For lunch, it’s easy to fall back on a sandwich, but discovering a hidden gem is much more satisfying. La Mirage, an unassuming restaurant on F Street, is that kind of place. There’s lots to choose from, including chicken shawarma in salad, wrap, and even pizza form, but for variety and value, go for the chicken shawarma plate, which comes with basmati rice, hummus, and a house salad for $8.99.
San Diego Magazine’s Best-Of SD issue has a ton of intel, including a round-up of the best restaurants of 2012. If you keep flipping to the South Bay section, you’ll see my top 10 places to Eat Your Way Around South Bay, including everything from fro-yo to fusion fare, like MJ’s Yogurt Time and Deli in Chula Vista, where you can get a heaping plate of fries and meat, topped with cheese, creamy sauces, and two fried eggs. The “House Fries” are their top seller (and make your typical carne asada fries look downright dainty).
Options for cheap eats near the San Diego Convention Center (and Comic-Con) abound, if you know where to look. Most of the spots on 5th, right across from the SDCC aren’t worth your dining dollar, but there are a few gems right on the strip. If you go a little farther north, or east, that’s where you’ll really strike gold. Here are my top picks for cheap eats near the Convention Center (and in downtown SD, in general).
The East Village’s newest sandwich shop makes a killer breakfast ‘which. The Ultimate Breakfast Dip is like a delicious collision of a breakfast sandwich and a deli sandwich. It’s made with ham and muenster cheese between slices of toasted sourdough, topped with spicy tomato sauce and a fried egg.
You can find paninis at just about every sandwich spot, but few are even close to being this good. One reason: the bread. Toast Enoteca & Cucina makes their own focaccia, which makes a huge difference. There are four different options, including tomato and mozz, steak, chicken, and pork. I tried the last two. Find out which one was the best on my San Diego Magazine blog post.
Zanzibar is my favorite local fuel and sugar gratification station. I’ve tasted (and love) several of their sandwiches, but only recently got around to visiting with a mission more suited to the A Hamburger Today Blog on Serious Eats (trying the burger, natch). Find out how it went in my review.
5 suggestions for a tasty breakfast in downtown San Diego, including the Gaslamp Quarter, the East Village, and the Marina district, plus suggestions on what to order and a few insider’s tips.
Burgers, beer, and baseball are always a winning combo, and while you can get a great burger from Hodad’s inside PETCO (and beer flows freely), pre- or post-game, Smashburger is a great option. The location is three blocks from the stadium, and you can score a bottle of beer and a burger for under $10. One of the best pairings I’ve found is the San Diego burger and a Stone IPA. Find out more in my Everyday Eats post on San Diego Magazine’s Food and Drink blog.
There are so many options for a good sandwich at Zanzibar Café, but one has just about all of my favorite ingredients: the turkey and avocado croissant. The star of the sandwich is another ingredient that doesn’t get top billing in the title (but should): a nippy herbed goat cheese spread. It’s the ideal complement to the soft, buttery croissant.
The newest spot to open in the East Village is Lucky’s, where over-stuffed sandwiches, soups, salads, and hot dogs rule. Inside, it’s like a modern take on a drugstore soda fountain. A counter runs the length of the restaurant, with bar tables providing additional seating. There’s even Crater Lake root beer on draft. I tried a hot dog for Everyday Eats on San Diego Magazine.com, plus the mish mosh soup, a bite of a salad, and a doughnut. Some choices were great, others I wouldn’t order again. Find out the highlights (and low-lights) in my extended review.