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Many tempting dining options are an easy stroll away

From the March ACP Observer, copyright © 2007 by the American College of Physicians.

Attendees at Internal Medicine 2007 will have a dazzling array of culinary offerings on their doorstep. The San Diego Convention Center is located right downtown, an easy walk to restaurants in the business center of the city as well as the quaint Gaslamp Quarter.

Both neighborhoods offer an extensive variety of eateries, with 100 restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter alone. Naturally, much of the cuisine is centered around seafood, but between the traditional, ethnic, casual and gourmet options, there should be something to satisfy every budget and palate.

Any San Diegan worth his or her salt (and lime) knows a thing or two about fish tacos. The city's proximity to Mexico and the ocean makes it a natural fit for this tasty delicacy, comprised of battered and deep fried white fish stuffed into a soft tortilla with cabbage, white sauce, salsa and lime.

How popular are fish tacos in San Diego? They are served at Qualcomm Stadium during Padres' games. And when the Chargers lost to the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX, San Diego mayor Susan Golding paid her bet in—you guessed it—fish tacos.

Fast food restaurant Rubio's Baja Grill is widely credited with introducing fish tacos to San Diego en masse. Co-founder Ralph Rubio developed the concept of a fish taco restaurant after taking college spring break trips in the mid-1970s to Mexico's Baja peninsula, where the dish originated. Smitten, Rubio opened his first restaurant in 1983.

Today, more than 40 Rubio's restaurants pepper San Diego and surrounding communities, including one at the airport. Wahoo's Fish Taco—which spread south from Orange County, Calif.—is another popular chain, where you can get your fish charbroiled or blackened. For more adventure, try the tacos at the city's various pushcarts and locally-owned stands as well, or sample a shrimp taco or fish quesadilla.

ACP Observer has uncovered just a few of the tempting options in the areas surrounding the Convention Center.

Gaslamp Quarter

Assaggio
835 4th Ave.
619-234-6538
Offering European cuisine at unbeatable prices, this Italian restaurant serves pastas and thin-crust pizzas. Under $10 to $15

Blue Point Coastal Cuisine
565 5th Ave.
619-233-6623
Sophisticated seafood with international accents, from Thai calamari to couscous cakes, and a long wine list. $16 to over $30.

Bottega
835 4th Ave.
619-234-6538
A rustic, tavern-style Italian restaurant serving Tuscan entrees as well as pastas and pizzas. $10 to $15.

Candelas
416 3rd Ave.
619-702-4455
Elegant, imaginative Mexican food—seafood prepared with south-of-the-border ingredients and influences. $23 to over $30.

Dakota Grill
901 5th Ave.
619-234-5554
Mesquite grilled streaks, fresh seafood, located in an historic Gaslamp structure with a piano lounge upstairs. $12-$30.

The Field
544 5th Ave.
619-232-9840
A pub with traditional Irish cuisine-thick stew and corned beef-and a lively bar scene in the evenings. $10 to $22.

Kiyo's
531 F St.
619-238-1726
Creative sushi offerings as well as other Japanese entrees, including dumplings and tempura. $10 to $30.

Lou & Mickey's
224 5th Ave.
619-237-4900
Steaks, seafood, and pastas served in hearty portions at this restaurant right by the Convention Center. $10 to over $30.

Monsoon
729-733 4th Ave.
619-234-5555
Indian food here is spiced to taste, with a waterfall in the center of the dining room. $10 to $22.

Oceanaire Seafood Room
400 J St.
619-858-2277
Decorated in 1940s style, this restaurant offers a wide range of traditional seafood specialties. $16 to over $30.

Osetra the Fishhouse
904 5th Ave.
619-239-1800
Luxurious seafood and atmosphere with a strong emphasis on caviar and champagne. Over $30.

Rama
327 4th Ave.
619-501-8424
Tart, pungent Thai food, including curries and stir-fries, served in a dreamy rainforest atmosphere. $10 to $22.

Rei do Gado
939 4th Ave.
619-702-8464
All the grilled meat you can eat served on skewers at this Brazilian churrascaria. $16 to over $30.

Sevilla
555 4th Ave.
619-233-5979
In addition to tapas and traditional Spanish entrees, a happening nightspot with dinner entertainment. $16 to $30.

Trattoria Mare & Monti
644 5th Ave.
619-235-8144
Italian cuisine with creative pasta entrees, wood-fired pizzas, and a seafood cocktail. $16 to over $30.

Downtown

Athens Market
109 W. F St.
619-234-1955
A cheerful atmosphere and authentic Greek food, including hummus, grape leaves, and phyllo pastries. $16 to $30

Bread on Market
730 Market St.
619-795-2730
Freshly baked baguettes and rolls are made into sandwiches and served alongside soups and salads for lunch. Under $10.

Café Chloe
721 9th Ave.
619-232-3242
Creative Parisian fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner or a coffee and pastry break. $10 to $22.

Dobson's Bar & Restaurant
956 Broadway Circle
619-231-6771
Traditional seafood dishes and pastas at this popular location for business lunches. $16 to $30.

Fish Market/Top of the Market
750 N. Harbor Dr.
619-232-3474
Fresh fish and seafood, grilled or steamed, with a spectacular view of the harbor. Top of the Market is more expensive and elaborate. $10 to over $30.

Le Fontainebleau
1055 2nd Ave.
619-557-3655
Very upscale French cuisine varies by season and is accompanied by piano or harp. $23 to over $30.

Morton's of Chicago
285 J St.
619-696-3369
Generous portions of steaks, fish and lobster close to the Convention Center. $16 to over $30.

RA Sushi Bar Restaurant
1014 5th Ave.
619-321-0021
Sushi, sashimi, teriyaki and tempura as well as a trendy bar in an intimate location. Under $10 to $22.

Rainwater's on Kettner
1202 Kettner Blvd.
619-233-5757
A steakhouse offering large portions of meat or seafood, served with a cornstick. $23 to over $30.

Rice
421 W. B St.
619-231-8220
Specializes in fusion cuisine, as in quail tempura or prosciutto-wrapped salmon with barbeque sauce. $16 to $30.

Star of the Sea
1360 N. Harbor Dr.
619-232-7408
Part of the Anthony's chain of seafood restaurants, with a wide-ranging menu that changes seasonally. $23 to over $30.

For more information on dining in San Diego, go to Fodor's online travel guide and click on the link for San Diego.

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