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Very special dinner in San Diego Area?

josephnl Sep 24, 2009 11:25 AM

I want to take someone to dinner at someplace very special in the San Diego area. It should be somewhat dressy, serve delicious American or French cuisine, and be quiet enough for good conversation. Cost is not an issue. I am considering Addison's at the Grand Del Mar, Mille Fleurs in Rancho Santa Fe, and Mr. A's downtown. I have not read anything recently about any of these three, and would appreciate feedback about recent visits. Where would you go...one of these three, or somewhere else?

  1. j
    josephnl Oct 25, 2009 10:02 AM

    We had our special dinner at Addison's last night. Thanks to everyone who encouraged us to return there. It was terrific...and it had a very high bar to reach...we ate at 11 Madison Park, a four star New York Times restaurant in NYC this past week, and had as close to a perfect meal there as is possible. Addison's was not quite at that level...but almost. The service was outstanding, the ambiance very quiet and beautiful (although I think a bit over-the-top), and the food was excellent. My guest is sometimes a bit of a challenge (he likes very well-done fish, will not eat pork or shellfish, and is generally a vegetarian...although he dislikes mushrooms!), and he was very pleased with his food. I had the artichoke bottom with calamari first course, followed by chanterelle mushrooms on polenta, then the lamb persillade, and finally a terrific chocolate dessert. The only thing I wasn't crazy about was the lamb presentation. The lamb itself was delicious...perfectly cooked and beautifully plated. However, the only other thing on the plate were two rather large scoops of burrata cheese (a very strange accompaniment imho) and a few cloves of roasted garlic. I found the lamb/cheese combination unappealing, and would have much preferred a vegetable or starch side. Otherwise everything was terrific. This is an outstanding serious restaurant, and is certainly one of the best special occasion restaurants in southern CA!

    2 Replies
    1. re: josephnl
      Alice Q Oct 25, 2009 01:50 PM

      Thanks for the report - other possibilities for a fancy but not quite as formal spot would be 1500 Ocean, Kitchen 1540 or Blanca. (Blanca has a new chef and early reports are good.)

      1. re: josephnl
        daantaat Oct 27, 2009 07:44 PM

        I can still taste the artichokes w/ black olive tempura calamari and the polenta w/ chanterelles! Glad you had a great dinner!

      2. c
        connim Sep 28, 2009 04:11 PM

        I vote for the Marine Room. If you go during the week, you can get a prix fix menu. The view is beautiful even at night. Try the lobster bisque.

        1. j
          josephnl Sep 27, 2009 09:35 PM

          I have reserved at Addison. I am sure we will not be disappointed, and will report back after our dinner.

          1. Dagney Sep 27, 2009 01:52 AM

            Addison. Husband and I just celebrated our two year anniversary there. I was going to post the menu tonight, but I got sidetracked with housework. Check back tomorrow, I'll post it on the Addison thread.

            1. d
              daantaat Sep 25, 2009 09:55 PM

              AR Valentien

              1 Reply
              1. re: daantaat
                Sampaguita Sep 27, 2009 05:12 PM


              2. Josh Sep 25, 2009 12:38 AM

                You might want to look at the Sky Room at the La Valencia. I think it will meet your criteria.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Josh
                  stevewag23 Sep 27, 2009 02:00 PM

                  That place is dressy.

                  A.R. Valentien might fit the bill as well.

                  1. re: stevewag23
                    josephnl Sep 27, 2009 03:38 PM

                    We have been to A. R. Valentien and have found both the food and service to be hit or miss....ranging from excellent, to downright poor. Will not chance it for a very special occasion.

                    1. re: josephnl
                      Beach Chick Sep 27, 2009 07:46 PM

                      Check out dagney's latest review on the Addison=Excellent thread..
                      It will seal the deal for you josephnl on Addison's at the Grand Del Mar..

                      1. re: josephnl
                        stevewag23 Sep 28, 2009 11:21 AM

                        Hell, I would just fly to SF.

                        1 hour flight makes it in the "San Diego Area", more or less.

                  2. SDGourmand Sep 24, 2009 04:42 PM

                    Addison for sure. Nothing compares.

                    1. a
                      araknd Sep 24, 2009 02:48 PM

                      My wife and I love Mille Fleur. It is our "special" meal place and we never fail to have a wonderful dining experience there.

                      We have heard much about Addison, but just have not had the opportunity to try it out.

                      How about AR Valentien at the Torrey Pines Lodge. Wife and I had a very nice dinner there, also.

                      It may not be at the same level as Addison, but Cavaillon is very good also. It's out of the way in Del Sur, but worth the drive.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: araknd
                        josephnl Sep 24, 2009 03:05 PM

                        Cavaillon is a very good restaurant. We have had some very nice meals there, but it's not special enough...for this dinner, I really do want something a bit dressy and with terrific ambiance in addition to the food. Based on the above, I think it's going to be Addison or Mille Fleurs (or perhaps El Bizcocho?). Still waiting for further comments however. Thanks!

                        1. re: araknd
                          mcgrath Sep 24, 2009 03:06 PM

                          Original poster asked for one thing that's hard to come by: quiet. I love A.R. Valentien, and while it's not exactly noisey there, at Addison the tables are placed much farther apart and thus, the ability to have easily heard, private conversations over dinner is much enhanced.

                          1. re: mcgrath
                            josephnl Sep 24, 2009 04:40 PM

                            Agree that quiet has become extremely hard to come by in restaurants in most of the U.S. Indeed, I am sure that some restaurants are specifically designed with hard surfaces to create a "high energy ambiance" (aka "noise"). I assume some diners must like this. I personally hate restaurants where I have to shout to be heard...thus certainly for a special occasion, a quiet and relaxing ambiance is, to me almost (but not quite). as important as delicious food.

                        2. m
                          mcgrath Sep 24, 2009 02:23 PM

                          Given your criteria ("very special" "quiet" delicious cuisine" "price no object") there is really only one choice: Addison.

                          1. honkman Sep 24, 2009 12:55 PM

                            I think if you expect anything close to some of the restaurants you experienced in LA you will be disappointed in SD. I haven't been to Addison yet (the reviews and menus so far don't really look that good (espcially for that price.). I recently had a nice dinner (tasting menu, not on the menu but we asked the chef before going there if he could crrate one for us) at Georges at the Cove which was really good and it might be something for you.
                            BTW, how was your dinner at BistroLQ (I will be there this weekend) ?

                            1. foodiechick Sep 24, 2009 12:33 PM

                              I have not been to MF in several years, but was talking to a local foodie who went there last week and they were very disappointed in every aspect of their experience there.

                              1. Beach Chick Sep 24, 2009 12:30 PM

                                Knowing how you roll josephnl, I would dine at Addison's at the Grand Del Mar..
                                The food and ambience are lovely.
                                I enjoy Mille Fleurs simply for the fact that I can go in and have a lovely meal and for me, is like dining in someones home in Provence...haven't been for several years.
                                Mister A's which is Bertrand Hugs other restaurant which has merit but feel that Addison's would be the perfect venue.
                                Grant Grill at the US Grant Grill or the Marine Room at LJBTC would work as well.
                                Can count on one hand restaurants that fit within your parameter in SD..
                                Best to you and keep us posted!

                                1. r
                                  RTee Sep 24, 2009 12:05 PM

                                  Mr. A's has a great view of the city, but in my experience the food is not as great as some other restaurants of its tier. I've only been to Mille Fleurs during Restaurant Week, and I've never been to Addison's so I'll refrain from judging these two.

                                  You should look into The Winesellar & Brasserie in Mira Mesa. The bottom floor is a wine shop and the top floor is an intimate restaurant with an extensive wine list and excellent French cuisine. The caveat here is that it's in the middle of a not-so-spectacular area. In fact, it's kind of hard to find as it's located in the back lot amidst a bunch of office buildings.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: RTee
                                    josephnl Sep 24, 2009 12:09 PM

                                    Winesellar and Brasserie is nice, I've been there myself. Honestly, because of the location and ambiance, it's not special enough for this occasion. Thanks for the comment re Mr. A's.

                                    1. re: josephnl
                                      stevewag23 Sep 27, 2009 01:58 PM

                                      Yeah, if only the location and ambiance were good, Winesellar and Brasserie would be a great restaurant.

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