn and green onion. My coworker said she doesn't normally like scallops but really enjoyed these. The Ahi was great, about 1/3" cubes of beautifully ruby red fish mixed with just enough seasoning to give it a kick but not intimidate those who don't care for overly spicy food. The smoked trout dip and the dungeness crab cups remind you that this is California, meaning that there is mostly seafood and very little in the way of mayonnaise or other creamy binder in these two dishes. The trout dip was presented as three grilled crostini spread with a generous helping of smokey fish. The crab cups were so fresh tasting with really complementary lime and citrus flavors. Of the two veggie dishes, we enjoyed the Thai eggplant more. The dish was cubes of eggplant and tofu sauteed with peppers in an intense ka prow type sauce. My one complaint with this dish was that the fried tofu cubes tasted almost a little freezer burned to me. My comparison is the fried, freshly made tofu at the shop in Eden Center so perhaps it's not a fair comparison. The tempura green beans were good, but they seemed heavy in comparison to the other dishes we tried.

The biggest downside of this restaurant is getting to it from San Diego. We left from our offices in Mission Valley and what should have been a 20 minute drive was about 40-45 minutes at about 5pm. The food is worth the drive and I would definitely come back. I normally travel here by myself and the bar looked like it might be a fun place to eat alone. We left the restaurant at about 7:45, just in time to drive over to Solana Beach and catch the sunset.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any recent reports? I have some time to kill between a 4 pm meeting near La Jolla and my 10 pm red eye.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

O'Brien's was my favorite San Diego place. Unassuming little beer bar in a strip mall, but awesome beer selection and a damn good burger (fresh garlic and beer-cheese). It's certainly not on the way to the airport, but it doesn't look toooo out of the way if you're driving.

We also really enjoyed Liars' Club, in Pacific Beach. Solid beer selection, awesome jukebox:

"Our jukebox does not play The Eagles, Jimmy Buffet, Sublime, Limp Biskit, or Journey."

I miss San Diego.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Any recent reports? I have some time to kill between a 4 pm meeting near La Jolla and my 10 pm red eye.
Do you have a budget in mind? I'm from San Diego originally and can direct you to whatever you have a taste for. PM me if I miss your repost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Any recent reports? I have some time to kill between a 4 pm meeting near La Jolla and my 10 pm red eye.

I ate in La Jolla last year at 910: lots of local farms on the menu, and good food. Sit outside on the sidewalk, and let people-watching enhance your meal.

http://www.nine-ten.com/

WARNING: there is really obnoxious music on the website. (Like, do they think they're "Entourage"?) I HATE THAT. It's even worse when the button to turn it off doesn't work. Lame-o. Ignore the stupid web design: look at the food.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm in a Starbucks (I know...) in La Jolla right by Nine-Ten. How convenient. The menu looks a bit more involved than I'm really seeking, but I might stop by for a look, just the same. I'm leaning toward eating here in La Jolla rather than driving into downtown SD at this point.

The weather stinks though so I will be dining inside. It was like that in LA too--probably sunnier and warmer in DC than LA early this week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Cottage in La Jolla is not bad. Can't remember the address! Sorry. I had a really good salad there and the fish tacos were pretty good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...