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Sep 24, 2008 10:49 AM

Need recs for mod-priced SD restaurant walkable from Conv Center

A bunch of us are going to San Diego for a convention the end of October. I've searched the boards and have a bunch of good recs at all ends of the price spectrum. I'm looking specifically for a decent restaurant moderately priced (no more than $30 pp not including drinks). It needs to take reservations and be able to accommodate a large group, 10 to 12 people. Wine list is a plus. I would love to go to Cafe Chloe, but it doesn't seem to be able to accommodate a large group.

It must be walking distance from the Marriott/Convention Center. Walking is a big thing for this group.

We went to Wash DC last year and I have a reputation to uphold with restaurant picks, but of course it was much easier in DC.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. You might find this thread useful from a couple of months ago - similar location & transpo:
    Please chime in, everyone!

    1. Not sure why it "was much easier" in DC, but I think you should be able to find what you are looking for. While the Gaslamp has some misses there are actually some hits too.
      In your hotel there is actually an excellent restaurant, Molly's. May be a little on the pricy side of your budget but you can look at it online. And it has an excellent wine list. Further, there is a great review in the sdreader.com.
      Also tasty is Jsix at Hotel Solamar, Donovan's, and Currant.

      7 Replies
      1. re: jturtle

        Donovan's is a great steakhouse but will run you over the $30/pp if you do dinner.

        If my memory serves me correctly, Currant is a good walk from the Convention Center. I hope they have dramatically improved their cooking from last year when I went, because the lunch was overpriced for average food.

        1. re: daantaat

          "If my memory serves me correctly" - Nice Chairman Kaga quote! :)

          1. re: trentyzan

            I can't find Molly's on Marriott's website. It looks like there now is a Roy's. Currant looks good. Do you know their ability for large groups.

            We're there 5 nights total. For some of the nights I can go pricier b/c there are a couple foodies in the group. So for those nights I was thinking Oceanaire or Candelas.

            Can Neighborhood take large groups and reservations? How about Cowboy Star?

            1. re: cookingodyssey

              I saw several large tables at Cowboy Star when I was there, and I'm pretty sure thye could make 10-12 work. I haven't eaten at Neighborhood, but have walkd by a number of times and it is not too large. I don't know if they take reservations - if they do, they might make it work for you, but I am thinking 10-12 people would take up about 1/3, maybe 1/2 the whole space!

              1. re: cookingodyssey

                Cowboy Star is fantastic and takes reservations. For more casual lunch/early dinner I have been really loving the pizza at the restaurant side of Bar Basic.
                I think Oceanaire is fantastic and much better then Candelas (but I really like seafood.)
                Neighborhood is fairly small and if you do a search for the place you can check out the reviews.

                1. re: cookingodyssey

                  Cowboy Star and Neighborhood are both awesome and I highly recommend them. Cowboy Star could easily fit 10-12 and I think Neighborhood could probably make it work too. It seems like they could put you along one of the tables on the wall or put you at the inside/outside double table.

            2. As for other recs, Bandar has solid persian food and could accommodate a group. I think the price could work for you.

              Napa Valley Grille might be worth considering, esp. if you are not from CA and want to try some west coast (albeit more NorCal) type of food. They can definitely accommodate a large party and I always think the food is good when I go. Fresh and tasty, if nothing conceptually revolutionary. I don't remember the quality of their wine list, though of course they have one. Hopefully with a name referencing Napa it is good!

              I've also enjoyed Currant the times I have been.

              I have found Chive to be uneven, but have only eaten there once in the past year. Some people really love it. They could definitely accommodate a group, and your budget should work, because they do lots of small plates.

              Sally's at the Hyatt also gets good reviews, but I've not been.

              P.S. Molly's is at the Marriott Hotel Marina...were you perhaps looking at the Marriott Gaslamp?

              1. The recs for Oceanaire and Candelas are good but unless they've lowered their prices, I think it would be hard to keep your meal to $30 and under per person.

                Go to McCormick and Schmick's at the Omni. They have a second level loft that overhangs the restaurant where they can accommodate groups of just about any size. They have quite a few entrees that will meet your budget. Ask if you can have Karl as your server - his attention and great service have been unmatched by anyone else every time we've been there.

                1. Cowboy Star is a fun place with very good and imaginative food, not sure if the regular dining room could accommodate such a large party (the most I have seen is eight) but they do have a private room in the back that can handle your group. However, I think you are going to top your $30 threshold. Roy's certainly handle the group and price point. Those suggestions for Bar Basic is perfect for a less expensive night - pizza, pool and drinks.