HOME > Chowhound > California >

Discussion

La Jolla

What is the best restaurant in La Jolla these days.Looking for something special for our anniversary.Money this night is not an issue.Thanks

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. For food, I still like Tapenade (but no view). Georges at the Cove just redid their restaurant and it is lovely but the food is good, not spectacular (but still very good). Nine-Ten would be my other suggestion (alhough I haven't been since MS left to start Region - which is now gone). I used to love the chef's mercy dinner - a must!! Happy Anniversary!

    1. Marine Room never disappoints, and the view is incredible. The service there is as good as the food and the view. One of the best spots for those special occasions. I'm sure if you told them in advance when making the reservation they'd get you an especially good table.

      1. Best--depends on your menu/cuisine preference...

        Tapenade--French
        AR Valentien--Seasonal/American
        Nine-Ten--Seasonal/American

        I think any of these are a step above The Marine Room. The Marine Room has a great view but their food feels tired and needs some spiffing up and/or fresh creativity.

        4 Replies
        1. re: daantaat

          I completely agree with daantaat about Marine Room. The view is spectacular, and especially at high tide, it's fun to watch the kayakers and the pelicans diving into the surf, but we visited recently and had a very ho-hum meal. It was the kind of meal that may have been interesting 10-15 years ago, but now seems passe and dull, plus overpriced. I also feel like the atmosphere there is too much like a fancy country club dining room - a little too stuffy for me, but relaxing and sedate.

          In downtown La Jolla, especially if you're into a spectacular view, I like George's Modern and its more casual outdoor offshoot on the rooftop above it.

          I am not a fan of Tapenade, but I seem to be in the minority here, and maybe it's because I lived in Manhattan for years and have had my fill of fine French restaurants...my tastes these days run more towards inventive cuisine versus the more classic "fine dining" style.

          Happy anniversary!

          1. re: susan3733

            Funny, the sedate atmosphere is precisely why I like Marine Room. I'm not a fan of noisy places, and the quiet old-school approach they have there makes me feel like I'm in a time warp. I'd never recommend Marine Room to someone looking for radical culinary invention, but for a quiet romantic dinner it's hard to beat, IMO.

            1. re: Josh

              Josh, have you tried AR Valentien? It has a sedate atmosphere, good for a quiet romantic dinner. Better food than The Marine Room. No ocean view but beautiful Craftsman style architecture.

              1. re: daantaat

                I've not been there yet, no. I've heard great things about it. It's on the list of places to go.

        2. I like Baci south on the 5 very near sea world.
          best italian south of LA and including a lot of LA.
          not a pretty neighborhood, but the kitchen is superb and the service is old-style classic.

          1. Best restaurant in LJ is hard to say just one but I like George's on the terrace to dine..Whaling bar at La V, not so much for the best food but love that you can't dine like this anywhere..super old school.
            La V has the small dining room at the top of the hotel, which if I remember,was better than the food..hope that has changed..can't remember the name.
            Nine-Ten is really good and you can stay at the Grande Colonial Hotel.
            I enjoy eating at Maitre'D's in Bird Rock.
            Love Baci's and Marine Room is good for drinks and apps..not dinner..IMO
            Barbarella's or Piatti's is casual but good in the Shores.
            If money is no object, you might want to consider Mille Fleurs in Rancho Santa Fe.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Beach Chick

              Maitre D's is a trip.. It took us sooo long to get a table for two. We were then intrigued.. It wasnt even full then on the Sat they finally gave us a reservation.. fun but other places to go better.. Manhattens etc.. anyone know anything about the Trieste? Old Trieste? I think thats the name ..on Morena..Im intrigued with that one too..

              1. re: butterbutt

                Yeah, I'm curious to try that place as well. I quite liked Maitre'd - it is the oddest restaurant I've ever eaten in. The decor reminded me of a cross between Disneyland and Miss Havesham's house.

                1. re: butterbutt

                  The Old Trieste is an old line, old boy Italian restaurant primarily known for the collection of Cadillacs, Lincolns and Toronados in it's parking lot that typifies it's clientele. The food was fabulous when I ate there in the '80s but is very much an old-style Italian menu that isn't very interesting anymore in these days of more adventurous and regional Italian eateries.

                  It's a classic San Diego joint like Lubach's, Butcher Shop, Baci's or the Marine Room. It's good to know that classics like Old Trieste continue to survive.

                2. re: Beach Chick

                  The Sky Room at La Valencia:
                  http://www.lavalencia.com/dining_sky.asp

                  IIRC, they've gotten a new exec chef within the last couple of years and have finally (after only thirty or fourty years) updated their menu and decor. Last time I went, their menu was straight out of the 50's (e.g. steak dianne, veal oscar, etc.). But, it is really small and intimate. From the menu, it looks like the new chef may have infused some life into the food. Anyone tried it recently?

                  1. re: mikec

                    I haven't been, but I actually think that those dishes (Steak Diane, Veal Oscar) are SO old school that there are generations of diners who've never known these dishes. I love the fact that I can go to Manhattan and get Veal Oscar. Where else do you even see stuff like that?

                    I'd love to see more of those classic old dishes revived and revisited. Veal Oscar is a good concept - I bet you could even bring it into the 21st century with a few modifications.

                    1. re: mikec

                      Thanks mikec!
                      Completely forgot the name..
                      Glad to hear they finally have a new chef!

                  2. My brother who lives in La Jolla is a major foodie and he believes Jack's is the best restaurant. He hasn't been thrilled with the service but loves the food that comes out of Tony DiSalvo's kitchen.

                    1. Spending your anniversary in La Jolla sounds grand. Why not have cocktails at the Marine Room and then scoot over to the village of La Jolla to dine at one of the restaurants named in these replies. If you want to continue looking at the ocean, then go to either George's or or one of La Valencia's restaurants. The small dining room is called the Sky Room and yes, it is old school, but then again, so is La Jolla. Another option, sushi, is available at Zenbu Sushi (on Fay) which prides itself on freshly caught seafood from the area. If you like live music to go with your dinner, Bernini's Bistro (on Fay, right across from Vons) offers it on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. While it is not as gourmet as Nine-Ten and Tapenade, the service is very attentive and the place is downright cozy. Whatever you end up deciding, have a wonderful anniversary! www.sandiegotraveltips.com

                      1. If you are OK not having a view of the ocean then I would recommend Jack's fine dining room in La Jolla. I would request a booth as they are more private and romantic. The executive chef, Tony DiSalvo perfected his craft at Jean-Georges, a Michelin 3-star restaurant in NYC (which I have also dined at and find the food at Jack's most nights to be at or close to this level). While the service can occasionally be spotty, the food is quite good....the only restaurant I feel is better in terms of quality price ratio would be Carl Schroeder's (formerly at Arterra) Market in Del Mar.

                        1. I would also second/third Jack's Formal Dining Room. It is very good and has a quieter and classy atmosphere, good for an anniversary dinner. I forgot to mention it in my earlier reply.

                          I would stay away from Zenbu if you are looking for good sushi. They are overpriced and there is much better sushi in SD.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: daantaat

                            I really liked Zenbu the couple of times I've been...

                            There is definitely better sushi in SD as a whole, but it is certainly the best bet if you're trying to stay in La Jolla.
                            Sushi on the Rock is passable, sometimes; Aloha Sushi is about on par with Mitsuwa take-out (not bad, but not great); and, the only other LJ sushi that comes to mind is Roppongi (great for the happy hour "small-plates), but for sushi - not-so-much).

                            1. re: CampySD

                              I agree w/ you on Roppongi's sushi. Average and overpriced for what it is. Their happy hour is still a great deal.

                              Maybe we had bad luck at Zenbu. However, it was bad and pricey enough that we have stuck to other places.