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Jan 15, 2014 06:23 PM

2 days/1 night in San Diego for Anniversary. Foodie Recs

Hi all. My husband and I are driving to San Diego from LA January 25th/26th to celebrate our 1 year anniversary. Looking for lunch/dinner and drink recommendations. We are staying at the US Grant and would like options close enough to take a cab. We are both open to any type of food and price is not a concern. Would like to try places that are unique to San Diego. My husband is big into craft beers lately and likes a good negroni so any cocktail/beer bar recommendations would be appreciated as well. Thanks for your help.

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  1. You may not need that cab ...the US Grant hotel has a very good bar program and a very, very good hotel restaurant in the Grant Grill

    1 Reply
    1. How much are you thinking of paying for the cab? Or put differently, how far do you want to travel from the Grant and/or how much time do you want to spend in the cab?

      Some good places downtown, and others further, depending on what you have in mind.

      7 Replies
      1. re: DoctorChow

        I'd rather not spend too much travel time in the cab as we are only their one night. 20 minutes or so...

        Diningdiva - I'd rather do something outside of the hotel so we can explore the city a little...any other suggestions?

        1. re: hkcoop

          Lunch: Cucina Urbana
          Dinner: Cafe Cloe
          Bar: Dobson's

          1. re: DoctorChow

            agree on Cucina Urbana and Cafe Chloe but for cocktails the bar at the Grant is one of the best places in SD

          2. re: hkcoop

            For drinks and apps I'd take a cab up to Mr. A's on Banker's Hill (5th & Laurel). Being on the 12th floor, it has the one of the most spectacular views in town . And if the weather continues to hold, sit out on the patio. Mr. As is kinda swanky, but not too stuffy. The food is good to very good. For somthing a little less formal for dinner, I'd simply take the elevator back down and walk 1/2 a block to Cucina Urbana also at 5th & Laurel (reservation a must


            The best view of the bay is from either the Bali Hai on Shelter Island or C-Level on Harbor Island, with (for my money) the Bali Hai being the better choice. Fathom is also on Shelter Island and has a good beer selection. Either would be a nice spot for a weekend lunch.

            You should probably be aware that hotel dining in downtown San Diego is surprisingly good, don't over look it.

            1. re: DiningDiva

              Have had others recommend Mr. A's as well as C-Level both for the view. Thanks for the recommendation. I have also heard the Grant Grill is good quality food but would just rather get out to see San Diego.

              1. re: hkcoop

                Absolutely. Both Mr. A's and C-Level will give you a wonderful city view, howbeit of different kinds, if dinner (or drinks) with a view is what you're looking for.

                I personally don't care for the way that the bar at Grant's was remodeled. It used to be really classy; now it's really stainless.

                There's a small old-style area in the bar's foyer (adjacent to the street), but it's too small and too stuffy, IMO.

                1. re: DoctorChow

                  Thinking of those places for drinks and the view - not sure we want to have dinner there.

        2. I've been to the Grant for both cocktails and dinner, and highly recommend them for cocktails.

          Might check on the water taxi- it may go to Harbor Island, which would be a great way to get to C-Level.

          Chloe- yes.
          CucinaUrbana - ugh. Food is pretty good, but you may wish to bring your phones, as texting across the table will bring more intimacy during peak times. I just don't go anymore.

          I'd rather have simpler food and a more intimate environment.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Fake Name

            Appreciate the feedback on CucinaUrbana Fake Name. We are also looking for a more intimate environment as we are celebrating our anniversary. Would you recommend Chloe for an anniversary dinner? Checked out the menu and it looks great.

          2. I've stayed several times at the US Grant and have to agree the Grant Grill is lovely for drinks and dinner.
            The place is haunted upstairs but its mostly in the hallways and its a good ghost.
            I like Cafe Chloe but the chairs ruin it for me..they are some of the most uncomfortable things ever and couldn't imagine spending a romantic evening in one of those things..if they have upgraded, my apologies.

            Dobson's across from the US Grant is great for the Mussel Bisque en croute and a bottle of wine..classic SF vibe.

            Next door at the Westgate is the Westgate Room that is very Versailles..great food and I think this would make a nice anniversary dinner.

            Fish Market Downtown has a great Oyster Bar and Sushi Bar..Top of the Market upstairs has fab fresh seafood..
            NOT the resto downstairs..
            Bayfront patio is great for drinks and shrimp cocktails.

            Fathom on Shelter Island Pier for craft beer an homemade sausages are fun for a lunch of sun and fun.
            Stone Brewery in Liberty Station is close with killer beer.

            Bali Hai in Shelter Island has good Hawaiian fusion with views and the mai tai's are stellar.

            Starlite for late night drinks and apps.

            Tender Greens in Gaslamp for lunch

            Have fun and report back!

            Water taxi over the weekend to Coronado would be a blast and dine at Candelas or Il Fornio..


            6 Replies
            1. re: Beach Chick

              Is the ghost upstairs at the Grant related?

              1. re: cstr

                Related to whom?
                Hallways on the 6th floor are intense with a presence..from the elevator to the room.

              2. re: Beach Chick

                Ha! I dunno about the ghost being upstairs. We had our wedding reception downstairs. On our first visit to check out the ballroom venue for the function we opened the door to a wide, empty room....except for a black coffin!

                1. re: foodiechick

                  Yikes...hope it was an empty coffin!
                  Did you have your reception where the old underground pool used to be?


                2. re: Beach Chick

                  Second the Bali Hai for mai tai's and the view. My experience with the food has been inconsistent.

                  1. re: Ms. Verde

                    Food won't matter much after a few Mai Tai's! After one, I'm asking for a wheel chair!

                3. From

                  By Jack S. Waverly, eHow Contributor

                  The U.S. Grant Hotel, i.e., the Horton House Hotel

                  "Alonzo Horton built the hotel, then named the Horton House, in 1870 as a three-story luxury hotel in the newly established town of San Diego. Horton bought land from the Kumeyaay Indians that eventually would become the location of downtown San Diego. The hotel was run by the Horton family until 1895, when it was purchased by Fannie Josephine Chaffee Grant, the wife of Ulysses Grant Jr. Grant Jr. was the son of famed Civil War general and President Ulysses S. Grant

                  The original hotel was demolished and a new building built next door; at this time it changed its name to US Grant in 1905, according to information published by the University of San Diego..

                  Baron Long was a hotelier and restaurateur who owned various restaurants and clubs starting in 1912 and would continue until his death in 1962. Baron Long assumed ownership of the hotel in 1919 and oversaw a renovation of the first floor, basement and addition of the 11th floor. The renovations were completed in 1927. The hotel underwent restoration during the 1956 tourism boon. Expanded meeting areas and modern rooms were added

                  Hotelier Christopher Sickels leased the US Grant Hotel in 1979, then created the CDS Grant Corporation to acquire the hotel in 1983. In August 1982, the hotel was closed. A redevelopment project by the city was announced in 1985, and again the US Grant hotel took part in the revitalization efforts of the downtown area by adding a grand ballroom and grand lobby. The hotel reopened on Dec. 15, 1985

                  A series of corporate owners have held the hotel property since the 1980s to current day. The original corporate owner, CDS Grant Corporation, was forced to sell the hotel in 1989 to Sansei U.S. Hotels because of financial problems. The Japanese-owned Sansei corporation then sold the hotel to Grand Heritage in 1993. Grand Heritage then sold the property to the Wyndham International Group in 2001.

                  Kumeyaay Indians

                  The hotel was purchased by the Sycuan band of the Kumeyaay Indian tribe in 2003 and reopened as a Starwood Luxury Hotel in 2006. The Kumeyaay Indians, despite having sold the original 960 acres to Alonzo Horton more than a century ago, remained in the area. The tribe used funds from their casino operations to add the US Grant to their business.


                  The hotel has hosted numerous notables; including 14 U.S. presidents, starting with Woodrow Wilson and including John F. Kennedy up to George W. Bush. Charles Lindbergh, Albert Einstein and Mamie Eisenhower are among historic visitors. Actors have included Demi Moore, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger."