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NYC foodies relocated to SD. Looking for good suggestions

Hi all. My husband and I just moved to San Diego from NYC. We are very much into the culinary scene & relied on the fellow chowhounders for recommendations back East quite a bit! Our anniversary is coming up this weekend & looking for any last minute thoughts. We just got into town so I haven't had time to do any solid research. Thanks in advance for any or your referrals!

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  1. Anniversary? Marine Room. La Jolla.

    Marine Room Restaurant
    2000 Spindrift Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037

    1. Depending on the day, the Wine Vault and Bistro is a good choice - they serve 3-5 course meals with wine pairings.

      1. I think if you're celebrating your anniversary, you should decide if the food or the view is more important to you. Since you said you were "very much into the culinary scene" in NYC, I'll assume you want nice places with tasting menus to celebrate your anniversary.

        If food is more important, I'd go:
        - Blanca
        - Kitchen 1540 - call ahead to arrange for a tasting menu

        If you value the view and romantic setting more, you could consider:
        - George's (California Modern) - might be hard to get reservations on such short notice

        Other places you could consider, but are probably a step lower than the previous mentions:
        - Addison
        - Rancho Valencia - call ahead to arrange a tasting menu
        - AR Valentien
        - Cavaillon

        1. I second Kitchen 1540. It will definitely make you feel like you are living in California now.

          4 Replies
          1. re: chezwhitey

            Thanks for the great recommendations. We love everything from Dive places to fine dining.. I think for our anniversary we wanted to go a little nicer. A tasting would be great. Blanco and Kitchen 1540 look right up our alley and I love that they are into the whole farm to table. We've been to George's before and I feel like the food is hit or miss but ldo ove the location.
            Marine Room looked good also. Is this at the La Jolla shores Beach and Tennis Club?

            Anyway, thanks for the info all!

            Marine Room Restaurant
            2000 Spindrift Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037

            1. re: Jdrenik

              Marine Room is JUST to the south of the Beach and Tennis Club on Spindrift. Here's a better map than the one in the margin of this page:


              1. re: Jdrenik

                It is right next door around the curve. Valet parking in front.

                1. re: Jdrenik

                  I'd also recommend Market Restaurant + Bar. The chef there is a 2 time beard nominee for best chef pacific.

              2. one more question. Has anyone eaten at the Sky Room in La Jolla?

                4 Replies
                1. re: Jdrenik

                  I would wait a few months to try the Sky Room. They are about to completely remodel. The entire food operation is being revamped my a Michelin 2-star chef/consultant. They have got the Mediterranean Room and Patio menu about done, next up are the Whaling Bar and Sky Room.

                  The Mediterranean Room
                  1132 Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037

                  1. re: foodiechick

                    Good info.

                    "The entire food operation is being revamped my a Michelin 2-star chef/consultant."

                    Any idea who?

                    1. re: foodiechick

                      Well the argument against waiting is that the consultant will probably be gone by the time they actually finish remodeling. Not sure you'd be eating the consultant's food right now if you go, but you definitely won't be when the remodel is complete.

                  2. Aloha and welcome to San Diego...
                    I would suggest Marine Room in LJ..you could do drinks and app's in the bar and then move on to either Piatti's, George's Modern or go upstairs to the Ocean Terrace for casual meal at sunset..
                    Kitchen 1540 at the L'Auberge Del Mar, Rancho Valencia resort or Mille Fleurs in the Ranch.
                    The SD Fair is in town and its a major pain to get around the Del Mar area..
                    Addison at the Grand Del Mar if you want to go big..
                    The Lodge at Torrey Pines A R Valentien is another thought too.
                    Happy Anniversary and report back!

                    1. So far I've only visited Georges and I would recommend it.

                      I hear consistently good things about Kitchen 1540, Market, and Blanca.

                      A bit busier/less romantic/ less formal - but Cucina Urbana and Urban Solace get many praises.

                      Oh and Sushi Kaito for Omakase.

                      Urban Solace Restaurant
                      3823 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104

                        1. re: Josh

                          I suggest you start a new post with the title:

                          "Best place in San Diego For Anniversary dinner"

                          Instead of the one you started this thread with.

                        2. i'd be interested to talk to you. We just moved here from the city also, and coincidently, it happens to be our anniversary as well.

                          1. +1
                            Kitchen 1540

                            Market (Del Mar)
                            Q'ero (Encinitas)

                            Q'ero Restaurant
                            564 S Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, CA

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: boltsfan

                              We moved here from Manhattan about 7 yrs ago. We still get back frequently but miss living among all the great restaurants. You won't find them in abundance here, but there are bright spots. And, the other great thing is the difference in produce - all you have to do is take one trip to Chino Farms and you'll be blown away. Or even any of the local farmer's markets, and what still makes us pinch ourselves is that we can get this stuff all year round!

                              As for restaurants, Kitchen 1540 is our best bet for special occasions and definitely gives us the California beachy feel, but sit outside on patio before sunset for the full effect. It's kind of similar to George's but I think the food is better. I know a lot of people love Marine Room, but I personally dislike it...reminds me of an 80's "nouvelle cuisine" place. Stuffy and overrated, in my opinion. Our other favorite is Market. Our all-time favorite is Kaito, but that's in a different category...not much atmosphere, just exceptionally wonderful sushi and other dishes, as well as very personable, interesting sushi chefs who are very welcoming. Wine Vault is also excellent.

                              There are other spots that are solid but just not special occasion places.

                              Enjoy and happy anniversary!

                              Marine Room Restaurant
                              2000 Spindrift Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037

                            2. Thats a tough one. Assuming you mean romantic dinner for an anniversary everyone gave some great ideas.
                              You could drive out a bit to the Rancho Bernardo Inn, the restaurant is called El Bizcocho and is excellent. I am not sure, but Bertrand at Mister A's was very good when I went a couple of years ago. Not sure how it is now. You get nice view of the bay and our baby city skyline. Still pretty nonetheless.

                              Its really tough to nail down one place though as you can have a mix or views and food or just food etc etc. Have fun. While you are here, get Mexican food. I am from Manhattan and there is nowhere in the city that I have found that can compare to SD's Mex scene. I suggest Rana's in Spring Valley (20min drive from downtown)

                              El Bizcocho
                              17550 Bernardo Oaks Dr, San Diego, CA 92128

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