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Culture Lust by Angela Carone

San Diego Restaurants Offering Deals and Steals in Recessionary Times

The bar at The Linkery. Photo by Bonzo McGrue

Pundits are warning it’s 1933 all over again.  Meanwhile, your wallet is losing weight faster than you can say Atkins.  However, one can’t eat tuna out of a can and boxed mac and cheese every night. In order to help you get out to socialize and enjoy something delicious and comforting, we’ve rounded up specials at some of our favorite San Diego haunts:

You can belly up to the Linkery ’s bar from Sunday through Thursday for their $10 Stimulus Package. For a mere $10 you get a plate of their famous sausage or Portobello tacos and jelly jar of wine, house choice of beer, or sparkling water.  The Stimulus Package is off the menu, so you must request it and sit at their bar (where you can observe the action in the kitchen) to enjoy it.


Urban Solace is offering their aptly named Comfort Hour Monday through Friday from 4-6pm at their expansive bar and cozy patio. Comfort Hour translates into $1 off draft beers, $1 off well drinks, and selected wine by the glass for $5. During Comfort Hour, Urban Solace discounts select signature plates like their creamy shrimp and grits and crispy sweet potato fries for an average savings of $1-$1.50 per item.

The Kensington Grill offers a plethora of budget conscious choices, including a pre-Cygnet Theatre dinner prix fixe menu of $28 for three courses. They also have a specialty happy hour nightly from 5-7pm and themed by the day (Martini Monday, Tequila Thursday).  It always includes seven nibbles for $7 each and well drinks and sangria for $5. If you get out of work early and missed lunch, their Early Bird Special is every day from 5-6pm.  You can enjoy three courses for only $24.95!

George’s at The Cove in La Jolla offers a happy hour on its bar level Monday through Friday from 3-7pm. Enjoy a view of the mighty impressive Pacific while savoring three tacos and a beer for $7, seven different wines or infused vodka specialty cocktails for $7, or draft beer for $4. If you’re celebrating, but don’t want to break the bank, George’s also offers a five course tasting menu on its fine dining level for $65, which you can combine with a five course wine pairing for an additional $30.

Sea Rocket in North Park (in the old Linkery space) has a daily happy hour from 5-6pm that includes $1 off all beers and wine, and some of their most popular appetizers like their fish ceviche and San Diego sardine antipasto for 50% off. Thursday night is movie night , and for $20 bucks you get a glass of draft beer or wine, a starter and an entrée all while watching films like the original Ocean’s 11 .

Crescent Heights offers a happy hour every day, Monday through Friday from 4:30-7pm, and Saturdays from 5:30-7pm. The happy hour menu includes delicious bar snacks like onion rings and parmesan french fries for $4, beer for $2 off its regular price and $6 well cocktails along with house red and white wine. If you’re looking for something a little more substantial, their Small Bites menu is available during happy hour in the bar or the lounge. A luxurious dinner for me in college meant buying a wedge of brie at the Kroger, fresh strawberries and French bread and devouring it on the couch with my roommate. Get back in touch with your college self and make a blissful meal with a selection of their artisanal cheeses and charcuterie and one perfectly mixed cocktail like the Blueberry Elderflower Martini. A substantial three course prix fixe for $40 is also available.


The dining room at Laurel.

Laurel is offering many specials as well, including happy hour every day from 5-7pm featuring “ Seven Before Seven ”—seven drinks and seven appetizers for $7 before 7 o’clock. Pretty great. They also have an early bird dinner every day of the week, three courses for $35 with a wine pairing option for each course for an additional $20. If you’re having a Monday that you wish was Friday, stop by the bar for the Burger Special--$14.95 for a burger and a beer. And on Tapas Tuesday, part of the fun is that the chef comes out to the bar to assemble the little works of art before your eyes, usually from around 5:30-8pm.

Mille Fleurs has a generous prix fixe of three courses for $40 from Sunday through Tuesday evening. The menu changes daily and is seasonally and locally sensitive-- the restaurant buys as much of its gorgeous produce as it can from the Alice Waters approved Chino Farm. Last week’s prix fixe included a fresh lobster salad with avocado, papaya and lemon.

If you love oysters (and their mood-enhancing properties), OceanAire offers a happy hour from 5-6pm on Monday through Friday and oysters (variety chosen by the house) for $1 each, as well as $7 glasses of wine and signature cocktails. The happy hour menu features their fish and chips for $8.99 and addictive Old Bay Chips for $3.99. The specialties continue at their bar from 6pm until closing, including $8 glasses of wine, $1.50 oysters, and a delicious menu including sliders and an open-faced steak sandwich that won’t leave you with sticker shock. Have any other recommendations?  Share them with us!

Lucy from Concord,New Hampshire
March 10, 2009 at 01:37 PM
A very timely piece. I'm salivating and making my plane reservations now! By the way, where can I find more of Emily 's writing . Her style - great choice of words and humor - is such a pleasure to read.

Aaron from SD
March 12, 2009 at 03:46 AM
The Riviera Supper Club has happy hour everyday, I think it's 4 - 6pm. $2 off the Sirloin... that makes it $6.50. Cheaper than the Long Island Iced Tea I'd wash it down with. That's $2 off too.

March 28, 2009 at 02:24 AM
On the The Kensington Grill offer, do you mean a "pre-Diversionary Theatre" dinner? Cygnet is nowhere near Adams Ave while Diversionary is around the corner on Park.