HOME > Chowhound > San Diego >
Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese? Get great advice
TELL US

Donovan's or Rainwater's in San Diego - which is better?

c
calabasas_trafalgar Nov 7, 2006 07:24 PM

I want to try one of them next time I visit San Diego - which do you recommend?

  1. l
    long_ballers Nov 7, 2006 11:17 PM

    donovan's for sure. there is no comparison.

    1 Reply
    1. re: long_ballers
      c
      calabasas_trafalgar Nov 7, 2006 11:29 PM

      Really? Why so much better?

    2. phee Nov 7, 2006 11:46 PM

      Agreed - Donovan's is MUCH better!

      1. d
        daantaat Nov 8, 2006 03:25 AM

        totally 3rd Donovan's! Donovan's meats are much more flavorful and juicy. Their sides are also outstanding, way better than Rainwater's. I've eaten at both many times and would do a filet or rib eye anytime at Donovan's over Rainwater's. Rainwater's is "good" but they seem to be lacking that extra "something" that Donovan's has. I would put Rainwater's on about the same par as Morton's.

        1. stevuchan Nov 9, 2006 07:28 PM

          Another vote for Donovan's. Best in town. Ambiance, service, quality, a notch above rainwater. Nothing better than relaxing in the lounge with a conac after a good meal.

          Cheers

          1. Captain Jack Nov 9, 2006 08:22 PM

            Donovan's Rocks! Don't miss the baby rack of lamb appetizer. The best thing about Rainwater is they stay open late.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Captain Jack
              s
              stevewag23 Aug 16, 2009 08:09 PM

              What time do they stop serving food?

            2. s
              SeanT Nov 10, 2006 04:10 PM

              DONOVANS! I love those potatoes with the brandy peppercorn sauce..mmmmmm. I have not been to Rainwaters in several years because I prefer DOnovans, Ruth's, and Flemings. Rainwaters uses a charbroiler as I recall. Unless a place has wood firing that grill then they better have a super hot double broiler or i won't be going in. DOuble broiler is key for making a nice uniform crust on the steak.

              1. h
                Harold_Hardrade Aug 16, 2009 07:33 PM

                Donovan's gets my vote. Each of the steakhouses has it's own "little touches" to set it apart, but at the end of the day it's still about the meat. Donovan's has the best steak, such that I'm now spoiled and can't eat a filet anywhere else.

                Order the big filet they have on their menu (13 ounce?) and you'll see. You can get a tender filet anywhere, but the flavor at Donovan's is the best I've ever had.

                1. s
                  stevewag23 Aug 16, 2009 08:08 PM

                  I have always wanted to like Rainwaters.

                  But I don't.

                  Expensive, poor service, average food, and negative vibe.

                  Donovan's by default.

                  1. Dagney Aug 16, 2009 09:35 PM

                    Neither! I vote for Morton's.

                    1. s
                      stevewag23 Aug 16, 2009 10:13 PM

                      Does Dovovans still have that smoking room?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: stevewag23
                        c
                        cstr Aug 17, 2009 06:21 AM

                        They were suppose to revive that but, I'm not sure they did. In the mood for a stoogie?

                      2. n
                        normalheightsfoodie Aug 17, 2009 10:00 AM

                        RAINWATERS BY FAR.

                        You can not beat the individual attention that you get from Mr. and Mrs. Rainwater and their daughter when you are are their. There is a member of their family in the dining room all of the time. They strive for perfection.

                        1. m
                          mmjgam Aug 17, 2009 10:01 AM

                          goto Cowboy Star. It blows both of them out of the water!

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: mmjgam
                            foodiechick Aug 17, 2009 11:50 AM

                            Props for Cowboy Star. The few times I have been to Donovan's we have not been comfortable with the attitude of most of the servers. Rainwater's was a leader back in the day, but the last time we were there it seemed tired in atmosphere and spirit, and everything we ordered was sorely lacking in execution.

                            1. re: foodiechick
                              s
                              stevewag23 Aug 17, 2009 07:08 PM

                              "Rainwater's was a leader back in the day"

                              Was it ever really?

                              I hear people say this sometimes.

                              When was "back in the day"?

                              The 60's?

                              1. re: stevewag23
                                foodiechick Aug 17, 2009 09:58 PM

                                Mid-late 80's.

                              2. re: foodiechick
                                c
                                cstr Aug 18, 2009 07:18 AM

                                I'm surprised about the servers comment. Full disclosure here; I have my own name tag as I frequent Donovan's regularily, I've never had an attitude with servers but, if I did I'd let the MOD know, they will respond to you as their only concern is serving the best quality ingredients and providing the best service. I also agree with your comment about Rainwater's 'back in the day' I use to frequent them a lot (back in the early 80's), I especially enjoyed their wine selections, unfortunately they have tumbled to mediocrity.

                              3. re: mmjgam
                                ibstatguy Aug 31, 2009 09:28 PM

                                concur on the C Star vote

                              Show Hidden Posts