Okay Foodies....... Help! I will be in San Diego for 2 days. Can anyone suggest a good restaurant? I'll have a car, so I can go anywhere within San Diego (Balboa Park area, Gaslamp District, Old Town, etc.....). I'd love something that is the essence of San Diego. Mexican Food? Seafood? You name it.
I'd prefer something not overly formal or ultra expensive. I'd like entrees to stay in the $25 range.
Can anyone out there help me and suggest something?
You'll probably want to stay away from the Gaslamp, as it's become quite the tourist trap. But I'd say quintessential San Diego is The Brigantine in Del Mar. It's got a patio that overlooks the racetrack and views of the ocean. They've also got a location on Coronado Island.
There's also one on Pt. Loma, that's a bit more accessible than the Coronado location. SS is right - it's pretty quintessential (sort of like the McCormick and Schmick's of San Diego) - good happy hour.
I'll throw this out if you're looking for a "quintessential" San Diego experience: South Beach Bar & Grill
. It's located on Newport Ave. in Ocean Beach, right at the mouth of the OB pier, just steps from the sand. Even though they are served on flour tortillas (I prefer corn), the seafood tacos here really do rock. Wahoo, ono, shark, mahi, shrimp, lobster - they are quite large and only $2 during happy hour, too. Their ceviche and shrimp/octopus cocktails are excellent, as well. We'd go there a few times a month when I lived in San Diego, and I was just there this past September.
It's quintessentially San Diego. On the beach, loud, boisterous, combination of older locals and young surf culture. Warning: it gets pretty crowded, tables are first-come, first-serve, and there's a supremely stupid paradigm where the waitress only takes your order for food and you have to wait in line at the bar for drinks.
After dinner I'd walk down to Pacific Shores bar for a throwback experience with insanely cheap drinks.
I also echo SS to stay away from the Gaslamp - overrun with tourists and expensive, to boot. I would also add the La Jolla/Prospect scene to that as well.
I'd perhaps check out the burgeoning restaurant scene just north of downtown on India Street (little Italy).
Also, one of my favorite joints in San Diego is the Turf Club, just east of downtown. Nothing special in terms of food, but it's an old school atmosphere where you grill your own meat communally with fellow diners. You're served a hunk of flesh wrapped in Saran (along with a perfunctory baked potato/veg), and then you mosey on up to the grill and season and sauce it to death over an open flame with long tongs, elbowing other drunkards. Lotsa fun all around.
ďThink of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.Ē ó George Carlin