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Mr. A's

Soo, it is our anniversary in a couple of weeks. Is Mr. A's worth it?? Or do you go there just because and then you have eaters remorse. We were thinking of leaving N. County and pretending to be cool and hip and stay downtown.

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  1. I've never had eater's remorse about going to Mr. A's. I don't think you will find any regular contributor to the board who thinks it's the best food in San Diego, but I think it's a great place for a special occasion. The food and service are excellent, and if you're able to snag a "view" table at just the right time of day, it is a one-of-a-kind experience.

    Congratulations on your anniversary.

    3 Replies
    1. re: srk

      Thank you, we have been to most of the CH darlings and always avoided this and really wondered why. Thought of trying Juniper and Ivy or the Ironstone Fish and oyster. Maybe the next day.

      1. re: Ela0427

        J&I is finding its groove, but I wouldn't choose it as a special occasion restaurant. It's loud and lively bordering on frenetic, nothing romantic about it.

        1. re: Ponder99

          " It's loud and lively bordering on frenetic, nothing romantic about it."


      1. re: Ela0427

        I think Dobson's would be a nice place for your anniversary dinner. No view though, of course.

        1. re: DoctorChow

          I don't think they have great food (even their mussel bisque is just OK) especially for their prices

        2. re: Ela0427

          Dobson's is a bit "fusty" - I don't think they have updated either the decor or the menu since the 90s. I don't mind sitting at the bar downstairs for lunch, but it really needs a re-do, and I get the feeling the owner is about to retire soon, so it's not going to happen. I also agree with what DD says about Mr. A's. Before they remodeled a few years ago, it was REALLY retro - the food, ambiance right down to the patrons ;). It has been udpated, but it's still very traditional. Should be a good meal though, and the view cannot be beat.

        3. I think whether or not you're a fit for Mr. A's may depend upon your age range.

          If you're young (under 30), hip and trendy, I'd say skip it, it'll be too staid for you

          If you're young, but don't mind, and don't feel out of place, dining with the 45+ age group because the food is good, go for it, but end the night someplace a little more lively.

          If you're over 35 with expendable income, it's probably a reasonable choice.

          The food won't be cutting edge or innovative, but it will be well conceived, well presented and taste good. The service will (or should) be on the friendly but professional side. The view will be good and the noise level low enough to let you carry on a decent conversation with your dining companions, but not so low that you'll think you're in a morgue.

          Because of some family stuff that was going on over the holidays we were seriously looking at Mr. A's for Christmas Eve but we decided to stay in and cook at the last minute. It is a good special occasion choice when you want something a little more formal than the casualness of our usual restaurants, but not so stuffy that the dining experience is dull or uncomfortable.

          And if you aren't sure...go for drinks, apps and the sunset view and then move on to something else for dinner and late night. Enjoy your anniversary, the evening and each other and your choice of venue really won't matter ;-)

          1 Reply
          1. re: DiningDiva

            Thank you so much. We are in our early and late 40's so we are in the perfect age bracket!! I think I am looking for a good solid dining experience, does not have to be innovative, just tasty.
            My other suggestions to the spousal unit was a repeat dinner at Addison.
            Cowboy Star

            Wherever we end up, I want to either walk or take a cab from hotel. Enjoying a kid-free night

          2. If you look into that type of more "old school" dining you should look into Mille Fleurs (Rancho Santa Fe). Same chef but better food.

            1 Reply
            1. Honkman gave you the suggestion of Millie Fleurs, which is a great suggestion. How about you stay at the RSF Inn and eat out on the patio of Morada? Really a nice view and you can just wander off to your bungalow after dinner. If you did that, you wouldn't have to pretend to be cool, you would be too cool for words.

              1 Reply
              1. re: littlestevie

                Thank you littlestevie, that is a great idea too.

              2. Thank you all so much, husband researched the menus and made the res at Mr. A's. Will report back in a couple of weeks on this San Diego "institution".

                7 Replies
                1. re: Ela0427

                  So it's back to Plan A, so to speak.

                  Good choice. You'll have a nice time there.

                  1. re: DoctorChow

                    Yes, he wants to have a cigar and was concerned it may be frowned upon at RSF inn, so we shall stay DT and he will pollute the air there.

                    1. re: Ela0427

                      Ha! Yeah, really. Well, have fun, and Happy Anniversary!

                      1. re: DoctorChow

                        Thank you very much!! I appreciate the feedback! Will report back. Like I told my husband I do not need a reinvented wheel but would love a really good wheel. Sadly a French place without a foie dish seems underdressed. :(

                  2. re: Ela0427

                    In late May 1966 I dined at Mr. A's with my date before our Senior Prom. At our setting was a book of matches embossed in gold with "Mr. McGrath." I don't remember much about the cuisine or the date, but always remembered those matches.

                    1. re: mcgrath

                      ha! I still have a few of those "embossed" matchbooks from the 90's.

                      1. re: mcgrath

                        My prom dinner at Mr. A's was my first fine dining meal - we sat at the window overlooking Balboa Park and I thought it was magical. All I remember about the food was we had strawberry cheesecake for dessert. Years later I worked in the building and we went to the bar for happy hour all the time. The free appetizers included tuna stuffed cherry tomatoes, but the cocktail servers in togas were the main draw. :)

                    2. Personally, I wouldn't go to Mr. A's..maybe for drinks and apps...Martin is a wonderful chef and love love love Mille Fleurs for that country French vibe.

                      We like to do staycations at the resorts around town and I think for your anniversary, heading out to Rancho Valencia Resort at the wonderful Pony Room (lunch) and Veladora for dinner and sit out by the lawn croquet in RSF or the RSF Inn and dine at Morada would be lovely.

                      La Costa resort is fun and get massages then hit up Blue Fire Grill..
                      Also, RBI and dine at the new resto..

                      We've done the US Grant Hotel many times and dined from the Grant Grill, Dobson's O Bar/Top of the Market at the Fish and Donovan's but tho' we were having a blast, all I wanted to do was take a power wash to all of Gaslamp!
                      Guess its the Virgo in me.
                      ; )

                      We like Surf and Sand in Laguna and Splashes is lovely..plus, there is something wonderful about room service.. ; )

                      Catalina Island has some great places like the Inn at Mt. Ada or Palm Desert at La Quinta Resort and then go to my fave, Le Vallauris for dinner.

                      Happy Anniversary!

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Beach Chick

                        Those are all really great ideas for a staycation!

                        1. re: Beach Chick

                          Thank you, great ideas.. Must be why La Valencia is all booked. Palm desert will have Coachella that weekend, so that is all booked. Will give this place a try and report back.

                            1. re: Ela0427

                              Virgo chicks rock. .

                              what resort did you decide on?

                            2. re: Beach Chick

                              "...all I wanted to do was take a power wash to all of Gaslamp!"
                              No kidding. It's almost in the same league as Bourbon St. in New Orleans.

                            3. The last time I ate there was probably....mmmm.....96? 98? ish? The two things I remember were the beige-ness of the place. Beige beige beige. And the foie gras. Foie Gras is brilliant on it's own, and theirs was littered with a myriad of compotes, toasts, and sauces. And overcooked.