Favorite places for a casual meal in San Diego

I posted this information on the eGullet regional forums yesterday, but since there is very little activity there I thought I might as well include this information on my blog.

Lately my rotation for regular/everyday kind of places includes Tender Greens for the salads and specials (also a small but decent beer selection, and their excellent charcuterie), Carnitas Snack Shack for pork overdose (carnitas tacos, BLT with belly instead of ham), Fathom Bistro, Bait, and Tackle for sausage sandwiches and craft beers (they make their own sausages and they are great), Blind Lady Ale House for pizza and more craft beers, Burger Lounge for their grass-fed burgers (so much better than In-N-Out…), the Fish Shop in PB (ceviche, fish tacos, local beers, oysters), George’s Ocean Terrace (ceviche special, fish tacos, linguine with clams, beautiful people, and THE VIEW), Cucina Urbana (stuffed squash blossoms, handmade pastas including the wonderful short rib pappardelle, good wine selection), and Eclipse Chocolate for an afternoon snack (bourbon caramel pecan cupcake).

Tender Greens (point loma)
The charcuterie board at Tender Greens (Point Loma location)

Places that need more time to find their grove: Sea and Smoke – it was promising for dinner but not quite there yet (great lobster, chocolate ice cream; didn’t care much for the Bison Smash cocktail, the appetizer was blah, and the service needed some work). Dinner at Blue Ribbon Rustic Kitchen was overall pretty good, but less so considering the price. I think it needs some time as well.

Places that I will be back to: The Hake in La Jolla – I had a great lunch there (see my review here). I had a couple of good dinners at The Patio, but I make sure to avoid the brunch which is nothing special, and the cocktails which are hit-and-miss. The Blind Burro was fun after a visit to Noble Experiment (garlic-chile crab claw fingers, bbq yellowtail collars, cochinita pibil).

The dreaded Restaurant Week starts this weekend, so I will do my best to avoid restaurants that participate… I am not a fan of this event as restaurants tend to alter their menus significantly during that time. Also they seem to hire a lot of additional servers, and the level of service goes down noticeably due to the crowds and staff not being familiar with the restaurant.

Did you see your favorite restaurant in the list? Do you plan on participating in Restaurant Week this year?

[Updated 10/1 – How could I forget George’s Ocean Terrace? Now added.]

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