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Aug 2, 2006 07:46 AM

List of upscale restaurants in San Diego

Based on some recent discussions I looked on my own list of restaurants I already visited or plan to visit in San Diego and added some new restaurants. This list contains restaurants I go to with my wife or friends or business guests to have a nice, relaxed two hour dinner which means that these restaurants are more upscale. (You don't have to wear a tie but you also won't meet anybody with shorts and flip flops). I also prefer for those occasions Californian or European (French, Italian, Spanish etc) cuisine instead of most asian cuisines (nothing wrong with them but in my experience they often lack the atmosphere for these kind of more "special" evenings). Because there are a lot of restaurants opening recently in San Diego I was just wondering if I miss some good ones. So if anybody have some suggestions I am more than happy to hear them (The restaurant can be anywhere in SD, east or north county). And here is my list so far (in random order):

Jack’s La Jolla
George’s at the Cove
El Bizcocho
Pamplemousse Grille
Chez Loma
Blackhorse Grille
Mille Fleurs
La Bastide
Galileo 101
Le Foutainebleau
The Marine Room
A.R. Valentien
Café Chloe
1500 Ocean
Kensington Grill
Café Japengo
Red Dahlia
150 Grand Café
Thee Bungalow
La Bonne Bouffe
California Cuisine
Café Cerise
Parallel 33
Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
J Taylor
Windsellar Brassierie
Bertrand at Mister A’s

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  1. Honkman, GREAT list :-). I think you hit most of the highlights. I've eaten at a lot of your list.

    I don't know that I would call Vagabond "upscale", tho' it is interesting, especially the decor. Room was hot, stuffy and noisy the night I was there. Food was uneven but showed a lot of potential.

    My friend Pat has eaten at Thee Bungalow 3 times since the Cohen group assumed ownership and hasn't been impressed, said it was loosing it's charm.

    Love Asia Vous, it's in the same genre as Parallel 33 and I think Chef Riko does it just a bit better than Chefette Amiko. They do cook together for special dinners and when they do, look out, truly memorable. The best meal I've had in San Diego in the last 5 years was last September when Riko and Amiko did one of their special meals at Parallel 33.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DiningDiva

      That's sad to hear about Thee Bungalow, yet completely unsurprising.

    2. I recently found out that a childhood neighbor of mine is now a chef @ L'Auberge. Never been there, but heard that it's worth a visit.

      (I take that back...he's no longer @ L'Auberge.)

      1. Might want to double check Arterra again. I just heard that it's really gone downhill since Carl Schroeder left. I haven't had the chance to check it out myself, but heard it from some fairly reliable sources.

        2 Replies
        1. re: daantaat

          Do you think it's really downhill or just transitional pangs? Brad Ogden did renew his contract for Arterra with the Marriott. One Market is one of my very favorite restaurants in San Fransico, but it's had it's own up and down periods and instabilities as chefs have come through the kitchen. His flagship Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur has experienced similar problems with chef transitions. But they always seem to right themselves in a short period of time and return to their previous performance levels.

          I am a HUGE fan of Bradley Ogden's cooking and restaurants and have immense respect for both he and his business partner Michael Deller. From what I understand Schroeder's Sous moved up to Exec. That isn't always the easiest transition as duties, responsibilities and tasks do change, and if this is the first Exec. assignment for the new guy, he could be having a little trouble finding his "sea legs", so to speak. I can't imagine that Brad and Michael are going to let things deteriorate too far too quickly.

          Concern may be warranted, but let's see if Arterra - like others in the Lark Creek family usually do - rights itself in a few months. Arterra has been too consisent for too long. I have a hunch that after some growing pains it, too, will rebound from whatever ails it right now.

          1. re: DiningDiva

            I am seriously hoping it is growing and/or transitional pains. I would be very sad if it doesn't improve.

        2. There are a few additional restaurants I heard about this week and wonder if anybody could give some ideas/opinions how good they might be (I know that some of them are in hotels which is sometimes a bad sign):

          - Molly's:

          - Cafe Eleven

          - La Vache:

          - Coronado Boathouse 1887:

          - The Butterfield Room:

          - Savory:

          - Le Passage:

          - Paradise Grille:

          2 Replies
          1. re: honkman

            And I forgot - there was a very positive review about Imperial House Continental Restaurant in the recent CityBeat. Very old style but very good - is it really that good as it sounds in this review ?


            1. re: honkman

              I've been to Paradise Grille for lunch a feww times. Each time I was seated in the bar area and had the Ahi Nicoise salad and Grilled Skirt Steak salad. Both were very good, service was pleasant and efficient. The atmosphere is very nice and, based on the attention to detail in the salad (nicely rare meats, not over-dressed) I would give it a try for dinner.

            2. Despite being a hotel restaurant, Molly's is actually pretty good (although not quite up to par with the top end places on your list). The food, wine, and service were all good both time I have been there. This is one of the spots my wife and I go to before Padres games (Chive and Candellas being our other favorites before night games). You have to love a Sommelier with the last name of Redwine! I think it is worth a try.