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Where to take the graduate?

RenoRed Mar 13, 2010 02:26 PM

Our daughter will be graduating late May from SDSU. The family (there will be about 8 of us) would like to take her somewhere special for a late lunch, early dinner (we know she will want to be out with friends later). She currently lives in Pacific Beach. We know nothing of the area, and she doens't know where she would like to go. She doesn't eat much meat, but we all do! Would like to get a reservation in early. Any suggestions? Thanks for the help

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  1. phee Mar 13, 2010 09:06 PM

    That depends - are you looking to dine close to the college or close to PB? Upscale or more casual?

    6 Replies
    1. re: phee
      RenoRed Mar 14, 2010 07:46 AM

      I told her the choice was her's to make. Since there are 8 of us, I suggested price range to be around $25 to $30 each. Being young, I would think she would like some sort of "fun" atomosphe? Something with a view? I don't know San Diego well enough to know what is out there. But since it is granuation, I would think she would like to go someplace more fancy than what is around PB.

      1. re: RenoRed
        mcgrath Mar 14, 2010 01:03 PM

        "Fancy" and "25-30 each", while not mutually exclusive, makes it a pretty tall order. You obviously want to avoid her thinking (or worse, verbalizing) that your choices are "lame", so you're right to be thinking something with a younger vibe. I'm thinking 1500 at the Hotel Del, or Kitchen 1540 up in Del Mar at the auberge. Or, George's California Modern in La Jolla. If those are too pricey, then Fish Market or C Level, which has an unmatched view of SD Bay. Food rather ordinary by Chow standards at the latter two, but you'll be in at budget.

        1. re: mcgrath
          Captain Jack Mar 14, 2010 02:06 PM

          JRDN at the swanky Tower 23 hotel in PB is right on the boardwalk with a great view, has a very hip dining room and bar, and has pretty good food to boot. Here you will give up a bit of chow-worthiness for a setting the 20 something grads will dig.

          1. re: Captain Jack
            mcgrath Mar 14, 2010 03:24 PM

            Considered JRDN, but haven't been there since the orig. chef left for Cowboy Star (forget his name), but you're right, it's very high on the hip-ness meter and if the food's still decent, it's definitely on the mark for the OP.

            1. re: mcgrath
              Captain Jack Mar 14, 2010 03:55 PM

              Victor Jiminez, who was head Chef at Gringo's before opening JRDN. He was brought up by Brett Miller who owns both Gringo's and JRDN (and Moondoggie's for that matter). The Chef is now Dave Warner, who was Sous under Victor. In my opinion, things have not changed much since he took over.

          2. re: mcgrath
            DougOLis Mar 16, 2010 08:43 AM

            An alternative to George's California Modern would be the upstairs George's Ocean Terrace. Weather permitting it could be a better late lunch experience since it's a bit more relaxed and outdoors. Slightly cheaper too (although you can order off the California Modern menu up there as well).

            Agreed on the other recs but they might be a bit too formal and not possible at the price point when factoring in drinks (except for C-Level). Are the others open for lunch anyway?

      2. Dagney Mar 14, 2010 01:20 PM

        I will probably get beaten to a bloody pulp for this suggestion, but Indigo Grill in Little Italy would be a good choice. You will be in budget, it's a funky, creative place, and they have some solid vegetarian options. (Indigo is a Cohn Restaurant, which is kind of an 800 pound gorilla restaurant company).

        1. d
          daantaat Mar 14, 2010 07:49 PM

          If you're up for an early dinner, Wine Vault and Bistro has a killer $30 5 course prix fixe dinner on the weekends. I can't remember if they have it on the weekdays in addition to the regular menu, but it's worth looking into. Atmosphere is casually lively and "nice," but not stuffy. It's west of SDSU near the intersection of the 5 freeway and Washington. Only negative is that parking can be a pain.

          2 Replies
          1. re: daantaat
            Captain Jack Mar 14, 2010 11:03 PM

            I really like WV&B for Chow-ishness and good value, but I don't see it as a good rec for fun loving 20 somethings celebrating graduation. Yawn on the exciting vibe and hip factor.

            1. re: Captain Jack
              honkman Mar 14, 2010 11:48 PM

              We were at WV&B on Saturday and there were actually quite a few tables with 20 somethings celebrating different things and I would think a graduation celebration would fit in nicely.

          2. s
            stevewag23 Mar 16, 2010 10:44 AM

            Hotel Del.

            Best place in my opinion for a san diego graduate.

            3 Replies
            1. re: stevewag23
              Captain Jack Mar 16, 2010 10:57 AM

              Good call sw23,
              The resort offers a fun environment and 1500 Ocean is a very good restaurant.

              1. re: Captain Jack
                mcgrath Mar 16, 2010 06:28 PM

                My first call above, also, except OP won't get in at budget there. Such a nice place, though, to get a drink on the oceanview patio, then ease into 1500 for a nice dinner. What the heck, OP, she only graduates once!

                1. re: mcgrath
                  Captain Jack Mar 16, 2010 07:43 PM

                  Oops mcgrath, you are right, you recommended it first. It is really is a great call. And yah OP, just think of what you spent on your little darling the last four years, now is not the time to scrimp :) Time to go out with a bang!

            2. b
              Beach Chick Mar 17, 2010 02:40 PM

              Bali Hai in Shelter Island
              Island Prime Harbor Island
              George's at the Cove on the Ocean Terrace..La Jolla
              Piatti's LJ Shores
              Kitchen 1540 at L'Auberge Del Mar resort
              Jake's Del Mar

              5 Replies
              1. re: Beach Chick
                sdnativa Mar 17, 2010 03:16 PM

                Bali Hai is closed for a big remodel. The mai tais will have to wait.

                1. re: sdnativa
                  Beach Chick Mar 17, 2010 03:35 PM

                  I heard that they would open back early April..have you heard different?
                  OP is looking at late May..
                  love love love those mai tai's!

                  1. re: Beach Chick
                    sdnativa Mar 17, 2010 04:28 PM

                    As of last week the place is a construction zone. It doesnt look close to being done but perhaps by May....

                    The mai tais are good, too good.

                    1. re: sdnativa
                      RenoRed Mar 21, 2010 07:47 AM

                      Thanks everyone for all the suggestions. She did mention the C Level, thought it would be less expensive than Island Prime, problem there is that
                      C Level doesn't take reservations.....anyone know if the wait would be terribly long on a late sunday afternoon/early evening? Funny, one of her first jobs in SD was at the Bali Hai as the hostess!

                      Bali Hai Restaurant
                      2230 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106

                      Island Prime
                      880 Harbor Island Drive, San Diego, CA 92101

                      C Level Restaurant
                      880 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

                      1. re: RenoRed
                        Beach Chick Mar 21, 2010 11:51 AM

                        I'd call C Level and tell them you have a party of 8+..maybe hold with a CC#.
                        Graduation week..I would have a reservation..remind the hostess desk of this as well.

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