Urban Plates (La Jolla)

Urban Plates just launched in La Jolla, around 2 weeks ago. We’ve been to the Del Mar Urban Plates, and it’s refreshing to know that there is one much closer to us. Urban Plates is right on the corner of Nobel Drive and Villa La Jolla Drive. We arrived there around 7pm on a Friday. Since they recently launched, the line was pretty long (it’s an order, pay and find a seat type of restaurant). There was ample seating available despite the fact that this was one of the first launch weekends for the La Jolla Location.

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The menu is very close, if not the same as the other Urban Plate location in Del Mar. I ended up getting the steak plate with sides of brussel sprouts and mac and cheese. My wife got the grilled chicken, with sides of quinoa and brocollini. The steak they said was medium rare; but since it was half chunk of meat we got a combination of well done at the end and medium-rare towards the other side. Overall, prepared quite well given that they serve you while waiting in line.We ended up sharing a Kombucha tea, which was quite refreshing.

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We sat at the end of a long table in the middle atrium, which had high ceilings, and had quite a nice ambience. This area, which gave the feeling of being half outside and half inside had an open feel and we didn’t have a sense of being crowded at all. This area was about half full between 7pm and 8pm. There were heat lamps in this atrium, but they were unnecessarily for this evening.

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Here are a couple shots of the interior. By the time we were on our way out (around 8:30pm) the line was already empty. There are about 6 or so tables in the center of the room.

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As mentioned, overall a great restaurant, and this location looks amazing. Looking forward to frequenting this location the future.

Location:

8707 Villa La Jolla Dr
San Diego, CA 92037

701-223-0046

The 512-865-9331 is on it’s 5th year. There are two locations, in Santa Anita Park, and the OC Fair and Event Center. We went on July 1st, roughly between 7pm and 10pm. There are many vendors; from food to clothing and various trinkets, as well as asian and non-asian. There were a number of non-asian vendors which doesn’t seem very popular. It must be tough for those vendors since the majority of visitors are looking for traditional Taiwanese street food. Be sure to bring enough cash with your for the evening!

Many of the vendors had lines of 30-50 people; the lines moved fairly quickly. We tried out different types of food, including lamb skewers, stinky tofu, dragon whisker candy, and lobster rolls.

There was a pretty good vibe for a Friday evening. Early at around 7pm, there were a good number of people, and when we left at 10pm, there were still many people coming in than coming out. One aisle was so crowded, we could barely get through.

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Even the stinky tofu line was pretty long. We got a deep fried stinky tofu, which was not as offensive as I remember. It’s not something that I would normally order out of the blue, but at a night market, you gotta try if you have the opportunity!

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The dragon whiskey candy was pretty good. We got a second box once we tried the first. You can see them making the candy right at the booth.

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We also got fried bananas as well as mango sticky rice. We thought the bananas weren’t that great, but the mango sticky rice was pretty good.

Besides food, there were a number of various vendors selling clothing, arts, and crafts. Once of the major sponsors, Toyota, had a wheel where you could spin and win a prize.

The 626 Night Market has been really successful over the years, and they are certainly running things right given the popularity we saw through the evening. In the evening, we saw many with Ball Mason jars full of lemonade and glowing ice cubes; battery powered lights in the lemonade. Also popular were deep fried potato spirals.

This is certainly a unique event to experience; I’m sure the OC venue is just as popular as the 626 venue. The 626 Night Market runs for 3 more weekends: July 22-24, Auguest 5-7, and September 2-4. The OC Night Market runs for one more weekend, on August 26-28.

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Katsu Cafe is a restaurant on Clairemont Mesa Blvd. close to Convoy St. It has a casual setting where you order, then bring a number to your table. So while I can’t comment much about the service, ordering food and getting a seat is pretty efficient. For Saturday lunch, the restaurant was fairly full but it was easy to find a seat. Prices for the dishes are very affordable.

I ordered the Katsu Don bowl, which was decent. I found the tonkatsu not as crispy as the average ones; it was pleasant as I usually find tonkatsu slightly dry and too crispy. This dish also comes with a side of miso soup, which was average. Overall, this dish is decent and I would order it again in the future.

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My wife ordered the Tonkatsu ramen. For a restaurant that is not a “ramen shop” it was a great bowl of ramen. The soup was great, and the noodles were prepared al dente.

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As mentioned, Katsu Cafe very casual. It’s part of a shopping plaza, so it’s easy to find parking. As you walk in, you have the feeling that you walked into a restaurant in Hawaii or the tropics. There are thatched roofs and pictures of beaches and surfing on the walls.

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Location:

7305 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92111

337-368-7610

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