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Romantic Restaurants Recommendation

My gf and I are celebrating our anniversary down in SD. My budget for the dinner is $200 for the two. I'd like to avoid Italian restaurants if possible. Asian Fusion restaurants and steakhouses are good, anything exotic is welcome as well.

I don't really mind the food quality as long as it's above average but ambience must be high and romantic. I'm staying in Gaslamp hotel, but anything within 15 mi radius is good distance-wide.

I'm not a SD local (from L.A.) so I don't have a clue about San Diego. I heard Cafe Chloe is a good breakfast/lunch spot so I might check it out while down there. There are so many dinner spots, I'd really appreciate if you guys can help me narrow down to top 5.

Thanks so much!

Cafe Chloe
721 9th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

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  1. I'd take the water taxi over from Gaslamp to Coronado and dine at 1500 Ocean at the Hotel Del Coronado.
    Take a pedicab from the dock or cab for the couple miles to the hotel.
    No driving involved so you can enjoy your cocktails..
    Loew's resort in Coronado has a gondola around the bay with champagne and then dine at Mistral.
    Top of the Hyatt Downtown for after dinner drinks is great way to end the evening.
    Happy Anniversary!


    3 Replies
    1. re: Beach Chick

      I saw the SD Harbor Excursion and I really want to get the Sunday Brunch Excursion package, but it'll cost me around $130 for two people. Is it worth it?

        1. re: TryOuts

          $54 per person for cruise, champagne brunch..the food will be average but could be fun and different.
          Water taxi over to Coronado and have brunch at Candelas on the bay or the Marriott might be a better call.

      1. for steakhouses, Donovan's has a location in the Gaslamp District. I've only been to the UTC location and it's a nice, upscale steakhouse. Not sure if it falls under "romantic," but they could probably do something for you if you called ahead.

        If you're willing to drive to La Jolla, which is approx 15-20 minutes away, George's on the Cove has a very nice downstairs dining room that is reasonably quiet with views of the water.

        Cafe Japengo in UTC is Asian fusion but is quite loud and "sceney." There is also a Roy's near the Gaslamp district, off the waterfront.

        The better restaurants are outside of the Gaslamp District.

        Cafe Japengo
        3777 La Jolla Village Dr, San Diego, CA 92122

        1. If you are downtown and looking for something with a nice ambience you could look into Cowboy Star. It is a very good steakhouse with a nice "cowboy" theme which is not over the top. The food is very good and goes beyond just your standard steakhouse far, e.g. I had very good foie gras etc. You could ask specifically for one of the booths.

          1. For romance I enjoy Mister A's and AR Valentines at the Lodge at Torry Pines. Hope you find a lovely place to take your GF!

            Mister A's Restaurant
            2550 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

            1. I'd definitely go with Suite and Tender in the Se hotel on 5th Ave downtown. It's a sexy resto perfect for an intimate dinner, and the food and service are terrific. (619) 515-3003

              The Grant Grill on 326 Broadway is gorgeous with exceptional service. Not sure if $200 will be enough, but you can check menu online. http://www.grantgrill.com/

              1. Guys- I'm not seeing reccos in the $200 total range. I like all I'm seeing, and would be jumping in, but the budget's just a teeny short for all these if considering wine, cocktails, tax, tip, etc.

                Maybe Chloe

                10 Replies
                1. re: Fake Name

                  Love Chloe but for one, the chairs are some of the most uncomfortable things I have ever sat in..
                  Wine Vault
                  Jsix at the Hotel Solamar
                  Quarter Kitchen at the Hotel Andaz..
                  Grant Grill at the US Grant Hotel

                  1. re: Beach Chick

                    Those chair are the single biggest reason I don't go to Chloe more than once or twice per year. Fatass jokes aside, I completely agree. My KTM seat is more comfortable.

                    1. re: Fake Name

                      another thing in common...hee hee

                      A bed of nails is more comfortable than their chairs..what's up with that?
                      Is it a brilliant marketing concept from Chloe to eat and run..
                      Just thinking of their chairs makes me shiver with pain!

                      1. re: Beach Chick

                        Eh, they are very compact in a compact space, and because they're traditional frenchy-bistro they get away with it.

                        Here's an old photo from the first week they were open.

                        1. re: Fake Name

                          I, too, feel like a bull in a china shop when I eat there. I think the nature of the food and the general atmosphere of Chloe make me extend my pinkie farther than normal when I stir the sugar cube into my coffee with the little spoon...

                          But good tidings from SaltyRaisins: he has word that they'll be opening another location in northwest Hillcrest soon, and that space is significantly bigger.


                          1. re: SaltyRaisins

                            Shh. I've been told that's not official yet, nor the name of the other place going adjacent. I can't tell tales, but believe it our not, it's not Burger Lounge!

                            1. re: SaltyRaisins

                              Where you've been bro?

                              Just looking at those chairs makes my chica naulgita hurt!
                              ; )

                      2. re: Beach Chick

                        We eat at Chloe fairly regularly (once a week before saving for the wedding--now hopefully once a month.) But the chairs at the two larger high bar tables are much (much much much) more comfy. I assume the high tables outside are the same.

                      3. re: Fake Name

                        I don't thik it is terrible difficult to stay under $200 at Cowboy Star if you don't order the most expensive cut and the most expensive wine. You can order most of the menu (appetizer, entree and dessert) and stay under $200

                        1. re: Fake Name

                          Maybe I'm cheap but I don't think I've ever spent anything near $100pp at Chloe. You might have to order a bit selectively but I feel like you should be able to pull even George's off for something close to $100.

                        2. Thanks so much for the ideas people!

                          I will be aware of the chairs at Chloe.

                          BTW, I heard Chez Loma is one of the landmark restaurant of SD. I saw the website and it looks like a small local shop, but the rating is incredible. Anyone familiar with that restaurant care to share your experience?

                          Chez Loma
                          1132 Loma Ave, Coronado, CA 92118

                          20 Replies
                          1. re: TryOuts

                            Chez Loma has seen better days, a long time ago. And while it has had a good reviews in the past, I don't think it was ever considered a landmark. Skip it.

                            Chez Loma
                            1132 Loma Ave, Coronado, CA 92118

                            1. re: foodiechick

                              Concur with foodiechicka..
                              Been going there since an 8 track long version of Freebird was around and sad, but it's seen better days..
                              I qualify more as a landmark than Chez Loma!
                              ; )

                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                <lights Bic lighter and, arm aloft, pumps flame-topped fist in air>

                                1. re: Beach Chick

                                  8 tracks!! I'll have to blow the dust off my Herb Alpert Tijuana Brass stuff. OMG, I'm old!

                                      1. re: cstr

                                        I had one displayed on a wall in the studio for 15 years.

                                          1. re: foodiechick

                                            does it count if it was your parents?

                                              1. re: foodiechick

                                                it still kicks serious ass..
                                                inspired me to be the drummer that I am today!
                                                Thank you Herb Alpert and the TJ brass!

                                          2. re: Fake Name

                                            I believe the title was 'Whipped Cream and Other Delights'.

                                            1. re: cstr

                                              I think you're right on the title cstr. Wow, does that bring back memories. I had the LP up until last summer. A little Dating Game anyone?

                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                  I think we're all al least 29. With BC's B-Day coming soon could be reason to party with the album blaring in the background! Blow the dust off those drum sticks BC!

                                    1. re: foodiechick

                                      ah sad to hear that.... I was expecting to read a positive review since it's considered by many as the "neighborhood gem".

                                      Well my plan is to eat dinner around Coronado/Downtown area, and then do a Gondolla ride that is scheduled at 9:30 PM. Chez Loma would've been perfect for its location.

                                      Edit: I will look into 1500 Ocean at the Hotel Del Coronado. I have a reservation at Mister A's, but it's a bit far off from the gondola place.

                                      Chez Loma
                                      1132 Loma Ave, Coronado, CA 92118

                                      1. re: TryOuts

                                        Hey TryOuts..
                                        Stick with 1500 Ocean vs. Mister A's..
                                        Great food and close to the Gondola ride..
                                        Love that you are following my advice.. ; )
                                        Hotel Del is a lovely, romantic place and great to walk the beach afterwards.
                                        Love that you such a romantic and want to make your anniversary a special event for your girlfriend..so sweet!
                                        Report back and have fun!

                                        1. re: Beach Chick


                                          My only concern is that a Gondola ride at 9:30 at night might be a bit chilly to enjoy the ride, considering that it's taking place on the coastal side.

                                          1. re: TryOuts

                                            You're right about the chill factor, but that's just gonna make your partner seek out your warmth even more- a good thing on a "romantic" excursion.

                                            I don't think the gondola ride will be on the coast side of the strand, though. It will be on the bay side of things, near the resort. Just picturing you two huddled on the boat, gondoliere trying to stand on the back with his long paddle attempting to get outside the crashing surf, navy SEALS looking on...


                                            1. re: TryOuts

                                              it's strictly bayside and they have blankets..hopefully they are cashmere and at 9:30pm, maybe some baileys and coffee served to-go at Loew's bar before venturing out.

                                              Salty..love the visual..