On a rainy Sunday in March, I met up with my long time friend, Sarah, and took her to the Prado for lunch. Sarah was in town visiting from Alaska, not very happy to find that it was raining in usually sunny San Diego. I originally couldn’t find a place to park downtown for another place we were going to go for breakfast, but we ditched that plan and headed over to Balboa Park. The Prado doesn’t actually serve breakfast and isn’t open until 11AM, so we killed a little time walking in the misty rain. The botanical gardens are a neat place to visit when it’s slightly wet out – though I still recommend a jacket and either a hat or an umbrella to keep your mind off of getting wet.
When the restaurant started taking customers, we stopped back over and were seated in a pretty spot overlooking the wet terrace. I must admit that the Prado is usually out of my price range, but I figured we’d find something a little cheaper on the lunch menu for us to enjoy. We decided to each get a bowl of soup and to split balsamic grilled portobello mushroom sandwich. A split plate charge allowed us to each get our own sides and half of the sandwich for an additional $3 – score!
I got the Prado Tortilla Soup ($6.95) to warm up my belly that day. The soup was at an excellent temperature – ready to eat right away, but not too cold to make me think it had been sitting out for awhile. It was just spicy enough for my taste buds, with big strips of chicken and tortilla chips that got soft from sitting in the balmy liquid.
The Portobello Mushroom Sandwich ($11.95) comes on a baked ciabatta roll with a lovely chimichuri sauce. The flavors of the sandwich were really excellent. The only problem was that my mushroom kept trying to fall out of my sandwich and I discarded the roasted bell pepper before I even began (since I don’t like bell peppers). We got homemade taro chips to crunch on and a marinated veggie salad for side dishes. The veggie salad had a really good crunch and an excellent medley of flavors that I really enjoyed.
The one other thing that I really love at the Prado (that I did not get on this visit) is the crispy calamari fries. They come in this totally awesome Asian sauce and I love love love them. I could probably eat them as a meal by itself. And maybe I will next time. And take photos to share with you. Oh yes. They will be mine.
1549 El Prado
San Diego, CA