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Jun 10, 2008 07:49 PM

Advice for fine dining in La Jolla with kids

Hello! I have been busy reading a lot of the recommended places to eat in the La Jolla area. We will be staying at the Embassy Suites the week of the 4th & we have a 14 yr old & two 9 yr olds- all girls, all well-behaved, & all used to going out to nice places with us. Although we would take them just about anywhere, I know some restaurants you just don't bring kids to. I would love some advice for great dining- we live in Phoenix, so we don't want Mexican (but we are definitely going to try fish tacos!), but anything else is fair game- especially if they have good seafood. We plan on spending most of our trip just hanging out on the beach, so any suggestions for what to do for lunch nearby would be great as well. Thanks so much!

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  1. Sorry, did not focus on the fine dining issue. First of all...get out of UTC. It is not La Jolla.

    1. Always like Roponggi. It's kind of an Asian tapas place so there's a chance to try a number of things--especialy with five people. Also it's very near the Museum of Contemporary Art.

      1. Very close to your hotel, walking distance, is Roy's. their menu has a Hawain theme and they offer a gret many seafood choices.

        It is across the street, in the next shopping center over, you can cross at the light at Genesse or cut through the mall, either way, a short walk.

        They offer fine dining in a casual atmosphere. They offer comparable dishes on the children's menu for your nine year olds. My daughter is 8, and she loves it! Their menu includes, short ribs and salmon. My daughter gets the ribs and my son gets the salmon. They also have the boring kids stuff as well. The kids menu is four courses, quesadilla, crudete, entree and sundae.

        The offer a great Pre-fixe menu for adults as well.

        You will not be disapointed with Roy's.

        Another poster recommended Ropongi, another great place, ask for a table next to one of their great fish tanks.

        Roy's Restaurant
        8670 Genesee Ave, San Diego, CA 92122

        Roppongi Restaurant and Sushi Bar
        875 Prospect, La Jolla, CA 92037

        1. Skip "Roy's"; it's a chain that is also located in AZ, with overpriced food and inconsistent quality. For good seafood, try "Whisknladle" in La Jolla cove or "Zenbu".

          8 Replies
          1. re: ginael

            That is too bad that you had a negative experience at Roy's I have always found it to be a great place. It does not matter that it is a chain. The poster has children and will be staying within walking distance of the place, I have simialr age kids and found it to be a great family dining spot.

            1. re: normalheightsfoodie

              we've had good luck and good meals at Roy's here in SD, on the Big Island and up in Carmel and have never had a problem getting food for our daughters.

            2. re: ginael

              Zenbu is primarily a sushi place. We weren't impressed by it and the prices felt overpriced for the quality. If you want sushi in the UTC area, Edo Sushi off Towne Center Drive, just down the street from the mall has solid, fairly priced sushi. If you want better sushi, head to Convoy Ave, about 10 minutes south and go to Izakaya Sakura.

              Roppongi's and Piatti's are both good recommendations. Roppongi's has an all tapas are 50% off from 4-6 pm every day. They're made for sharing and a few of them make a good sized meal. The catch is that you have to sit in the patio or bar area, which is not near the fish tanks.

              If you want higher fine dining, Tapenade would work or Jack's Formal Dining Room. Jack's is probably the least kid-friendly, due to the club/bar upstairs. George's California Modern (downstairs only) would be another good option. Nine-Ten is good, although it was recently dinged on the board for the decor getting a little run down and bad burgers. For steaks, Donovan's is in UTC, off La Jolla Village Drive.

              1. re: daantaat

                Sorry you didn't have a good experience at Zenbu as the owner has his own boat(s) bringing in some of the seafood. However, I don't think it is appropriate for kids, as, similar to Jacks it has quite a lounge/bar vibe. Jacks and George's California Modern are on the high end of the food price chain, I think a better choice for a nice dining experience with the kids is the downstairs versions of both of these places - Jacks grille and Georges mid-level (using that word for a better description than bar).

                1. re: foodiechick

                  We were disappointed with Zenbu, especially with hearing about the owner bringing in his own fish. It didn't seem like what they offered was that much better than our then favorite, Edo Sushi.

                  Jack's Grille, if I'm thinking correctly, is the ground level outdoor area that spills onto the sidewalk. It would be good for lunch but not "fine dining," if I'm thinking of the right location. Same for George's mid-level bar area.

                  to the OP--a great casual place for breakfast, brunch and lunch is Mission Cup Cafe on Wall St. Inexpensive and really good Chino-Latino food.

                  1. re: daantaat

                    I don't know if you have been to George's mid level or Ocean Terrace lately, but they have refined the dinner menu (does not even resemble the lunch offerings). It's just a little less expensive than "Modern" and uses many of the same ingredients (you can also order from the Modern menu if you wish). Jacks Grille is the bottom level (inside, not spilling onto the sidewalk) with a very nice atmosphere and some nice fine dining options mixed into salads and pasta (many are offered in the Ocean Room). Frankly, we have had much better luck with this part of the multi-tiered location than the fine dining area (and I find it a little hard to swallow $25-$40 per entree for even the most food adventerous, well behaved children - their family meal would would end up costing more than their hotel room). Just my 2 cents.

                    1. re: daantaat

                      " the OP--a great casual place for breakfast, brunch and lunch is Mission Cup Cafe on Wall St. Inexpensive and really good Chino-Latino food."

                      Doesn't appear to be what the OP is looking for considering the title of their thread.

                      1. re: The Old Man

                        if you look towards the bottom of their post, they asked for lunch suggestions.

              2. Have definitely seen families w/children of all ages at Piatti in La Jolla.

                The also have an outdoor patio which is lovely. If you time it right, you can have dinner and then watch the sunset from the beach which is only a couple blocks away.

                3 Replies
                1. re: LAWoman

                  Piatti's is another chain and nothing special. Recommend Roppongi's as well. It's unique, has a great variety and is fine for kids. You can order a variety of small plates and need not order an entry for each.

                  1. re: PGB

                    Trattoria Aqua has some tables with ocean views - ask when you reserve. It's a very pretty, romantic-looking restaurant, bet girls that age would love it.

                    1. re: PGB

                      I think Piattia is quite good for Italian food in SD and one of the better option. I would definitely recommend Piatti over Roppongi.