Monday, February 23, 2009

100 Good Things to Eat (and Drink) in San Diego

Who says there's nothing good to eat in San Diego? Just for fun, I put this list together inspired by 7x7's recent list of 100 Things to eat in San Francisco before you die. How many of these have you tried, and what would be on your list?
  1. Mussell bisque en croute at Dobson's
  2. Espresso gelato at Gelato Vero
  3. Huitlacoche quesadilla at Aqui es Texcoco
  4. Baked Alaska at Oceanaire Seafood Room
  5. Falafel at Mama's Lebanese (esp. the wrap)
  6. Smoked marlin taco at Mariscos German
  7. Carne asada burrito at Sarita's
  8. Chicken liver mousse at Farmhouse Cafe
  9. Birria tacos at Tacos El Paisa
  10. Croissants at Opera Patisserie
  11. Coconut pancakes at the Thai stall at the Hillcrest Farmers Market
  12. Coast Toast at the Brockton Villa
  13. Crab sandwich at Point Loma Seafoods
  14. Tortilla chips from El Indio
  15. Fish and chips at Shakespeare's
  16. Salted caramel chocolate cupcake at Eclipse Chocolat
  17. Bacon cheeseburger at Hodad's
  18. A Turkey, Jack and Avocado sandwich at The Cheese Shop at LJ Shores (not Downtown)
  19. Duck confit with grapefruit marmalade at Market
  20. Roast Pork Bahn Mi and a Cafe Sua Da at K Sandwiches
  21. Duckaroni (mac and cheese with duck confit) at Urban Solace
  22. Uni bisque at Sea Rocket Bistro
  23. Italian Sub at Mona Lisa
  24. Ahi and Tomato salad at Saladstyle
  25. Roast beef sandwich with red onion and goat cheese at Con Pane
  26. Green papaya salad at Sab E Lee
  27. Choucroute at the Linkery
  28. Plain yogurt at Yogurt World
  29. Cannelloni at Sante
  30. Fried oyster tacos at South Beach Bar and Grill
  31. Confit tangerine with chocolate ganache at Cavaillon
  32. Drugstore Burger at the Torrey Pines Lodge
  33. Pierre Robert cheese at Taste
  34. Mussels with creme fraiche at Vagabond
  35. Nachos and the Turkey Taco at Tony's Jacal
  36. Steak Frites at Cafe Chloe
  37. Lefty's Pizza
  38. Egg Salad sandwich at Cafe Zinc
  39. Peanut Butter ice cream at Oasis in Imperial Beach
  40. Lentil soup at Athen's Market
  41. Sage fried chicken with maple reduction and bacon mashed potatoes at Hash House
  42. Chocolate Chipotle Cake at 1500 Ocean
  43. Heirloom tomato salad at Nine Ten
  44. Lemon souffle tart at Market
  45. Abuela Hot Chocolate at Chuao
  46. Barbacoa at Vallarta's in Otay Mesa
  47. Broham Sandwich at Phil's BBQ
  48. Vietnamese spring rolls at Dao Son
  49. Fresh uni from Catalina Offshore Products
  50. Wood oven roasted mussels at Napa Valley Grille
  51. Jidori chicken with currant and pine nut couscous at Jayne's Gastropub
  52. Chocolate pot de creme with brandied cherries at Cafe Chloe
  53. Burger and Fries at Starlite
  54. Corned Beef Hash (with the coffee cake) at Hob Nob Hill
  55. Jade Mistress cocktail at Red Pearl Kitchen
  56. Red velvet cupcakes at Influx and Tender Greens
  57. Grilled cheese sandwiches at Bite
  58. Fish torta at El Pescador
  59. Donuts from Mary's
  60. Torte Belge at Michele Coulon Dessertier
  61. Pomegranate and watermelon salad at Urban Solace
  62. Mole at Cantina Mayahuel
  63. Alesmith "Old Numbskull" Barleywine
  64. Shrimp and Scallop Potstickers with Tobiko Caviar Sauce at Roppongi
  65. Scones at Rebecca's
  66. Thai-Grilled Chicken and Cambodian Cucumber Salad from Saffron
  67. Charcuterie plate at Starlite
  68. Fried Oyster Cobb Salad at Market
  69. Ceviche at Latin Chef
  70. Velvet Diablo cocktail at Starlite
  71. Honey Doughnuts at Honey's in Encinitas
  72. Tuna tartare at Wine Sellar Brasserie
  73. Fruit tarts at Extraordinary Desserts
  74. French tuna salad sandwich at Bread and Cie
  75. Peanut butter and chocolate creme brulee at Urban Solace
  76. Rocky's chicken salad at Waters
  77. "Funky Roll" (softshell crab and crab) at Cafe Japengo
  78. Hot fudge sundae made with creme fraiche glace at Extraordinary Desserts
  79. Cheese course at Blanca
  80. Guanni chocolates at the Hillcrest Farmers Market
  81. Triple berry jam from Jackies Jams
  82. Carne asada tacos and a Cadillac Margarita at Old Town Mexican Cafe
  83. Burger at Ritual Tavern (with housemade ketchup and mustard)
  84. Carpaccio at Blanca
  85. Fish tacos at Don Chuy in Solana Beach
  86. Lemon ricotta pancakes at Crest Cafe
  87. Summer corn and tomatoes from Chino Farms
  88. Ballast Point Calico Amber Ale
  89. Fresh mint and cocoa nib ice cream at Farmhouse Cafe
  90. Liverwurst at Sausage King
  91. Espresso at Pappalecco
  92. Cannolis at Cafe Zucchero
  93. Kefta pita sandwich at the Hillcrest Farmers Market
  94. Orange vanilla bean white hot chocolate at Eclipse
  95. Lobster avocado and grapefruit salad at Bertrand at Mr. A's (lunch)
  96. Crow's Pass strawberries
  97. Chorizo at Las Cuatro Milpas
  98. Carnitas at Carnitas Uruapan
  99. Bo La Lot (beef wrapped in grape leaves) at Saigon
  100. Patatas Bravas at Costa Brava

Photo key, from left to right, top to bottom: No. 100, No. 9, No. 39 , No. 53, No. 10, No. 22, No. 26, No. 59, No. 20, No. 16, No. 5, No. 16 - cross section, No. 87, No. 89, No. 3, No. 43.


  1. Great post! I've actually had many of those you mentioned and completely agree. I'd add Fish Burrito at Las Olas, Amber Lager at Karl Strauss. Probably many more, but I'll have to think about it a bit.

  2. Great list Alice - and not just cuz you were so kind to include Taste. I'd sub a Rocky's burger for Hodad's tho. And add Knight Salumi - we can't seem to stock enough of it. Keep on spreading the SD love!

  3. Good list Alice; must have taken awhile to come up with all that!

    I'd go with Chino Farms strawberries over Crow's Farms. When do those start being released anyway? It has to be soon right?

    Definitely need something from Super Cocina. Enchiladas? Empanadas? Carnitas? Spicy pork?

    I know you already covered uni with COP, but I'd be inclined to have Kaito on there too. Or maybe sweet shrimp or toro from Kaito instead.

    What about stir fried dried beef from Ba Ren?

    Pho dac biet from Pho Hoa Cali Express

    Mysore Masala Dosa from Surati Farsan Mart

    I'd be inclined to include a Stone beer (Double Bastard), a Lost Abbey beer (probably Cable Car or Angel's Share), and an Alpine Beer (Exponential Hoppiness) too

  4. Everytime I thought of something, there it was on the list. :) I would add the nachos and the turkey taco from Tony's Jacal and the lasagna from Salvatore's. Also the Moroccan Couscous Salad from Salad Style, donuts from VGs in Cardiff, and (a new discovery) Tacupeto's Salsa.

  5. Oh my! I feel like I must go to San Diego, pronto!

  6. Great List Alice! Nice representation of SD

  7. Great list! I feel like we get out and try lots of places, but from your list I can tell we need to get out more :)

  8. Fantastic roundup! Makes me want to eat out more. Yay for liverwurst and that lentil soup! Off the top of my head, I'd add:

    1. the Caesar salad at Jayne's 2. the steak tartare at Crescent Heights 3. the all-you-can-eat fried chicken dinner at Red Tracton's 4. a dozen (make that 18) oysters on the half shell at Oceanaire 5. the cheese and tomato omelette at Richard Walker's 6. the Bloody Mary at Nunu's . . .

    I'll stop now. :)

  9. RecipeGirl - thanks! I've never been to Las Olas though I've driven by it a million times - really would like to take a drive up there sometime.

    Mary - I dream about that cheese. And I hear good things about Rocky's all the time, but my one burger there was kind of eh. Love the bacon at Hodad's - if you haven't tried it you MUST.

    Doug - great ideas! I need to go to Surati Farsan Mart, hoping to make it up there in the next couple of weeks. I have only been to S Cocina once, and need to go again to find my favorites on the menu.

    Jora - def. have to try Tony's again, since you like it so much. I debated on the couscous salad from Saladstyle - but went with the ahi tomato, it was kind of a toss up though. ;-)

    Amy - it was your posting this list that got me started on this - and yes, you should come down!

    Masa Assassin - glad you approve! ;-) There are more places to be explored I'm sure. I have been enjoying your blog!

    Sharon - it's just fun to try new things, isn't it? And I keep discovering new ones - many of these are recent actually!

  10. I'm at 70/100. Great choices.

  11. I love this post - and all the comments! Here are some of my faves - at Eclipse, I love the brownie sundae. Also, anything you can afford at Addison (at the Grand del Mar hotel), and a wine dinner at The Wine Vault & Bistro. Oh yeah, and the Sugar & Spice cocktail at Market.

  12. heidi - I love their caesar salad - sometime I'll have to make one for supper club, I haven't made one in a while but I used to do it all the time. Gotta try Crescent Heights - haven't made it there yet, and all you can eat fried chicken? That sounds DANGEROUS!

    Foodiechick - 70/100 is pretty good my dear! I'm sure you could add some more.

    Tracey - the Wine Vault is on my must-do list. It keeps getting longer, must rectify that asap!

  13. ::swoon:: I am going to have to print out you list and keep it in the vehicle for inspiration of where to eat. I seem to manage the places NOT on the list. Some on the list, but by default. Thanks for all the work.
    It's a tough job but someone had to do it.

  14. I missed your updates, welcome back!

  15. Wow! Bravo, Alice! I love the breadth of this - as they say, good on you! (accent on the "good", in the Canadian style) Anyway just a few humble additions, or suggestions, or whatever ... The brews at Pizza Port. Crab cakes at Prado. Goat at El Comal. Pork in plum sauce at Dumpling Inn. All-you-can-eat sushi at Hana Sushi in Oceanside (for SoCal at its multiculti best). Cheesesteak sub at Alex's Brown Bag. Heuvos Rancheros at Perry's. Keep up the good work!

  16. Comprehensive list, but I would add,
    1) Ahi Poke at Perry's in Carlsbad
    2) Grilled Octopus, Black Eyed Pea and Shishito Pepper salad at Kitchen 1540
    3) Brown Butter Napoleon at Whisknladle
    4) Feijoada at Brazil by the Bay (only served on Saturdays)
    5) A Bee Sting from Frankie at George's California Modern
    6) Tom Kah soup at Saffron (only served on Mondays)
    7) Bison Rib Eye steak at Cowboy Star

  17. Sorry we missed you last night! We arrived a little late, and most sadly, after the California Burritos had ran out.

    However, I published a review on review of the Linkery’s burger on A Hamburger Today.

  18. hi Alice,
    great post! I wouldn't be able to think of 100 things... but I Love the cheese course at Blanca. and mama's bakery falafel! =)

  19. Great list, even if you are obviousy spending too much time in Hillcrest at not enough at the Little Italy Mercato farmers' market! ;-) I'm going to start eating my way through the ones I've missed post haste!

  20. Great list, Alice! I'm with you on the huitlacoche quesadillas... they've been a favorite since I first tried Aqui es Texcoco. I'd add the pavlova from Extraordinary Desserts... it's the only reason I go there. I think it'd be fun to go on a mission to try everything on your list!

  21. Thanks for posting your 40 clove recipe, I made it last night and the whole family loved it. I used, chicken thighs, fresh sage and rosemary.

    It forced me to purchase a cast iron pot/dutch oven that I badly needed, I got one at MACY's on sale for 12, orig price was 60.

    It was a good day at our house last night.

  22. what a great post.have experienced many of those......

    also love my Blackberry Lambic at Hamilton's;

    totally with you on the charcuterie plate at Starlite...

    but how about the Lobster Tacos at El Zarape...delicious!

    and at Vagabond..the Sea Bass....

  23. oh..and yes..Mama's Lebanese.. every time!!

  24. great list!!! I would add: chicken pie from the chicken pie shop, carne asada burrito from La Posta, Uncle Biff's semi-sweet choc chip cookie, rolled fish tacos and fried scallop sandwich from PL seafood, surf n turf burrito from luca libre, mixed fry at Starlite, and my new favorite, the flatiron steak at roseville.

  25. What a fun list! I've only tried a few, but at least I've tried more on this list than the one by the SD Tribune. I will definitely have to use this list to try more places. One thing that pops in my mind that I would add are the crabcakes at Oceanaire.

  26. My cousin just sent me your blog. We're visiting her in San Diego soon and this is just what we needed!

  27. ha! nice post.
    long... but nice

  28. I'd just like to point out that Opera Patisserie is actually located in the west end of Mira Mesa and not Sorrento Valley. Everything east of the 805 freeway is actually Mira Mesa while everything located west of the 805 is Sorrento Valley. That Opera Patisserie is just off of Mira Mesa Blvd should have been a hint to its location.

    I know some people look down on Mira Mesa but it is a lovely community filled with some great restaurants. Honestly, the location is wonderful (close to the beach), the crime rate is low, and the community has a very high owner occupancy rate. I'm hoping in the future you credit Mira Mesa where credit is due.

  29. Look forward to working my way through this list during my next visit to family and friends in SD

  30. I've been to a lot of these places, but not all of them. I will try them all. Thanks for the tip.

    You forgot pupusas at El Salvadoreno.

  31. Alice, I've got to admit that when I'm at a loss for what to eat, I reference your list. I'll bet I pull it up once every few months! I've tried maybe a quarter these items and I agree 110% so I'm looking forward to eventually trying the other 75% :-)

  32. Hello! I bookmark this post years ago and I just went to SD last month! Would it be ok to link this on my post?