San Diego Restaurant Tips by lmkluque Top 5 Page for this destination

San Diego Restaurants: 641 reviews and 762 photos

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Ingrid & Jimmy greeting customers - San Diego

Ingrid & Jimmy greeting customers

Croce's Park West Opens!!: Jazz Lovers and Fans of Jim Croce & Great Food! Croce's Restaurant & Bar Review

Croce's Park West will have it's "Official" Grand Opening 19 January 2014 just in time for Restaurant Week--Which Ingrid Croce played a part in developing for San Diego. However, Croce's Park West has sent out invitations to it's customers to join them in what they call a "soft opening" as a way to ease into the neighborhood.

I had something to celebrate so I decided to treat myself to dinner here last night. What a wonderful time I had!! The employees were all welcoming, friendly and helpful. Luis was my server for the night and it seemed that he had the whole menu memorize, which was a good thing because I didn't bring my glasses and couldn't read a thing in the soft lighting. Joe was Luis's helper and he was quite attentive and helpful also.

The décor seemed more plush & comfy than at the other location and now it has an old, New York Club, feel. Nostalgic, cozy, plush and elegant at the same time. I ate alone, so spent most of my time "people watching." The contrast of customers was wide and the common denominator was the hospitality of every employee. The biggest treat for me was to have the chance of meeting Ingrid Croce and Jimmy Rock. They are the heart and soul of Croce's. This neighborhood, Banker's Hill is lucky to have Croce's and it seems that the neighbors have beat a path to the door.

History
Croce's was opened in the earliest days of the Gaslamp Quarter's renovation, by Ingrid Croce, widow of Jim Croce. Some of you may be too young to remember Jim Croce, he died in 1973. You may have heard one of his loveliest song, "Time in a Bottle?" Have you heard that?

There have been a few expansions located at various spots near the three story brick, "Cole Building," built in 1889-1890, which houses the original Croce's.

Ingrid Croce is a very community minded woman and a hand's-on owner/operator. Not only is she quite interested in pleasing her customers, the history of "Croce's" is basically a love story dedicated to her husband who died so long ago. Their son, Adrian James Croce, song writer/singer Musician has been playing a bigger part here too, as a musician. She re-married Jimmy Rock who is a great guy and a solid supporter of this lovely tribute to A.J's talented father. I think you'll be pretty satisfied with the food and service, not to mention the music.

One thing that will be different; the Hours of Operation:
Monday-Friday: 11am-10pm
Saturday, Sunday: 9am-10pm
No more 2 am closing. Of course, if there is a demand for later nights they may be able to accommodate. I'd say that it will depend upon their contract/zoning laws.


Favorite Dish: The move has happened.

It's a scary thing to uproot and try in a new spot. Though I feel confident that Croce's will be as popular as ever, I do send my best wishes for their success. I doubt much will change in the style of hospitality or flavor of the food. I'm sure Ingrid will, as usual, be around to see that we get the best they can offer.

Update:

Keep in mind that the menu will change from time to time but I will tell you what I ordered and what I thought of it. First you should know that I live on a rigidly tight budget and had saved up for a meal here. My intention was to order a few of the lower priced items but things didn't play out as I planned.

The environment was so wonderfully comfortable and the people so welcoming that I wanted a real treat here. I gave it too myself and had a three course meal. Including a cocktail and wine with dinner. After a discussion with Luis, my helpful and attentive server, about a couple of the suggested wines I took his recommendation for a glass of Vionta, Albarino, Rias Baixas, limited release, from Spain. it was a very nice selection.


Starters:
Baked Brie and Honey Roasted Garlic with toasted bruschetta, baby greens, Grand Marnier-berry compote $12

I have never had the honey roasted garlic before. It was delicious as a bite on it's own or spread on the bruschetta. The whole plate was a riot of delicious flavors that I recommend you try.

Entre:
Seared Scallops and Lobster-Scented Risotto with Edamame, asparagus, tomatoes, parmesan and thyme-marinated lemon Half Portion $20 Full Portion $28

The half portion was enough for me and this too was delicious. I have never liked risotto, not rice enough nor pasta enough for me, but the flavor of the risotto served with the scallops was really good and I ate it all.

Dessert:
Vanilla Lavender Honey Crème Brulee with almond laced cookies

First rate dinner and worth the splurge!!

Address: 2760 Fifth Avenue

Comparison: about average

Directions: Blue Line Trolley to Fifth Avenue Station then catch the bus Route 3 to Fifth Avenue & Nutmeg Street.

Other Contact: http://www.croces.com/croces-res

Phone: 619-233-4355

Price: US$41 and up

Rating: 5

Theme: Eclectic/International

Website: http://crocesparkwest.com/

Review Helpfulness: 2 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jan 14, 2014
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Candelas downtown SD - San Diego

Candelas downtown SD

Candela's Coronado AKA Bay Beach Cafe: A Magnificent View of SD Skyline!

This was once known as Bay Beach Cafe and had an atmosphere of sailing life.

Now it is a Mexican restaurant uniquely offering a Nouvelle cuisine. Located on the northeast shore of Coronado Island, on the San Diego Bay side, this restaurant has a wonderful view of the San Diego skyline and is just off the Ferry Boat Landing Pier. Which means that you can take the Ferry from downtown over to the Island for a nice breakfast, lunch, dinner or just have a drink and enjoy the view. (Have a look at my Coronado page to see what else there is to do while on the Island.)

The style of the place is very different than before but intriguing nonetheless.

There is also a Candela's in the downtown area near The Gaslamp:

416 3rd Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 702-4455

This is located very near the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum on Fourth Avenue, at J Street.

So, there isn't a need to actually go out of town to try it, I just thought, if you took a day trip to Coronado you'd like to know about this restaurant too. Also to let people know the Bay Beach Cafe has closed.


Favorite Dish: I haven't eaten here yet but it looks interesting and if it is an elegant, fine dining experience you look for, this would be a good option. I've heard some pretty good things about Candela's but keep in mind that it is not the average Mexican cuisine you'll find here.

They do offer an Early Bird special and Happy Hour, which drops the price of things 50%. So if their menu prices are a bit much for your budget these are great ways to sample the experience of dining here.

Address: 1201 First St, Coronado CA.

Comparison: about average

Directions: At the Coronado Ferry Landing Market Place

Other Contact: http://candelas-sd.com/

Phone: (619) 435-4900

Price: US$11-20

Rating: 4

Theme: Mexican

Website: http://www.candelas-coronado.com/index2.html

Review Helpfulness: 1.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Dec 18, 2013
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On Broadway - San Diego
Tender Greens: On Broadway

The dining choices along this section of Broadway has really taken a nice turn. At first I noticed Tender Greens because a lady dining on the street side patio had a beautiful, delicious looking salad before her. The inside dining room looked sort a cross between a cafeteria and an old train station. Anyway, I always like to eat out on the patio.

With a name like Tender Greens I expected the restaurant to serve Vegetarian dishes only, but this is not the case. They do serve Vegan plates but also beef, chicken and fish. Most menu items on the menu are $11.00. If you want Larger meal it will be $16.00. Soups are $4.00 and the simpler salads are $6.00 as of this writing.

To Be Continued...


Favorite Dish: Tuna Nicoise, Grilled Chicken Cobb or the Backyard Steak hot plate. Actually all of their salads sound good.

To Be Continued...

Address: 110 West Broadway

Comparison: less expensive than average

Phone: (619) 795-2353

Price: US$11-20

Rating: 4

Theme: American

Website: http://www.tendergreens.com/

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  • Written Aug 23, 2013
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- San Diego
Currant American Brasserie: Dining at The Sofia Hotel

Walking past the narrow patio dining section of Currant, the impression is that it Is a smallish place, but walking into the Brasserie it is revealed to be much larger than it looked. The large black and white tiles on the floor reminded me of a place I went to in Belgium.

To Be Continued


Favorite Dish: You can imagine that I would jump at the chance to have Moules Frites to complete the Belgian time travel. They were excellently made. Crème Brulee was just right to finish off the meal.

To Be Continued

Address: 140 West Broadway

Comparison: about average

Directions: Connected to the Sofia Hotel but open to the public.

Phone: (619) 702-6309

Price: US$21-30

Rating: 4

Theme: American

Website: http://www.thesofiahotel.com/dining.html

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  • Updated Aug 23, 2013
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- San Diego
Restaurant Week in San Diego: Over 100 Restaurants to Choose From! Information / Sources Review

Twice a year, throughout the county of San Diego "Restaurant Week" is an event that gives restaurants the opportunity of offering an example of their cuisine at a reduced price. This is especially nice for those on a budget.

Check the website listed below to see if the dates coincide with your visit to San Diego.

To be Continued....


Favorite Dish: Fixed priced meals for each restaurant will be set for lunch (newly offered this year) and dinner.

Lunch: Two-course $10, $15, $20
Dinner:Three-course $20, $30, $40

Address: Throughout the County of San Diego

Comparison: less expensive than average

Price: US$31-40

Rating: 5

Theme: Eclectic/International

Website: http://www.sandiegorestaurantweek.com/

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 15, 2013
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- San Diego
Mad House Comedy Club & Restaurant: In the Gaslamp Quarter

Update:

The Napa Valley Grille Closed

I haven't been here for a while and guess I thought the Napa Valley Grille would withstand the economic decent. Seems I was wrong. The Napa Valley Grille has closed and in it's place is now the Mad House Comedy Club & Restaurant.

I haven't been to this one yet but will tell you what I know so far and will give my opinion once I've stopped here.

They are open seven nights a week and offer two shows, at 8:00 pm and 10:30 pm so they open for seating at 7:00 pm/10:00 pm. There normally isn't a cover charge nor a 2-drink minimum, which is unusual for such a club. You do have to have tickets for a show and can get them on-line from their website or by calling their number. It seems that a ticket can cost anywhere between $0.00 to $20.00 depending on the talent/night of the week. Since you have to be 21 years to enter, I think I'll add this also as a Nightlife Tip.

However, though their menu isn't what I'd call fine dining, it does seem appropriate for the venue with enough variety to offer something to everyone in your party.

Smoking is allowed on their patio, but I don't know if you can still see the show while out there.


Favorite Dish: I think I'd order the BBQ Pulled Pork pizza with an Individual Side Salad or maybe the Fancy French Onion Soup. The last I heard they don't have their Liquor license yet so I'd stick with a glass of white wine.

Update:

The liquor license has been issued and the club seems to be doing well. There are lots of budding comedians showing up to entertain. In fact, one of my oldest son's friends is featured once in a while.

Address: 502 Horton Plaza Atop Horton Plaza

Comparison: about average

Directions: Located at the top level of Horton Plaza

Phone: (619) 702-6666

Price: US$21-30

Rating: 4

Theme: Eclectic/International

Website: http://madhousecomedyclub.com/

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 14, 2013
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- San Diego
The Panda Inn: A Great Chinese Restaurant!! Panda Inn Review

IMHO this is the best Chinese restaurant in San Diego County. The decor is lovely, there is a spectacular view of downtown and the bay, the prices are moderate, the food is fresh, aromatic, flavorful and delicious. They have a full service bar, the service is prompt and friendly. Most of all the food is excellent!

This is listed as Mandarin but they offer Szechwan style and a few other dishes such as Thai, Singaporian and Mongolian inspired flavors.

I want to mention that The Panda Inn seems to be connected to the Panda Express chain found around the city. The food at The Panda Inn is so much better than that I've had at any Panda Express, so don't go by that experience if you've tried Panda Express and thought it lacking in some way.

The Panda Inn will not disappoint!


Favorite Dish: At Panda Inn, you will most likely find a few of your favorite items, they offer most of those found traditionally in Chinese restaurants, but they have lots of lesser known dishes and trying any of them is a treat.

One of my favorite dishes is Kong Pao Chicken. I've had this and others and the flavors of each item is very good.

Their weekend buffet is really nice with a wide variety of choices and the price is quite reasonable.

Address: 596 Horton Plaza, San Diego, 92101

Comparison: about average

Directions: Located right next to the Napa Valley Grille in Horton Plaza, Rather, next to where Napa Valley Grille once was.

Phone: (619) 233-7800

Price: US$11-20

Rating: 5

Theme: Chinese/Dim Sum

Website: http://www.pandainn.com/

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 13, 2013
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- San Diego
The Cheese Cake Factory: More Than Cheese Cake The Cheesecake Factory Review

A full service restaurant in Fashion Valley Mall, for all Shoppers, who want a great place to take a break and give your feet a rest.

There is also a food court in this mall offering, as I remember, Mexican, Chinese, Greek and surely American as well as other fast foods, but I like the Cheese Cake Factory much more. The Blue Line Trolley has a stop here too!

Though this is a good sized restaurant, sometimes there is a bit of a wait to be seated. This place is not only convenient for shoppers it also is pretty popular with the locals. Usually the wait isn't too long and the experience is worth it.


Favorite Dish: The menu is extensive and to be as brief as possible I'll list a few items I particularly like.
The Avacado Eggroll was a pleasant surprise for me. Normally, I don't care for "mixed" cultural cuisine, but this time my niece insisted I try. It was really good!
I also liked the Fresh Grilled Salmon, Herb Crusted Filet of Salmon, Cobb Salad
Fabulous Chocolate Mousse Cake and the Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake.

However, you'll not be limited to my prefrence, there are a couple of hundred--it seems--choices on this menu.

Address: 7067 Friars Road

Comparison: about average

Directions: Fashion Valley Mall. Just off the "Blue" Trolley Line.

Phone: (619) 683-2800

Price: US$11-20

Rating: 4

Theme: American

Website: http://www.thecheesecakefactory.com/

Review Helpfulness: 1.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 8, 2013
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- San Diego
Rubios Baja Grill: Favorite of Fresh Fish Taco Lovers and Others Rubio's Baja Grill Review

Rubios is a chain restaurant, is very popular. Here you'll see a sign offering lobster tacos on sale, for $1.99! If your budget prohibits a lavish meal at some of the nicest restaurants in town, there are plenty of healthy "fast food" places to choose from such as Rubios. However, as prices continuely rise, expect to pay quite a bit more than this fantastic "sale" price for a lobster taco. The last time I had a fish taco here, the taco plate was $7.95 (2012)

While trying to find out the exact address of this location, the closest I could find was at the Hall Of Justice. This might mean that the Hillcrest location has closed. Until I check it out I will include the downtown address for you and will ammend this page when I get the facts.

Update:

Yes, the Hillcrest store and even the downtown location has closed. However, the nearest to downtown locations still open are.

Rubio's POINT LOMA
3555 Rosecrans Street
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 223-2631
Rubio's SAN DIEGO - Fashion Valley Mall
7007 Friars Road
San Diego, CA 92108
(619) 718-9975
Rubio's MISSION VALLEY
2075 Camino De La Reina
San Diego, CA 92108
( 619) 299-6502
Rubio's MISSION BAY
4504 E. Mission Bay Drive
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 272-2801

There are no Rubio's nearer to the downtown area any more, but several are near popular tourists spots so check their website before you venture out. It's an inexpensive place for a quick meal.


Favorite Dish: Fish Tacos are the speciality here and they taste very good. There is a pretty good selection of other items to choose from, including beef and chicken.

If interested in stopping at Rubio's I suggest taking a look at their website to see what coupons they offer, this can cut down the price you'll pay too.

The photos are of the old Hilcrest and Chula Vista locations, but will give you and idea of what type of place this is. Sort of Mexican, " on the beach" feel.

Address: 2075 Camino De La Reina, 92108

Comparison: less expensive than average

Directions: Near Mission Valley Mall and many other locations throughout San Diego

Phone: (619) 299-6502

Price: less than US$10

Rating: 3

Theme: Mexican

Website: http://www.rubios.com/

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jan 24, 2013
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New Home of Casa de Pico - San Diego

New Home of Casa de Pico

Casa De Pico: Viva Mexico and it's Food! Casa de Pico Review

Though Casa de Pico has moved to the Grossmont Center, it hasn't lost it's festive atmosphere in the transition.

Here you'll find an extended menu, good food, good service, lively crowd and a colorful, festive atmosphere.

The brightly colored umbrellas covering tables in the patio may give you the idea that this is a "touist" favorite and it is, however this is a favorite of the locals as well. Usually there is a bit of a wait, so arrive early. While waiting, it is possible to order fresh handmade tortillas form the tortilla lady, who will pat out and cook tortillas as you watch, remember to give her a tip for the effort.

Update:

As of 18 May 2005 Casa De Pico will no longer be found in Old Town! However, two new locations are planned. Summer 2005 it will open up in the Grossmont Shopping Center along Grossmont Drive and in the summer of 2006 Casa De Pico will open in the New location of Bazaar Del Mondo which will be at the Old Police Station near Seaport Village!

Update:

It seems that Casa de Pico has only one location after all. It is in the city of La Mesa. This is not near downtown SD but some miles east of the city.

Fortunately it is not hard to get to from downtown. Take the SD Trolley, Orange Line or Green Line to the Grossmont Center stop and just up the stairs and a half block or so will be Grossmont Center and Casa de Pico.

They are open for lunch and dinner, Happy Hour is between 3 pm and 7 pm, during dinners there are roving Mariachis/Troubadours to entertain and generally if the wait for a table seems too long, you can usually get a table in the Cantina quicker, so keep that in mind.


Favorite Dish: The biggest Margaritas in town! Tacos al Pastor, Chicken Fajitas, Carne Asada, and Carnitas are my favorites, but everything else is just as good.

Address: 5500 Grossmont Center Drive

Comparison: less expensive than average

Directions: Grossmont Center

Phone: (619) 296-3267

Price: US$11-20

Rating: 5

Theme: Mexican

Website: http://www.casadepico.com/

Review Helpfulness: 1.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jan 7, 2013
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