Sept. 4 2002 12:00 AM

Dining Guide


The dining guide is not intended to be a comprehensive listing of San Diego restaurants, but rather a smattering of eateries recommended by CityBeat staff or favorably reviewed in the paper. We rotate the listings because space limitations don"™t allow weekly publication of our entire guide. Dollar signs indicate a price scale from 1 to 4, with 4 being on the expensive side.


The Cheesecake Factory. 7067 Friars Road, Fashion Valley Mall, Mission Valley. With a diverse menu and its signature dessert, the Cheesecake Factory"™s popularity translates into a vibe reminiscent of a fancy Vegas casino restaurant. The service, however, is friendly and the food consistently good. Be ready to wait for a table. Open 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday. 619-683-2800. $$$

Corvette Diner. 3946 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest. A quiet dinner spot this is not. Get ready to be bombarded by "™50s Americana pop-culture""down to the beehives and poodle skirts on the waitresses. The portions are large and the prices fair. They offer "all-American" food like meatloaf and burgers that go well with tasty shakes and malts. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday. 619-542-1001. $$

Downtown Johnny Brown"™s. 1220 Third Ave., Downtown. They offer some mean bacon, cheddar and chili burgers. You can also have chicken or fish between your buns if beef isn"™t your bag. The soups and salad are tasty too. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. 619-232-8414. $$

Hash House A Go Go. 3628 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest. Not only is the specialty hash great, but other items like the meat loaf sandwich and rack of lamb are said to be excellent. The prices are moderate and the service friendly. Open for lunch: 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. daily; for dinner: 5:30-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5:30-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-298-4646. $$$

Hodad"™s. 5010 Newport Ave., Ocean Beach. Surfers and hodads alike are welcome for a variety of beers and burgers enjoyed amid traditional surf décor and license plate-decked walls. Open 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-224-4623. $$

Indigo Grill. 1536 India St., Little Italy. Get ready for all your senses to be tickled. The friendly and attentive staff serves such delights as pumpkin creme brulee, hickory and apple smoked pork ribs and tasty bread pudding. Open for lunch: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. daily; for dinner: 5-10 p.m. Thursday-Sunday; 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-234-6802. $$$$

Kono"™s Café. 704 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach. Whether you are coming from the beach or from East County, this gem next to Crystal Pier is definitely worth the unavoidable line. Breakfast burritos, mexi-burgers and more are all served up with a smile. Open 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday; 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 858-483-1669. $

Nick"™s At the Beach. 809 Thomas Ave., Pacific Beach. Nick"™s serves a variety of seafood as well as burgers, salads and pastas. Open 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Monday-Saturday; 9 a.m.-1 a.m. Sunday. 858-270-1730. $

Ruby"™s Diner. 1640 Camino Del Rio N., Mission Valley. Right next to the AMC 20, Ruby"™s is ideal for a pre-movie dinner. It has a fun "™50s atmosphere and offers the classic diner dishes. Great for burgers, fries and a shake. Open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 7 a.m.-midnight. Friday-Saturday; 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. 619-294-7829. $$

Rudford"™s Restaurant. 2900 El Cajon Blvd., North Park. They serve up all-American comfort food from French dip to club sandwiches to the usual breakfast food. It brings in the norm of customers during the day and a more wild sort at night. Open 24 hours, every day. 619-282-8423. $$

Seau"™s The Restaurant. 1640 Camino del Rio North, Mission Valley. Take in a good meal from a diverse menu while immersed in sport-themed décor, courtesy of San Diego"™s most famous linebacker. Favorites from the sports page-style menu include the #55 burger and the BBQ chicken pizza. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday. 619-291-SEAU. $$


Buffalo Joe"™s. 600 Fifth Ave., Downtown. A fun atmosphere that includes music and dancing along with great food. The ribs are quite tasty, or try a buffalo burger, which is leaner than its beef counterpart. Open for dinner: 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5-8:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-236-1616. $$


Big Kitchen Restaurant. 3003 Grape St., Golden Hill. Owner Judy Forman will sing your name when she calls you to your table""entertaining enough to make this place worth the wait. The food is spectacular, enough so to make you forget you"™re sitting only inches from a total stranger (it"™s tiny!). Order a side of coffee cake for your table to share. Open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday- Friday; 7:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $

Broken Yolk Café. 1851 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach. This breakfast and lunch spot offers a variety of omelets along with a tempting free meal if you finish their 12-egg omelet and side order. There"™s an upstairs patio for outdoor dining. Come early on the weekend""this place is popular. 6 a.m.-3 p.m. daily. 858-270-0045. $


Bayou Bar & Grill. 329 Market St., Gaslamp Quarter. Inside or patio dining is offered with a French Quarter feel. Big Easy cuisine is served up at reasonable prices, though sometimes meals feel rushed. The Bourbon St. shrimp is great, as is the blackened catfish. Open 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-696-8747. $$$

Chateau Orleans. 926 Turquoise St., Pacific/Mission Beach. They cook up some good eats here in an environment that puts the guest in a Louisiana kitchen. The jambalaya is a real treat, as well as the Beignets. Open 6-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday; Closed Sunday. 858-488-6744. $$$$

California Cuisine

Bellefleur Winery & Restaurant. 5610 Paseo del Norte, Carlsbad/La Costa. With a romantic feel and Tuscan flare, this restaurant is great for a date or just lunch. There is a happy hour with televised sports where the appealing appetizers are offered for reduced prices. The food is fantastic and the wine list fair. Open for lunch: 11a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; for dinner: 5-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. (760) 603-1919. $$$$

Café Pacifica 2414 San Diego Ave., Old Town. This place can get busy on the weekends with its great service and excellent food. Seafood dishes are a treat to the taste buds; they even serve abalone, an item hard to come by. Try the signature dessert, creme brulee""it"™s to die for. Open 5:30-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 5-9:30 p.m. Sunday. 619-291-6666. $$$$

Dobson"™s. 956 Broadway Circle, Downtown. Despite the nice décor, French accented food and la carte everything, they serve up one good burger. A short walk from the Civic, Lyceum and Spreckels, this is a good place for a pre-theater dinner. Open for lunch: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday; for dinner: 5:30-10 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 5:30-11pm Thursday-Saturday; closed Sunday. 619-231-6771. $$$$

Nine-Ten. 910 Prospect St., La Jolla. The décor here is light and elegant. The menu, which changes daily, offers delights such as lobster risotto, roasted foie gras and creme brulee for dessert. Open for lunch: 6:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. daily; for dinner: 6-10 p.m. nightly. 858-729-5395. $$$$


Hong Kong Restaurant. 3871 Fourth Ave., Hillcrest. Open until the early hours of the morning, when it gets busy, this cozy little place serves up good food. The combinations are always good, including soup, egg rolls, fried wontons, rice and your choice of entrée. They also offer a good selection of vegetarian dishes. The portions are generous and the help is attentive and polite. Open 11 a.m.-3 a.m. Monday-Friday; noon-3 a.m. Saturday-Sunday. $$

Jasmine. 4609 Convoy St., Kearny Mesa. White tables seem to float in a hall-like dining area. Traditional Chinese dishes made with unique ingredients are available for those with a taste for experimentation. The dim sum is said to be the best in town, though the service could be better. Open 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 858-268-0888. $$$

Panda Inn. 505 Horton Plaza, Downtown. Perhaps a bit pricey and lacking a particularly exciting atmosphere, the food here is what counts. Try the house specialties of drunken chicken with asparagus or pan-fried garlic seabass. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-233-7800. $$$

P.F. Chang"™s. 7077 Friars Rd., Mission Valley. They serve various traditional Chinese dishes and the elegant décor is a bonus. The house favorites include Mongolian beef and honey shrimp. Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. 619-260-8484. $$$


The Philadelphia Sandwich Company. 3904 Convoy St., Kearny Mesa. Known and loved by locals, they offer a mean cheese-steak sandwich along with other deli sandwiches. The place is decked out with down-home Philly decor and mummer"™s costumes. Open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday 858-571-0888. $


Princess Pub & Grill. 1665 India St., Little Italy. Decked out English-style, 17 drafts are on tap at the bar, which takes up one side of the room. Also offered are traditional English dishes such as steak and kidney pie, fish "™n"™ chips and the crowd-pleasing complete English Breakfast. Open 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Monday-Friday; 8 a.m.-1 a.m. Saturday-Sunday. 619-702-3021. $$


Asmara. 4433 El Cajon Blvd., College Area. Stew-like and often spicy dishes are offered up on large plates of injera bread, which doubles as your utensil. Authentic décor and music complement the dining experience. Open 1-10 p.m. daily. 619-563-3666. $$


Chez Loma. 1132 Loma Ave., Coronado. A nice, romantic dinner spot, they offer classic French cuisine in innovative ways. They are known for their roast duck and offer such classics as an escargot appetizer and light dessert crepes. Open 5-8:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5-9 p.m Friday-Saturday. 619-435-0661. $$$$

The Marine Room. 2000 Spindrift Dr., La Jolla. A location close to the ocean and décor so elegant it"™s hard to go wrong. Combine that with seafood that"™s truly excellent and the desserts sinful. The Ceasar salad is made tableside and is great. Open for lunch: 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; for dinner: 5:30-10 p.m. nightly; for brunch: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. 858-459-7222. $$$$

Mission Hills Café. 808 W. Washington St., Mission Hills. The large windows add a refreshing flare to this attractive little place. The friendly and attentive service offers wonderful omelets with a huge variety of fillings, tasty crepes, good salads as well as a prix fixe dinner menu. Open 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-296-8010. $$

Pamplemousse Grille. 514 Via de la Valle, Del Mar. Named after the French word for grapefruit, this place offers some nice, romantic ambience and good food. Just across from the racetrack, it makes for a good before- or after-race meal. Open for lunch: 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; for dinner: 5-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 858-792-9090. $$$$

Royale Brasserie & Bar. 224 Fifth Ave., Midtown. Be whisked away to France by the exquisite décor of this relaxed eatery. The dishes are mostly seafood with a classic French feel. Enjoy escargot, or delicate foie gras and perhaps beef steak tartar. Open 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-237-4900. $$$$

St. Tropez Bakery & Bistro. 947 S. Coast Hwy. 101, Encinitas. The owners and chefs here bring a taste of their home in the south of France to Encinitas. The place has a warm, pleasant feel. They offer great baked goods and pastries, as well as other dishes like quiche, panini and salads. Open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. (760) 633-0084. $$


Aesop"™s Tables Greek Café. 8650 Genesee Ave., Suite 106, University City. There are two dining rooms, both with white stucco walls and one with a fireplace. The food is great and not the norm. The desserts are wonderful, so save room. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 4-9 p.m. Sunday. 858-455-1535. $$$

Athens Market Taverna. 109 W. F St., Gaslamp Quarter. Dine in a pleasant setting for less money and enjoy a selection from the Greek wine list. The chicken dishes are all good, as is the lentil soup and the service is impressive. Save room for some yummy desserts. Open for lunch: 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday; for dinner: 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday; closed Sunday. 619-234-1955. $$$

Café Athena. 1846 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach. The décor is lacking here, but the prices are reasonable and the service good. They offer your standard Greek classics: baklava, humus, kebabs and stuffed grape leaves on the outdoor patio, indoor tables or a bar for single eaters. Open 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 858-274-1140. $$

Simas Grill & Deli. 7160 Miramar Road, Miramar. Located on busy Miramar Road, this place could be a pain to get to. The décor may be lacking, but the food is worth it. The burgers are homemade and very tasty. The deli sandwiches and gyros are great as well. Open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday 858-578-2582. $


Parallel 33. 741 W. Washington St., Hillcrest. Boasting delicious food from nations that lie on the 33rd parallel, this place is a winner. The service is knowledgeable, the atmosphere pleasantly intimate and the food is picture-perfect. Open 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5:30-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-260-0033. $$$


The Field Irish Pub & Restaurant. 544 Fifth Ave., Downtown. They like to keep the lights dim and the Irish music loud here. There"™s a rustic feel right down to the stone fireplace. Some favorite eats include the fish "™n"™ chips and the Shepard"™s pie all in great portions. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-232-9840. $$


Barbarella. 2171 Avenida de la Playa, La Jolla. This nice, cozy place provides a covered patio area out front and hospitable service along with great food. The menu alternates, always giving guests something new. Try the homemade ravioli and gourmet pizzas. Open 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 858-454-7373. $$$$.

Bronx Pizza. 111 Washington St., Hillcrest. A taste of New York is waiting in this small and intimate pizza shop. At large tables you can sit next to a total stranger and enjoy tasty homemade pizzas made with fresh ingredients. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday. 619-291-3341. $$

Buca di Beppo. 705 6th Ave., San Diego (another location in Mira Mesa). Excellent classic Italian dishes are offered in a cozy and crazy environment. A warm family feel adds to the flavor of the entrees. Try the yummy desserts, like tiramisu, cannoli and bread pudding. Open 5-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 5-11 p.m. Friday; 4-11 p.m. Saturday; noon-10 p.m. Sunday. 619-233-7272. $$$

Café Zucchero. 1731 India St., Little Italy. The food is excellent, but they are best known for their gelato, which is said to be the best in town. It comes in six flavors, and two more that are non-dairy. There is a garden patio out back that"™s great for enjoying an espresso or cappuccino. Open 5-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 4:30-11:30 Friday-Saturday; 4-10 p.m. Sunday. 619-531-1731. $$

Caffe Bella Italia. 4411 Mercury St., Kearny Mesa, 1525 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach. Great for a business lunch, as well as a delicious dinners. The owner and chefs are from Milan, so the food is an authentic taste of Italy. Open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday. 858-278-5367. $$$

Gargoyle Gallery & Café. 1845 India St., Little Italy. This colorful little place offers indoor dining and there"™s a hidden patio in the back where you can enjoy French-press coffee in the sunlight. The food is Italian with a Mediterranean flare. Open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. 619-234-1344. $$$

Jack & Giulio"™s. 2391 San Diego Ave., Old Town. J&G"™s offers patio dining from which to enjoy classic favorites such as scampi alla Guilio and veal chops, both said to be delicious. Open for lunch: 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday; for dinner: 5-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 5-10:30 p.m. Friday; noon-10:30 p.m. Saturday; noon-9:30 p.m. Sunday. 619-294-2074. $$$

Old Venice. 2910 Canon St., Point Loma. While some say it"™s hard to find, all agree this place offers up great pizza, salads and classic Italian cuisine. The enclosed patio is great for a romantic meal. Open 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 4-9:30 p.m. Sunday. 619-222-5888. $$$$

Pizza Bella. 2707 Congress St., Old Town. The pizza reigns supreme here, whether it"™s in a skillet or stone baked. The newly added pasta selections that came with the new ownership are good as well. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. 619-692-4333. $$$

Pizza Nova. 945 Lomas Santa Fe, Solana Beach/Lomas Santa Fe. They have a variety of fantastic dishes and tasty bread that comes with the meal. The pizzas are great and the salads are huge and flavorful. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. 858-259-0666. $$

Primavera Ristorante. 932 Orange Ave., Coronado. The décor here is pleasing and the food fantastic. Try one of the many veal dishes, or maybe the Caesar Salad, a house specialty. Open 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-435-0454. $$$$

Sammy"™s Woodfired Pizza. Various locations. Sammy"™s offers up huge portions and a variety of menu items. Gourmet pizzas like Thai chicken with peanut sauce, salads, and pastas such as chicken tequila fettuccine are great. The restaurant is child-friendly and the service polite. $$$

Trattoria Acqua. 1298 Prospect St., La Jolla. The elegance and quality here are prime for a ladies"™ luncheon, but great for men too. Pizza is available but stands in the shadow of the fine seafood dishes. Dishes to try are the panzanella salad and the lobster ravioli. Lunch is 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday; dinner is 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 5 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 858-454-0709. $$$$

The Venetian. 3663 Voltaire St., Point Loma. This family restaurant shows it has real family values by serving up the large portions. They serve awesome pizzas, tasty lasagna and excellent eggplant parmigiana. Open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-9 p.m. daily. 619-223-8197. $$$


Tofu House. 3805 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest. Specialties here include tofu (of course) and soy bean soup. But it"™s not all for vegetarians""they also offer meat dishes such as BBQ chicken and beef and seafood. Open 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10:30 a.m.-midnight. Friday-Saturday; 10:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Sunday. 619-291-4406. $$


Casa de Bandini. 2754 Calhoun St., Old Town. They offer a great atmosphere with indoor and outdoor dining. The service tends to be mediocre but the food"™s good. There are mariachis for entertainment. Open 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday. 619-297-8211. $$$

Café Coyote y Cantina. 2461 San Diego Ave., Old Town. Cool atmosphere and great food and fresh tortillas to die for. There are also some American favorites, too. Open 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 7:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-291-4695. $$

Candelas. 416 Third Ave., Downtown. The chef here hails from Mexico City and has added a French flair to his "new Mexican" food. Enjoy your food by candlelight. The black bean soup and seafood main dishes are wonderful. Open 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Friday; 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 619-702-4455. $$$$

Casa de Pico. 2754 Calhoun St., Old Town. Enjoy margaritas on this colorful patio dining area in Old Town"™s Bazar del Mundo. Come ready to wait; but once you take your seat, the diverse combinations, wonderful tortillas and festive atmosphere""including mariachis""is well worth it. Open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 619-296-3267. $$$

El Agave. 2304 San Diego Ave., Old Town. The service may not always be great, but the tasty food makes up for it. There are various mole dishes from which to choose, as well as 600 types of tequila. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. 619-220-0692. $$$

Las Fajitas. 628 Fifth Ave., Downtown. The patio dining on linen-topped tables is a pleasant way to take in a meal. The preparation of the fajitas is unique, with a touch of sweetness to the sauce. The shrimp sautéed in tequila is also good. Open 11a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday. 619-232-4242. $$$$

Ortega"™s Cocina. 4888 Newport Ave., Ocean Beach. A little outside of the busy OB area, this place offers up some great food whether it"™s breakfast, flan or the fine coffee. Open 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. 619-222-4205. $$

Pokez Mexican Restaurant. 947 E St., Downtown. This is a great place for vegans, hipsters and other kooky cats""not to mention that with just about every dish meat can be substituted with tofu. The decor and in-house DJs make the place what it is. Open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 619-702-7160. $$

Porkyland. 1030 Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla. From the funny name, one can draw the conclusion that the main feature here is the pork, or carnitas. You can enjoy your meal on a nice outdoor patio or long bar inside. Open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday-Sunday; 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 858-459-1708. $$

Middle Eastern

Bandar. 825 4th Ave., Downtown. Despite mixed reviews on the service, the food often garners excellent reviews. The Adas Polo is tasty if you are in the mood for chicken; beef lovers should opt for the Soltani. The kebabs are worth trying as well. Open 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-238-0101. $$$

Chopahn. 8935 Towne Center Drive, La Jolla/Golden Triangle. Tucked away in a mall, this little-known surprise is enjoyed and recommended by those who know it. The staff aims to please, and the food is said to be light and flavorful. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 858-677-0100. $$$

Khyber Pass. 523 University Ave., Hillcrest. Family owned, this place is a real treat. They serve up a mean combo plate with lamb, chicken, beef and rice. Also try the chicken tandoori, and the Aushak is good too. Open for lunch: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. daily; for dinner: 3:30-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 3:30-11:45 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-294-7579. $$

South American

Berta"™s. 3928 Twiggs St., Old Town. Don"™t pass this one up for the busy Bazar del Mundo of Old Town. Serving dishes from most every Latin American country with a smile, Berta"™s is just a short walk from the tourist spots. The sauces are freshly made and good beer and wine are offered. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. 619-295-2343. $$


Juke Joint Café. 327 Fourth Ave., Downtown. A great mix of soul food, jazz and blues are served up in a warm, quaint bistro café or a showroom supper club. Reservations are advised. Enjoy the seafood platter, jambalaya, gumbo and any of the fried food. Open 5-10 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday; closed Monday and Tuesday. 619-232-7685. $$$


Café Sevilla. 3050 Pio Pico Drive, Carlsbad/La Costa. With a nice atmosphere and live flamenco guitar upstairs, this makes for a nice evening out. There are more then 25 tapas, or appetizers, on the menu. The specialty is said to be their paella. Open 4:30-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 4:30-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 760-730-7558. $$$

Tamarindo. 1044 Wall St., La Jolla. Bring some friends and split a few dishes here. The patio and indoor dining are both nice. The menu has many tasty and interesting dishes including a large selection of tapas. Open 11:30 a.m.-10 Sunday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 858-551-7575. $$$$

Steak and Seafood

Blue Point Coastal Cuisine. 365 Fifth Ave., Downtown. Seafood lovers, welcome to heaven. While it might seem they just do seafood here, there are also some fine beef, lamb, pork and duck dishes as well. Also known for its martinis. Open 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-233-6623. $$$$

Bully"™s. 2401 Camino del Rio S., Mission Valley. Known for their prime rib, they also serve a variety of other meat dishes. There are combo plates for the indecisive. Save room for their delicious desserts. Open 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily. 619-291-2665. $$$$

The Fish Market. 750 N. Harbor Drive, Seaport Village. The chowder and salmon, not to mention the water-front location, are what bring people to this The Fish Market. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. 619-232-3474. $$$$

Peohe's. 2101 First St., Coronado. Escape to this tropical paradise for your next dining experience and take in picture-perfect dishes such as coconut crunchy shrimp, halibut mai'a or sesame salmon. There is also a sushi and sashimi bar and outdoor dining. Lunch is 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday; dinner is 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 5-10:30 p.m. Saturday; 4:30-9:30 p.m. Sunday; brunch is 11:30a.m.-2:30 p.m. Sunday. 619-437-4474. $$$$

Point Loma Seafoods. 2805 Emerson St., Point Loma. The best seafood in the county according to some. Try the shrimp Louie or the fish tacos. It"™s self-serve with a view of the harbor from an outdoor patio. Open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. 619-223-1109. $$

Red Tracton"™s. 550 Via de la Valle, Del Mar. Located across from the track, it"™s a favorite for those who enjoy the races. Try the tempting pork loin or the chicken fried steak for those who like comfort food. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. 858-755-6600. $$$$

Ruth"™s Chris Steakhouse. 1355 N. Harbor Drive, Downtown. Though the items are a la carte, making the meals pricey, the food is worth it. They offer excellent cuts of steak, as well as lamb, chicken, seafood and veal. Open 5-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Friday; 4:30-10 p.m. Saturday; noon.-9:30 p.m. Sunday. 619-233-1422. $$$$

Saska"™s. 3768 Mission Blvd., Pacific/Mission Beach. This places brings in a bustling late night bar crowd. They have a sushi bar as well. The steak is the specialty here, so try the T-bone. Also good are the burgers and jalapeno shrimp poppers. Open 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday. 858-488-7311. $$$

Tutto Mare. 4365 Executive Dr., La Jolla. This handsome place offers some awesome seafood and delicious salads. Their pastas are also excellent. The kitchen is open so you can watch your food being made. Open 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Monday; 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 5-11 p.m. Saturday; 5-10 p.m. Sunday. 858-597-1188. $$$$


Cafe Japengo. 8960 University Center Lane, La Jolla. Trendy La Jolla mixes with traditional Japanese in harmonious and hip ways""usually busy with people socializing while enjoying fresh sushi or any of the various Japanese/Pacific Rim dishes. Open for lunch: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; for dinner: 5:30-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 5:30-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 5:30-10 p.m. Sunday. Sushi bar: 5-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 5-10 p.m. Sunday. 858-450-3355. $$$

Kemo Sabe. 3958 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest. The décor is hip, and this place gets busy on the weekends. Dishes to try are the Thai jerk smoked duck salad and Good Things Growing, which is great for vegetarians. Open 5-9:45 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5-10:45 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-220-6802. $$$$

Niban Japanese Restaurant. 7081 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Clairemont. This small place is good for sushi, traditional Japanese or curry. It can be busy, but the service is quick. The bowl combos are tasty and a good deal""and a favorite among the locals. Open 11:30-2 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 5-9:30 p.m. daily. 858-268-0465. $$

Taka Sushi. 555 Fifth Ave., Downtown. The sushi is so fresh that the selection may run out, so get there early. They also offer hot and cold appetizers, and a variety of great main dishes. Open 5:30-9:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5:30-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-338-0555. $$$

Todai San Diego. 2828 Camino del Rio South, Mission Valley. This is the place for buffet lovers in search of some seafood including sushi from eel to sea urchin. Open for lunch: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. daily; open for dinner: 5:30-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday (winter) and 6-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday (summer); 5:30-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. 619-299-8996. $$$$

Tomico. 87 Encinitas Blvd., Encinitas. They offer a prime view of the ocean with windows stretching across the west side of the building. They serve a traditional Japanese menu and a good sushi selection. Open for lunch: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. daily; for dinner: 5-10 p.m. Thursday-Sunday; 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 760-633-3587. $$$

Yakitori II. 3740 Sports Arena Blvd., Old Town. Praised by the locals, this place collects followers left and right. Try the awesome tempura, the stir-fry and the many selections of sushi. Open 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Monday-Friday; noon-3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Starting in September, the new evening hours will be 5-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 619-223-2641. $$$

Zenbu. 7660 Fay Ave., Suite I, La Jolla. The sushi here is fresh, caught by the owner. They offer tasty hot dishes along with various sushi rolls. The décor is dark and the atmosphere peaceful. Open 5-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 858-454-4540. $$$


Celadon Royalty Thai Restaurant. 540 University Ave., Hillcrest. An open, light dining area offers a pleasant atmosphere. The chef once worked for the queen and princess of Thailand so it"™s a pretty good bet that the food is awesome. Open for lunch: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Saturday; daily: 5-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 4-10 p.m. Sunday. 619-297-8424. $$$

Karinya. 825 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach. This favorite of PB locals serves up curries and various vegetarian dishes, all by a friendly staff. Open 11:30-3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. daily. 858-270-5050. $$$

Saffron. 3737 India St., Hillcrest. Two restaurants put together make this/these place(s) too good to resist. Saffron Chicken has excellent barbecue, and Saffron Noodles & Sate is tasty too. Open 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 619-574-7737. $$

Spice & Rice Thai Kitchen. 7734C Girard Ave., La Jolla. With a nice covered patio and indoor dining they serve up pleasant atmosphere as well as great food. The food can be cooked less spicy for those who have weaker taste buds. Try the barbecue chicken and golden moon. Open for lunch: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday; 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday; for dinner: 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturda


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