2003 Best of
Eating San Diego Readers' Picks
Eating San Diego Readers' Picks
Best Dining Atmosphere
Amid the rich colors and textures of coastal Spain, Café Sevilla takes diners on a fiesta with authentic cuisine and lavish dinner shows. Sevilla also has locations in Carlsbad and Riverside-all three locations offer salsa dancing lessons and Latin dance-club nights. 555 4th Ave. 619-233-5979. www.cafesevilla.com
Einstein Brothers Bagels
An Einstein Brothers bagel is a quick and inexpensive staple of the San Diego morning. For lunch, try the turkey Reuben or a grilled panini. At least 10 locations in San Diego. www.einsteinbros.com
Influx Café featuring Big City Bagels
1948 Broadway. 619-255-9470.
Bread and Cie
What do you do with a 10,000-pound French oven? Bread and Cie bakes delicate pastries, brownies and muffins. But the bakery is best known for its European peasant breads like black olive loaf and its Black Forest ham sandwiches. 350 University Ave. 619-683-9322.
Phil's permeates the air in Mission Hills with barbecue spice, luring dozens of unsuspecting meat-eaters to the doors, eager and salivating. 4030 Goldfinch St., 619-688-0559.
Stan's Be Back Barbeque
901 E Street, 619-6965.6262
Five words: Indo Chine Double Happiness Bowl. Sure, it's a lunch item, but any place that comes up such a wonderful name has to know what it's doing when it comes to breakfast. 2801 University Ave. 619-220-8992.
Hash House A-Go-Go
3628 Fifth Ave. 619-298-4646.
Hodad's knows that when we're talking about an all-American burger, bigger is better, and Little E says, "Hey, man-that burger's huuuge." 5010 Newport Ave. 619-224-4623.
Rocky's Crown Pub
3786 Ingraham St., 858-273-9140
Best Business Lunch
Impress those out-of-town clients with the Spanish architecture and fabulous bar to put the Four Seasons to shame. 1549 El Prado. 619-557.9441. www.pradobalboa.com
Best Cheap Eats
Chicken Pie Shop
Anytime you see a conglomeration of tasty foods wrapped in flour, the outcome is not only good, but also cheap (see: burritos). Mom would be proud-savin' cash and eating your veggies. 2633 El Cajon Blvd. 619-295-0156.
Best Fast Food
Fast food? Yes, but unlike those other chains that use some of the same compounds found in cardboard, In-N-Out Burger boasts 100 percent pure beef burgers. At least 10 locations in San Diego County. www.in-n-out.com
P.F. Chang's practices the Chinese principles of fan and t'sai to create a harmonious blend of taste, texture and aroma. 7077 Friars Road. 619-260-8484. www.pfchangs.com
You can't fit your mouth around the sandwiches at DZ Akins, a favorite eatery of, among other luminaries, Congressman Bob Filner. In the words of one DZ fanatic, "The rye bread alone tastes like it was delivered from New Jersey-the generous heaps of warm pastrami and cold deli mustard put you on Ludlow Street, looking for Katz's deli." 6930 Alvarado Road. 619-265-0218.
With at least five locations in San Diego, Krispy Kreme is the new standard of fried bread with holes. www.krispykreme.com
Best Greasy Spoon
Brian's American Eatery
One diner referred to Brian's breakfast dishes as "creative and unusual." They also have eats for veg-heads. 1451 Washington St. 619-296-8268.
Claire de Lune Coffee Lounge
Sit and have a jumbo cup of the organic and enjoy the crowd, or go for that caramel almond mocha... ooooooh. 2906 University Ave. 619-688-9845. www.clairedelune.com
1128 25th St. 619-230-0272
Best Ice Cream
Cold Stone Creamery
Cold Stone takes its name from a 1980s method of making ice cream in which fresh ingredients are folded into the ice cream over a zero-degree stone. 1010 University Ave. 619-296-5075.
3753 India St. 619-295-9269
Best Indian Restaurant
Star of India
The only words on the menu that you'll understand are chicken and garlic, but if you point to anything, you will pick something you like. Second location in PB. 423 F St. 619-234-8000.
Best Italian Restaurant
Some might call it quaint, others would just call it small, but whatever their semantic preference might be, all agree that Arrivederci is authentic Italian. 3845 4th Ave., 619-299-6282.
Ono Sushi & Pacific Spice
Sushi bars are the Gen X after-work alternative to tired bars, and Ono Sushi is the hippest of the hip Asian fusion cafes. 1236 University Ave. 619-298-0616
810 Broadway. 619-232-1001.
Best Mexican Take Out
It's after-hours at La Posta and the line is infinite with people who have spilled out of the bars and want a little something to soak up the alcohol before they hit the hay. 3980 3rd Ave. 619-295-8982.
Best Mexican Sit Down
Casa de Bandini
Another famous Old Town restaurant, Casa De Bandini would fit in with the best of Puerto Nuevo-authentic Mexican fare, strumming mariachis, a bubbling fountain and a lazy patio to enjoy a late-evening dinner. 2660 Calhoun St. 619-297-8211. www.bazzardelmundo.com
4474 Mission Blvd. 858-490-2877
Best Pizza by the Slice
Bronx Pizza won the voters poll by a landslide with its New York-style, thin-crust pizza. 111 Washington Ave. 619-291-3341.
It's hard to find a good jukebox, like the one Woodstock's has, at a pizza joint. But SDSU students also go for the goods: a choice of garlic, tomato barbeque, pesto or red sauces. 6548 El Cajon Blvd. 619-265-0999.
Anthony's Fish Grotto
Anthony's has three locations in San Diego, plus the fine-dining spot, Anthony's Star of the Sea. The downtown grotto is right on the bay and dinners are available in lunch portions. 1360 N. Harbor Drive. 619-232-5103.
The art of the smoothie is perfected and distributed for everyone to enjoy. Wherever you are in San Diego, there is a Jamba Juice nearby. www.jambajuice.com
Best Soul Food
Louisiana Creole, crab, ham, catfish, ribs-if you've never had soul food, Huffman's will bring you in gently, but you'll learn real fast what it's all about. 5039 Imperial Ave. 619-264-3115.
Best Steak House
Donovan's Steak & Chop House
If a Donovan's filet mignon knew what other restaurants were serving, it would take offense at the term "steak." A glass of wine from the lengthy list and a 10-ounce, and it seems there is no greater luxury in the world. 4340 La Jolla Village Drive. 858-450-6666.
El Torito Mexican Restaurant
El Torito is a chain, but the house chef at each location infuses the cuisine with a local flavor. Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 8910 Villa La Jolla Drive. 858-453-4115. www.eltorito.com
Lotus Thai Bistro
The atmosphere is soothing, the yellow curry is sharp and the chicken and spinach in peanut sauce can't be beat. 3761 6th Ave. 619-299-8272
Pokez Mexican Restaurant
Pokez is the family vegetarian restaurant; the thing is, everyone is family, from industrial hip to tattooed punk and business casual. 947 E St. 619-702-7160.
Best New Restaurant
Nearly 150 beers on tap, but this is not your father's corner dive-Yard House pours fine and familiar beers for the martini-drinking set. 1023 4th Ave. 619-233-9273.
Best Overall Restaurant
The globe's 33rd parallel is considered the most exotic line on the grid, running across Morocco, Lebanon, China, Japan and India. The menu at Parallel 33 draws from the multitude of dishes from these very countries. 741 Washington St., 619-260-0033.