Random San Diego community info

This section summarizes some of stores and services in the San Diego area. Comments in quotes represent the opinions of particular grad students (not the Council) about these establishments.

The San Diego Reader

"Check out the San Diego Reader - it’s free all over campus (Price Center, Geisel and Biomed libraries), and lists lots of stuff going on in and around San Diego. If you’re buying a computer or parts thereof, try Computor Edge. Best prices I’ve found are in their local ads." (Richard, 2001)


Four banks are represented on campus in the form of ATM's and one branch office. Four ATMs are located on campus near the Price Center and are convenient to the Engineering Building. An additional ATM is located in the old student center. USE credit Union has a branch office and ATM located on campus near the VA hospital and the School of Medicine.

Most banks in the area make an effort to get the student dollar during the first few weeks of Fall quarter. They typically man booths on campus and offer special student banking plans and incentives if you sign up "right now". Watch out: Some of these plans offer only limited access to your funds during summer, and are thus more suited to undergrads.

Bank of AmericaLa Jolla Village Center. "The main advantage of this bank is that it's ubiquitous. There are ATM's and branch offices located in nearby malls including UTC and La Jolla Village Center. The closest branch office to UCSD is located in La Jolla Village Center." (Brent, 1995)

Washington Mutual7728 Regents Road in Vons Shopping center. The closest branch office is in the Vons shopping center off Regents Road; convenient if you live in the apartment complexes near Vons.

USE Credit Union(on campus) 3100 Gilman Dr. La Jolla, CA 92037. (858) 453-5620. "University and State Employees (USE) Credit Union has an ATM at the Price Center and at a branch office over by the VA hospital. I use and recommend this bank because of its friendly staff and good terms on accounts. USE allows you to make up to eight withdrawals per month from any STAR or Cirrus system ATMs in the U.S. for free. Transactions at USE ATMs are free without limit provided you have met your minimum balance requirements. USE has a WWW homepage, http://www.usecu.org/, through which you can do banking over the internet as well as track up to 20 stocks." (Brent, 1996)

Wells Fargo Bank8657 Villa La Jolla Dr. Ste 201, La Jolla, CA 92037 (858) 455-9590, (858) 484-0213 (24 hour). "ATM near the Price Center and at the old student center. The closest office is conveniently located in La Jolla Village Square in the Ralphs grocery store. The next closest is at University Towne Center. Wells Fargo is also co-located at many of the area grocery stores, so they may be more convenient to you for that reason." (Brent, 1996)

Chase, (on campus) 9700 Gilman Dr La Jolla, CA 92093. (858) 658-0967  The Chase branch on campus is located in the middle of Price Center next door to Sunshine Market. (Rick 2012)


Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, La Jolla Cove, La Jolla Cliffs Popular and somewhat crowded beaches.

Coronado, Del Mar, Solana Beaches, Encinitas, Torrey Pines, Windansea Less crowded beaches.

La Jolla Shores "Good beach to visit during the Summer/Fall. A lifeguard enforces separate surfing and swimming/boogie boarding zones, but the beach is located far enough away from the tourist meccas that it's rarely too crowded. Located directly below Scripps Institute next to the pier. Reasonable surf and convenient public showers (located on the Scripps campus) for rinsing afterwards." (Brent)

Black's Beach"Nude beach with good surf. Located adjacent to campus (access down a trail by the glider port or down a steep road by the Muir Apts). Black's features great surf and natural beauty plus isolated sunbathing spots at the bottom of steep cliffs. Local nudists are active in the upkeep and maintenence of Black's and the spirit of the '60's lives on at occasional Black's Beach "Love Ins"; sunset bonfires which are an homage to another era. You'll have to know a local (or be one) to find out about them." (Brent)

La Jolla Village/Cove coast "Great for watching wildlife.  Here you can see seals, sea lions, pelicans, cormorants, and more.  The Children's Beach and nearby rocks are home to a colony of seals - watch for seal pups in the spring. La Jolla Cove is famous for snorkeling - rent gear in La Jolla Village, at La Jolla Shores, or at Outback Adventures on campus.  The shoreline and beaches get crowded on weekends in the summer." (Janelle, 2010)

Grocery Stores

Trader Joes'sLa Jolla Village Square, 8657 Villa La Jolla Dr and other San Diego locations. "Trader Joe's is a must for the busy grad student. A wide variety of frozen and refrigerated meals are available. The prices are inexpensive and provide a great convenience when you don't feel like cooking but want to eat a fairly healthy meal. They have recently started to carry some produce. Better yet is the produce stand outside Trader Joe's which carries local fresh produce (slightly more expensive than a grocery store but often worth it!!)" (Justin, 1995)

"Trader Joe's has the best and cheapest selection of gourmet cheeses in the area. They also carry a wide variety of wines at discount prices. Be cautious of the very cheapest wine, but many a drinkable bottle of wine can be found for around $5.00." (Brent, 1995)

RalphsLa Jolla Village Square, 8677 Villa La Jolla Dr and other San Diego locations. "Ralph's is the closest to campus and probably has the lowest prices if you are going couponless. Prices are some of the better around generally, more so since they also double selected manufacturer's coupons from the Sunday paper. Meat and produce quality, formerly poor, has improved in recent years as more supermarkets open nearby. The new Ralphs is one of the 'superstore' types of grocery stores. Inside is a Videos & More (678-0862 Sun-Thurs 10 AM to 10 PM, Fri - Sat 10 AM to 11 PM), a Wells Fargo bank, a soft serve ice cream/yogurt place, and so on." (Brent, 1995)

Vons7788 Regents Road on the corner of Regents and Arriba, South of Nobel. Many other SD locations. "Usually fair to high prices. Discounts available with a (free) Vons Club card. They also double the value on all coupons, perhaps because their prices are slightly higher than elsewhere. However, if armed with sufficient numbers of coupons, they are the arguably the cheapest store locally. Sunday evenings seem to be a particularly bad evening to go there, because they are out of stock of a lot of items. They usually have a good selection of seasonal fresh foods." (Sarah, 1995)

Albertson's8510 Genessee Ave, in the Costa Verde shopping center. "Another big store with competitive prices. Albertson's has a good (by grocery store standards) selection of wines, with reviews from the wine trade magazines posted prominently by many of them as a guide to the uninitiated. Decent prices for the wines too. The produce always seems more expensive, of poorer quality, and of limited selection here though." (Brent, 1995)

Whole Foodson the corner of Nobel and Villa La Jolla Dr across from La Jolla Village Square. "Upscale organic and health foods, deli and homeopathic medicines." (Justin, 1997)

Harvest Ranch MarketTowne Center Drive in the Renaissance shopping center. "This boutique market has expensive imported goods, but absolutely wonderful fresh meat, seafood, and baked items, and an adequate produce section. If you need the services of a high quality butcher, or you want the best quality meat and baked items, then go here. Otherwise, the larger grocery stores in the area have more to offer at better prices." (Brent, 1995)

Sprouts (formerly Henry's formerly Boney's)Governor Drive  Sprouts is known for their fresh produce. They also stock a large variety of dried bulk goods, such as nuts, fruits, and whole grains as well as baked goods. Often the very best prices are found here on seasonal produce. (Rick, 2012)

Movie Theaters with Student Discounts

Several theaters offer student pricing on selected movies. You can get discounted tickets for many of them at the UCSD box office. Nearest, but not the best seating, is the AMC near Ralph’s. Next comes Pacific Towne Center in Clairmont. Prices have gone up recently, so can’t quote them offhand. A longer drive will get you to Fashion Valley or Mission Valley, big malls with big theaters $1 or so more expensive. Beware Mission Valley on a Friday night or a weekend if ye have no tickets ahead of time.

Parks and Museums

San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park

Sea World, Mission Bay off of Sea World Drive

Cabrillo National Monument, Point Loma

The Children's Museum of San Diego, Downtown

La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, downtown La Jolla

Museum of Man, Balboa Park

Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park

Natural History Museum, Balboa Park

Reuben H. Fleet Space Theatre and Science Center, Balboa Park

San Diego Aerospace Museum, Balboa Park

San Diego Maritime Museum, Embarcadero

San Diego Museum of Art, Balboa Park

Birch Aquarium, La Jolla

Shopping centers

La Jolla Village Square, La Jolla

University Towne Center, La Jolla

Costa Verde Shopping Center, La Jolla

Mission Valley Shopping Center, Mission Valley

Fashion Valley Shopping Center, Mission Valley

Horton Plaza, Downtown

Seaport Village, Downtown seafront

North County Fair, Poway

Grossmont Shopping Center, La Mesa area


Aesop's Tables 8650 Genessee Ave in the Costa Verde Shopping Center at the corner of Nobel and Genessee, 455-1535 "Fairly run of the mill food with a Mediterranean tilt. The best menu item (which was outstanding one time and merely good the other time I ordered it) is the salad with grilled Tuna and the bottles of Red Hook beer." (Brent, 1995)

Ashoka the Great Far end of Miramar Road in a strip mall at 9474 Black Mtn Road, 695-9749 "An Indian food restaurant located near the intersection of Miramar Road and Black Mountain Road. They have a reasonably good lunch buffet for which you can sometimes get a discount coupon in the Reader. It shares its parking lot with an Indian food store for those interested in trying their hand at cooking." (Shirish, 1995) "When I first tried Ashoka the Great, I thought it was pretty good. However, the last couple of times I've been there, I've been disappointed. I think it's pretty up-and-down." (Mike C., 1995) "My wife and I just had a great dining experience here. Definite thumbs up for excellent food and good value." (Brent, 1996)

Einstein's Bagels, formerly Baltimore Bagel 4150 Regents Road across from the UCSD Mesa Apartments, 587-1136 "I think these are the best bagels in the area. Many flavors are available as well as eggs and sandwiches on bagels. The service here is also better than the other local bagel shops." (Justin, 1995) "I absolutely agree that these are the best bagels! Try the seedy sticks too. Yumm!" (Brent, 1995)

B.J's Chicago Pizzeria 455-0662, La Jolla Village Center "Opinions are polarized about BJ's Pizza. The reason: they don't use a sauce. Instead of sauce you get stewed tomatoes added like a topping. Personally, I like their pizza. It's thick, tasty, and there's an abundance of toppings. I believe that your pizza can be made with sauce if you request it, but I've never seen reason to do so." (Brent, 1995)

"I admit that it has been a while since I've gone there, but the reason I don't go there is because their pizzas have nothing on them. No sauce is no problem, no cheese is. For this style of pizza done right, go to Pizzeria Uno (9465 Mission Blvd, 483-4143, also in Fashion Valley). For a real Chicago pizzeria, go to Chicago." (Rick, 1995)

California Pizza Kitchen La Jolla, La Jolla Village Square, Corner of La Jolla Village Dr and Nobel, 457-4222 "Originally a high quality clone of the Wolfgang Puck style of California pizza, this chain restaurant has deteriorated in quality and service. For better California style pizzas I heartily recommend Pizza Nova." (Brent, 1995)

Carino's 7408 La Jolla Blvd, on the W. side as you head out of La Jolla into the Birdrock/Windansea area. "It's hard to find, but it's a small, dive-ish looking type place across the street and in the vicinity of Taco Bell. They eschew the California style of pizza, but do feature California-influenced ingredients: lots of veggies, marinated artichoke hearts, etc. One thing I like about the pizza and what distinguishes them from the competition, is the mixture of cheeses on it. I believe that they use a bit of cheddar, and one or two other types of cheese along with the traditional mozarella. The crust is medium weight, and the sauce is tasty. IMO, the best pizzas to order there are ones with no more than 2-4 ingredients, balanced between meat and veggies; too many veggies make it soggy and too much meat makes it heavy. Don't expect pizzas such as oriental chiken and arrugula and be prepared for a wait - maybe order a salad or wine - they tend to take a long time to cook the pizzas. This is not fancy pizza, just very satisfying Italian-American soul food. Go if you possibly can." (Brent, 1996)

Cafe Japengo The Aventine, 3787 La Jolla Village Drive, 450-3355 "This place serves great, but pricy Pacific Rim (Japanese/Thai/Hawaiian/Californian) cuisine. It also features the hippest sushi bar on San Diego. On Thursdays and Fridays, it is packed. Expect an hour and a half wait while you mingle in the bar with all of the hot secretaries from the local bank buildings. You should dress well and expect to spend about $20." (Joe C., 1995)

Chang Cuisine of China University City, Costa Verde Shopping Center, 8670 Genesee Ave. 558-2288, take out (min. $15) 558-2418 "Reputed to be good Chinese food, Chang serves lunch and dinner. Entrees range from $6.95 (Chow Mein) to $14.95 (Pungent shrimp, among others) Most regular entrees are $7.95." (Brent, 1996)

Daily's 8915 Towne Center Drive in the Renaissance Center behind UTC, 453-1112 "Low fat, healthful food at moderate prices. Some dishes are bland but other have quite interesting flavors. Cafeteria style service." (Justin, 1995)

The Crab Catcher 1298 Prospect Ave, downtown La Jolla, 454-9587 "This is a nice place to take a date for decent food and a great ocean view. I recommend calling ahead and requesting table 7. You'll feel very secluded and have a wonderful oceanview all to yourselves. It'll cost about $12-$15/person." (Joe C., 1995)

Fins La Jolla Village Square, 270-FINS plus other San Diego locations "This Mexican fast food restaurant specializes in tasty shrimp and fish tacos and burritos. (Warning for the calorie conscious: the shrimp is deep fried here.) They also serve a small assortment of Mexican and microbrewed beers and have decorated with some Jimmy Buffett memorabilia to go with the Fins theme." (Joe C., 1995) "Inexpensive Mexican seafood, much better than Rubio's, shrimp burritos are a winner. On Sundays, shrimp items are discounted." (Mike C., 1995) "Combination plates are a good deal and include chips and refried beans. Combination prices range from $3.85 Dos Pescados (two fish tacos) to the La Jolla at $5.27 (shrimp burrito and shrimp taco - $4.75 on Sundays). Two other locations in San Diego; Mira Mesa at Westview Parkway and Rancho Bernardo on Camino Del Norte and Bernardo Center Drive." (Brent)

Hops 4853 La Jolla Village Dr. in UTC near Broadway, 587-6677 "Microbrewery and dining. I was unimpressed the first time I ate at Hops and sampled their brews. The second time showed some signs of improvement in the beers. That was over a year ago and I have to yet to make time to return. Hops offers a beer sampler which I recommend if it's your first time at the establishment. For convenience it can't be beat, but the prices may make you stay on campus at Porter's." (Brent, 1995)

Islands La Jolla Village Square, 3351 Nobel Drive, 619-455-9945 "This smoke-free restaurant and bar has a wide selection of large burgers and chicken sandwiches. Their basket of Island fries is great and the soft drinks are bottomless with purchase of an entree. Expect to spend about $7-$10. I love this place but Shirish always complains that it's too expensive." (Joe C., 1995) "Having eaten there several times and ordered a number of different items I can say that I definitely don't care for this restaurant. There's only so much I'm willing to pay for a burger, no matter how nice the surroundings are." (Brent, 1996)

Karinya Thai Cuisine 4475 Mission Blvd, but more visible from Garnet, Pacific Beach, 270-5050 "A great Thai food place." (Shirish, 1995) "I found this Thai restaurant a bit high in price and slow in service, but the food is undoubtedly tasty and the establishment is consistently rated at the top of its class in local polls. Perhaps I was spoiled by those two years in Los Angeles, but I think better value is to be had elsewhere." (Brent, 1995) "Although I like Karinya's, I prefer Thai House (4225 Convoy south of Balboa) or Sala Thai (6161 El Cajon Blvd at College (SDSU area)). For some dirt cheap Thai takeout that's more or less convenient to UCSD, try Thai Thai (315 S Highway 101 in Solana Beach, 755-2218). Some people I know like Spices Thai Cafe (3810 Valley Centre Dr in the shopping center just east of I5). I also like Royal Thai (737 Pearl Ave, 551-8428) in La Jolla, but it's a bit more expensive than the others mentioned and perhaps not quite as good." (Mike C., 1995)

Karl Strauss Brewery Gardens 9675 Scranton Rd. in Mira Mesa near 805, 587-2739 "Microbrewery and dining. Attractive restaurant if you don't mind the clash of German style brewhouse with Japanese architecture and gardens. A very popular drinking and dining establishment with reasonable prices for the locally brewed beers. The outdoor beer garden and open Japanese architecture make this a wonderful warm weather hangout. Also recommended is the Old Columbia Brewery/Bakery downtown if you like the beers here; it's owned by the same people, and I'm told the food is slightly better." (Brent, 1995)

Kono's 704 Garnet in Pacific Beach, 483-1669 "One of the better burgers in town and also good breakfasts. Portions are large and prices are inexpensive." (Mike C., 1995)

Le Bamboo Restaurant 2634 Del Mar Heights Rd (west of I5 in the Von's shopping center), 259-8138 "Upscale Vietnamese with French influence - servings are a bit small and it is a bit on the pricey side for ethnic, but the quality is there." (Mike C., 1995)

Lorna's Italian Kitchen South University City, 3945 Governor Dr. 452-0661 at the corner of Genessee and Governor in the Vons/Thrifty shopping center. "Excellent Italian food. No reservations - service is on a first come first served basis. Especially recommended for the hungry are the huge calzones which can be ordered with custom fillings. Also recommended are the vegetarian and chicken dishes." (Brent, 1995) "Lorna's offers good value and large portions. I wouldn't rate it among the top Italian restaurants in San Diego, but for price/performance it sits in the sweet spot for a Grad Student's budget." (Mike C., 1995)

"Lorna's is now serving Sat. and Sun. breakfast (as of Mar 2, 1996) and features an early bird dinner menu (3:30 to 5:30) daily." (Brent, 1996)

Pick-Up Stix 8707 Villa La Jolla Dr. in La Jolla Village Square, 552-1566, plus other San Diego locations as well "A healthy Chinese restaurant that serves good food and has great priced lunch specials. I recommend the Szechuan shrimp." (Joe C., 1995)

Roberto's Ubiquitous except in La Jolla- also look for Royberto's, Alberto's, Aliberto's, etc, ad nauseum "San Diego's favorite and most wide spread Mexican fast food chains. Place your order for a carne asasda burrito or a chicken taco (my two favorites) and enjoy a savory, cheap treat. Especially recommended as a pre or post study session food. Many 'berto's are open 24 hours. The closest 24 H 'berto's to UCSD is located at 6780 Miramar Rd on the left behind Carl's Junior. There's two more 'berto's restaurants farther down Miramar as well." (Brent, 1995) "Roberto's on Carmel Valley Rd in Del Mar is probably closer. Just hop on Torrey Pines north and turn right at Carmel Valley Rd. And you're right, there is nothing like a Roberto's Carne Asada Burrito to keep you up all night... ;-)" (Mike C., 1995)

Rubios 2 nearby locations: 8935 Towne Center Drive in the Renaissance Center, 453-1666, and in La Jolla Village Center "The original San Diego fish taco chain. I love their fish taco especial which is served with guacamole and cheese. They also have a wide array of other tacos and burritos such as carne asada, shrimp, and carnitas and also serve beer. They recently introduced a Health Mex menu which includes grilled (instead of fried) fish and chicken tacos and burritos." (Joe C., 1995)

"Rubio's is good, but definitely stick with the fish and beer, and then only if you're not closer to Fin's." (Brent, 1995)

Scotto's Pizza 3742 Mission Blvd at Santa Clara, 488-1656) "This place serves the best Philly cheesesteaks around. Just like the real thing. It's a great place to eat after windsurfing as it is very close to the Aquatic Center. They are usually open late but the hours can be erratic: Open: when we feel like it, Closed: when we get tired." (Joe C., 1995)

Star Of India 1000 Prospect Rd, Downtown La Jolla, 459-3355 "I've always found the service to be slow and the food to be mediocre. If you want good Indian food, make the trek to Ashoka the Great on Miramar Road." (Joe C., 1995) "I'll second the recommendation on Ashoka the Great (elsewhere in this listing)." (Brent, 1996)

Starbucks 8657 Villa La Jolla Dr in La Jolla Village Square, 452-4205 "Just like every other Starbucks with an array of coffee drinks and pastries. Their coffee always seems to taste better than the UTC Starbucks though and their Frappuccino low-fat coffee milk-shakes are incredible." (Joe C., 1995)

TGI Friday's La Jolla, 8801 Villa La Jolla Dr. in La Jolla Village Center, 452-0880 "This chain restaurant serves up consistent but unexciting food. Burgers and salads are decent, but I recently sent one of their pizzas back twice." (Brent, 1995)

Yakimono 7728 Regents Rd in the Vons Shopping Center, La Jolla Colony 452-4255 "Pseudo-Japanese food. Not authentic but it's fast and they have daily specials which provide a lot of food for $4-$7. It's a small place with a patio. If you can get down to Pacific Beach or Hillcrest, Ichiban is a better, cheaper version of Japanese fast food." (Justin, 1995)