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Quiet-ish restaurant?

  • j

We come to San Diego a few times a year to visit my parents and have found over the last few years that my poor mom has become increasingly hard of hearing. She wears hearing aids, but still has a hard go of it, particularly in noisy environments. Loud restaurants, or even slightly noisy ones, have become a big challenge for her and her dining companions (i.e. me and our family). So, my Chowhound challenge: What restaurants can you suggest in the San Diego area that are reasonably quiet? They live in La Jolla, but we're open to suggestions anywhere in the San Diego area, and across the price spectrum. Suggestions for newer, interesting, creative places would be particularly appreciated.


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  1. Marine Room in LJ
    Whaling Bar at the La Valencia hotel or Med. Room
    Tapenade in LJ
    Nine-Ten in LJ
    Addisons at the Grand Del Mar resort
    AR Valentien's at the Lodge at Torrey Pines

    Finding quiet restaurants anywhere are a rare thing..have a great time with your parents!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Beach Chick

      BC, I like your list, but the last time I was at Nine-Ten (for dinner) is was very loud.

    2. I agree about the paucity of restaurants that allow intimate conversation. It's clear most places design their establishments with enjoying the company of others as the lowest priority. The highest being, WOW factor, cuteness in their design arrogance and speed with which tables are turned the patrons rushed to stop the noise with which they're inflicted.

      Good news is that I suspect this is a phase like potty training where decent places will eventually learn WE DON"T LIKE IT, and will seek out places that welcome our business and encourage us to patronize their establishments.

      In the meantime, keep your cute cement floors, your decor suggesting an interruption in demolition (ooo! it has the rustic "unfinished look!) your loud music and your chatty servers.

      Whew. Can you tell I'm tired of these places?

      One place I recently had an excellent and quiet meal is Red Velvet Wine Bar. Quite lovely, fantastic food and wine.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Fake Name

        The science on this is interesting and basically its 'acoustic stimulation' loud noise, makes you drink more, eat faster and leave quickly as a patron.
        Quiet and conversation is a lost art..


        1. re: Beach Chick


          Drink more to kill the pain of all the noise.
          Eat more because there's nothing else to do- can't converse.
          Eat faster because you want it to end as quickly as possible.

          Wise up, restauranteurs, this fad will not last long. Give us rooms we can enjoy- the disco/diner is getting tiresome.

      2. I fully understand, my FIL wears hearing aids and loud noises can sound like being in a 'symphony hall' in the first row. I'd suggest Donovan's in LJ, you can ask the manager for a table in one of their smaller rooms.

        1. Thanks for the suggestions, Beach Chick. Several of those are new to me (I moved out of town over 10 years ago). We will definitely check some of them out next time we're in town. Any other suggestions anyone?

          1. the downstairs dining room at George's California Modern is usually pretty quiet.

            Georges California Modern
            1250 Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037

            1. Try La Bastide in Scripps Ranch.

              La Bastide
              10006 Scripps Ranch Blvd, San Diego, CA 92131

              1. The Westagate has a very nice restaurant on the ground floor that has no extra sounds and is very nice. I recently wnet there with a friend and she has the same problem with her husband, so when they dine out, they often choose the Westgate. They also have validated valet parking underneath, it makes everything very easy.
                Good luck.

                1. Jugo, I have the exact same issue with my mom - her hearing (or lack thereof) really bothers her in loud restaurants, and when I saw her last week for Christmas, we went to the new "it" restaurant in Sun Valley, Idaho, where we were visiting, and she told me she felt like she was attending a rock concert. What should have been a really special family dinner turned out to be a shout-fest...very annoying!

                  When you visit SD, you might want to take your mom to the Japanese restaurant, Oton, which has little private booths (called tatami or nabe, I think) that are almost like a private room and are so cozy and quiet, and the food is delicious! Definitely reserve in advance. Here's the most recent post about Oton from this board - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7380...

                  1. Try Sunday brunch at Brigantine Del Mar. I know...I know...it is one of a small chain but it overcomes the chain-ness with a world class view of the race track, a menu which changes frequently, muffins hot from the oven and blessed quiet. A table on the deck or the glassed in patio will surely please Mom.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: gleewms

                      That patio can get really noisy. Oftentimes there are lots of big groups celebrating some sort of milestone. Also it can be drafty out there, not that I mind. Moms would probably be happier in one of the nice booths in the dining room. FYI they are planning on undergoing a fairly extensive remodel in Feb.

                    2. Try Mille Fleurs in Rancho Santa Fe. Although it is generally pretty busy, the restaruant is generally very subdued.

                      Santa Fe Cafe
                      445 Santa Fe Dr, Encinitas, CA 92024

                      Mille Fleurs
                      6009 Paseo Delicias, Rancho Sante Fe, CA 92067