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question for san diegans - what is the state of the food "scene" right now?

I just got back from Portland and after returning from there the idea that San Diego is anywhere near it in 'foodiness' is laughable. Not only are there now streetcarts open all across the city late into the night, the variety of food and the interest in food is not the same.

My parents, never the most adventurous eaters while I was growing up, now eat out all the time. My friends' hobbies is eating out. This is the thing you do in Portland now: food.

San Diego has that in beer, but that's it afaik

Oct 06, 2013
acalhoun in San Diego

Where do San Diegans rank San Diego as a food city?

I haven't been there yet but a Russian friend just recommended Village House Kalina?

Aug 01, 2013
acalhoun in San Diego

Where do San Diegans rank San Diego as a food city?

I'm an ex-Portlander who has moved around a lot but has resided in SD for the past 7 years. Things have really improved in the short time I've been here but...

Really, there is no question that San Diego is outside the top 10 as a 'food city', and probably outside the top 20. It really punches below its weight. There are certainly great restaurants here! In fact there are some that I'd pit against anywhere nationally. But as a food scene? It's just not the same.

Let me give you an example. When I go visit my parents in Portland, in our little out of the way neighborhood alone there are probably three or four restaurants that I would rank in the 'top' if they were in San Diego, and it's not a particularly food-heavy area. Conversely, places like Banker's Hill Restaurant (which I love very much!) would be just one of a hundred in Portland whereas in San Diego it's special. And because of that, the 'fine dining' food in Portland is much cheaper.

Again, that's not to say that San Diego isn't better at some things. The Mexican, Japanese, Iraqi, etc food dominates anything you'd find in Portland, it's not even remotely a fair comparison. If you asked me how good the ethnic food is here I'd say it does pretty well nationally. Obviously the beer scene is one of the top few in the nation. But there isn't really a 'food scene' built around it - that takes a population that wants to make the effort.

Please help me impress her with a Restaurant suggestion.

I'm pretty picky about my coffee and the only place that really satisfies me is Coffee & Tea Collective - and in fact, I'd say it's some of the best coffee I've had anywhere, period.

I'm allergic to beer now (sadly) so I can't help you out on that, and all my east coast friends have convinced me not to eat Italian here so I can't help you on that either...

Jul 20, 2013
acalhoun in San Diego

Please help me impress her with a Restaurant suggestion.

I think it really depends on what type of restaurant you're looking for. They're from new york? Maybe you want to show them what real tacos are - you can take them somewhere like Tacos El Gordo, Super Cocina, or Las Cuatro Milpas (or, personal favorites, La Fachada and El Borrego...) though none of these have 'nice ambience' per se.

When friends have visited, they have all consistently liked El Pescador's fish sandwiches because they're fresh, scream 'local', and are just a short walk from the La Jolla beach. Again, not exactly going to win on ambience points here.

Also for Sushi, lately I've found Sushi Tadokoro to be better than Ota with lower prices (because they're not well-known yet).

I quite like the ambience at Polite Provisions even if I don't like the food next door at Soda & Swine.

If they're at all into it, they might be interested in sampling the local craft beer scene?

EDIT: Also might try Coffee & Tea Collective to show that we have some pretty stellar-coffee too ;)

My normal schedule for when friends visit is some combination of Tacos El Gordo, El Pescador, Kiko's/Geman Mariscos, Banker's Hill Restaurant, and Okan, with other food mixed in as needed.

Jul 19, 2013
acalhoun in San Diego