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Recent San Diego/La Jolla recommendations ?

11 years ago, my wife and I visited San Diego; we've been there twice, and another time to La Jolla.
We enjoyed, in no particular order, Dobson's, Chez Loma Coronada, Belgian Lion, Top of the Cove; any comments on the current state of these, or other recommendations.
Traveling next Saturday, Mar. 3, and staying for a week.

Much obliged for any help.

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  1. Dobson's is still around and doing great. The Belgian Lion is no more having morphed into 3rd Corner, which is an interesting concept. Same owner, but it's now a retail wine store that serves a small well planned and well executed menu at tables scattered throughout the store. Also has a bar. This sounds weird, but it works and is definitely worth trying. Top of the Cove is currently closed for rennovations. And Chez Loma Coronada? Have no clue, haven't heard to that particular restaurant.

    If you'll be in La Jolla try Nine-Ten, Georges at the Cove (not their Terrace dining room), Azul, Jack's, Harry's Cafe, Tapanade, The Cottage and more.................

    2 Replies
    1. re: DiningDiva

      I hate to correct you as I adore your posts but the 3rd Corner is actually owned by the former owner of Thee Bungalow, and yes is for sure worth a try. The owners of the Belgian Lion retired--but as indicated below, their grandson owns Modus (and has carried on the delicious french fry tradition.)

      1. re: jturtle

        You're right it is the former owners of The Bungalow. Don't worry about correcting me, I've got really thick skin and I'm not easily offended :-)

    2. Just curious as I haven't seen it mentioned...is Parallel 33 still around?

      I really liked the room, the concept and the food.

      1. Parallel 33 is still around and going strong. They have added a lounge area that has about six dining tables and a small bar right next door. I also like the decor, concept and most of the food - but I've always liked the appetizers better than the main dishes (especially the duck salad, chicken b'stilla and ahi poke.) I love the date madeleine dessert with vanilla rose gelato. It might sound a bit weird to some, but it's really very good.

        As noted above, Dobsons is still going strong. I just had lunch there last week and it was fantastic - I had the mussel bisque (a baby bisque) and split a chicken sandwich with caesar salad. Their fries also looked really good.

        I hadn't heard that Top of the Cove was closed, but I was just talking with someone yesterday and wondering what was going on with it. I have heard that Chez Loma in Coronado has gone downhill in recent years, though I have never tried it.

        Some of the newer high end places in town that are well thought of are Market (in Del Mar), Jack's, Tapenade and 910 (all in La Jolla,) and 1500 Ocean at the Hotel Del. Addison and Blanca are also two new high end places that have mixed reviews and are very expensive.

        Older "classic" places that are still around include the Marine Room, Mr. A's (now Bertrand at Mr. A's - run by the owner of Mille Fleurs), The Winesellar Brasserie, Pamplemousse (lots of negative reviews on these boards though) and Mille Fleurs.

        If you like French bistro style dining - you might also try Modus (the chef is the son of the Belgian Lion owner), Vagabond, Cafe Chloe, Cavaillon or La Bastide Bistro. The latter two are in strip malls in Carmel Valley and Scripps Ranch, respectively - but by all accounts the food should make the trip worthwhile. Also good, but not necessarily French - the Linkery and Jayne's Gastropub - both in North Park.

        Enjoy your trip!!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Alice Q

          Top of the Cove was bought by James Brennan (owner of Stingaree) and he wants to tear down the building and build something new

          1. re: Alice Q

            Good to know P33 is hanging in there. And come to think of it, the small plates were more impressive than the main dishes. Will have to revisit the next time in SD.

          2. Tapenade is a must in La Jolla; Addison is great (was just there again last night)

            1. If you go to Jack's and use your credit card be absolutely sure to keep your receipt and check your credit card expense statement.

              3 Replies
              1. re: El Chevere

                Oaky, so are you saying you had a problem? If so, was it the restaurant, a rogue employee or something else and how was it resolved.

                1. re: DiningDiva

                  After reading this, I did keep my receipt and checked my statement online after I got home. There was a discrepancy of $8. More on that in a second.

                  My wife and I went to a wedding in La Jolla this weekend, and ate at the following places:

                  Friday dinner: Rimel's Rotisserie. We had a wonderful time! The service was impeccable, way beyond our expectations for a mid-priced restaurant. Three different service staff looked in on us at various times, and each of them did a little something extra to make us feel special. The fish we ordered was universally good, but their mesquite seared ahi served with pico de gallo was a real winner! Including a big tip and seconds on beers, four of us were well satisfied for $110.

                  Saturday Breakfast: The Cottage. Another great experience! Despite the crowds, we were seated quickly and the service was attentive. The food arrived quickly, in healthy quantities, and was delicious, especially the Belgian waffle with strawberries. The four of us had two beverages each and got out of there for $66

                  Saturday Lunch: Jack's La Jolla. After such universal raves on these boards, I must say we were very disappointed. Six of us decided to nosh, ordering sliders and all the appetizers, finishing with three desserts to share. Everything tasted acceptable, but nothing was exceptional (except the calamari--the calamari sucked!). We kept saying "$12 for THIS?"

                  However, it was the service which was the real downfall. In a nice restaurant, I don't expect to have to call someone over to fill my water glass, and I don't expect to have a difficult time doing it. I practically had to jump up and down and wave my arms when we needed anything, like sending a couple of the sliders back because they'd been screwed up. Another example, my friend asked for a refill on his diet coke. By the time it arrived 20 minutes later, he'd forgotten about it and started sipping on one of the depleted water glasses we were hording at this point. The food was morbidly slow arriving, despite a sparsely populated restaurant. If it weren't for the good company I was with, it would have been a real problem. As a result, I tipped 15% instead of my usual 20%, for a total bill of $147.

                  When I got home and checked my statement, they'd charged me $155. I called immediately and asked to talk to a manager. I was connected to a voicemail, where I left a message. The next day, I called again, and left another message. I checked my statement today, and apparently they've fixed the bill, but I have yet to get a phone call from them. I won't be going back to Jack's.

                  Sunday Breakfast: Clay's. This is the restaurant on top of Hotel La Jolla. It wasn't bad, but the portions were small and the bill was $100 for four of us. For that price, I expect the food to be better than ok. The Cottage kicked Clay's butt.

                  1. re: 8Gr8N8

                    Just a quick jump-in on the credit card stuff... it's happened to me three times and two were actually bad charges, one wasn't.

                    The one that wasn't took place at the Coronado Brewery (not sure if I have the name exactly right) and I saw that they overcharged me a little when I got home. I spoke to a manager who spoke with the waitress and he said she was sure she ran the bill exactly as I wrote it. A few days later, the charge cleared exactly as I paid. I suspected that their credit card system is set up to hold your total plus an extra 15-20% and I've seen this done at other places.

                    The other two charges were at Extraordinary Desserts. Both times, they overcharged me a couple of dollars. Both times, I spoke with an overly dismissive employee that insisted that the extra dollars were "pending" or "hold" charges. Yet, I already knew that, so I had waited for clearance before I called. They said they'd refund the difference, but never did.

                    So, it can be both a policy thing, which varies from place to place, or a rogue/careless employee. I strongly suspect, especially in Ex. Des.'s case, that they were trying to skim a tip off of me. Yet, I had already tipped with cash.

                    El Chevere and 8Gr8N8, thanks for the heads-up! I will definitely be really careful when I try Jack's.

              2. I was in the San Diego area a few months ago, and we had excellent dinners at Tapenade and Nine-Ten, both located in La Jolla. I can still fondly remember a wonderful vanilla-infused lobster dish I had at Tapenade. While the food was great, we got terrible service at Nine-Ten. The service at Tapenade was as excellent as the food.

                1. How about Barbarella? I'm not a fan of dining in La Jolla for budgetary reasons, but I really liked Barbarella. The menu is California/Italian fusion (correct me if I'm wrong, CH'ers!) and reasonably priced.