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old style gourmet in san diego

Will be traveling to san diego next week. Looking for upscale gourmet where the ambiance and food haven't changed but remain awesome! Like things such
as caesar's salad tableside. Tournedos or filet with bearnaise. shrimp scampi etc.\
nice quiet romantic dining area.
any suggestions appreciated

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  1. I can't vouch for its awesomeness, but the Imperial House on Kalmia serves that sort of food. Mr. A's would have fit the bill perfectly, but they revamped a few years ago.

    1. Old World classic isn't the type of food San Diego does very well, nor is there much of a market for it here. But if you must, try Old Trieste or Baci.

      1. My first thought was Old Trieste and Baci's which are right down the street from each other..
        Also, Maitre'D in Bird Rock/La Jolla is old style gourmet in a funky way..
        I love this place..it's quirky but old school.
        I miss Lubach's!

        1. Perhaps also consider Red Tracton's in Del Mar as a possibility. Very much an old school-style steak house with the red leather seats, etc.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cgfan

            I'd second this one, too. Red Tracton's is old school for sure, but the quality has remained pretty high. Great steaks. I believe they do tableside Caesar too, but they're really known for the lobster bisque (rightly so).

          2. Marine Room does a tableside Caesar, but the rest of their menu is more modern. Manhattan in La Jolla also does tableside Caesar, and they also serve old-school NY-style Italian fine dining fare. Veal Oscar, Steak Sinatra, Steak Syracuse, Steak Bearnaise, etc. They also do fancy seafood pasta dishes.

            I haven't been there in a while, so I can't vouch for how well its aged. It used to be pretty solid.

            Beach Chick's suggestion of Maitre'D is also one I'd second. Their food is very good, old school style (I had Beef Wellington, for example), but the place is super quirky. Definitely unlike any other restaurant in town.

            1. le fontainebleau in the westgate hotel is probably perfect for you.


              de medici is terrific for traditional italian. the service is excellent, and they do a tableside caesar...as well as a flaming bananas foster.


              other options:

              not necessarily old-school in the formal sense [saw a few fellow diners in shorts & flip flops last time i was there], but pamplemousse grille in solana beach does excellent high-end gourmet cuisine.


              as far as steakhouses go, romantic atmosphere is tough. i'm not a huge fan of this one because the ambience there is so not my style, but donovan's in la jolla might be okay for you. very much a 'traditional' feel, although personally i think it's a bit stodgy. they don't do the tableside caesar, but the service really is excellent. one warning though...it's pretty pricey.


              hope that helps. enjoy!

              Pamplemousse Grille
              514 Via de la Valle, Suite 100, Solana Beach, CA 92075

              Westgate Hotel the: Fontainebleau Restaurant
              1055 2nd Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

              De Medici Italian Restaurant
              815 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

              Donovan's Restaurant
              4340 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla, CA 92122

              2 Replies
              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                just had another thought...what about 1500 ocean at the hotel del coronado?


                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  1500 Ocean is a brand new restaurant serving modern CA cuisine - I don't think it would satisfy this person's needs.

                  I think Maitre'D sounds like the perfect choice. The food there will probably be better than the Imperial House. Dobson's downtown is also a little bit along these lines - not old school formal, but pretty classic food - great Caesar, mussel bisque, etc.

              2. funny you should write this this morning.. I was sooooo disappointed in Old trieste.. Went there last night for my husbands birthday..Read the reviews.. even chatted with someone who had been there. Excited abouyt men wearing jackets,women dresses etc.. Looking forward to something very old style... it was so bright in there and they had a leak in the ceiling ,so had soiled bus tubs on a tbale with linens..in the middle of the room! The salad was ice berg loaded with blue cheese from a bottle.. dinner was ok. wine list awful...

                I see below other ideas. Manhattens in La Jolla is the old red booths,pink lights,all the waiters are over 6o I think! sometime they sing in Italina,but that may be mostly Xmas eve... Food is good a 7-8.. not a foodie excellent.. Good steak Diane..
                they do the caesar from scratch at the table..

                The Westagate we tried.. I was not impressed... Maitre D is definetly quirky..if you can get a reservation.. we tried so long we finally were determined and would take any night! ended up on a Sat..but had to go early...in the end it was never even full..a fun experience though..

                I would highly suggest Manhattens.. we go there every Christmas... I think you would like that...

                1 Reply
                1. re: butterbutt

                  After reading your Old Trieste review, I was thinking that it's time for another visit to Manhattan. I've never been disappointed there. Their Caesar is excellent.

                2. Way out of town, but the Golden Steer in Las Vegas is like a time machine fashioned out red leather and gold stud nails.