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Calm. Quiet. Warm. Peaceful. Soft. Care. Slow. Refined. Hushed. Candlelight.

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Where in San Diego can I enjoy a meal in an environment with these characteristics? There must be places besides Addison.

Mrs Name and I want to enjoy a meal with friends- just a few- and have meaningful and enlightening dialog (that's why the friends are coming) without having to scream at each other, without being rushed out of our seats. Maybe it's a nice booth, a quiet table staff that know we're no there to visit them, but know the menu and wine list well enough to assist.

Not willing to spend a fortune- we'll go straight up to Del Mar for that. But I'm not going to quibble, either. I'm willing to make compromises on the food- must be high quality, but a limited menu is fine.

Think the opposite of:

Banker's Hill <<<<<<<
Harney "Sushi" <<<<<<
Urban Kitchen
Searsucker
Starlite Lounge
Cucina Urbana
Super Sergios
Saigon
Wine Vault
Bencotto

all of which are good places (yes, some are better than others) but are so busy and noisy I really don't enjoy them very much. Except Super Sergios, and then I eat in my car, listening to soft music without commercial interruption.

Know any?

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  1. I was kind of surprised with this, but my recent experience with Cafe Bleu on Washington had these characteristics. I hated the atmosphere at their other location, but the new place is a lot nicer and less shiny-surfaced. The food is not the most creative, but is good, and their new part owner, Javier, takes very good care of his customers.

    A presto

    2 Replies
    1. re: SaltyRaisins

      Huh.

      Cafe Bleu = Walking distance.

      1. re: SaltyRaisins

        Just ate there a few days ago with wife and friends. Very pleasant dining experience overall -- nice room, eclectic wine list, staff. But while food wasn't bad it fell a bit short. Canapes as apps were a mixed bag, one very interesting but another like a frozen pastry puff. My fish (opah) had a nice smoky flavor from the grill and a delicious romesco sauce, but was terribly overcooked to the hockey puck level. Probably should have sent it back but I hate to do that. Definitely a nice place to eat with friends, but hard for me to recommend on food quality unless we just had an unlucky night.

      2. Have you been to Freebirds in Hillcrest yet?

        Cross it off your list. They were playing Beastie Boys on a Monday at volume 11 when I went.

        Would Manhattan in La Jolla fit the bill?

        Or maybe Po Pazzo (not so great) or Puerto La Boca (good) on nights they don't have live music?

        1. Grant Grill had a quiet, relaxed atmosphere when we went. Lots of leather and padded chairs seemed to help keep the noise down.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JRSD

            Good suggestion!

          2. Faklin...
            We enjoy a couple of places in the Ranch...
            Mille Fleurs and The Inn of RSF..understated elegance..kind of like me.. : )
            Grant Grill and Le Fountainebleau room next door.
            I love dark, quiet, leather booths with a chilled relish trash, strong cocktails and rubenesque paintings..

            12 Replies
            1. re: Beach Chick

              "I love dark, quiet, leather booths with a chilled relish trash, strong cocktails and rubesque paintings"

              I see you've been hitting up Albie's Beef Inn again. Not what I think FN had in mind ;-)

              1. re: DiningDiva

                actually, Bully's east came immediately to mind. But the food is just too far away from The Standard.

                1. re: Fake Name

                  I immediately assumed she was referring to Bully's East. Love those booths next to or in the bar area....for the complete opposite of what you are looking for lol.

                  1. re: Fake Name

                    Me too, but I haven't seen any Rubenesque paintings at Bullys, and the nudes are still ever present at Albies

                  2. re: DiningDiva

                    LOL..I was going to write Albie's Beef Inn but thought not.
                    Manhattan's in LJ is so old school but some of the waiters break into operatic song which is a lovely sound.

                    1. re: Beach Chick

                      Big changes at Manhattan's. The opera singers have all passed on, and the place has turned into an absolute scene. We had to walk out 2 weeks ago because of the noise level of the overflow crowd.

                      1. re: foodiechick

                        Well that is a huge bummer...those beloved waiters singing will be missed.
                        Maybe the 'absolute scene' was because you walked in the door..
                        ; )

                        1. re: Beach Chick

                          I love these faux flare-ups between the two "chicks"

                          1. re: mcgrath

                            Do you have suggestions on the topic, McGrath?

                            1. re: millerowski

                              Hi keed! No suggestions other than the one perfect place already mentioned, where one can get mock turtle soup.

                            2. re: mcgrath

                              Ça va...C’est du bidon.
                              ; )

                    2. re: Beach Chick

                      The Village in RSF does seem to be the last bastion of quiet dining in the county. I am curious to see what will happen with Delicias once it gets its makeover.

                    3. Mille Fleurs
                      Oton--even get your own private room!
                      Tapenade. is quiet but haven't been there in a while, so can't vouch for the food.
                      or Mision 19 in TJ if you're so inclined.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: daantaat

                        Oton- good choice. Went once, should return. Thanks!

                      2. Winesellar & Brasserie
                        Kitchen 1540 (busy room but not noisy)
                        Delicias
                        Sakura

                        Regarding being rushed - since this is our pet peeve we had many discussions with owners and servers and everybody feels that in the US thr customer wants to finish the dinner in short period of time (even at very upscale restaurant) and so it is the default for them to rush guests. But once you tell them at the beginning of the dinner that you want to have it slow paced with a lot of time everybody is very accomodating (over the years there were only two restaurants who didn't care).

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: honkman

                          Sakura's closed b/c of the kitchen fire. I thought of it too...

                          1. re: daantaat

                            I heard that they should reopen soon. Since the fire was only in the place next door they seem to use the time to update some of their interior

                        2. I hear great things about the food and wine selection at Wet Stone in Bankers Hill. Haven't been so can't vouch personally but ibstatguy is a regular. We have recently started frequenting Finch's Wine Bar and Bistro in our neighborhood. It seems they are more laid back, the only downside could be a lack of hard liquor. No Grey Goose with shards of ice. ;D

                          1. Mr. Foodiechick just walked into the room and had two suggestions. A Modo Mio. (I know, it is a Busalacchi's) The food is fine, not inspired, but quiet, in your hood and a very nice atmosphere. Second: Third Corner in Point Loma. Eclectic menu, good execution. Great wine and a full bar. Just doesn't fit your criteria on noise level on a Friday or Saturday night. Other nights - quiet.

                            What about JSix? Never been there when noise was a problem, even on the weekend.
                            BIG booths at Cowboy Star. Excellent food and refined, unrushed service.

                            1. How about Eddie V's in LJ...will be there this week for dinnerr...I'll report back.
                              Cowboy Star would be a perfect fit for you..maybe Donavan's or Morton's.
                              Bo Beau Kitchen in OB..
                              RIP Bully's La Jolla..it could be quiet with all the parameters..until I walked in.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                Love Cowboy Star, but found it to be a little "busy" for what I'm seeking. Lots f other suggestions- thanks everybody.

                                And I'm gratified I didn't have to read about Dobson's.

                                1. re: Beach Chick

                                  Curious to hear what you think of Eddie V's. It is on the noisy side, but tolerable decibel levels. I think they have done a great job with the space and it has become one of our favorite celebratory places. Try the Lemon Fish!

                                2. Last Saturday, had a fablous booth, called lovers lane, at Donovan's in LJ. The evening was relaxed, soft low lighting, great conversation at normal voice level, didn't have to jack the volume up on the hearing aides, definately no rush, great food and wine selections, perfect service and overall a pleasant evening. Now if you want something really unique and price is no object check out this website.

                                  http://www.lighthousepreservation.org...

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: cstr

                                    Farmhouse

                                    1. re: nessy

                                      Farmhouse has good food but is everything else than quiet and since they are small they tend to rush people especially if you come earlier.

                                      1. re: honkman

                                        As much as I like the food, I must agree with Herr Honkman.

                                        1. re: Fake Name

                                          I don't get a sense of calm there as peoples' butts constantly hit me or drag across my table as people try to move around the cramped quarters lol

                                          1. re: MrKrispy

                                            That would kill my appetite, never thought of a table cloth subbing as TP!

                                  2. How about Old Trieste?

                                    Great food, service is top notch, and ambiance couldn't be more conducive.

                                    1. The Imperial House, across the street from The Prado. This is exactly what you're looking for. Plus, the waiters are ancient gentlemen in tuxedos. Dark wood. Red leather. Diginified and delightful, in a "Did I just fall into a time warp with Dean Martin?" kind of way. Traditional continental cuisine in the dining room. Piano bar. Plus: Special dinner for two (three courses, including flaming dessert, plus a bottle of wine...$50.)

                                      1. The wine room at Kitchen 1540 seats 10, it was perfect,. Also Cavaillon.

                                        1. What about The Wellington in Hillcrest?

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Dagney

                                            Dags!
                                            So great to see you posting!
                                            ; )

                                            1. re: Dagney

                                              Been there for cocktails. Liked the cocktails. I thought it was closing?

                                              1. re: Fake Name

                                                Not that I'm aware of. The web site doesn't seem to indicate they are...then again, I don't think the Norman and Felix are exactly web-savvy, so they probably wouldn't be updating the site. http://imperialhouse.net/

                                            2. Went to the Grant Grill last night with an old friend I'd not seen in ages. We both had the tasting menu with wine pairings, spent over $150 each.

                                              It was Calm. Quiet. Warm. Peaceful. Soft. Slow. Not Refined. Hushed.

                                              We both enjoyed the conversation, the wine was (I thought) excellent. I had one of their signature Manhattan cocktails- loved it.

                                              We had about five courses.

                                              Enjoyed the cheese course- a little on the pretentions side, but good flavors.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Fake Name

                                                Grant Grill is nice for a relaxed night but you shouldn't go on Saturday when they have a Jazz trio playing in their lounge. Good music but nothing for a conversation including their restaurant and they often start around 9pm. (And their cocktails are some of the best you can get in SD)