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Ironside Fish & Oyster helmed by Michelin star chef Jason McLeod is the place to visit in Little Italy for a fresh, modern approach to seafood as opposed to some of the more traditional Spaghetti and Clam joints around the neighborhood. The menu changes often since it relies heavily on whatever the catch brings in, but one thing you can always find on the menu is the Lobster Roll. It is served in a brown-butter mayo and a soft bun then topped with chives; definitely one of the highlights. Seafood Paella, Steamed Mussels, Fried Oysters, Rock Fish Ceviche and excellent Peel 'n' Eat Shrimp are just a few of the items on the menu at any given time.
Located in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter, Trailer Park After Dark offers a pubbing experience as unique as its name, serving its loyal patrons with flavorful grubs and signature cocktails in a vibrant and unconventional setting. The bar is the centerpiece of the establishment and is manned by expert mixologists, who concoct masterpieces like the South Bound Train, Ja lap eno Face and Murica Mule, which are some of Trailer Park's mainstays. Do order their Tube Steaks and Finger Lickin' Chicken Wings to accompany your drinks.
The spicy aroma wafting out the door only hints at the delicious taste of the Persian food inside—and it is all the more enjoyable being low in fat and cholesterol. At Sadaf, the hands-down favorite is the Sadaf Special, which includes tender chunks of filet mignon, chicken and white fish on a bed of rice or saffron. The dinner prices are modest for the bustling Gaslamp location. It is an ideal spot for informal business or leisure dining.
This restaurant's deli front conceals a charming courtyard, which looks like it escaped from a Roman villa. On the menu, Panini sandwiches make a great snack and the selection of gourmet pizzas is enough to share for a light lunch. The Ravioli con Funghi will feed your love for mushrooms, combining cheese with porcinis, garlic and olive oil. The restaurant serves late, making this a perfect retreat after the theater or a concert.
Filippi's Pizza Grotto is one of the most beloved Italian restaurants in San Diego. Its pizza has been highly acclaimed since first being served more than 50 years ago. The front of the restaurant is an Italian shop selling dried pasta, wines, candy, canned goods and olives, and a deli selling Italian sausages and cheese. After passing through this aromatic area, one is led to the restaurant itself. The chefs here dish up all the classics including lasagne, spaghetti and meatballs, ravioli and more. Imported and domestic wine and beer is available.
Long renowned for huge portions at their other Hillcrest location, the 24-hour incarnation of Brian's continues the tradition. Look for massive and reasonably priced breakfasts, powerful sandwiches, and dinners filled with American favorites such as meatloaf, barbecued ribs, chicken, and short ribs. Pies and other desserts round out the menu, which seems aimed at sophisticated, value-conscious, truck-driver appetites. Servers are efficient, fun, and friendly. Its downtown location makes it a great alternative to an overpriced hotel breakfast for conventioneers as well as smart local downtown workers. Plus, there's a full bar open during legal drinking hours. -deTraci Regula