Normally I wouldn't suggest going to the movies while on vacation, but since I am also telling about the various neighborhoods in San Diego, a mention of the Hillcrest Cinema would be appropriate.
Built in 1991, it has taken the place of an older neighborhood theater, The Crest. During the 1960's The Crest changed it's focus from local neighborhood theater and became known mainly for the "artistic" and "foreign" films offered. Today the Hillcrest Cinema continues in that vein. This is the place to see movies that aren't often shown in the "major theater markets." Some of these off-the-beaten-path movies are not appealing to the general movie goer, but mostly they are top quality works worth seeing, such as "Capote," "Shop Girl," and the 2005 version of "Pride and Prejudice."
Parking in Hillcrest can be a problem, however, you'll find that free, three-hour validated parking is available in the Village Hillcrest Garage via the 5th Avenue entrance, which is just below the theater.
Village Hillcrest, the "art-deco" style shopping center, is dressed up for Christmas. Though it can seem a peaceful place, it is more than a thriving, yet intimate center for the tourist.
The Hillcrest Cinema is the big draw, but there are various shops, like "The Candy Depot," which even sells "sugarless" candy especially for diabetics, coffee houses, Starbucks which does a brisk business on the corner of Fifth and Washington, as well as restaruants, Bombay Indian Restaurant, Pizza Nova just beyond the stairs and Sushi Bar Kazumi on the otherside of the center stair-way and other types of business, such as a Chiropractor's office, "Healing Touch;" a health & fitness gym. "24-Hour Fitness" or a "Cingular Wireless" office discreetly tucked in between.
Not only will you find Retail, Restaurants and Commerical Offices, there are Residential Buisiness Suites and Medical Offices as well as a Rehab Hospital on the sections facing Washington.
In any case, this still is a peaceful place to sit on one of the many seats provided and enjoy a coffee, a piece of pizza or have a cigarette out of sight of sneering non-smokers.
This is located at Fifth Avenue and Washington Street and is a great place to begin exploring the best of Hillcrest.
From University to Washington on Fifth Avenue are quite a few great places to stop for a bite to eat or to shop. At the end of the block, at University Ave. turn right or left and you'll find even more shops and restaurants, not to mention the casual and eclectic vibe that is Hillcrest.
It's true that Hillcrest is more of a neighborhood in San Diego, than a tourist spot, but over the years great little businesses have opened to make this an interesting and friendly place to wander around.
Driving through Hillcrest you'll see lots of sushi bars to choose from. What makes this one stand out is the fact that there is underground parking in the complex it is located. Parking in Hillcrest is at a premium.
The owner, Mr. Kazumi Yokoyama has been a Master chef for thirty nine years and the food and prices are great. They seem to have extended their hours and are open throughout the day and evening, Monday through Sunday. They originally were open only through lunch hours and then through dinner hours, these irratic times played havoc with someone like me who would impulsively show up salivating for Teriyaki Chicken or sushi, only to find out that it closed in my time of need.
This is a good place to plan a meal just before or just after going to the Crest movie theater located in this complex.
It seems that Sushi Bar Kazumi has closed it's doors in Hillcrest and reopened within Moby Dick Fish Market & Grill in Kearny Mesa:
4805 Convoy St
(between Ronson Rd & Raytheon Rd)
San Diego, CA 92111
This makes sense in the struggling economy. Kearny Mesa has a huge Asian population and I'm sure that Sushi Bar Kazumi will do well in this location.
Favorite Dish: If you plan to give it a try, I suggest lunch time. The main differences between the lunch and dinner menu are the prices. Always lower for lunch. An added bonus to lunches is the Combination Lunch for $7.75 it includes soup, salad, and rice and two items from a varied list. Shrimp Tempura, Teriyaki Chicken, California Roll, Vegetable Tempura, Fried Gyoza would be my choices from the list. Also, the Ishiyaki Lunch, which is twenty cents more, includes soup, salad and rice and two items, vegetables, chicken, beef shrimp, calamari or scallops by table top cooking.
There is much more to the menu than these two choices but these are my favorite and I think the most economical. This establishment has only a "Beer and Wine" license so, besides sodas, fruit drinks and tea, there is a small selection of wines, Japanese beers and of course, a better selection of Sake! The house sake is my choice, the flavor is good and the price is right.
In a review of The Wine Lover, the author said, "...it could easily be mistaken for a smart bistro on Paris' Boulevard Saint-Germain."
Maybe because the size of it is so small and the interior could be considered "intimate" or because the owners were inspired by "The City of Lights" and have done all they can to make their place look it's best.
However, the enthusiastic help and encouragement given to wine-bar-newbies who timidly ask a question, is not what I'd call reminiscent of Paris at all.
This is a wine bar and a tasting room. Try it out. Take a seat at the Italian marble bar and start asking. Of course, if you are a budding oenophile, just go in and enjoy.
They offer selections from low-producing or small family owned wineries so these items would not usually be found in grocery stores or larger wine shops.
Especially show-up for the their "sociability-hour" for specials on wine and appropriate edibles.
Favorite Dish: Unforthunately I am allergic to red wines, so my suggestion might fall short of a good one. They offer over seventy wines by the glass and have something like fifteen flights, small tastes of three or four wines, presented in flight "carriers," which includes notes on the selected wines, pretty interesting and informative. The price range of a flight is about $15.00 to about $75.00.
Cheese, olives and "Wine Country Suppers" are offered to accompany the wine. All you do is supply the conversation and opinions and if you are inspired, buy a bottle or two to enjoy later.
It is not unusual for restaurants to fail and it seems that the restaruant shown in this photo has closed. So, if you are looking for Trattoria Positano in Hillcrest, it is now, Chrisma you'll find in it's spot. However I say give it a try here.
It seems to be a bit more casual and the prices are quite reasonable, but could be more expensive if you ordered a four course meal. The draw for me is the al fresco dining offered. They also take their Italian wines seriously so this might be a treat for you..
Favorite Dish: Of course, the price of lunch is less than a dinner, but not by much. So an evening here won't set you back too much unless you instist on an expensive bottle of wine.
The menu includes Salads, Pasta, Meat, Chicken, Fish and a few Vegetarian dishes, allowing everyone in your party to find something to satisfy their taste buds'
A meal at lunch could be a simple meatball sandwich--Salsicca, made on focaccia bread and served with a salad for about $8.00 to a four course meal that would run upwards of $36.00 for a four course meal.
There are quite a few choices for evening activities here in Hillcrest.
Wine Bars, Dance Clubs, Lounges, Hoopkah Bars, Karaoke, Sports Bars, Dive Bars, Adult Entertainment, and Sushi Bars just to name a few. In fact Hillcrest is full of stuff going on at night.
I'm not much of a nightlife person so can't recommend a specific place, I'm more of a sidewalk cafe type of person.
Dress Code: Dress as you like. Hillcrest is a pretty casual place, so you'll probably see styles favored by students, professors, or those liking the newest trends and beyond.
The problem with Cyber-Cafes is that they don't often last.
While updating this tip I found quite a few which have Closed over the years. I'll still give you specific names and addresses, but check before getting here that the one that might be interesting to you is still open. The good news is that once one cyber-cafe closes another opens up in it's spot. So, you'll most likely be able to surf the net anyway and have a drink or get a bite to eat.
3834 5th Ave
3766 Fifth Avenue
These are only a couple of the many places you'll find in Hillcrest to send out messages to family and friends while touring the San Diego area.