HOME > Chowhound > San Diego >


Fancy Restaurant-- UTC area

I want to take my boyfriend out for a nice dinner for our anniversary. I'll be visiting him at UCSD, and neither of us have a car. I was thinking that the UTC mall area would be convenient for walking, but I wasn't sure if there was anything legitimately classy there... Can you give me suggestions for a nice restaurant within walking distance from UCSD? My budget is about $50-$70 for the meal, though if it's less than that but still nice I'm a happy camper :). Thank you.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Roy's and Donavan's are both nice; however, you would have a hard timing coming under $100 with dinner and drinks.

    1. Trulucks by the Hyatt LJ has a happy hour..real nice place.


        1. Donovan's on LJ Village Dr offers a 3 course dinner $50. pp, They also have ladies night on Tuesday with free apps in the bar. Roys' would also fit in your budget.

          1. Wolfgang Puck's Jai is right on the UCSD campus. The only caveat is that they are only open when there is a show at the La Jolla Playhouse, so you need to check the Playhouse schedule. They are reopening this weekend.


            1 Reply
            1. re: foodiechick

              I went to Jai a couple of times, and thought the appetizers were decent, but main courses were pretty bland. Overpriced IMO unless you get one of those cheap restaurant.com coupons/gift certificates ($25 off $50 coupon for $2).

            2. just hop on the 30 bus from campus (it's free for students) and go to downtown la jolla where there are plenty of options, otherwise donovans or roy's is a safe bet.

              2 Replies
              1. re: chezwhitey

                This sounds like the best suggestion to me. Tons more options in downtown LJ.

                1. re: chezwhitey

                  It's free for the students *if* they've picked up a sticker at the parking office. $5 unlimited daily pass is hardly a wallet emptier, though. :)

                  The 30 actually runs past midnight, which is nice. The budget could be a bit tight in many places, but often there are specials (as noted in this thread about some places) that can keep you in range.

                2. As other said, Roy's, Barolo, Donovan's.

                  Roy's has three course menus at around $30pp but that's before drinks/tax/tip. To stay close to budget I'd share a dessert/appetizer (one person get the 3 course, another person get an entree and you split 2 courses), but as others said you'll probably still go a bit over $70 if you're ordering more than 1 course + drinks.

                  Donovan's is more expensive, so it's probably out of budget.

                  Barolo's is well within budget but on the east end of UTC.

                  I had a friend recommend the Melting Pot at the Hyatt. It's certainly something different, for a special occasion. I have a kid otherwise I'd have gone. ;-)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: royaljester

                    I'd have to go w/ Roy's or Donovan's. You may be even able to get right within budget at Flemings', which has a "small plates" menu section that are decently portioned (won't have 2 meals worth of leftovers, but that's ok) for a decent price.

                    Went to The Melting Pot once and found the food overpriced and meh for what you get.

                    If you can get into downtown La Jolla, Roppongi's still has their 50% off tapas happy hour and you'll definitely eat well for your budget. Food can be a little "dated" but it's still good for the $$.

                    1. re: daantaat

                      Roppongi's is a good recommendation for happy hour.

                  2. Trulucks.

                    Yes, it's a chain, but I'd go there over Roys and Donovans any night.

                    Looking at budget- maybe not.