The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Delectable lunch @ The Prado at Balboa Park, San Diego

I have never been a huge fan of the food offerings inside tourist attractions such as amusement parks, theme parks and zoos. Sure, it is convenient to eat snacks and meals inside such places, but the food are often overpriced and not that great. If it is possible to exit and re-enter such places, I would always research prior to our visit for a good alternative outside. During our fun day at San Diego Zoo, we left the zoo for an hour or two around lunchtime and headed for The Prado at Balboa Park where we enjoyed a fabulous meal. San Diego Zoo is situated inside the huge Balboa Park, and it is lovely to stroll through on the way to lunch. There were many beautiful heritage buildings, and I wish we weren't constrained by the zoo's closing time so that we could have taken our time admiring the Spanish-style architecture.

The Prado is located inside one of the historical buildings, and the interior was richly and tastefully decorated:

Complimentary crackers and dip which were moreish:

The service we received at The Prado was welcoming (even though we were dressed for the zoo and not a fine restaurant), and our friendly waitress was very helpful in recommending what to order when we had trouble deciding. The lunch menu offered a nice variety, from sandwiches and burgers, to salads, risotto and paella. There was a cute Children's Menu that our boy could colour in, and all items were well-priced at US$7.95 which includes a drink and ice cream.

Spcy Maya Hot Chocolate (US$3.95), with Chuao chocolate, steamed milk and whipped cream. It was yummy and we liked it:

Our boy chose Crispy Chicken Fingers from the Children's Menu (US$7.95), served with warm marinara sauce and taro chips. You can tell that these chicken fingers were handcut, crumbed and fried in the kitchen, and so much better than the processed packaged stuff. Juicy and moist, our son loved it. Even us adults couldn't keep our hands off the chicken fingers and chips:

Hubby ordered the Grilled Fish Tacos (US$14.95), with marinated mahi mahi, red cabbage-jicama slaw, mango-jalapeno salsa, mango mustard and corn tortillas. Thoroughly enjoyable and delicious:

Mine was an item off the daily menu, a Grilled Salmon with Corn Salad, which was highly recommended by our waitress. And it was a good pick. The salmon was grilled to perfection, and I adored the corn salad:

The dessert item that came with the boy's chicken fingers: Vanilla Ice Cream with whipped cream and chocolate sauce:

For dessert, we shared a Triple Chocolate Threat (US$8.50) - chocolate cookie crust, dark chocolate baked custard, dark chocolate ganache, salted caramel ice cream and cocoa nib garnish. Utterly decadent and a chocolate lovers' delight:

I was curious about the Chocolate Martini (US$8.50), made with Smirnoff vanilla vodka, crème de cacao, Kahlua and chocolate. This was a potent drink, perhaps not for the middle of the day, but we liked the chocolate flavour:

We quite enjoyed our lunch at The Prado. The food we ate were presented well and tasted good, which I'm sure were much better than what we could have gotten for lunch inside the zoo!

[Prices quoted above exclude additional taxes and tips.]

The Prado at Balboa
1549 El Prado
San Diego, CA 92101
United States
Tel. +1 619 557 9441

Prado at Balboa Park on Urbanspoon


  1. that actually looks like decent lunch! I think I might borrow your tip on going outside of tourist attractions for near-by eats, as I'm completely with you when it comes to agreeing that the quality of food in places like these takes a dive!

  2. You won't be sorry doing it - your tastebuds and wallet will thank you :)