Ratings: 159 | Reviews: 108 | Display Reviews Only:
3/5 rDev -32.7%
What a disappointment. This place is mediocre in every aspect. The service is borderline terrible and the bartenders don't know much about beer. In terms of beer selection, it's good but nothing special. They carry several of the better breweries but rarely anything other than the flagship beers that you can find at other bars and stores. Also, charging a dollar for a sample of a beer is ludicrous, especially when the bartender can't tell me much about the beer other than "it's good". Well I would certainly hope it's good, otherwise it has no business being on tap. This has not been a one time affair either. I have tried Toronado SD on three separate occasions and each one has been a letdown.
10-20-2011 15:05:04 | More by yayarea
3.1/5 rDev -30.5%
I stopped in here for dinner as my last destination before leaving San Diego. Finding the place was easy and so was getting a parking space. About six storefronts away, we could hear a roar of people and found it to be coming from Toronado.
The place was far from packed, the music was not loud, but we could not communicate in anything less than a yell. I found this to be ridiculous. Why was it so loud? Bad acoustics? The building itself was simple, yet sharp, but with the commotion, it was hard to enjoy myself.
The tap list was amazing. This is clearly the place to be if you want a sampling of San Diego brews. There was so much to choose from and so much that I had not heard of, it was a bit overwhelming. I had to go with some Blind Pig and Alpine's Red.
The Food was tasty, but disappointing. We came here to get some grub to fill up for the 5 hour plane ride back to Philly and were served petite portions of decent food. I got the pulled pork, which was pretty darn good, but there was only a thin smear of it across my bun. There was literally twice as much bun as pork, so I felt I paid $12 for a BBQ tasting bun. On top of that, it came with a few tablespoons of baked beans which I didn't really care for. There seemed to be a vinegar and spicy sweetness that really didn't get along. Also, the lack of fries (again, considering $12 for an appetizer sandwich) was disappointing. The lady got the beef satay and it came out cold. Mmm. Cold beef. I don't know if this was customary here, but its the first time we've gotten that dish cold. The cucumber salad that came with it was awesome though. To seal the deal, we got creme brule for desert and it came with a light dusting of cheddar cheese. Not kidding. On top of that, we were given forks to eat it. Wow. The portion sizes and poor quality control drop my score here quite a bit.
I would like to say a bit about service here, but there really isn't any. It's a do-it-yourself place where everything is ordered at the bar. We sat there for quite a while before realizing this, also with the last customers' old plates of food on our table. So, I had to go order beer and food and then carry a little card with our number on it back to the table with two drinks in hand. Had we had another person, this would have been a two trip job. Food came out quickly, but we still had to go up to the bar and order more beer and desert. This time, we got flat out ignored for about 10 minutes. The bartender had tunnel vision and didn't even look at the end of the bar for the longest time. We enlisted the help of a few locals to get the bar tenders attention and we waved our arms and shouted a bit just to get him to turn his head and realize that someone needed his help in order to execute the strange serving model set up here. So, for service, I really have to say, "what service?"
Not a bad place if you're sitting at the bar and only ordering beer. I presume that would be an awesome experience. But the conversation stopping noise, the lack of service, pretentious portions and randomized quality of food was a bit frustrating. I won't return, unless I'm just there for a beer at the bar.
05-18-2009 16:06:00 | More by DarkerTheBetter
3.2/5 rDev -28.3%
They do have plenty of beers, and it's not totally obnoxious. Not quite the toilet of the SF location, but they do seem to be working to recreate that special smell of twice-fermented spilled beer, fungus in the walls, and a breeze off porta-potties.
Service? They really don't care if you live. And if you die, do it out on the sidewalk. Uncomfortable chairs. Acoustics designed to blare every scrape and muddled bass note. Ugly little patio out back between the narrow buildings.
Lots of beers, though their board is quite uninformative with just a brewery and a beer name. Uh, Bear Republic Tartare-- what's that? Oh, a Berlinerweisse. Not helpful if you want to know anything about beers you've never heard of. Or how strong they are. Prices are a little higher than some places but not outrageous. Lots of regional beers. Many common ones also available in bottles.
Best feature is the case of dozens of mostly antique Belgian and German beer glasses. I still don't know why having a long beer list should imply that patrons want it to be noisy, uncomfortable, and hipper than thou. I occasionally stop by on an early weeknight to see if there is anything interesting on tap, but one beer and I'm gone.
02-11-2012 06:54:20 | More by mactrail
3.33/5 rDev -25.3%
I don't get the hype about this place. There are far better spots north in Orange County. I will say it has a cool neighborhood bar vibe with (real) rock n roll playing on the juke box and the food we had was quite good, especially the pork belly skewers, but as far as beer is concerned, and frankly, everything takes a back seat for me, this place is nothing special.
First, the beer menu is above the bar, not behind it, invisible to those sitting at the bar. Most beer-friendly joints I go to have a current tap list on a piece of paper for you to view, usually with a sentence or two about each beer. Looking at their menu board, I couldn't even tell what style half the beers were. As far as the selection was concerned it appeared to be almost all local breweries without much out of the ordinary. Of course with no descriptions what do I know. They do have a bunch of interesting stuff in bottles in the fridge behind the bar, but they don't have those on a list. On a side note, there was no wine for my wife, but it is a beer bar, I guess.
I couldn't find the tap list on their website and beermenus and taphunter hadn't been updated in months or years. Therefore I couldn't do any "homework" on what to try. I did recognize one on the menu I hadn't had and wanted to try, but they were out of that one. As service leaves a little to be desired, even in the afternoon, I didn't want to let the bartender get away, so I asked for a recommendation on a less bitter ipa on the more tropical side. (Did I mention they don't have flights?) I ended up with a piney, bitter, resinous one.
04-06-2014 01:04:20 | More by jwswigs
3.43/5 rDev -23.1%
Smallish bar with some tables behind. Coolers littered with bottles behind the bar. Unfortunately the bartender said the list they had was unusable and outdated so I would have to browse visually which was hard considering the bar was full, so that was a knock. Both bartenders actually had a stick up their rears which was a pain.
The prices were awesome because there was a happy hour special for all local beers. There were about 20 on tap I believe. Ambiance was fairly poor though. People crowding the bar behind you with not enough service to help everyone.
This is the second bar during my trip with a huge reputation that totally let me down. (Falling Rock in Denver being the other). It seems they think because they are well known that service and standards can falter.
I also had a sandwich which was forgettable.
06-19-2013 00:45:14 | More by claspada
3.73/5 rDev -16.4%
Well i had pretty high expectations of this place. It is def one of the better beer bars in SD. But it lacks in customer service the bartenders have some attitude. And judging on the craft presence in SD i would think they would try to be a little more inviting. Over all beer selection kick ass Taps and Bottles they will have something you are looking for. Also have some Vegan Food that is a plus. World class bar would recommend but there are other bars in SD with or have better beer selection and less attitude. Maybe i caught the staff on a bad day but the place wasn't really busy.
12-19-2011 08:34:34 | More by tastyales
3.9/5 rDev -12.6%
Ok, i'll admit it, this isn't anything like the original Toronado on Haight in SF (which is probably the greatest bar in the world), so I won't even try and compare the two. I was just happy to get one somewhat near my house, because I know the owner has the best connections to the finest brewers all around the world, so I'm not trying to split hairs here.
The atmosphere is a little generic and since the beer craze has hit SD, you get a ton of wine snobs sniffing and swirling their beers, and this place seems to be a mecca for this type of folk. On the other side of the coin though, the room is big and airy, and there always seems to be a spot to post up and have some drinks. The room is a bit bright at times, but what can ya do (???). There's also a patio out back with picnic tables so if you like to have a beer and a smoke, this is a good option instead of huddling out front of the bar like a criminal.
Service is so so depending on who's bartending - there's a couple "cool guys" working the bar in the afternoons from time to time that like to take the uninterested European approach to bar service, but the evening staff seem to realize they're working for tips and act as so.
The selection (and this is the only comparison i'll make to their SF location) is one of the best in town, no doubt, but they seem to get less of the super rare one-offs that you see pop up every week up North. Amazing tap selection of West Coast and Belgian ales and some rare bottled beers that line the back walls of the bar in coolers.
The food is really good - the mac and cheese is off the hook and their potato pancake plate with sausage is a perfect pairing for a good IPA.
I'll agree with most of the comparisons and criticisms out there in regards to the SD location vs. the SF location, but it's like comparing apples and oranges. I'm just stoked to have this quality and selection within 20 minutes of my house.
12-08-2010 19:13:57 | More by DeanMoriarty
3.96/5 rDev -11.2%
Stopped in here and came away fairly unimpressed, especially compared to the SF location. Maybe because it was a very cold and drizzly day, but it was about half full, and lacking quite a bit in atmosphere. Still, there were people sitting around enjoying some beers, but it was quiet. The beers are good, of course, and they have a pretty good selection. The service was ok, only 1 bartender was there and she recognized me fairly fastly, but when I ordered a beer that was out, she left and took her a while to come back to get my order, even though I would have been ready a long time ago to pick something else.
I just can't ever see picking this place over O'Brien's which is a few miles up the road. That place has so much more character and better atmosphere that the Toronado just seems like an empty soul. I'll stop in again sometime just to see if I was in on a lame day.
12-21-2008 22:55:54 | More by MiScusi
Toronado in San Diego, CA
98 out of 100 based on 159 ratings.