San Diego - Gaslamp Quarter
I am looking for a restaurant in Gaslamp Quarter for 12 person business dinner. Looking for a menu with fair amount of choices and good wine list. Anything good? I want to avoid chains. Thoughts on Urbana Cucina? Any other recommendations?
I don't want to sound snarky, but this is the most frequently asked question on the California Board. If you search for "Gaslamp" over the last month or two (or even just look at the first few pages of the board), you'll get plenty of discussion. Take this thread, for example:
While I am a big fan of Cucina Urbana, I would not recommend it for a business dinner. Being the "it" restaurant at the moment, the scene is lively and very noisy. Better to try to sneak in there with a smaller party another time.
My recommendation for your function would be either Oceanaire or Flemings. While Oceanaire is billed as a seafood place and Flemings as a steakhouse, they both offer good entree selections other than their named specialties. They also both offer an appropriate, upscale atmosphere for a business function, as well as excellent service. We have used the private room at Flemings for a corporate dinner and our guests were very impressed.
Is it me or has Cucina Urbana been going downhill? It isn't the scene or the crowd, the plates seem smaller, more rushed, and overall not as impressive. The squash blossoms (a go-to for many people) were very bland and the "blossom" was nearly non-existent our last two times going.
Flemings is a chain, but a very solid steakhouse for the Gaslamp, with excellent service.
Cowboy Star may be more impressive for the game meats.
You might also want to scout out Suite & Tender at the Hotel Se (new and somewhat trendy). Have entertained there on 2 occasions and the food and service were very good. The recommendations made by the others are all solid options as well. It depends on the vibe you are lookig for. Agree that Cucina Urbana would be too loud for a business dinner, but you should try to hit it while you are in town (it is my favorite spot at the moment) and consistantly very good.