Restaurant Week on any budget

San Diego Restaurant Week’s theme this year is “Eight Days of Dining.” More than 180 restaurants will be participating in the 12th annual event, running Jan. 17–24. Here are my lunch recommendations in the $10, $15 and $20 categories.

Award-winning Cafe Coyote,, at $10, is a super bargain: Old Town ambience, excellent food and oversized margaritas (not included). Their two-course flexible menu allows guests to order either an appetizer and entree, or entree and dessert. The birria (stew) is excellent.

At $15, Croce’s Park West,, delivers superior food and service with a jazz-centric, sophisticated vibe. Choose between an entree and either a starter or dessert. The menu includes breakfast and lunch items. Eggs Benedict or a Kobe burger are equally tempting.

My $20 pick is Rei Do Gado,, a Brazilian steak house. There’s a nice salad bar to start. Then Passadores, “meat waiters,” come to the table with knives and skewers, on which are speared various cuts of meat, chicken and sausage. It’s an all-you-can-eat extravaganza.

For more information and prix-fixe menus for lunch and/or dinner, download the free app or visit Reservations are recommended.

A Day in Balboa Park

San Diego’s Balboa Park is home to 15 museums, various art venues, the world famous zoo, dozens of gardens, recreation and play areas, shops and restaurants. Where to go, what to do?

Start the day with a free ranger-led exploration of the park with emphasis on its botanical and historical features. This outing is only offered on Tuesdays and Sundays.

Don’t miss the IMAX film, “Jerusalem,” at the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center, The aerial photography is spectacular, the story engrossing.

spanish-villageThen stroll over to the Spanish Village Art Center, Its colorful tiles lead you to 37 local artists’ studios and galleries, featuring an amazing array of fine arts and crafts.

Finish up at the San Diego Museum of Art, It is the oldest and largest art museum in the area. Their newest exhibit, “The Art of Music,” with more than 200 works, gives a fascinating face to the nexus of art and music from various cultures and time periods.

Deals — Most attractions have military, senior and/or educator discounts. On Tuesdays, various museums are free to San Diego residents. Balboa Park’s friendly website,, provides a calendar of daily activities, exhibitions, pricing options and coupons. Download the free app at the iTunes store.

Safe travels and enjoy the journey…



Recommend to friends
  • gplus
  • pinterest

About the Author'

Howard Hian

Follow Howard Hian online at and