Calm. Quiet. Warm. Peaceful. Soft. Care. Slow. Refined. Hushed. Candlelight.
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" <<<<<<
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.
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.
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)
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.)
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.
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.
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
Winesellar & Brasserie
Kitchen 1540 (busy room but not noisy)
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).
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..
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.
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.