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La Jolla Recommendations

My boyfriend and I are going to visit La Jolla from the Bay Area next month. We will be there a short amount of time. Looking for restaurant recommendations for places with a view, good food and not outrageously expensive. Open to various types of cuisine, mostly seeking relaxing, vacation worthy experience with solid food and good service. I realize that most places in La Jolla are fairly expensive.


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  1. George's California Modern is this board's darling for fine dining with a great view in La Jolla.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Captain Jack

      Thanks, Captain Jack! I will check it out.

    2. Nine-Ten and Manhattan are worth a stop by.

      And of course La Valencia, is essential for the La Jolla experience.

      1. I really like Whisknladle. They are doing great farm to table smallish plates. They also now have a selection of $3 tapas. We recently tried the homemade salami, shrimp, patatas bravas and lamb meatballs with couscous. It was a great selection and that and a salad made quite a meal. I really enjoy sitting in the bar area.

        1. Coffee Cup Cafe for breakfast, brunch and casual lunch
          Roppongi's for their happy hour (all apps/tapas 50% off from 4-6 pm every day. 3-4 of them make a meal)
          2nd George's, esp for the formal dining downstairs.
          Nine-Ten is also very good.
          The Cottage is decent for breakfast.
          Piatti's for lunch or dinner.
          skip Brockton Villa--food is meh, even though there's a view.

          1. Tapenade has excellent food and service, but they are located slightly inland from the water a few blocks.

            1. George's CA Modern is great, lunch at the rooftop Ocean Terrace is also nice when the weather's good. Food is a notch below the dining room, but it's more casual and has the most amazing view. I also like to sit on the deck at AR Valentien - just up the coast a bit near Torrey Pines, they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner (though it gets chilly at night.) For a quick bite, the Cheese Shop, down by the Shores - has good deli sandwiches, Burger Lounge isn't bad and El Pescador has good takeout fish sandwiches. A drink at the Valencia is always nice, but the food is nothing special. Also avoid Jose's & the Spot (aka the Splotch.) I would also say no Trattoria Acqua or Crab Catcher - though they do have a nice view.

              Brockton Villa is lovely for breakfast/brunch - but don't go there for any other meal - and only order the Coast Toast or something really simple. It's hit or miss for anything else.

              I've had good meals at Nine Ten, Tapenade and Roppongi but Roppongi's Asian fusion concept seems a little dated to me, and it seemed to have slid a bit the last time we ate there. I've had service issues at Nine Ten on almost every visit, and our last meal at Tapenade was not very good at all. If it's a short trip, you'd be better off at George's California Modern, IMHO. I also like Sante, for Italian - a little off the beaten path, but very good. Enjoy the trip!

              6 Replies
              1. re: Alice Q

                I think Trattoria Acqua is now closed.

                1. re: stevewag23

                  Yes - I had a friend that went on one of their final evenings. Some of the food was pretty good; some was meh. Typical. :)

                  I still think that the wrong one of the two neighbors closed, but I'll keep quiet. The last time I criticized the Crab Catcher somebody created three different accounts to flame me.

                  1. re: RB Hound

                    Completely agree on the Crab Catcher

                    1. re: RB Hound

                      "The last time I criticized the Crab Catcher somebody created three different accounts to flame me."

                      Good to see that Crab Catcher has a good online marketing department.

                      1. re: honkman

                        Wow. 11th hour save.

                        "The last two weeks were two of the busiest weeks in our 16 years here."

                  2. Lunch at Cafe 910 is pretty reasonable, and they have interesting and creative fare. Their beer list is very impressive.

                    1. I second the comments of Captain Jack and Alice Q.......many choices, but Georges is at the top of the list. The roof top patio is hard to beat for view and "upscale casual" dining. Reserve in advance or its a lengthy wait during prime times.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: bobbyh

                        I agree on the view of the roof top patio but everytime we went there for lunch we were underwhelmed by the food. It's not bad but also nothing you would really get excited about. Their "real" restaurant downstairs on the other side is excellent.

                        1. re: bobbyh

                          Maybe for the view but, the chow at George's really lacks. Also, I don't know why anyone would go to Brockton Villa because they have 'possibly' one good item on the menu, everything there is meh and the stench from the gull and pellican guano is retchid.

                          1. re: cstr

                            The Pelican poo is pretty stinky in the summer, but it shouldn't be too bad right now with all the rain we've had lately. George's has also been revamped in the year or so (physical plant and menu/food) so if you haven't been in a while you should give it another go.

                            1. re: Alice Q

                              Ture, the rain is a wonderful way of nature cleansing those stone perches. I usually go for happy hour and the view at George's, though haven't been for a while. I'm due for a run over there.

                        2. Everyone has given you great places..
                          I would like to add the Crab Catcher for happy hour.
                          Grab a grouper/sea bass sandwich at El Pescador and eat at the park in LJ Cove.
                          Back patio of La V for breakfast/brunch with sweeping views is one of my fave's.
                          You can dine at Jose's for Mex with a peek of the ocean.
                          Lobster burrito and fish tacos at Don Bravo's in Bird Rock is awesome and watch the sets come in.
                          The Shores restaurant in the Shores is decent and oceanfront..happy hour at Clay's atop of Hotel LJ too.


                          1. The Cottage is nice for breakfast or lunch, with a comfortable patio. Also, El Pescador is great for a fresh grilled fish sammy.