North of San Diego's Old Town Plaza lies the area's unofficial center, built to represent a colonial Mexican plaza. The collection of more than a dozen shops and restaurants around a central courtyard in blossom with magenta bougainvillea, scarlet hibiscus, and other flowers in season reflects what early California might have looked like from 1821 to 1872. Shops are even stocked with items reminiscent of that era. Mariachi bands and folklorico dance groups frequently perform
on the plaza stage—check the website for times and upcoming special events. Casa de Reyes is a great stop for a margarita and some chips and guacamole.
Nov 13, 2007
I enjoyed my two trips to Plaza del Pasado. Southern California has plenty of glitzy theme parks. Getting a taste of authentic California history is a welcome change for me. It looks like they're going to be re-opening the Jolly Boy Restaurant and Saloon soon and what I heard about that place from the interpreter I spoke to sounded really promising. So I plan to go back and give it a try too.
Jan 15, 2007
I was so, so disappointed when I drove down from Los Angeles with my guests, whom I wanted to take to Old Town and the Bazaar del Mundo. I was horrified to find that it was gone--I hadnt heard that the State had taken it over and turned it into an ultra-boring historically correct theme park that isnt fun. Gone was the excellent Casa de Bandini restaurant and the colorful shops that sold rather lovely artwork. Instead, we had biege and brown shops
that sold... pine boards? I dunno, the shelves were mostly empty. We fled this drab place and found the relocated Bazaar del Mundo shops. Unfortunately, the wonderful Casa de Bandini and its awesome margaritas is no more :( A travesty and a pox on whoever wrecked a wonderful and fun place to foist their historically-correct-but-no-fun vision on the rest of us.