“Eh” the sound one makes when debating the frivolities of casual dining.
“hows the avocado?”
So, I’ve had the pleasure of casually dining out in San Diego. I haven’t been disappointed so much as “eh’d”. It takes a certain imagination to cook, and it takes the same amount to eat. That being said, I’ve developed a short list of great foods to try in San Diego.
Middle Eastern food. Yes, where else would you find great middle eastern food than next to the largest naval base in the county. This is by no mistake. San Diego has a very large Caldean population, as well as several other middle easterners (I wont go into details), but there are a handful of select restaurants that provide great service, ambience and of course, food.
My mom and I took my dad out to a place called Aladdin’s on Clairemont Mesa Blvd for fathers day and it was all of our first time eating there. My mom ordered a meat sampler that was absolutely delicious. And my dad ordered a big sampler that came with all sorts of appetizers and finger foods. I ordered the shrimp pesto pizza because I just really felt like eating pizza. In any event, the food was great. The fried foods were particularly tasty and the clientele seemed to be a mix of regular customers and big family gatherings.
So, if I was a tourist I would definitely try to get my hands on some lamb from a middle eastern restaurant. Lamb is great and tastes even better. For the vegetarian boyfriend who wears a Keffiyah, I would go for anything eggplant. Yes. Okay.
Apart from middle eastern food, I might also try the fish. San Diego has great fish (it is after all a coastal city). The fish market is one my favorites, but a lesser known and also great place is Point Loma seafood. Any kind of “northern” fish food (crab, salmon, mussels) are gonna be well worth the wait. My personal favorite are salmon locks. Some people eat them on bagels with cream cheese; for me, I just go for the basic bread and butter. Tastes great, and smells even better.
Of course, do not forget about Mexican Cuisine. Now, there are obviously different kinds of Mexican, like southwest, southern Mexican and taco shop Mexican. So, for southwest, I’d probably venture to old town- they are the “ambassadors” so to speak of southwest history in San Diego and keep it real with that old conquistador sentiment. For southern Mexican, you’d probably have to board up with a transplant family from Chiapas, but if you cant manage that, I would probably venture to yelp because Southern Mexican cuisine is hard to find, but it tastes great. Next, taco shops are a dime a dozen, but if you’re feeling adventurous you could cross the border and spend some cash on street tacos. Also, chains like Cotixan or Roberto’s are usually just fine. Taco shops are going to have giant menus full of stuff that sounds similar so I would suggest: a wet burrito, rolled tacos, milanesa (if they have it), or chile relleno. Yes.
Lastly, you’re probably going to want some weird experimental food – or maybe not – so to play it safe but still maintain a sense of weirdness, I would go with some kind of fusion sushi restaurant. The best sushi in San Diego is a place in National City in the strip mall off of Sweetwater road, I believe it’s called Hanaoka. Anyway, great place, they have teriyaki this, dragon roll that. If I was you, I would get any roll with eel in it. Eel is weird and tastes great.
I know I said that was it for the short list, but I just want to add one more
The indigo grill in little Italy is one of my favorite restaurants. They have excellent “southwest” style food. “Good things Growing” has a mix of southwest style squash, corn salsa, a chipotle tamale and a few other really tasty items that as soon as you start eatin’ you’ll be callin’ the waiter Geronimo and throwing out Apache phrases in no time. Did I mention their cocktail list is JUST as mouth watering? Damn it, I suppose they don’t call it a spoiler alert for nothing. 🤣🤣🤣🤣