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Xmas Day

Hi there,

Boyfriend and I are heading down from LA for the Xmas holiday and weekend and are staying in the Gaslamp Quarter. I'd love to find a low-key, fun, and non-stuffy but fancy-ish tasty dinner for Xmas night. I know about the list on Open Table, but I don't know which restaurant ambiance fits the bill. In general, we love steak, seafood, and great craft beer but he doesn't want to have to wear a suit.

Any recommendations? Thanks in advance!

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  1. Cafe Chole or Currant, if you want to be downtown.

    2 Replies
    1. re: DoctorChow

      We are willing to go anywhere that makes sense location-wise. I've heard good things about the North Park neighborhood and would be interested in some recs there as well...

      I will check to see if Cafe Chloe is open on Xmas, the menu looks tasty.

      1. re: peechfish4

        Nothing comes to mind for a Xmas Day meal in North Park. The next place I'd suggest is George's, in La Jolla.

    2. Dobson's
      Grant Grill
      Westgate Room
      Top of the Market
      Cowboy Star
      Blind Burro

      You can also take the water taxi over from the Gaslamp to Coronado and dine at 1500 Ocean at the lovely Hotel Del or brunch in the Crown room..cab it for the mile or two..they have an oceanfront ice skating rink and its all gussied up for the holidays..hit up Leroy's Lounge on the way home for a hot toddy and then the Top of the Hyatt for a B&B and view all the Xmas lights in the city.

      Trying to think of a place in SD wear you have to wear a jacket..ugly Xmas sweaters are the rage.. ;)


      Merry Christmas!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Beach Chick

        Blind Burro had a deal on living social today

        1. re: JRSD

          Yeah, a good one. BC also caught it.

      2. If you want something super casual you can try Barleymash, located at 5th Avenue and Market Street.

        1. For Xmas night, try Cucina Urbana (no idea if they are open, however)

          The words "low-key" and Gaslamp just doesn't compute for me.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ipsedixit

            IDK, I think OP is looking for a special meal in a classy but not-too-formal place. I love all of the places you & BC suggested, but I think that if it were me, on Christmas Day, I'd want to go somewhere a bit more, more...what's the right word?

            I should have added Top of the Market to my short list; glad BC did.

            Not sure what OP means by low-key. I thought it meant "quiet". There's more than one interpretation.

          2. This from the chef's FB post- Farm House would be on my A list:

            Farm House Cafe
            New Year's Eve Dinner $70.00 Pre-Fixe Menu* Wine Pairings with 3 Courses, $25 Tuesday, December 31, 2013 ~Amuse-Bouche~ Potato Galette, Cured Salmon Crème Fraiche ~First Course~ Beef Carpaccio, Lobster Tail Roquette, Parmesan, Preserve Lemon OR Mushroom Soup truffle Cream, Parmesan Crisp ~Second Course~ Diver Caught Scallop Roasted Mushroom, Potato Confit Leek Purée, Muscadet Beurre Blanc OR Seared Honey-Spiced Duck Breast Potato Puree, Grilled Trumpet Vanilla Turnip, Duck Prosciutto ~Third Course~ Abbott's Gold Crisp Mustarda, Arugula ~Fourth Course~ Vanilla & Raspberry Vacherin Lemon meringue Vanilla Ice Cream, Raspberry Sorbet Additional Courses Six Oysters On The Half Shell, Shallot Mignonette $18 Assorted Cheese Plate Accoutrements And Bread $15 Duck Trio Port Gelée, Brioche $24 *Tax, Gratuity, Beverages Not Included

            OOps. Xmas, not New Years. Sorry, my mistake.

            1 Reply
            1. Thank you all for your suggestions! So far, the only places open on your lists are Westgate Room, George's, and Grant's Grill. Apparently The Shores is also open - not sure how their buffet would be? Looks tasty. Anything Italian come to mind?

              In regards to "low-key", I really just mean I don't want to spend Xmas night in a super crowded, stuffy room. We are simple folks who just want a good meal. After looking at restaurants in Gaslamp, it certainly seems we should make every effort to leave that area for most dining out options.

              1. Eater just posted a roundup: http://sandiego.eater.com/archives/20...

                Of their list, 100 Wines might be an interesting, non-stuffy choice not far from the Gaslamp. I've only had drinks and appetizers there, but I've enjoyed what I've had.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Katherine H

                  Oooo..thank you!

                  100 Wines looks perfect!

                2. Funny this should come up...

                  My sister and I spent an hour on-line on Wednesday night checking out Xmas day menus and, frankly, most of them did not turn our cranks or float our boat. Some we didn't care for because the choices for some of the courses just weren't all that appealing and others were because we didn't want to spend $90 or $95 per person and then have to add beverage, tax and tip on top of that. With 5 of us, dropping close to, or over, $500 for a Christmas dinner kind of seemed like a waste of $500. Sorry folks, but I can think of better things to do with that kind of cash. Nor did we want to go the buffet route.

                  After looking at every menu on Open Table and every other "decent and acceptable" Chow worth restaurant I could think of, I finally typed the dreaded Cohn Restaurant Group into my browser and came up with our best options. Of the 6 ot 7 Cohn restaurants that are open and serving on Christmas Day, I like 4 of the menus and my sister 3. Here's the link - http://www.cohnrestaurants.com/posts/... . Most of the restaurants this link leads to will fit your criteria. They won't be stuffy and you won't have to get seriously dressed up.

                  Island Prime has one of the best views of the bay in town. Their new venue down in Imperial Beach probably does too. The Prado is in the middle of Balboa Park and Bo Beau probably meets your sort of fancy desire. The food will be good and some of it may even reach very good, and it won't break the bank.

                  The Cohn Groups restaurants are pretty universally reviled on this board, not because the food is bad (it's not), but because they're very commercial and perpetuate a safe, middle of the road style of food. They're also very, very successful and have a winning business model in place.

                  The option we had almost settled on was Baleen, which is in the Paradise Point Resort on Mission Bay - http://www.paradisepoint.com/baleen-s... - it would be casual with a beachy vibe.

                  12 Replies
                  1. re: DiningDiva

                    Oh! Kind of left field, but Baleen has been around for years and we never hear about it, so maybe it's one of those under the radar rooms that gets the job done. Let us know.

                    1. re: Dagney


                      I was telling everyone about it two years ago:


                      Dunno if the chef's the same, but it was very good.

                      1. re: Fake Name

                        Well, okay, not never, but it's not a usual suspect 'round these parts.

                        1. re: Fake Name

                          New chef since middle of the year - Amy DiBiase

                            1. re: honkman

                              I thought she way there when we went. Was it another Amy?

                              1. re: Fake Name

                                At least Eater SD writes that she was at Baleen from 2006-2008, then went through a few kitchens in SD,Roseville, Shores etc. before now being back at Baleen in April 2013. So not sure if she was in the kitchen in 2010

                                1. re: honkman

                                  Pretty sure she was involved- maybe is was a consulting gig or something.

                                  We had a great meal- really suprised me.

                          1. re: Dagney

                            We decided to stay in and go non-traditional...as in taco bar anyone?

                              1. re: Dagney

                                That what I was thinking, too!

                                Unfortunately, the guys I would recommend don't have visas and their very iffy-on-the-mechanical side taco truck would probably be stopped by the CHP instantly after crossing the border.

                                A true cucaracha vehicle.

                        2. You could hit Stone Brewery in Liberty Station by SD Airport for some good beer.
                          Bali Hai for dinner.
                          Sessions Public
                          Fathom for next day..sausages and craft beer on pier
                          Dive bar crawl in OB...Pac Shores..one of the best!

                          Check to see if above places are open..
                          I wouldn't head into LJ to eat at the Shores resto..
                          Manhattans would be a blast.

                          1. Unfortunately not for Christmas Day (they are closed) but check out the special menu for Christmas Eve at Solare Restaurant in Liberty Station. The ambiance certainly fits the sort of place you are looking for.