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Jan 9, 2009 03:55 PM

Anniversary in SD - food the priority

My wife and I are having our 6th anniversary on Tuesday. We're relatively new in San Diego, and haven't found the truly great San Diego restaurants yet. We've found a few quite good ones, but haven't found the blow-the-doors-off 5-course-craziness restaurants that we knew in Baltimore and D.C. I've done some searching here, but I worry that most of the posts I've read have emphasized romantic atmosphere over top-quality, world-class dinner (i.e., places like George's on the Cove, which have a brilliant atmosphere, and barely edible food).

We haven't had much of an opportunity to go to top-shelf restaurants here given that we have a 3-year old, so we've mostly focused on ethnic, family-friendly places. But on Tuesday, we've got a babysitter, and we'd like to have a several-hour, wine-matched-with-courses meal. As those with children will understand, we'd really like to not fail at this, as we don't get a babysitter often.

What are your top picks if you want to have a truly fantastic dinner, with matching wine, and food is the priority over atmosphere?

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  1. I would have to recommend Addison in the Grand Del Mar Resort. This is definitely the best restaurant I've been to in San Diego. The resort itself is beautiful. The food and wine pairings are top notch. The sommelier is one of the youngest in the country. You will not be disappointed.

    6 Replies
    1. re: SDGourmand

      It's also probably about the only fine dining restaurant that you can still snag a reservation for next week. Arterra, Market, 1500 Ocean, A.R. Valentien, Pamplemousse and most of the other big guns are participating in San Diego Restaurant Week and those are the first to sell out.

      1. re: foodiechick

        You've got good recs from everyone and the best overall for food and atmosphere is Addison. If you can snag a weekend at the resort to top it off, it'll be even better!

      2. re: SDGourmand

        We went to Addison, and went with the four course meal.

        Started with an apple, cinnamon and creme fraiche amuse bouche. It was very good. Then I had crab legs prepared with mushrooms, very good. Squash/foie gras ravioli in a duck consomme for second course. That was crazy good. Perfect even. Then I went on to the milk-fed poularde (I'd never heard of it, apparently they put powdered milk in the feed of the cornish hen) served in a foie gras sauce with a piece of fried foie gras. Ordinarily, I would have said that was too decadent, but this is our anniversary we're talking about. This was another perfect dish. I'm going to play with foie gras in sauces in the future, that sauce was divine. We then had a crushed Asian lime ice with sabayon on top before being served a dessert. I had some chocolate thing that was perfectly forgettable. My wife on the other hand, had a caramel mille feuille that was ridiculous. She won that round. ;) And then they brought out little candies made on-site. They would have been better off leaving those in the kitchen, they ranged from boring to bad.

        That said, the evening was a success. We had a great meal, and a fun time. Not a perfect meal, but pretty damn close. Two of my courses were divine. We drank a Burgundy bottled in 1997 (we met in late 96, so that was appropriate).

        Thanks for all your recommendations, I think we'll be trying those in the future.

        1. re: greglor

          I am just curious how much did you pay for the four course ?

          1. re: honkman

            Without wine, champagne or the cheese course that we ordered, I think the four course worked out to about $130 each.

        2. I would recommend both Tapenade and El Bizcocho. At Tapenade, their mushroom ravioli is to die for and the chef's tasting I did there a year ago was fabulous - so much so that we hosted our own post-wedding dinner there for 30 people. At EB, we had an amazing 10-course meal there last year for Valentine's Day. I haven't been to Addison, but it's on my list!

          1 Reply
          1. re: pkt63

            I second Tapenade. It's where we go every year for our wedding anniversary. The wine pairings are as awesome as the food and they allow for a lovely, leisurely time as you'd like. Market is excellent food as is AR Valentien. I can't wait to try Addison. But yes, it's restaurant week so reservations may be tough....

          2. My earlier point seems to have been lost in translation. OP is looking for dinner next Tues. All the other restaurants mentioned so far in this thread ARE participating in restaurant week, including Tapenade. Addison is not, great rec and much easier to get in next week than the others.

            1. Happy Anniversary!

              January 13th is a great day for getting married. I speak from experience. My wife and I are having our 30th anniversary this Tuesday also. Small world.

              Addison's would be great. I have not eaten there, but had a great meal at Amaya this summer, which is another restaurant at the Grand Del Mar.

              As for us, we really enjoy dining at Cavaillon and will be going back there Tuesday evening. While they will be busy with the restaurant week crowd, we will be having the five course tasting menu. As for wine, I am bring a bottle of 1979 BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon which will hopefully be enjoyable.

              Here's to many more happy anniversary's!


              Cavaillon Restaurant
              14701 Via Bettona, Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92127

              2 Replies
              1. re: aafflyer

                "...1979 BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon which will hopefully be enjoyable."

                When I read your choice of wine I thought you might be in trouble. So I looked up the review from Wine Spectator. The '79 was reevaluated in 2000 and received a 79 point rating (interesting coincidence, the 79 got a 79).

                Here's the review, ""Has a good amount of fruit and dried herb character, but it's drying out. Medium-bodied, with chewy, hard tannins and a slightly metallic edge. Will never mellow."

                Best bring a back up bottle.

                1. re: The Old Man

                  Well, the '79 wine was ok. Not fantastic, not bad, good, very good. I'm not sure what I expected.

                  Cavaillion itself seemed to have an off night. One course over salted, one course showed up cold and sent back to be reheated. I'll chalk it up to the restauant week hustle and bustle for now.