Sunday, December 30, 2007

San Diego Dining Suggestion?

I will be heading off for a business trip to San Diego for a week in Mid January. I should have a day or two where I can do a few things. Can anyone suggest some places that I should eat at. I don't mind trying one expensive meal at a really good restaurant.

Are there any places I should visit in San Diego? I think there is a good zoo there?

I've never been to America before so are there any things I should take note of?

EDIT: Such is the fickle nature of business trips, the trip has now officially been cancelled. I was so excited when the business class plane tickets were purchased. I've never travelled in business class before, and am unlikely to travel in business class in the near future. I hope there's another chance to go on a business trip and to visit America.


  1. Oooh, San Diego! A very good friend of mine lives there, so I went there in 2005 and again in January 2007. Let me consult my diary!

    I like the island Coronado - the beaches are pretty and there's a lovely old turn of the century hotel there, the Hotel Del Coronado (known to everyone as the Hotel Del), which was used as the filming location for the classic Marilyn Monroe comedy Some Like It Hot. There's also a nice Mexican restaurant tucked behind the hotel, can't remember its name.

    San Diego Zoo is excellent - I recommend starting by taking the safari bus that takes you past all the main attractions (sit upstairs so you have a better view), then walk around to see the other enclosures. The chairlift ride gives you a fresh perspective of the zoo, plus great views of San Diego in general. Try to see the fluoro orange flamingos at feeding time!

    Sea World is also excellent - particularly getting to see animals you don't get to see in Australia (eg manatees). The beluga whales, moray eels and dolphin show were the highlights, plus we also enjoyed a water ride..

    It's kinda corny and fake but I still liked walking around the Old Town State Historic Park, which recreates 19th century California. The old chursh still does Mass in Spanish, which is nice to drop in on.

    PB (Pacific Beach) has great waves - Imperial Beach is also nice. Sunset from Point Loma (watching the sun sink into the waves) is pretty special. Downtown and the Gaslamp District I found less interesting - it was just like any other US shopping district.

    Oh, and be sure to visit Mexico, even if you only go to touristy Tijuana. There's a tramcar which leaves from downtown San Diego and takes you all the way to the Mexican border (it takes about 45 mins), and you can cross the border on foot. My friend Sam thought it was dangerous and didn't want me to go to Tijuana, but I had a great time and didn't feel any unsafer than I would in the US. I met this lovely old Cuban guy called Hector on the tramcar who didn't speak English but spoke fluent Italian, and he showed me the non-touristy side of TJ.

    Foodwise, I didn't go to any ultra-fancy restaurants in San Diego, but we went to a fantastic wine bar called Third Corner that served great food (the marinated olives were amazing) and lovely Italian (especially the stuffed mushrooms) at a place called Old Venice. A lot of the time, we just ate Mexican - Southern California has excellent Mexican food - at PB there were some great cheap places on the boardwalk (Kono's, Be Curious Cantina), and Miguel's also did delicious quesadillas. We drove up to La Jolla one night and had the best Mexican food I tasted in California at a place called Las Olas. We also went to a great Brazilian restaurant down in the Gaslamp District and did the whole meat on skewer thing.

    One other place I can definitely recommend is going to the Beach Bar at the very hip and swanky W Hotel - the Beach Bar is an open air bar with white sand underfoot and fabulous cocktails - I ordered a Persephone Martini (with pomegranate) which was to die for!

    The main thing to be aware of in US restaurants is tipping your waiter; it's a bit of a cultural adjustment. Sorry I can't be more specific with where a lot of the restaurants are - try googling them with "san diego" and you may get some addresses. If you have any more questions, just let me know!

  2. Thanks Claire for all the suggestions. I have noted them all down and will do a more thorough search on the web. You've given me some good starting points.

    I didn't know I could go visit Mexico. But since it's so close, I think I will try to do that.

    Looks like I'll have to try a lot of Mexican food.

  3. Fat stupid Do,

    There's plenty of Macca and Burger Kings for you over there. Remember they serve Mega size meals for the average fat and oversized American which approximately your standard.

    Let's just hope you don't eat away your whole company's budget over there you glutonous swine!!

  4. Anonymous, I actually will try their Burger Kings as I like that. But I'll skip on the Maccas.

    I don't eat half as much as what you pay for drinks using your company credit card.

  5. Oh please take me with you. I'll be great company throughout the trip.

  6. Well Miss Q, as it turns out, this trip is now looking unlikely. I was really looking forward to it. But late developments means this trip might not be going ahead.

  7. Oh that's bad news. I would have given you a good ride on the plane ride. My mouth would have come much more useful in the hotel.

  8. Fake Miss Q, any more comments like that from you and I will have to ban you from all alcohol.

  9. Now you have time to get back to your life like.... finishing those blogs that are months overdue you fat thing!!

  10. Anonymous, that is very true. I have about 3 food related ones and heaps for my personal blog ones, including a certain movie review.

  11. Thanh, look at the California section of eGullet. There are quite a few tips there. I was in SD two years ago. The best use for SD is probably to taste ethnic cuisines which we don't see much of in Oz... Mexican of course, Afghan (believe it or not), and some others. I was underwhelmed by some of the mainstream 'good restaurant' recommendations I received around the traps. As for touristy things, depending on your experience of sea-world-like places, you might be impressed or utterly unimpressed by the place in SD (my neighbours were not thrilled). The Zoo is enormous, but again your mileage will vary depending on what other zoos you've been to. I recommend seeing Balboa Park, and the historic town is kinda cute. If you're flying out of SD, allow for the loooong check-in queues, even if you've already checked in online but need to drop your checked luggage.

  12. Duncan,

    You probably skipped the earlier comments, but Mr. Do ain't going to San Diego no more. He's going to Causeway Bay in HK to cause trouble.