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Apr 4, 2013 08:11 AM

Fine dining

I recently went to Berand at Mister A's and was very please with the food and the overall dining experience. I'd like to find another San Diego restaurant that could offer a similar level of fine dining. Any recommendations?

Thank you.

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  1. It's not San Diego (really) but Addison is my favorite fine dining destination in the general area.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Fake Name

      Thank you! I will definitely check it out. Thanks!

    2. George's California Modern in La Jolla, especially TBL 3 therein.

      1500 Ocean in Coronado's Hotel del.

      Grant Grill in downtown SD

      1 Reply
      1. re: mcgrath

        Thank you! I will look into both of these. Thanks so much!

      2. Just got back from Amaya in La Jolla and am fairly confident this would meet your criteria....same people that manage a similar restaurant at the Grand del Mar Hotel.

        1. A fine meal at George’s Modern last night, where we both chose the four-course option with wine pairing. It was great fun, and, since we ordered different things we had eight very good wines with our food. Being seated at the window was also quite pleasant.

          The albacore crudo that I had is simply an exquisite appetizer, a must-try here; the scallop ceviche with orange that my companion ordered was also excellent. I enjoyed the soft egg with duck confit while she had the rather spectacular-looking, delightful grilled octopus with chorizo.

          For mains, she had the rolled pork tenderloin and I the boneless braised short rib, both very good. And to finish, my companion had their oft-mentioned whipped coconut with ginger consume, while I had their extraordinary, highly complex and almost mysterious panna cotta.

          All wines were perfectly paired with the food, as would be expected, and service was superior. A very pleasant dining experience, and it further solidified my impression that this restaurant is one of our finest.

          George's California Modern is often mentioned as a suggestion when people enquire on Chowhound about superior SD restaurants, but I've dusted off this old thread because it seems to be a good one for a stand-alone post.

          41 Replies
          1. re: DoctorChow

            Is it Addison level expensive or within reason expensive?

              1. re: DoctorChow

                I love Georges. Great food, innovative, etc, etc. Nothing bad to say about it.

                But Addison it ain't, and much of that is service. Addison is in a different world- Georges retains it's Southern California vibe- which is fine.

                But there's apples, then there's oranges.

                1. re: Fake Name

                  I'd say that's a good way to describe the service at George's.

                  Just as a matter of discussion, though, I don't personally think of genre of service, per se, as a discriminator -- just a characteristic -- although I do understand what you're saying.

                  It seems to be almost unanimously agreed that Addison outclasses every other restaurant in SD. Still, the service at George's is excellent; I think "superior" in its class.

                  At George's, the servers and attendants, all while exuding that relaxed So. Cal. complexion, very professionally coordinate with the kitchen, the bar, one another, and with every element of what's on your table and what's coming next. They do this down to minor but significant nuances such as immediate updates to appropriate silverware, perfect timing of the wine service relative to that of each course, and synchronization with the table so that each course is ready and served at exactly the right times. And of course interactions at the table with all staff are low key, gracious, and responsive.

                  That's first class service when it's unwaveringly well-executed throughout a meal, and done with confident, subdued pizazz, I'd say. And it's done that way at George's.

                  1. re: DoctorChow

                    Agree DrC, the style of service, be it laid back So CA or black tie formal, can be very appropriate to the setting and atmosphere. Either style should have absolutely nothing to do with the chefs artistic talent and freedom of expression in entree prep, food quality and execution.

                    1. re: cstr


                      I go out to *fine dining* for the full experience.

                      Not only do I want food I cannot (or will not) prepare at home, I want to be treated well. I want to be served well, I want to have the attention of the staff to be sure my experience is smooth and effortless. I want to concentrate on my dining companions (should anyone be foolish enough to accompany me- my spouse is legally obligated) free from distraction. I'd like to be treated respectfully, like a guest, with all the benefit of paying for hospitality. I'm not just paying for good food, I'm paying for a good experience.

                      Otherwise I'll just stay home. Or drive through Super Sergio's. They might have the speaker fixed.

                      The success of the staff will have an effect on the percieved value of the food and the experience that accompanies it.

                      I ain't paying for the server to act like my moto riding buddies.

                      1. re: Fake Name

                        I think the type of service you're describing for a fine dining experience is the same as what I expect. Where we differ is that I don't think tuxedos are requisite for that. Very nice, yes, but not requisite.

                        Waiters in tuxes exude an elegance that elevates the overall ambience to an "exclusive" level, and I like that, such as at Baci. But I also like the service at George's, where, although you don't get the tuxes, you still get plenty of respect, hospitality, unobtrusive attention, and that feeling of seamless continuity to the overall meal that one expects from such a place.

                        Sigh. Well, maybe you wouldn't classify George's as "fine dining", but my companion and I certainly enjoyed what we felt was fine food AND service there on Sunday. To us, both were about as good as it gets in SD.

                        1. re: DoctorChow

                          Don't get me wrong- it IS fine dining- we agree. Except about spice level.

                          I believe there is an apples/oranges difference between the nature of the service at Addison v. Georges, and one should know that going in. Certainly Georges sets the definition of fine California dining, and while I've had some pretty casual service there, it goes with that territory.

                          But a rich dessert, best savored infrequently.

                        2. re: Fake Name

                          So what was missing at Georges in terms of service compared to Addison ? In our experience service at Georges is some of the best we had in California with servers which know a lot about the food, ingredients of the dishes, know how to pace a dinner etc. (And the food at Addison looks quite dated in the different food blogs (especially for $300 for a full 10-course tasting menu which is the main reason we haven't visited yet)

                          1. re: honkman

                            I'm not dissing Georges- I don't consider anything "missing" except some formality and a touch of dignity. I consider Georges one of the finest in town, and have chosen it on several occasions, especially with younger guests and groups.

                            Not everyone is as stuffy as I.

                            Georges has a "familiar" feel, with the emphasis on the "famil" part of the word. The servers are more casual in their approach and manner (yes, you guys) and are thus more intrusive. It's California in manner and attitude.

                            Nothing wrong here- just different.

                            (Come on, Honky- talking crap about a place based on your experience reading food blogs? Really? "It's bad, I read it on the internet?" You're better than that. And yes, there are many foods that have been around for centuries and are still good! Imagine! But that has not been my experience at Addison. I found it to be certainly conservative, but absolutely contemporary.

                            1. re: Fake Name

                              I don't think there is anything wrong with prioritizing fine dining restaurants with food blogs you read for a long time and have a good idea how your taste compares to theirs. In addition, most people on CH are very interested in food and if you read the ingredients of a dish you will have a good idea how it will taste etc. And I am not talking crap about Addison but if you are one of the most expensive restaurants in California we try to make sure that it has a good chance to meet our expectations.

                            2. re: honkman

                              honk, I will be going to the Addison dinner collaboration with Justin Cogley at the end of July - highly recommend you try to go too!

                              1. re: shouzen

                                I bristle at this suggestion.

                                I go to enough of the collaborations and special events- can't help but think (and probably wrongly!) that it's somehow cheapen the experience.

                                I guess I'm trying to say I wouldn't go to something like that there.

                                I bristle!

                                1. re: Fake Name

                                  I eschew collaboration dinners not because I feel it cheapens the experience (I'm not sure what that actually means), but because it's hard for me to get a feel for the guest chef who's cooking in an alien environment.

                                  However, rarely, I attend one because I like the guest chef's food THAT much, which is the case here. For reference, I think the last collaboration dinner I went to was over 2 years ago (Chris Kostow cooking at George's...)

                                2. re: shouzen

                                  I might have to see if my private jet is available to fly me for one night from Germany to SD at that time (but Aubergine is on our list for quite some time)

                                  1. re: honkman

                                    Had a stellar experience there with my mom last December. Justin is a creative and talented chef.

                              2. re: Fake Name

                                Did your table get called "you guys" at George's, Fakey? LOL

                                1. re: Fake Name

                                  I understand what you're saying, but why is your desire not accomplished if someone is not wearing a tie, suit or tux.

                                  What I'm getting at is that I wouldn't expect to be called 'HON' or 'GUYS' at either place, I would expect the servers to be well versed with the menu, prep and I would expect to have service that is there without being smothered or surrounded like a prisoner.

                                  Both styles can be very professional courteous and hospitable and equally valuable to the whole experience.

                                  And yes, no Homies!

                                  1. re: cstr

                                    Mmmmmm. Looking for any reference I migh have made to clothing.

                                    Not seeing it.

                                    1. re: Fake Name

                                      Underlying premise from the def of professional service.

                                      'But Addison it ain't, and much of that is service. Addison is in a different world- Georges retains it's Southern California vibe- which is fine.'

                                      Guess I unpacked the words.

                                      1. re: cstr

                                        Respectfully, you pulled something out that was not there. I've made reference to "manner" and "nature of service", and nothing, not once, about attire.

                                        Edit: maybe "unpacked the words" is code for "I made it up from thin air and attributed it to you".

                                        1. re: Fake Name

                                          Oh you guys, get a grip. Suffice to say, part of the fine dining experience in the George's through Addison level room, is expecting your server to be properly clothed.

                                          1. re: Fake Name

                                            Rereading this- it does not reflect the light-heartedness with which it was intended.

                                            No hostility.

                                            1. re: Fake Name

                                              Well, unless Honkman is involved, I do not think of Chow as a bastion of stern faces and Negative Nancys.

                                              1. re: Dagney

                                                Never hurts to be clear, Gannon.

                                                1. re: Dagney

                                                  You would be surprised to meet me in person

                                                  1. re: honkman

                                                    He's definitely not a negative Nancy :-)

                                                    1. re: honkman

                                                      I know we like to bust his Berlin huevos but I would bet that honkman is a cool guy..

                                                      I'm sure he's a pain in the ass, like we all are at times, but I like his persnickety ways.

                                                      He keeps most of the smack off my ass and that my friends, is a good thing!

                                                      Rock on Berlin Boy!

                                                      1. re: honkman

                                                        You know I meant that with a smile!

                                                    2. re: Fake Name

                                                      @FN: Actually, I think I'm the one who, evidently incorrectly, inferred manner of dress of the servers as one of your discriminators for a fine dining experience. I think I "unpacked" that from your light-hearted comment, "I ain't paying for the server to act like my moto riding buddies".

                                                      From that I interpreted a general abhorrence of "dressed-down" servers in a fine dining experience, vis-à-vis those at Addison, even though of course you were exaggerating with the "moto riding buddies" example. And then I went on to comment about tux vs. tuxless fine-dining service. Etc., etc.

                                                      Maybe in reading through the thread, cstr confused my comments with yours. If so, I'm sorry to have caused some misunderstandings!

                                                      But maybe you can clarify. Reed? Gannon? Ignoramus maximus here.

                                                      1. re: DoctorChow


                                                        What do all these have in common?

                                                        1. re: Fake Name

                                                          All right. All right. I'm just slow.

                                                          1. re: Fake Name

                                                            Let's not forget about Huggy Bear...Boss Hogg, and super hot chica, Angie Dickerson, of Police woman.

                                                            BTW, I ride motocross and I couldn't think of a nicer group of guys to hang with and would love for them to wait on me but its usually me getting the beers/food and loving every minute of it!

                                                            1. re: Beach Chick

                                                              Huggy Bear
                                                              Boss Hogg
                                                              Not cops.

                                                              Pepper, oh yes.

                                                            2. re: Fake Name

                                                              And now, McGruff. I'm going to the canine academy.

                                                        2. re: Fake Name

                                                          Here's your quote:

                                                          'But Addison it ain't, and much of that is service. Addison is in a different world- Georges retains it's Southern California vibe- which is fine.'

                                                          'But there's apples, then there's oranges.'

                                                          So if Georges is the Orange, i.e. SO CA vibe' then what is the Apple?

                                                    3. re: cstr

                                                      Being called "guys" is completely unacceptable.

                                              2. re: Fake Name

                                                I think the only place I've encountered in SD County that is comparable to Addison in terms of service is maybe Amaya.