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Jun 6, 2012 08:40 AM

Best Steakhouse in SD + other recs

I'll be visiting San Diego for a week around Christmas, but apparently have enough AMEX points to pre-pay some restaurant dinners. I love San Diego, loved growing up there, but don't remember any restaurants other than Anthony's.

I see a number of Steakhouses, and am trying to discourage the family from voting for Ruth's Chris (that sizzling platter destroys a good steak, IMHO). I live in DC, and like the Palm here well enough. Not familiar with Rei Do Gado or Gaslamp.

Any San Diego chowhounds with opinions? Goes without saying we need a good wine list and a good bar.

Also, would take recs on other can't miss spots. Thanks in advance for your knowledge and advice!

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  1. Cowboy Star

    Eddie V's in La Jolla
    George's Modern or the ocean terrace for casual dining
    Marine Room for drinks and apps
    Flavor Del Mar
    Kitchen 1540 at L' Auberge Del Mar
    Crown room for brunch at the Hotel Del Coronado...gorgeous at Christmas
    Jsix at Hotel Solamar
    Grant Grill at the US Grant Hotel
    La Valencia Hotel...brunch/lunch on the back terrace overlooking the Pacific
    Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
    Mariscos German seafood truck
    Aqui es potato taquitos

    Native SD and it has changed quite a probably remember Lubachs too.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Beach Chick

      Thanks, that's a lot to look at. I do remember the Hotel Del - thanks, can't believe I didn't think of it!

      Is there a good food truck scene in San Diego, and if so - where to check it out? There's a lot in DC, the easiest way to keep track is Food Truck Fiesta ( Could use something similar.

      1. re: pfish

        Hotel Del is stunning at Christmas with all the rink on the sand.
        Mariscos German seafood truck and Devilicious is the 2 trucks I love.
        Maybe hit up the happy hour at Donovan's for their free prime rib sandwiches to go with those cocktails..

    2. Cowboy Star hands down In my humble (or not so humble) opinion. I am all about dry aged steak their bison steak is great but i still go dry aged rib eye every time. Though you wont go wrong with the other recs.

      10 Replies
      1. re: chris2269

        Cowboy Star is definately the best 'steak house' in San Diego today. It's been a while since I have been to either Ruth Chris or Morton but I remember thoroughly enjoying Mortons. Donovan's, however, was a huge disappointment. A friend and I found ourselves downtown craving a good steak on a Monday. Cowboy Star was closed so we headed over to Donovan's. Nothing was above mediocre and at the prices they charge, about double Cowboy Star, I was not a happy camper.

        1. re: sdnosh

          I know everyone raves about Cowboy Star..and personally, I'm willig to give it another chance...but the only time i was there I received an undercooked, grisly, extremely fatty rib eye. It was NOT good. Not to mention the 75 minute wait between appetizers and entrees...

          1. re: yanks26dmb

            I think you mean 45 minutes since that is what you wrote in April. Still pretty long.

            1. re: eatemup

              Maybe the next time it will be 2 hours between appetizers and entrees.

              1. re: RB Hound

                I'd say give CS another shot, they are worth it, but 45 minutes is a long time. This does bring up a good question, what is the "appropriate" wait time between apps and entree, between entree and dessert and bill wait time?

                1. re: sdnosh

                  Worthy of a retry or not, this is yet another example of Chowhound posters employing hyperbole to the extreme. 45 minutes -> 75 minutes?

                  1. re: sdnosh

                    There should be at least 30 minutes between appetizers and entrees. We also normally ask for 15-20 minutes before deciding on a dessert.

                    1. re: honkman

                      I agree, I usually ask the server to check back before 'firing', sending the request to the kitchen, the entree.

              2. re: yanks26dmb

                I'm with you yanks. cowboy star is a fine steakhouse, but not necessarily that special. I don't think it is head and shoulders above a place like Donovans. Coming from DC, I'm sure you have plenty of options where CS won't be a revelation. Rei do gado is a 2nd tier churascuria, skip it unless your kids need lots of visual stimulation.

                1. re: yanks26dmb

                  For San Diego, Cowboy Star is good and I agree--can take awhile between appetizers and steak.

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. My vote is Cstar as well, but where are you staying? Urban Solace isn't far off, has a good wine list, the food is excellent and will likely have enough options to appeal to the steakhouse crowd. They're also a *can't miss for many CHers

                if you can get past the overuse of double entendres, I've heard good things about Red Light District - New American, larger wine list, also downtown

                4 Replies
                1. re: Rodzilla

                  We're staying at a house in Point Loma, but travel distance isn't really a factor. Thanks for all the information. My next question is where to find the best sushi.

                  1. re: pfish

                    Kaito - don't think you'll find much resistance on this board for that...

                    1. re: karaethon

                      as my previous post was deleted for no good reason, Kaito is the best in the county. However, you will get lots of hits for Sushi Ota in PB, b/c it is closer to you than Kaito, which is in Encinitas. However, if traveling is not an issue, as you said, it's a nice trip up north to the less heavily touristy parts of the county.