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San Diego, Best Food, Best View?

I am going to San Diego in a few weeks and was hoping for some help from those of you that know the area. I want to go to a nice place for dinner with a great view and good service. Does such a place exist?! Suggestions from the concierge included Bertrand's at Mr. A's, Island Prime, George's at the Cove, and Candelas at the Bay. Reccomendations? Oh and if you have been there can you suggest the best seating? Thanks so much!

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  1. Your concierge selected the conventional thinking places.

    I would say honestly, best food and best view is Point Loma Seafoods.

    But they close I think at 6;30pm.

    1. Hands down, gotta go with George's at the Cove and request window seating near sunset time...the view is awesome, the food is great & the service matches. I have literally been known to order 8 bowls of the smoked chicken, broccoli & black bean soup in a row (and I don't care for any of those ingredients individually so they must put some kind of addictive chemical in it to make me crave it)....

      Another great place to eat (although it lacks the same quality of view since instead of being in La Jolla like George's) is Sally's on the Waterfront which is in the base of the Hyatt downtown by Seaport Village - so there is a view of the harbor, but it's not the same as George's.....Sallys is more funky, modern menu.....like 'em both, but I only get "cravings" for George's.....geez I love that soup....

      3 Replies
      1. re: Cobbo

        Question.. I saw the soup (sounds delicious!!) only on the "terrace" menu. Is that outside only? There seem to be different menus. "Modern" being the other and the bar menu of course. It said menu updated 6/15

        1. re: Yes Please

          The Terrace and Bar menus are the same, both carrying the soup. The Terrace is outside only, offering the most extensive views. The bar is much smaller and features about the same amount of seating indoors as out on it's covered patio. Downstairs is the more upscale, "fine dining" George's California Modern. The seating is all indoors and the menu is really more narrowly focused on fresh, local, seasonal ingredients.

          1. re: Yes Please

            Between the 3 levels w/ different menus, I'd recommend going downstairs to eat. You still get the view and you get better food.

        2. Yes Please, where are you staying and will you have a car? The recommendations given by the concierge are good, all are upscale, but are not very close together. All are reachable if you've got a car, but if your hotel is in the Downtown/Gaslamp area the cab ride to some of these places is not inexpensive. All these places have web sites, Google them and see if you like the menu's.

          *Mr. A's probably has the best view of the city. It's on Banker's Hill and sits on about the 15th floor. Spectacular view of the city, plus you can watch planes landing at Lindburgh

          * Island Prime is on Harbor Island and has one of the best Bay views in the city. It looks directly across to the Navy's North Island installation and is good for watching sailboats on the Bay

          * George at the Cove is in La Jolla and has an ocean view

          * Candelas at the Bay is on Coronado Island (accessible from downtown via water taxi) and also has a great Bay view. The food is upscale Mexican

          6 Replies
          1. re: DiningDiva

            DD, we are staying at the Hotel Solamar in downtown San Diego. We will have a car and also access to a car service if we choose to go to La Jolla. So location is not too much of a factor. But thanks for asking! The concierge also suggested taking the ferry to Candelas which sounds like fun.

            I have EXTENSIVELY googled all the places in question and was hoping to get outside opinions and just personal preferences from people who may have been to these places or know about them. Being that they all have a view I'd like to know how the food and the service is, where to sit and the overall experience you would get.

            The only reason I'm being so OCD about this is because its for a special occasion and I'd really love for it to go well! Thanks!

            1. re: Yes Please

              Don't overlook JSix in your hotel. It's really quite good.

              1. re: DiningDiva

                Thanks for the tip! I completely forgot all about that! We will definitely be there for drinks and snacks most likely. Do you know how breakfast is there by chance?

                1. re: Yes Please

                  Yes, the last time I had breakfast there it was actually quite good, but that was at least a year ago or more

                  1. re: DiningDiva

                    Oh good! Again thanks for the tips and reminder about JSix! We will have to go! And do you have a preference about the places I or any of the others listed? Thanks for being so helpful!

                2. re: DiningDiva

                  Love JSix..one of my fav's in the Gaslamp besides Dobson's, Grant Grill and Basic!

            2. Connected to Island Prime is C-Level. The menu at C-Level is somewhat limited and more like "bar food" style. Prices are moderate with the outdoor seating and the fabulous view of the bay. Have always been very pleased with food and service and it's near downtown on Harbor Island.

              George's at the Cove is a great option as well. Food & service is first rate. The problem IMO is if your are there after dark, there is absolutely nothing to see as an ocean view. It gets dark, dark over the water. So if you're going to George's, get there well before sunset and walk around beautiful LaJolla and take in the great scenery before you dine.

              Another fun place is World Famous in Pacific Beach. Located right on the boardwalk looking out on the surf. Always alot of surfer in this area to watch. Food is typical beach city steak/seafood/etc. The bar has some good happy hours deals on food & drink as well.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Stuffy

                Thanks for the info about George's after dark. That was exactly the kind of advice I was hoping to hear!

                1. re: Yes Please

                  As long as you go before 8, you'll get sun.

                  1. re: Josh

                    Planning to go around 7:30. That may be too late to have the view throughout dinner do you think?

              2. Oh and to add...
                We have reservations at Mastro's the same week after we are back in town (LA). So I was hoping to go somewhere not too similar in flavors. Thanks for all the replies so far!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Yes Please

                  I wouldn't do Island Prime then. Of the rest of the options I'd probably go with George's

                2. Often overlooked: La Valencia terrace.

                  Food maybe not top notch, but the view and building are.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: stevewag23

                    Normally would agree with you, but the kitchen is in the process of being completely redone. They are operating out of a very large (and expensive) kitchen trailer that has been loaded into the front patio by crane. This severely limits the amount of restaurant seating as well as the menu choices. On a sunny day it's a hard seat to get. They won't be up and running until some time in August, so I would limit my visit to the old "Pink Lady" to cocktails in the Grand Salon or the famous Whaling Bar. (By the way, as part of the remodel, The Mediterranean Room will become a completely new restaurant - name, decor, menu and all.)

                    1. re: foodiechick

                      Great tip.

                      This must be a new development.

                      1. re: stevewag23

                        New management company. They insist on opening all of the shutters and the front door during the day in the Whaling Bar...driving off the regulars ;D

                        1. re: foodiechick

                          dark and clubby is what makes the Whaling Bar..I don't want sunshine and fresh air while I'm drinking at noon..
                          Is Manny still there?

                          1. re: Beach Chick

                            I know, right?!! Manny is still there, but sadly they stripped him of his manager/maitre d responsibilities.

                            1. re: foodiechick


                              They have to go and ruin everything don't they?

                              I think it is called "progress".

                              But why mess up a good thing?

                              I can guarantee they won't make the changes they "should".

                  2. Marine Room in La Jolla is also good. The restaurant is sunken down into the beach, so at high tide the waves come up to the windows. Some people on here like to hate on it, but I've never had a bad experience there. It's a little quieter and more relaxing than George's, IMO

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Josh

                      Thanks Josh! I just googled it and the menu (dinner at least) looks great! Thanks for the rec and for the tip above. And just wondering, I had really been looking forward to hearing opinions on Candelas just because it seems so different from all the other places... any thoughts out there??

                      1. re: Yes Please

                        I should say that a lot of it depends on what kind of cuisine you're looking for. George's Modern is much hipper than Marine Room. For me, that's not necessarily a good thing. Marine Room gets accused of being stuffy, but I don't think that's necessarily accurate. The food there is really well executed, but it is definitely a bit of a throwback when compared to George's stuff.

                    2. Josh already mentioned it but I was going to suggest the Marine Room too. Chef Bernard has an excellent staff that puts out consistently good food. George's is good but a little too hustle/bustle for me.

                      Another place that is being overlooked because it is fairly new is Vela's in the Bayfront Hilton. Great views and the food I had there was top notch.

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: LisaSD

                        "George's is good but a little too hustle/bustle for me."

                        Can you explain further? I was thinking of taking my out-of-town mom to the terrace at George's.

                        1. re: ginael

                          Not sure Lisa's take on this, but for myself I find George's a little too hip. Music can be loud, crowd is noisy, boisterous, lots of "beautiful people". Marine Room has a quieter atmosphere, with mellow piano jazz. No club music or smooth jazz on the stereo. No people marching in with shopping bags.

                          Part of the difference is likely due to their respective locations. George's is on the main strip of downtown La Jolla, so people out shopping can walk right in. Marine Room is hidden away, you have to be going there deliberately.

                          1. re: Josh

                            "beautiful people"

                            They are not that beautiful.

                            "No people marching in with shopping bags."

                            I like that one.

                            1. re: stevewag23

                              Maybe Josh is getting a bit weather beaten.

                              1. re: Josh

                                Well your description of George's certainly turns me off! Maybe I'll stick to my favorite go-to option: Nine-Ten. I looked forward to trying something new in LJ Cove. Bummer.

                                As for Marine Room, I am not as enchanted with it as you. I find the atmosphere to be stuffy, with an overall musky and dated feel to the aesthetics. Unfortunately, I can't say the food was all that memorable. It wasn't poor, but it didn't warrant the high prices.

                                1. re: ginael

                                  Wasn't trying to do that - just to illustrate the difference in atmosphere between the two. I like George's. The food is really good, as is the view. It depends on what kind of atmosphere you want. For certain occasions I prefer the quietness of Marine Room. I certainly wasn't trying to disparage the quality of George's.

                                  1. re: Josh

                                    No, I appreciate the candid feedback. I'm definitely one for quiet atmosphere. Perhaps that's why Nine-Ten is one of my favorites. The view, service, food, and setting have always been wonderful.

                                2. re: Josh

                                  Josh, are you commenting on the terrace and bar level of George's? The lower level/main dining room is quieter and less noisy than the upper 2 levels.

                                3. re: ginael

                                  Also depends on time of day you plan to go. Marine Room only open for dinner, with the exception being their infrequent "High Tide" breakfasts.

                                  1. re: foodiechick

                                    Planning to go to dinner around 7:30

                                    1. re: Yes Please

                                      The Marine Room has large floodlights, so you will still get a night time water view after the sun sets.

                              2. A sometimes over-looked view spot is the terrace at the Lodge at Torrey Pines. A great place for lunch or a cocktail, if the marine layer hasn't rolled in. View of ocean, Torrey Pines Golf Course, torrey pines. Great service. Unique craftsman workmanship-- and a different La Jolla experience.

                                1. Thanks for all the feedback. Just wanted to update and say that we went to both Candelas and Geroge's. Candelas is very pretty, smaller than I imagined, GREAT view though! Food was interesting, definitely something more out of the ordinary. That being said, it wasn't extraordinary but it was very tasty.

                                  George's also had a great view. Food was more traditional than Candelas but I would say of the 2, George's seems more consistent and I think I preferred it. Both were great though!

                                  1. I was wondering any choices for low to mid fare restaurants in San Diego or preferably La Jolla?

                                    All of these recommendations sound really great and I think I will be able to convince my g-friend to try George's. But we are going to be in La Jolla for a week so we can't eat big everyday. Where else has a good view?

                                    How's World Famous for breakfast?


                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: scjohann

                                      Living Room coffeeshop has a nice view, food is just OK.

                                      Cheaper dining in La Jolla:

                                      Burger Lounge
                                      Girard Gourmet
                                      El Pescador
                                      Rimel's Rotisserie
                                      Marketplace Grille
                                      Jeff's Burgers (La Jolla shores area)

                                      George's lunch on the terrace or in the bar is pretty reasonable.

                                      1. re: Josh

                                        add Coffee Cup Cafe for breakfast, brunch and lunch. No view, but the food is very good and reasonably priced (about $10 for large plate of soy chorizo w/ scrambled eggs, black beans, rosemary potatoes and tortillas). It's next door to Burger Lounge.

                                        Come on In! has good bakery/pastry items for breakfast.

                                        Brockton Villa has the view but the food is eh, at best.

                                        Piatti's in La Jolla Shores is solidly good. No ocean view but they have a nice patio with lots of plants and greenery.

                                        Trattoria Acqua has some view of the water, but you can't see anything after dark. I haven't been for some time, but they had decent Mediterranean-Italian food.

                                      2. re: scjohann

                                        Fantastic view and really great Happy Hour prices at Clays (penthouse of the old Hotel La Jolla, they are renovating the hotel and it is closed but the restaurant/bar remains open. Decent food.

                                        Also, great happy hour prices and weekday specials in the bar at La Jolla Shores Hotel (I think the burger at happy hour is some ridiculous price like $5 or $6.0. One of the best ocean views, right on the La Jolla Shores boardwalk and steps to the ocean.

                                        Lastly, Bahia Don Bravo on La Jolla Blvd, half way to Pacific Beach. It looks like a little dive Taco Shop, but it is very roomy and comfortable inside, with patio bar stool seating outside and a great ocean view. Must try the lobster burrito...good cheap eats, Mexican beer, wine and margaritas. Fancy for a taco shop.

                                        1. re: foodiechick

                                          Have to agree about Clay's, they have a great HH.

                                          1. re: cstr

                                            Bahia Don Bravo, absolutely! Everytime I go and sit outside with a beer, I marvel how rare the place is and how unknown. The new McMansion on the beach blocks most of the view now, but there it is: a slice of ocean and no crowd if you go at off times. Happy hour menu. Truly one of my favorite La Jolla view/food places, if not my fave. The only lobster burrito in town (that I know of) and amazing.

                                      3. Cody's
                                        8030 Girard Ave.
                                        La Jolla.

                                        Fantastic Breakfast, nice patio with a view.