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4 1/2 weeks and fine tuning my chow worthy restaurants

Another former Toronto resident here (Madison/Bloor) to echo shouzen's recommendations. Whatever you do, do no pass up on the opportunity to eat at Mariscos German or Super Cocina. Being from TO, you will not be impressed with Italian in San Diego, with one exception: Cucina Urbana, which is not necessarily "authentic" but is very well executed. In the same area I recently had an excellent meal at Banker's Hill Bar and Restaurant, which is relatively new. Follow other posters' recs on sushi/Japanese. For seafood I would recommend Blue Water, taking extra care to avoid the temptation to follow the hordes walking into El Indio and Lucha Libre. Also, if you want to try an odd restaurant with fantastic food (Georgian/Russian), I am a huge fan of Pomegranate. Breakfast at Mission Cafe.

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Super Cocina
3627 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92104

Mariscos German
3515 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

Sep 02, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Regal Beagle ver.2

I don't think there are any veggie options, though they do have some sides ("non-German potato salad" comes to mind) you can order separately.

Jun 04, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Regal Beagle ver.2

I have been a few times now and have tried all of their sausages. I can confirm that they get their sausage from the same place as Toronado -- T & H in San Marcos: http://www.tandhsausage.com/

The sausages are very tasty. My favorites are the German garlic, jalapeno cheddar, smoked onion and linguiça. They come on a roll with your choice of 2 condiments (grilled peppers/onions, sauerkraut, etc.) and chips for $7. They also have a fairly extensive selection of mustards.

Craft beer fans will be very happy. 24 craft brews on tap, predominantly IPAs and other knock-you-on-you-butt brews.

They also have a dartboard and three TVs that need to be moved because they are poorly placed for watching sports.

Overall, nice addition to the neighborhood, and the owners are good guys.

Jun 02, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

good beer and good thin crust pizza

Basic, in East Village, has great thin crust pizza and a decent selection of beer.

Jun 02, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Best fish tacos on or near the Beach in San Diego

I agree with WCchopper: South Beach has tasty unauthentic fish tacos. Mariscos German, also in OB, is the real deal and has better food, but you'll be eating on the hood of your car. I also love the fish tacos at Taco Surf in Pacific Beach.

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Mariscos German
3515 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

Jun 02, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Which beach for excellent food?

So humble -- you are definitely clever enough. Anyway, I'm totally with you in supporting places like Mariscos German (haven't been to Mariscos El Pescador yet). But you know how it is when you're traveling: you want to have fun and try new places. Very few people have had fish tacos and yet, as time goes on, more and more people have heard about them and associate San Diego with them. I'm from Santa Cruz; over the past decade or so fish tacos have become a big thing in Northern California (at least from what I see). I notice it every time I visit...everyone recommending them..."Oh, you have to try the fish tacos." The taco arrives and it's some weird concoction with rice, beans, who knows what. The fish tacos at South Beach may be different but they are still a variation of the real thing, and I think they are at least in the spirit of the real thing. That's my theory, anyway...

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Mariscos German
3515 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

May 21, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Which beach for excellent food?

Josh, If I'm understanding your comments correctly, you're referring to my comments on the amatriciana at Bencotto. If so, nicely-crated, backhanded commentary. But South Beach is not trying to pose as a source of authentic Baja seafood. The fish tacos at South Beach fall into a different category than legit fish tacos, whereas Bencotto is trying to pass off its amatriciana as a legit amatriciana.

May 21, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

New or Still Good Restaurants to Try in San Diego

Did you say braised pork? I respect your measured comments, Josh. I suppose I should give the place another chance.

May 21, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Which beach for excellent food?

With all that sloppy goodness and fried fish batter, I barely notice the cheese, but it doesn't taste bad anyway. South Beach's fish tacos defy explanation. Somehow that combination they came up with tastes really good.

May 21, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Suggestions by area

Highlights from your list, IMO: Cafe Chloe, Mariscos German, Tapenade, Urban Solace, Basic for pizza (I've never been to Bruno's but suspect it's great from the comments I have read).

If you are at all concerned about authenticity with Italian food, avoid Bencotto.

Wine Vault is nothing special. It's cheap and can be pretty raucous, but don't expect great food or wine. Instead grab an expensive pint next door at Shakespeare Pub. Also in that neighborhood is Blue Water (great seafood), and a new craft-brew pub, Regal Beagle, is opening as we speak. Whatever you do, resist the temptation to follow the hordes into El Indio (tourist trap that serves awful Mexican food).

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Cafe Chloe
721 9th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

Urban Solace Restaurant
3823 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104

Mariscos German
3515 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

May 21, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Which beach for excellent food?

There is no good answer to this question because you have to drive around in SD to find good food. La Jolla probably has the highest concentration of good restaurants but it's also probably beyond your budget. Pacific Beach has some decent budget options (Kono's for breakfast, Kafe Yen, Cafe Athena, The Broken Yolk for absurd omelettes, whatever that Peruvian place is called), Ocean Beach is kind of a rat trap but can be fun and has some good budget options, namely Mariscos German (taco truck), Pizza Port (just opened) and, if you really want to piss off the SD Chowhounds, South Beach for the unauthentic but insanely popular (and IMO, tasty) fish tacos.

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Mariscos German
2802 Ocean View Blvd, San Diego, CA

Cafe Athena
1846 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

Kafe Yen
4516 Mission Blvd Ste E, San Diego, CA 92109

May 21, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

New or Still Good Restaurants to Try in San Diego

Wine Vault is not upscale and the wine is pretty low-end (as is the food). Doesn't sound like what OP is looking for. I'd skip it and head to Cafe Chloe.

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Cafe Chloe
721 9th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

May 21, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano -- San Diego

Olio piccante -- this is another good sign. Still haven't made it there. Damn!

May 11, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Food trucks in SD...where are they?

Just got back from Mariscos German. I had just finished a 10-mile run so figured I was fine ordering both the tostada w/ceviche mixta and a carne asada taco con queso. I was wrong. Both were massive and I barely finished them. Both pretty damn tasty, though my vote for ceviche still goes to the insane ceviche bar at North Gate (19 ceviches!).

Btw, the carne asada IS on the menu -- look for arrachera.

May 08, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Cold Soup

Costa Brava in PB has a decent gazpacho.

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Costa Brava
1653 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

May 08, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Food trucks in SD...where are they?

Thanks. I will definitely try those!

May 06, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

out of town guests requesting italian pasta dinner-ideas?

Re: the vinegar, i would have done the same as you if I had noticed before they started spraying away.

Re: the osso buco, I said gamey and OTHERWISE flavorless. It just tasted like a hunk of meat, and not a particularly tasty one.

As far as the amatriciana, I believe it was pancetta (I realize some say the proper preparation is with guanciale but it's served with both -- and more often with pancetta -- in Italy and I think it's fine with either), but the flavor of pancetta was barely detectable. However, the problem was the total lack of spice. It tasted like a relatively bland tomato sauce.

May 05, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Food trucks in SD...where are they?

That 7 seas soup is awesome.

I recently tried the Marlyn taco and fish taco. The Marlyn was a bit heavy but very interesting and pretty tasty. The fish in the fish taco melted in my mouth -- the best I have ever had in a fish taco; the rest of the ingredients in the fish taco were pretty average. So far the Gobernador taco and the caldo are my favorites.

May 05, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

out of town guests requesting italian pasta dinner-ideas?

I can't argue with anything you said, SaltyRaisins. That's what I tried to do. The cipolline were good, the salumi were pretty decent, and I figured I had a good shot with gnocchi alla gorgonzola. The rest was a mess.

May 05, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

out of town guests requesting italian pasta dinner-ideas?

Like Bencotto, Cucina Urbana is a twist on Italian food. The two times I have been to Cucina Urbana, they have at least shown that they understand how to *cook* Italian food. They pulled off creamy risotto (though the presentation on a cutting board was odd). They cooked egg pasta properly and paired it with a fitting sauce. The lentils were all dente. They paired the ingredients well.

I cannot say the same for Bencotto. The gnocchi were a big, gummy, lukewarm disaster (albeit served with an authentic gorgonzola); they ruined the bresaola with a sweet, gooey balsamic mess; the amatriciana had nothing -- and I mean nothing -- to do with amatriciana (it shared one thing in common: tomato); the lamb osso buco was gamey and otherwise flavorless. To top it off, they come to each table and spray vinegar on a plate (served with olive oil for the bread) so that the entire seating area reeks of vinegar. Shall I go on?

Btw, I recommend ordering pizza at a pizzeria.

May 05, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

out of town guests requesting italian pasta dinner-ideas?

Cucina Urbana is one of the few restaurants I have been to (anywhere) that pulls off Italian "with a twist." They understand Italian ingredients and cooking methods.

Avoid Bencotto at all costs. The "choose your own pasta" concepts says it all. It is a prime example of San Diego's cluelessness when it comes to Italian food.

Arrivederci is hit and miss but probably won't be able to handle the large group.

May 05, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Food trucks in SD...where are they?

Boy were you people right about Mariscos Germán. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a buenissimo.

Apr 29, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano -- San Diego

I would add pasta to this list, with pizza slightly salvageable and risotto/pasta completely unsalvageable.

Apr 25, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Reuben, Monte Cristo sandwiches in SD

Thanks for all your suggestions everyone!

Apr 24, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Reuben, Monte Cristo sandwiches in SD

Must be the Monte Diego: Baked Egg Bread, Smoked Ham, Fontina Cheese, Grilled Pears, Strawberry-Currant Jam. Not the classic Monte Cristo but l'll try it just the same. Thanks!

Apr 23, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Reuben, Monte Cristo sandwiches in SD

I've never seen a Monte Cristo on any menu in SanDiego. Anyone know of a place that serves one?

Also, who serves the best Reuben in SD?

Thanks!

Apr 23, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Il Postino - North Park / Smoking Goat - North Park

Ate at Smoking Goat last night. According to my friend the menu had changed a bit since last time he was there (menu on their website is outdated). We split the tortellini with porcini cream sauce and the Duo of Duck (Crispy Braised Leg and Breast “a la plancha,” Gnocchi & Spring Vegetable Ragout, Herb pan Sauce). The tortellini themselves were well-cooked but fairly flavorless, but I didn't care because the porcini sauce was to die for -- rich, powerful, well-rounded. In addition to porcini I believe there were wild mushrooms. The duo of duck was pretty good, particularly the leg portion, which was much more tender. Reasonably priced wine by the glass ($8). Kind of a neat little hole in the wall. I would go back.

Apr 23, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano -- San Diego

Certainly possible.

Apr 22, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano -- San Diego

I agree, though in Granite's defense I don't think she recognized her error. Pizza is such an institution in the U.S. that people who haven't had pizza in Italy find it incredibly difficult to accept that this ultra-thin-crusted, "soggy" stuff is Italian pizza.

All this gabbing and I haven't even tried the place yet. I'll get my butt over there and report back with my thoughts.

Apr 22, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego

Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano -- San Diego

I wasn't suggesting that you actually roll it, though I have seen it tried (usually it results in hot tomato sauce squirting all over the hands); I was just trying to give you an idea of the consistency of the pizza served in Italy.

Its sounds like you have discovered that you like the taste but not the consistency of Italian pizza. It takes some getting used to but I don't know one American who has lived in Italy for any length of time who didn't eventually come to love Italian pizza. It truly is a different dish than American pizza though. I like both.

Apr 22, 2010
mangiatore in San Diego