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Oct 6, 2007 09:02 PM

18th bday dinner in san diego

It's my 18 birthday this year and I can choose whatever restaurant I want in SD. What would be a special place to go to where the food is amazing and where the atmosphere is very nice?

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  1. I vote for Tapenade , J Six, or California Cuisine.

    1. Tapenade
      George's (downstairs dining only)

      I'm assuming price is no object....

      1. If you are willing to drive to LA I would go to Spago for the tasting menue. I had nothing in SD which comes close to it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: honkman

          I would go to LA but my family would rather go somewhere here its more convienent. Ya price is no object because it's my birthday. Dagney and daantaat which is your favorite of your picks? and what would you reccomend ordering there?

          1. re: lovesfood11

            It depends on what food and atmosphere I'm looking for.

            For smaller, cozier, unpretentious upscale French bistro food--Cavaillon. Their fritto misto and garbanzo stick appetizer (the name is escaping me) are both really good. The Frome D'Ambert (spelling?) salad is excellent if you love blue cheese. I've gotten their fish of the day which was cooked to perfection. I had a decadent dessert that had a candied whole tangerine with a side of chocolate something and tangerine gelato that blew me away. Their pomme frites are nothing to write home about--Cafe Chloe and Oceanaire have better fries.

            Market--I've batted nearly 10/10 times we've been there. Slightly larger than Cavaillon but still warm and lively. More modern, casually "funky" but tasteful decor. The menu changes seasonally, so what I've had may not be there. I had a really good Asian version of fish and chips last winter. More recently, I had a terrific duck two ways (confit and sauteed) entree, beef short ribs and fish w/ a soy based broth w/ mushrooms. Their beet salad is always good, as is the blue cheese souffle appetizer. Dessert--strawberries pavlovas, white peach soup but both are seasonal. Market Bars for dessert if you like a lighter version of a Kit Kat bar.

            I have yet to hit George's after the remodel but my SO said it's still very good.

            Nine-Ten--my favorite is their shaved vegetable salad and their half-baked chocolate cake. The "cake" is a large oval bowl of liquidy chocolate with a rim of baked chocolate cake. Extremely decadent! Small and laid-back atmosphere.

            Tapenade is the most formal dining of my list. Traditional French. The ex-chef now owns Cavaillon. It's been a while since we've been but their beet salad was spot on as well as the rest of the food we had. If I'm in the mood for a quieter dinner out, I'd go here.

            If your family will drive north, Michael Mina's restaraunt in the St. Regis Resort at Monarch Beach is excellent. Most of the tables face the golf course and ocean behind. Maybe get the whole family to do a spa/golf/beach weekend??

        2. Well to me there are other questions.. are you female /male...going with the family? how many? are you you like something quiet.. will it be just you and your parents you want something hip and nice food or the food is more the thing.. what other really nice ones have you been too?

          Tapenade ..the food is wonderful...older crowd though and tends to be quiet..
          Calif Cuisine is a good choice and Market is wonderful..and Nine Ten too.

          Georges is very good.. and hip.. Jacks would be a good choice too.

          REALLY into food I would choose Addison.. The service is spectacular and the food as well. Now its a bit quiet.. and again an older crowd..

          what about Anthology with music? The food is supposed to be wonderful and youd have a music venue?

          Well those are my thoughts..or Kensignton Grille..Hip ..noisy and great food..

          5 Replies
          1. re: butterbutt

            I'm looking for a place thats less noisy because I'll be with my grandparents. But I'll also be with my mom and a few friends so I want the place to be fun. Also by the beach might be nice for a nice view. But i just want a clean sleak restaurant that has good bread and food, I think the food is the most important thing.

            How far is Monarch Beach from San Diego because I know Michael Mina is an excellent chef so that might be fun. I Don't think my family would want to do a spa weekend haha but maybe.

            And BTW thank you so much for your suggestions.

            1. re: lovesfood11

              You sound like a fine young woman who is mature enough to see beyond the "loud party" aspect of birthdays. Kudos to you and have a wonderful time with your family.

              1. re: lovesfood11

                monarch beach is right next to laguna - about halfway between s.d. & l.a., so you're still looking at a pretty long haul depending on reservation time & traffic. while michael mina has a stellar reputation, stonehill tavern has gotten lukewarm reviews from some seasoned and well-respected l.a. chowhounds. i'd say don't risk it...might not be worth it to make the pilgrimage when you have some excellent choices in s.d.

                but if you are all willing to travel a bit, napa rose in anaheim is an option.

                as for the s.d. recs:

                while jack's would be a great idea simply because mom & dad are footing the bill, i'd say it's a bit too much of a scene for the grandparents. probably best to choose somewhere a bit more subdued.

                the food downstairs at george's modern is excellent, and it's a classy place.

                the setting at epazote is wonderful, although i haven't eaten there since they've re-branded it as a steakhouse so i can't vouch for the food. [the old menu was pretty mediocre.]

                pacifica is another good call. same view/location as epazote, excellent food.

                blanca in solana beach is pretty buzz-worthy these days, and market in del mar supposedly puts out truly top-notch food. [neither place has a view, however].

                there's also bertrand at mr. a's...or el bizcocho at the rancho bernardo inn.

                whatever you choose, bon appetit, and happy birthday!

                addison at the grand del mar is supposed to be wonderful, but no ocean view there.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Going to Jack's La Jolla depends on which level you eat at. The bar and upstairs patio is too much of a scene for grandparents but the Formal Dining Room is quieter and sedate. You can talk and hear your dining companions from across the table.

                  Between Market and Blanca, Market has the more consistently better menu. I've had some hits and misses at Blanca. And Blanca seems to be priced slightly higher than Market.

                  I agree w/ going up to Stonehill Tavern just for the food. If you're going to make a weekend out of it, then it's worth the travel. If not, Market and several other places in SD will be just as good without schlepping up and down the 5.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    Epazote is now managed by Pacifica.. The food is very good..Last time I went ..five months ago it needed sllght improvement. I have heard that they are doing well and have improved.. so when I went ..with the view.. and very good service.. and food... I d say it was an 8..

              2. In that case I would suggest Epazote at sunset.. beautiful view. new sleek interior.. see their website.. sit on the enclosed patio.. not too noisy.very comfortable..great food..

                Next would be Pacifica.. same comments... or Georges...

                have a great time!!!