Help! Need Romantic Ideas for 1st Wedding Anniversary-- Traveling to La Jolla, CA
This is the first time that I have posted to this board, but as soon as I saw it I knew I had to ask for everyone's help.
My wife and I were married in August of last year after dating for years...we met teaching English in China back in 2003.
We are going to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary in La Jolla/Del Mar, CA in a couple of weeks.
I need some help getting some ideas for romantic restaurants and things to do in the area. I want to put something special together for my incredible wife.
As for the food, we are both huge foodies; we love everything. We have heard that George's on the Cove is suppose to be great, as well as Tapenade. What other ideas do you all have? We are looking for a non-corporate chain kind of places.
We are also looking for things to do. Since it is our anniversary, we don't want to over plan it. Instead, we are looking for mellow, fun things to do....that are both romantic and exciting. Spas would be cool, but we don't know where and we don't want to get ripped off!
So, please, help! help! help! Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated. I want to plan something special for my wife and I...but I have never stayed in this area.
Thanks, in advance, for all of your time and help!
Please avoid Roppongi, unless you are going there solely for a HH deal. And picnic with wine at the beach is a HUGE no-no. No alcohol of any kind at ANY beach in SD county, (as well as no glass containers). Seriously, first year of ban and cracking down with big fines - very unromantic way to end a picnic!
Totally agree with everyone on Roppongi...do Viaggio's, Trattoria Acqua, Nine-Ten, Tapenade or for casual seafood Crab Catcher out on the patio with ocean views..if the patio is full outside at La V..go inside at the picture window with the gorgeous ocean views and have drinks and listen to the piano player..
As far as the picnic goes..I'm one of the troublemakers that suggested the picnic and to be very careful and go to Marine Street NOT the Shores/Cove..being a local gal, I know the spots and the cops..hee hee
If you bring wine..be careful like foodiechick states..
'a very unromantic way to end a picnic'..
Well, the time has come, we are leaving next weekend for Del Mar/ La Jolla. We are really excited! As of now, our plan is to leave on Saturday morning, stopping for breakfast along the way. We live in North Orange County, so it is about a two hour drive. I am thinking we will probably stick to the following for food:
Breakfasts: maybe one day at Coffee Cup Cafe or Pacifica Breeze and the other day at Brocktons (just cuz it feels like we should do it just once....especially for the view).
Lunches: Picnics are the key!!! I love the multiple ideas you all have left about getting sandwiches to go (with some wine) and walk on the beach. I am certain we will do that both days!
As for dinners, I am a bit torn, I can't lie!! There are just too many wonderful choices. Since we are only going to be there for two nights, I think we are going to do one "Anniversary-Celebration" dinner at Georges (downstairs of course) and then the second night at Rponggis (sp?), or Nine Ten, or maybe Market. Such a tough choice
Outside of those, I am definitely going to take Erica to La Valencia and have drinks at sunset, that just sounds too incredible to miss!! The review about Chino Farms is really intriguing and since we are both foodies, we might just have to check it out. We have also talked about going to Del Mar Racetrack. I have never been and so it might be something fun to try.
Thanks, again, to all of you for your kind replies. I have seen the other posts over the years regarding this similar topic and I appreciate you all not just telling me to look elsewhere.
Please let me know if there is anything I can ever do to repay you for your help.
If you are ever coming to La Palma, Cerritos, Artesia (north OC), please email me and I will be happy to let you in on the secrets here. I can be reached at (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I will definitely respond next week when we get back. Hopefully, we will be able to upload a pic.
Take care and thanks again!!!
I will repeat some of my favorite restaurants in the Del Mar area, so frequent readers please forgive me:
Market is perhaps the best foodie restaurant in the San Diego area these days. Outstanding cooking, wonderful flavors, excellent service. They have a four-course prix-fixe menu with multiple choices for each course. They are located on Via de La Valle, about a mile or so east/inland from the 5 freeway.
Pamplemousse is a wonderful restaurant just off Via de La Valle just west/coastal side of the 5. A bit darker and more quiet than Market, perhaps even a bit more romantic though there is no view. Been around longer, probably going on a decade now.
Red Tracton's is almost next door to Pamplemousse, also on Via de La Valle just west/coastal side of the 5. Imagine the stereotype of an oldtime steakhouse -- a bar area out front with tons of action and a happy hour spread, a display of the steaks and chops in a case, and inside red leather banquettes and tables with servers who have been there forever. Big, generous portions, daily specials, and the house specialty of big, thick cuts of prime rib. Beats the pants off the chains (Fleming's, Donovan's, etc.) for food and especially fun.
Two things you shouldn't miss: Chino Farms is a produce provider to many California restaurants, is located very close to Market, and is open to the public. Well worth checking out, even if you aren't going to be cooking. Also, the Del Mar racetrack should be in season. Gorgeous grounds and track, lots of fun -- even if you aren't betting. (If it is a hot day be sure to request seats in the shade.) And note, make your reservations at any of the places I've mentioned now, since they are all close to the racetrack. Finally, it is quite hilarious to stop into Red Tracton's for happy hour just to check out the wealthy horsemen and their "fillies."
Have a great time and be sure to report back.
Wow, I can't believe how many people have responded with such wonderful ideas. I am definitely going to have to print up this list and we may have to extend our stay just to try them all out. This is really a wonderful site, in that so many kind people have taken time our of their weekend to respond to my request for help
Thanks for your help! If you think of anywhere else please add on to this board. See you all in SD soon
Oh, pp - lovely walk/hike. Took guests to another FANTASTIC lunch at AR Valentine - total "atmosphere and food lovers" and they were blown away, visiting from a very good foodie town. I concur with lunch at Trattoria Acqua but we prefer one of the dining rooms with very large open windows to the small, glass-enclosed patio...better air, less crowded and much better views. Lunch on the balcony at La Valencia (as beach chick pointed out) is very special. Call ahead and tell them it is a special occasion and they will really make sure that you are taken care of. I also can't "get into" the Marine Room any more and it is VERY expensive. Try going just around the corner to the "Cheese Shop" deli during the day, getting a ginormous deli sandwich and walking down to the beach instead. Hate to say it, but I would skip George's Modern downstairs - try the new incarnation of Jacks...Viaggio, beautiful, fresh Italian food. Happy Anniversary.
Oh, how could I forget? If you've got the $$ to do it, stay at The Grand Del Mar Resort in Del Mar and eat at Addison's. It's a large resort tucked away in a very residential part of Carmel Valley but when you get up there, you feel like you're in a different world. Addison's is very good, albeit expensive, but fits the bill for romantic and good food.
Concur with George's Modern but I also like having drinks out on the patio overlooking the LJ Cove at La V..also the Sky Room at La Valencia.
Crab Catcher or Trattoria Acqua both have great food and ocean views.
Marine Room at La Jolla Beach and Tennis has incredible views but I'm just not into it.
I would skip Roppongi's..imo and Tapenade is lovely but I don't find it very romantic.
I like getting the best fish sandwiches at El Pescador and a bottle of wine and having a picnic at Marine street..hide the bottle.
August and September are very busy with the track and summer so book quickly.
My favorite romantic thing to do is the walk down to Black's Beach from La Jolla Farms. It's an inside thing, I guess-- But if you want to do something different from the tourist beat and get some exercise, walk down the beautiful canyon private road to Black's, then walk down Black's Beach (one of the most beautiful in the world) and back up the cliffs at the stairway (built by the nudists) to the Glider Port, where you can watch hang-gliders and para-gliders launch. You can then walk back down Torrey Pines Road, past the Salk Institute (one of the most architecturally important buildings in the world (but closed on weekends))and turning back into La Jolla Farms at the Mormon church for a big circle. This works up a great appetite for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Sunset can be incredible if you just walk straight down to Black's and then back up. . .beautiful and free. Sorry to say "beautiful" so many times, but it all just simply, is.
I've heard the Spa at the Lodge at Torrey Pines is great and open to outsiders. You will not be ripped off there. I also recommend the AR Valentien at the Lodge for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I would tell the hostess it is a special, anniversary dinner. Reserve on the terrace if you're eating during daylight. You can also go to the terrace for a sunset drink and then dinner elsewhere.
And yes, yes, yes! George's!
Do a search on the board for "La Jolla" and "Del Mar," as this is a very common request.
to the suggestions above, add Market in Del Mar. Lots of posts on it on the board on it. Arterra in Del Mar (technically Carmel Valley) is also very good. if you go to George's, make sure you eat in the formal dining room downstairs b/c that's where the better food is. Jack's La Jolla's Formal Dining Room recently changed menus and names (I'm blanking on the new name but someone posted on it)--it'd be worth a look, since the original menu was very good. Piatti's in La Jolla Shores is moderately priced Italian and pretty good.
Go to Roppongi's between 4-6 pm for their 50% off all tapas menu. That is the best deal and best way to sample a lot of dishes. 3-4 tapas will easily make a full meal.
I would skip Sbicca's and Cafe del Mar. Sbicca is sorely underwhelming and overpriced. Cafe del Mar is ok, but not a place I would send an out of towner to. I can make what they do for cheaper and better.
For casual breakfast/brunches, Coffee Cup Cafe on Wall St in La Jolla is really good and Pacifica Breeze Cafe in Del Mar is also very good. I'm not a big fan of Brockton Villa's food in La Jolla, but if you "must" have a water view w/ breakfast, so be it.
Some good suggestions already. Nine Ten for lunch or dinner. Roppongi's fun! They serve Pacific Rim Tapas. I like it just for the variety. We have a good time there. Trattoria Acqua is one of my favorite lunch places. I enjoy their sandwiches a lot and the view of the cove is great!
A place worth a visit between La Jolla and Del Mar is A.R. Valentien's. It's on the golf course at Torrey Pines. I am assuming this is what was called teh Lodge at Torrey Pines.
Just for a nice romantic spot, it's hard to beat the Georges at the Cove. Get a window seat, call ahead.
Congratulations on your anniversary and welcome to the board! You've picked two of the most beautiful areas of San Diego to celebrate in -- I'll try to give you some good suggestions. La Jolla has some very nice restaurants in its downtown (Prospect St. and environs), such as Roppongi, Nine Ten, Georges, Trattoria Acqua. My husband and I really enjoy going to the Hotel La Valencia for drinks around sunset before dinner. The La Valencia is a beautiful, if pricey, place to stay, and it's a stone's throw from the Cove. Del Mar is smaller than La Jolla and has less to do and see, but there are a few restaurants with good reputations (Sbicca, Jakes, Cafe Del Mar) and a great beach for walking. The Hilton Torrey Pines is located on the cliffs between La Jolla and Del Mar -- a beautiful hotel overlooking the ocean. I'm not a golfer so I'll probably get this wrong, but I think it's near the course where the Buick Invitational and US Open were held. The Lodge at Torrey Pines is considered to be one of the best restaurants in San Diego. This area between Del Mar and La Jolla is relatively secluded and quiet, unlike those two towns which can get pretty busy during the summer. But what ever you decide to do, you really can't go wrong with the whole La Jolla/Del Mar area. Have fun and cheers!