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Restaurant for corporate foodies

Hello San Diego! Neither my wife or I have been fortunate enough to visit your supposedly beautiful town, but she's going to be there for a conference in a couple of weeks and is looking for a good place to take 12-15 coworkers. The perfect place would be a chef-owned local spot with great but not pretentious food. Someone cooking great local stuff with skill and panache, no molecular gastronomy required. And somewhere where it'd be cool for a dozen people to occupy a table for two-plus hours. They're happy to spend $100 a person. Any ideas?

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  1. The general question since San Diego is very spread out - which part of SD ?

    1 Reply
    1. re: honkman

      And of course if they have a car or pay for cab/shuttle/etc. Most conferences are either downtown/Gaslamp, but you'll see a lot in Mission Valley and a few at the Mission Bay or La Jolla coastal hotels.

    2. Georges Modern La Jolla
      Bali Hai
      Blind Burro
      Top of the Market @ Fish Market
      Hornblower has smaller boats for groups of your size for a 2+ hour bay cruise with dinner & drinks (plan your menu) at sunset to see how friggin' gorgeous San Diego is!!

      There is always the mussel bisque at Dobsons and the water taxi to Coronado then hit up Candelas.. ; )


      1. We'll let you be the judge of SD and all it's beautiful surroundings, not to mention the climate which is flawless. As for skill and panache, nope not here but, you'll find some good recs from us CH'ers for sure. You didn't indicate where you're group is from but, Maybe Romesco's for Mex, Café Chloe if you can book it for 15, George's Modern and for the corporate feel, Roy's.

        1 Reply
        1. They'll be downtown. Group is from all over the country. And y'all are very sensitive for people from such a supposedly wonderful city ;-)

          8 Replies
          1. re: djdorkmeister

            This native San Diegan actually kinda enjoys your style, 'dork. A dash of Texas with a large helping of New York City.

            Anyway, the private room at Cowboy Star downtown would suit your wife's group nicely. Check it out. [this reply reviewed twice for grammatical, spelling errors]

            1. re: mcgrath

              I love a sassy, smart ass tourist..

              Don't lose your snark, tip well and have fun...from another SD native!

            2. re: djdorkmeister

              I was not offended by your choice of words.

              1. re: djdorkmeister

                All over the country where, care to elaborate, Minneapolis perhaps. Y'all be happy to rid yourself of those black flys. Y'all makes me think of NOLA not Minnie. Mcgrath had a good choice in Cowboy Star, very consistent but, no panache. And yes, we can be edgy!

                1. re: cstr

                  Flies, not flys. I'll note it before he does....:)

                2. re: djdorkmeister

                  Sorry to have snapped out at you, DKM. It's not my style. Guess I read your OP too fast and experienced a knee-jerk moment of civically chauvinistic hypersensitivity.

                  Sigh... Time for a pilgrimage to Candy Mountain maybe.

                  I hope your wife finds the perfect place for her group to dine and that they all enjoy their stay here.

                  Peace. And hang onto that snark and sass, to re-use BC's expressions.

                  BTW, I noticed today at Puesto downtown that it has a long table that fits 16.

                  1. re: DoctorChow

                    LOL. .can't believe you remembered and referenced 'Candy Mountain'.

                  2. OK, benefit of the doubt time. Maybe you meant "famously". Whatever.

                    To the list of suggestions made by others (especially Cowboy Star and Top of the Market), I'll add Fogo de Chao, a very good Brazilian place downtown.

                    1. In downtown you could try the private room from Cafe Chloe, JSix and Cowboy Star (even though I think the first two are better options)

                      1. Juniper and Ivy in Little Italy, owned by Richard Blais. Can eat really, really well for under $100/person.
                        or Cucina Urbana in Banker's Hill.