AAEP: Where to Eat in San Diego, from Gary and Barrie

Prepared for the AAEP Convention and its attendees, by Gary Norwood, DVM, and Barrie Grant, DVM, Dipl. ACVS (with inside info from his daughter, Aubyn)


Best Breakfast: Café 222 is located within walking distance from the San Diego Convention Center. This small but innovative eatery has been featured on the Food Network. Owner Teryl Gavre has put a great spin on some of everyone's favorite breakfast dishes. You'll have to try "Green Eggs and Spam" or local favorite "Pumpkin Waffle." Dogs are welcome!

AE (also eligible): Hob Nob Hill  

Best Local Brewery: Coronado Brewing Company located just a few minutes from downtown on the Island of Coronado. CBC (as it is known on to the locals) boasts a large menu of handcrafted beers as well as a full lunch and dinner menu in a casual family friendly setting.

Best Place to Two-Step with a Cowboy/girl: Incahoots is one of San Diego's only Country Western nightclubs. It is located in Mission Valley, near Qualcomm Stadium, and boasts three full-service bars, a large dance floor, and great music. For beginners, try one of their free dance lessons held five nights a week.

Best Winery: Ponte Winery is Temecula's finest winery. Their country style tasting room features open beamed ceilings, friendly and knowledgeable wine servers, and many styles of wine to enjoy. The Smokehouse Restaurant is where you will find outdoor wine country dining at its best with breathtaking views. A seasonal menu reflects the influences of area vineyards, local farmers' markets, and their own Estate wines.

Best Restaurant with a View: Bertrand at Mr. A's is just a short drive up 5th Avenue from the convention center. Dine on modern American cuisine with French and Mediterranean influences. The restaurant is located within a twelfth floor penthouse with a wrap around balcony for al fresco views of downtown San Diego, Balboa Park, San Diego Bay, and most notably, the commercial airliners on final into Lindbergh Field.

AE: Avenue 5--American / French

Best Italian: Old Venice is located on a quiet street just a few blocks from the San Diego Yacht Club in historic Point Loma. A local favorite, Old Venice is home to an intimate bar and restaurant that features authentic Italian like your buddy Joey's grandmother used to make.

AE: Baci Ristorante

Best Seafood: The Fish Market is located adjacent to the USS Midway museum. This restaurant has three places to dine inside one establishment. The restaurant sits directly on San Diego Bay, which makes for a lot of excitement when large vessels are pulling in and out of the harbor. The main restaurant features a large selection of fresh catches grilled to perfection in a casual atmosphere. A fresh seafood market is located in the lobby across from the well stocked bar and Oyster Bar. If you are in the mood for sushi, grab a seat in their small but authentic sushi bar. If you are looking for a more formal dining experience, head upstairs to the Top of the Market.

AE: The Oceanaire  

Best Mexican Seafood: La Fiesta  

Best Steak: The Turf Club. You can keep your corporate steak house chains. The Turf Club is a throw back to neighborhood supper clubs. A neon horseshoe sign on the corner of the building ushers you into a lounge decorated with win pictures. The central grill (oh, you cook your own here) is the social center of this establishment that also features waitresses reminiscent of Vargas pin-ups and rock-a-billy bartenders.

AE: Greystone   

Max New York  

Plus all the usual chains...Ruth's Chris, Morton, Fleming, and Donovans.

Rei Do Gado--Brazilian steakhouse ... go hungry

The Tractor Room--Casual .... steaks, game, and stiff drinks

Best Eclectic / International: Vagabond   

AE : Tabule   

Best Dessert: Extraordinary Desserts.  Finish off a meal with any of pastry chef Karen Krasne's delicacies. The desserts are almost too pretty to eat. Although there are two locations, the Union Street address has won many architectural awards and also serves wine and savory appetizers. The retail shop sells fine ingredients for making delicacies of your own at home.

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