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what is the best steak place in San Diego?

I did a search and couldn't find anything but please redirect me if I'm missing it. Looking for a great steak dinner. Please list the best steak you've had and what you liked about it. Thanks!

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  1. I like Donovan's in LJ, great quality produce and of course beef, very good wine list, they make a killer round loaf of bread that is served warm, nice atmosphere, and excellent service. Also, unlike other chop houses, the entree's include a starch and veg. They go out of their way to please, you'll never get a bad meal at Donovan's.

    1. I like Red Tracton's, near the Del Mar racetrack and fairgrounds, on Via de la Valle just to the coast side off the 5. Unlike Donovan's or almost all of the other steakhouses, it is local and unique, not part of a chain. Prime rib and steak are their specialties, and they also have daily specials and serve fish. Very oldschool, with servers that have been there forever, booths, and a bar in front that is really happening at happy hour, latenight, and particularly during racing season. Yes, it is pricey, but portions are generous and come with sides, and it is no more expensive than the upscale steak chains.

      22 Replies
      1. re: nosh

        Donovan's has 3 locations in the SD area, hardly a chain.

        1. re: cstr

          Donovan's is a national chain. We ate at the one in Branson, Mo.

          Ooops, my mistake. The steakhouse on The Landing in Branson was a Sullivan's, not a Donovan's. It is now a Texas Land & Cattle, which many think is one of the best steakhouses in Austin. I think I confused my big, retired ex-NFL linemen who opened up restaurants...

          1. re: cstr

            thanks for the thoughts so far. Anyone tried cowboy star? http://www.thecowboystar.com/ I like the idea of grass fed from argentina...?

            1. re: babymaven

              YES! That's where I'd go. The buffalo especially.

                1. re: dietndesire

                  Not that I've seen, they have excellent buffalo, and there beef comes from different ranches like, Nieman, meyers and they have 'Kobe' style from Austrailia.

              1. re: cstr

                They have a location in Phoenix.

                Anything with a Phoenix location qualifies as a chain.

                1. re: stevewag23

                  Yah, I forgot that loc but, you're being harsh compared to Morton's, Palm, RC's which are huge corporate cookie cutter chains. If you've eaten there, you know what I mean, the quality and service are much better than most. I've dined at almost all of the bigs across the US, I think Donovan's does a good job.

                  1. re: stevewag23

                    That was literally their 2nd restaurant, opened a couple of years ago. Donavan's has been a one restaurant business a lot longer than it's had its 2nd restaurant.

                    By this logic, a restaurant that only exists in Phoenix is a chain.

                2. re: nosh

                  Whether it's a chain or a bracelet, Donovan's is a fine restaurant that serves outstanding beef. Red Tracton's is a local-color roadhouse that can be entertaining at times, but the food is notches below Donovan's and the well-regarded national chains -- Morton's and nearby Ruth's Chris, for example -- in quality. Even the latter pale to insignificance next to a real steakhouse like Bern's in Tampa, but Red merely cooks the large muscles of dumber mammals compared to Donovan's, Morton's, and Ruth's Chris. However, if a day at Del Mar leaves you so famished you can't go more than 100 yards for dinner and you're not in the mood for the overpriced, underperforming expense-account fare at Pamplemousse or the very nice fishies at Fish Market, then you should like maybe try Red Tracton's, maybe!

                  1. re: Harry Nile

                    I think West Steak and Seafood in Carlsbad has one of the best steaks. I haven't been there in a while but I remember them always being great. I used to eat there once a week and it was always excellent.

                    1. re: SDGourmand

                      Agreed- West is VERY good. The bistro, not as much.

                      1. re: Fake Name

                        Bistro has one good thing and that's the chicken pot pie.

                    2. re: Harry Nile

                      Cowboystar by far is better that the other alternatives. Two most recent trips to Donovan's have been disapointing, low quality feed lot beef and surly service. I like Red Tracton, but for the Shrimp on Ice, Lobster Bisque and the Gothic Sandwich.

                      1. re: stevuchan

                        I go to Tracton's often for the rib roast, not the steaks. They're ordinary and can't compare to Ruth Chris', a few miles away. Cowboy Star is very good, BTW Niman Ranch is no longer what it once was, that verified in a recent article by Bill Niman, the founder. He sold to a large conglomerate and they immediately discarded his principles.

                        1. re: stevuchan

                          How did you determine that Donovan's serves "low quality feed lot beef"? They claim "Cornfed Prime Beef," and Cowboy Star admits their producers still slip corn in with the trendy grass clippings. (Both facts from the Web sites.) I go by taste, not marketing concepts, and have always found Donovan's meats and service to be excellent.

                          1. re: Mel Gee

                            stevuchan is commenting on emotion here with no substancial facts. Also, there are comments floating around about grass fed vs non grasss fed beef. OK let's have discussion about the merits etc of that topic but, the fact is that Donovan's serves USDA Prime beef, not low quality beef.

                            1. re: cstr

                              I was commenting on the taste, rib eye tasted like they picked it up at the grocery store, end of story, no emotion.

                              1. re: stevuchan

                                I have to disagree w/ you. Grocery store rib eye does not taste as good as Donovan's.

                                1. re: stevuchan

                                  And the Ch√Ęteauneuf-du-Pape they serve tastes like Welches Grape Juice from the grocery store. If I was dropping a half-a-yard on a steak and it was like you described, I'd make sure the MOD knew how I felt before I left.

                                  1. re: stevuchan

                                    And there's no accounting for taste, so I can't say more about that. But it would be very helpful in the future, stevuchan, if you could let us know when you're stating an opinion. You tossed out "low quality feed lot beef" as though it were certified fact. Thanks.

                                    1. re: Mel Gee

                                      Strictly opinion, and we did make clear our displeasure to the MOD only to have him defend the waitstaff. Poor experience all around. Move on fellows, you like it, I do not.

                        2. Donovan's is our first pick--gone there many, many times over the years and never a bad meal or service. Their mushrooms are to die for!
                          Next is Fleming's or Ruths Chris'

                          Chain or not, these are very good steakhouses.

                          For some reason, Morton's has never "done it" for me.

                          1. We've always been partial to Donovan's, been to the downtown location and the original UTC establishment. Their steaks are on par with any, but it's the service and other menu items that set them apart for us.

                            Rainwater's on Kettner used to be good also, but we haven't had occasion to go there lately.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: araknd

                              I have always wanted to love Rainwater's on Kettner but the place has never done it for me.

                              Poor, grumpy service.
                              Hyper expensive wine list.

                              1. re: stevewag23

                                My wife and I have been there only three times. The food was really good, but I do agree with you about the wine list. The first two times we went, it was not on our dime so it didn't make a difference to us, but when we went back a year later, it really sunk in how much they were charging for the bottles.

                                1. re: araknd

                                  Hell, also there per glass prices.

                                  I think the cheapest one is like $14 and rachets up from there fast.

                                2. re: stevewag23

                                  Their attitude is a bit arrogant as well, I've dined there about three times and you're correct, it doesn't work for me.

                                  1. re: cstr

                                    Maybe give it another try. They have a new chef and have changed menu items (and attitude).

                              2. Saska's! Talk about old school ...

                                But seriously, I've enjoyed a few good steaks at Greystone and Lou & Mickey's. I know they we're in the Gaslamp, but still, they did a good job.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Maxmdwinter

                                  Gonna have to agree with you there Maxm....Lou & Mickey's brings it home for me with stellar service and a tender, juicy rib eye steak, their grilled jumbo artichoke and a vodka martini w/3 blue-cheese stuffed olives...UP!

                                  1. re: Sampaguita

                                    Stellar service at Lou & Mickey's? When was this? We tried that place three times over a two-month period a few years back (we really wanted to like it) and although the food was decent-to-good, they completely screwed up our orders on ALL THREE visits.

                                    We concluded that they're like KC BBQ across from the Hyatt Manchester (well, better food than KC), in the sense that with a steady stream of tourists, they don't have to be good. We'll never go back.