The following are restaurants and cooking sites which I would recommend to others along with my comments.

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Restaurant Name
Comments (Note: most restaurants, while specializing in a particular cuisine or two, will offer many dishes from other cuisines and sometimes even from other cultures.)
Chinese China Max Seafood
4698 Convoy Street
San Diego, CA 92111
Neighborhood: Kearny Mesa
858) 650-3333
Very nice Mandarin.

Favorite dishes: Shing Do (Cheng Du) Fish (deep fried crispy fish with special sauce which contains cranberry juice), Chinese Broccoli stir fried plain.

I would appreciate the recipe for the Shing Do Fish if anyone can provide it!
Chinese Golden City Restaurant
5375 Kearny Villa Road
San Diego, 92123
Neighborhood: Kearny Mesa
(858) 565-6682
Best Cantonese I have found so far and very good other styles as well.

Favorite dishes include Scallops with Black Bean Sauce, Oyster and Pork Hot Pot, Shrimp Chop Suey.

Depending on server, easy to ask for special cooking and/or ingredients.

2011/03/17: Unfortunately, the last several times we ate there, the quality seems to have deteriorated. I will try again to see if the quality has improved.

2012/01/??: Quality seems to be OK again!
Chinese Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot & Grill / Xiao Fei Yang
4718 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
(between Diane Ave & Frink Ave)
San Diego, CA 92117
Neighborhood: Clairemont
(858) 274-2040
The only hot pot restaurant I have tried. I really like this kind/style of food.

Favorite dishes: the normal and hot broth combo pot.

2011/03/17: I have not been there for a while because Mary does not really care for this style of cooking.
Chinese Hong Kong City
2990 Jamacha Road, Suite 148
El Cajon, CA 92019
Mandarin & Szechuan.

Favorite dishes: Twice-Cooked Pork (probably Chung King Pork)...great sauce but although indicated as spicy, it was not spicy but adding a little hot sauce/oil perked it up. Mary had Shrimp Chow Mein and although very tasty there were no noodles???

2010/05/13: I asked about chow mein without noodles and I was told chow mein was with bean sprouts and lo mein had noodles. The waiter said he knew about mapo dofu being served frequently over noodles in northern China.
Chinese Panda Valley
1142 East Main Street
El Cajon, CA 92021

Favorite dishes: Yu Hsian Chicken...great sauce but although indicated as spicy, it was not spicy but adding a little hot sauce/oil perked it up. Mary had Sweet & Sour Shrimp...very decent sauce and nice crispy medium sized shrimp.

2010/05/14: I asked about chow mein without noodles and again I was told chow mein was with bean sprouts and lo mein had noodles. I also looked up "yu hsian"/"yu hsiang" sauce and found several recipes!
Chinese Szechuan House
9323 Mira Mesa Blvd
(between Black Mountain Road & Westview Parkway)
San Diego, CA 92126
Neighborhood: Mira Mesa
(858) 586-1620
Very good Szechuan.

Favorite dishes: Chung King Pork (sort of like Twice Cooked Pork), Mapo Dofu.
Chinese Yenchim Garden Restaurant
13297 Black Mountain Road
San Diego, CA 92129-2658
Neighborhood: Rancho Peñasquitos
(858) 484-7277
Very good Mandarin.

Favorite dishes: Mapo Dofu, Hot & Sour Soup.

Easy to ask owner (and some servers) for special touches such as Mapo Dofu over Soft Noodles.

Chinese New Panda Buffet
16785 Bernardo Center Dr
(between Bernardo Plaza Ct & Rancho Bernardo Town Dr)
San Diego, CA 92128
Neighborhood: Rancho Bernardo
(858) 592-9555
All you can eat buffet.

Favorite dishes: Mapo Dofu, sushi. Virtually all dishes are done well. Hot table containers are generally smaller than most buffets so the food is generally fresher and hotter.

New owner and new cook. Much better food than previous owner provided.

2017/02/24: New owner/name: Habachi very decent.
Japanese/Sushi Poway Sushi Lounge
13132 Poway Road
Poway, CA 92064-4612
Neighborhood: Poway
(858) 748-0070
IMO the best sushi in Poway but also the most expensive.

Favorite dishes: Chirashi-zushi.
Japanese/Sushi Kai Sushi
13425 Poway Road
Poway, CA 92064
Neighborhood: Poway
(858) 668-1745
IMO the second best sushi in Poway but very very close to the best but a bit cheaper.

Favorite dishes: Chirashi-zushi but, most recently, the Chef's Choice Sashimi platter (omakase). Mary's favorite dish is the Bento Box Sesame chicken
Mexican Mexicocina Restaurant & Cantina
12213 Poway Road
Poway, CA 92064
Neighborhood: Poway
(858) 748-6452
Great clean tasting Mexican dishes.

Favorite dishes: Chile Relleno and Cheese Enchilada with Ranchero Sauce.
Thai P&V Thai Cafe
13538A Poway Road
Poway, CA 92064
Neighborhood: Poway
(858) 668-0888
Fantastic Southern Thai cuisine; great coffee, tea and other drinks.

Favorite dishes: Every dish tasted so far is great and I have a lot more dishes to go!

I have been privileged to sample new possible menu items and make suggestions!

2012/07/01: Change of owner. I have not yet eaten since the change.
2017/02/24: Just saw many reviews and most were rated very poor! Too bad because it used to be great :>(
Thai & Japanese Thai supermarket online
Many great Thai recipes, Thai cooking videos, and cooking supplies and equipment.
Vietnamese Pho Ca Dao
8373 Mira Mesa Blvd
(between New Salem St & Reagan Rd)
San Diego, CA 92126
Neighborhood: Mira Mesa
858) 564-0917
My favorite pho restaurant until Pho Joy opened!

Favorite dishes: Pho Tai and fresh Spring Rolls.
Vietnamese Pho Hoa Cali Express
9170 Mira Mesa Blvd
(between Rickert Road & Black Mountain Road)
San Diego, CA 92126
Neighborhood: Mira Mesa
(858) 271-8341
I have only tried their Bun Bo Hue and it was good...I love Bun Bo Hue broth but the other ingredients are not my favorites! I would like BBH broth with pho tai ingredients!
Vietnamese Pho Joy Restaurant
12316 Poway Rd
(between Oak Knoll Road & Pomerado Road)
Poway, CA 92064
Neighborhood: Poway
(858) 513-7562
Probably the best pho restaurants at which I have ever eaten!

Favorite dishes: Pho Tai and fresh Spring Rolls. More dishes to try!

The only pho place I have eaten which offers Fatty Broth (fat removed/skimmed from the broth) on the menu...a spoonful or two added to the bowl of broth makes for fantastic flavor and great mouth feel.

2010/05/10: After reading the response by Andrea Nguyen (see below), I may ask for fatty broth at any pho restaurant in the future to see what happens!

2010/05/12: Having lunch with my ex-boss, Ken Popp, I had pho tai as usual and he had the Grilled Pork Chops over white (cracked?) rice. He said it was the best he ever had. I tasted the pork chop and it was delicious...I could go for the rice with just some of the grilling sauce!


Regarding "Fatty Broth":


From: "Andrea Nguyen" <andrea@...>
To: "Dennis M Reed "Califa"" <dmreed@...>
Subject: Re: pho - "fatty broth"?
Date: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 2:18 PM

Fatty broth is totally old-school. It's like an extra add on. There's not much fat to go around in Vietnam so it's a luxe item. You're going to a good place for pho.

I like your questions, Dennis. I think I'll aggregate into something. Thanks for asking!

On 5/11/2010 6:26 AM, Dennis M Reed "Califa" wrote:
"I am very happy, we finally got a pho restaurant in Poway, CA. It is appropriately called Pho Joy. IMHO it is a great pho restaurant and definitely my current favorite! I found something new on the menu called "Fatty Broth" so I ordered some. It is the fat removed from the pho broth during simmering. A spoonful or two added to a bowl of pho adds greatly to both the taste and mouth feel! I have never seen "fatty broth" on any other English menu nor do I recall seeing it mentioned in any Vietnamese cookbook. Are most Vietnamese familiar with fatty broth? Do they order it even though it is not on the English menu?"
Andrea Nguyen
author + writer + teacher


2011/03/16: The quality continues to be great and we have eaten there many times.
2017/02/24: Quality has declined a bit with new owners but still good enough for quick in-town dining.
Vietnamese Pho Lucky or Lucky Pho
(inside Lucky Seafood, a large Asian seafood/grocery store)
9326 Mira Mesa Blvd., San Diego, CA 92126
Neighborhood: Mira Mesa
(858) 555-5554
Decent pho at a decent price.

Favorite dishes: Pho Tai and fresh Spring Rolls.