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Fabulous dinner in San Diego???

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I want to take someone out for a birthday dinner in San Diego--want wonderful food (almost any cuisine would be fine) and a restaurant that will be a delightful dining experience--okay, it's my mother, and it's her birthday, and she doesn't need it to be superelegant (though it's better if the restaurant isn't too loud), though elegant is okay, but it should be delicious and a special place--but we neither of us know the city, and I need some guidance!

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    1. What part of town are you staying in? Any preferences or taboos (e.g., seafood)?

      1. Do you have a price range?

        1. In La Jolla (Moms love La Jolla!) - Jacks, George's, 910, Tapenade and the Marine Room are all good choices.

          In the downtown area I'd recommend Cafe Chloe (it's a Parisian style bistro/cafe, but would be nice if it's just you and your mom) or Parallel 33.

          Others might have more ideas for you in North County.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Alice Q

            I just dined at Cafe Chloe last night. Excellent food, great atmosphere, and good service even at max capacity. My date and I started with the Lychee Tea and Pomme Frites -- the 3 dipping sauces were interesting. The most interesting sauce was the green one, you'll never guess what flavor it is: watercress. Every taste feels like the first shocking taste -- It's not particularly a great flavor, but its continually surprising. We followed with the Steak & Frites (too much frites after the appetizer...) and Duck Confit. Finished with the creme brulee. Good food and moderate prices. I'm usually pretty picky about my tea, and Cafe Chloe's did not disappoint. Highly recommended for a date ;)

          2. A.R. Valentien at the Lodge at Torrey Pines. Excellent food, quiet and warm interior with lots of pretty California craftsman/Mission Oak replica furnishings. The service is great. I'm sure your mom would find something she found delectable on the menu. Not too avante garde - though very elegant presentations.

            3 Replies
            1. re: ahavajava

              in fact, we are staying at the La Jolla Marriott--won't have a car, but willing to be somewhat intrepid with taxis--both reasonably adventurous eaters (and other more casual suggestions in the area for breakfast or lunch or dinner are welcome!), price not a major consideration, and as I say, I am hoping to find someplace with delicious food that feels like a special occasion place--but doesn't have to be super super elegant--thanks for all the ideas so far. thought I would just give you our coordinates and see if any more thoughts came to mind...

              1. re: Pearl

                I think the Marriott is across the street from the UTC mall. In the general area, Donovan's has the best steak in the city (and pricey to boot but worth it). There is an Italian place on/around Executive Square that is decent. The name escapes me but your concierge will know what I'm talking about.

                A short taxi ride away is Roy's Hawaiian Cusine. Good food, slightly overpriced but good nonetheless. In the same complex as Roy's is Bristol Farms. Their deli area serves breakfast, lunch and casual dinner.

                In the Aventine complex by the La Jolla Hyatt, Cafe Japengo has good lunch and dinner. Asian fusion, can be "sceney" and loud at dinner. Fleming's Steakhouse is also good, although it is loud at dinner.

                Whole Foods has a great take out section, pizzas, sandwiches, salads, baked goods. BJ's Pizzeria in the same complex does good deep dish Chicago style pizza. Skip Elijah's Deli, especially if you are used to good deli. It's average, at best.

                Edo Sushi has good sushi and bento boxes. It's either a short cab ride or a healthy walk down from the mall. In the same complex as Long's Drugs.

                1. re: daantaat

                  There are a couple of decent Italian joints, one is Harry's Bar, most comfortable booths in the city, if it were socialy acceptable to eat naked....sorry, and Barolo that is down the street in the Longs plaza on Towne Centre Drive. Tuto Mare is also by the Marriot (Harry's and Tuto both owned by Spectrum Foods), Harry's is much better. My rec. is to take a Cab or eat a Donovann's.