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San Diego visit- reviews

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Restaurants & Bars 4

San Diego visit- reviews

Rosanna | Dec 30, 2005 01:06 AM

I must admit that I have been very lazy on this trip, not searching out the good chow, but going for convenience to the Omni Hotel near the convention center. The Gaslamp district is in walking distance. Tried Royal Thai, which is much more reasonable than Rama. The food was really quite good. My shrimp and calamari dish was loaded with seafood. It was quite fresh. My husband's duck (another huge portion) had great seasoning. Worth going to in a touristy area. Not so Sushi Itto. This was like the worst college food. The tempura was so greasy we didn't finish it. The raw fish was mixed. But all in all, this is a must avoid. Want an easy, cheap and local lunch in Little Italy? You have to try Mona Lisa on the edge of the district. Half of it is an Italian market (packed). The restaurant is cafeteria style, though many of the items are made to order. Honestly, the food looked pretty mediocre at first glance and was actually perfect for the price and the atmosphere. You find an oil-clothed table and wait for the aged pater to bring out your food. He's as sweet as can be and a "grazie" and "buon natale" wins him over. They give him simple jobs including delivering dishes to tables. He wanders from table to table saying "garlic pizza?" or whatever he's delivering. The place had mostly locals on their lunch break. Finally, the big surprise was McCormick and Schmicks in the Omni. What got me through the door was their happy hour where you get "appetizers" for $1.95 with a drink. Appetizers like a half pound burger with fries? Moules and more. The food was hit and miss (the cheese plate was two sticks of cheddar), but for 2 bucks, who's complaining? The drink selection and on- tap microbrews was good and incredibly reasonable. We returned another night for a real dinner. It's mostly seafood and fish. Incredibly fresh. Be careful of preparations that overpower the fish - the only fault of the menu. Everything we had was great. 2 or 3 appetizers can make a meal so you can sample more dishes. The kids menu is a ridiculously cheap $5. for the usual stuff. But the shrimp wasn't the breaded popcorn type, but 4 huge prawns tempura fried in a coconut batter with a chutney dip. They have my kid's numbers with a child's menu like that. Also, the dining room is at once club-like and airy with high ceilings and booths that can be closed with curtains (I asked our waiter if any hanky panky goes on behind the curtains. He said that on late nights with music, like New year's, they've busted many a couple.)

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