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Restaurant Week – San Diego


kalypso
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I know there aren't a whole lot of we San Diegans here in this forum, but last night kicked off Restaurant Week and I'm curious to know who's been where, how it was and what you thought.

A friend and I dined at Arterra last night. I lived in the Bay Area for 10 years and One Market was one of my favorite places. So, I was very interested to see how Bradley Ogden's Southern California outpost in a Marriott hotel rated. I am delighted to say that I walked away happy.

The apps for RW were a choice between a Point Reyes Station Blue Cheese Souffle w/ a Frisee Salad w/Pear, Apple and Sugared Nuts or a creamy Celery Root Soup garnished with Creme Fraiche and Meyer Lemon with a Lobster Ravioli floating in it. Both starters were a hit. The blue cheese souffle was etherally light, sharp and tangy, plus it was the perfect enhancement to the small salad. The soup was very subtle and the lobster ravioli provided little bursts of fresh briny flavor to keep it interesting.

The two entrees offered were a Miso Glazed Black Cod and Braised Short Ribs Wellington. We both opted to go with the short ribs. A puff pastry shell was filled with an extremely tender and savory melange of roasted mushrooms and rich, braised short ribs and topped off with two crispy strips of lean bacon and a few sprinkles of more of that luscious Point Reyes blue cheese. The bacon was an inspired touch, but the blue cheese seemed a little out of step with the rest of the components of the dish. My dining companion agreed but since we both dearly love blue cheese, it didn't really matter. And besides, as part of a $30 meal, it was a heck of a nice entree. There were some nicely roasted baby vegetables in a balsamic reduction/glaze rounding out the plate.

Dessert was a choice of either a Valhrona Chocolate Souffle Tart with Chocolate Tuile and Vanilla/Port Ice Cream, or a Toffee Crunch Date Cake with Coconut and Pear. We both ordered the date cake, but one of each dessert was delivered to the table (the only service bobble of the evening). We decided to keep the chocolate souffle tart so that we could try both desserts. The chocolate was beyond rich and decadent. It was, in fact, so chocolately and intensely, insanely rich that neither one of us could do it justice and we ended up leaving half of it. And the port/vanilla ice cream not so tasty. It had kind of a medicinal taste and didn't really do much to set off the chocolate in the tart. The date cake, otho, was quite good. It was moist, light and not cloyingly sweet as some date confections tend to be. It reminded me a little of the date and macademia cake served by JSix which is really brilliant.

Arterra has an interesting wine list composed of almost all domestic wines. There were a couple options from the Valle de Guadalupe in Baja, but everything else was from the U.S. Wine list prices run the gamut from pricey to extraordinarily pricey. Normal menu prices are in the $9-16 range for starters and in the $27-37 range for entrees.

The meal accomoplished what RW is supposed to accomplish. It made me want to go back and try the regular menu. Unfortunately, Arterra is in Del Mar and I'm not, and I'm not sure how willing I am to fight traffic to get there.

I've got Laurel coming up Thursday and Nine-Ten on Friday. So, any one else, what are your plans for Restaruant Week?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Bonjour kalypso,

I am an American woman living in Provence, France and will be visiting family in San Diego for a month or two beginning the 15th of February. I read your review of Arterra and enjoyed the detailed descriptions of the menu options. I had eaten there a few times after it opened and if memory serves me correct, I especially enjoyed the tiny foie gras burgers, champagne and port tastings. Have you been to Cavaillon - Philippe Verpiand's (formerly of Tapenade) new place

- yet? I've also heard good things about Patrick Ponsaty's Bistro in Scripps Ranch. I'm looking forward to trying both of them or anything else that might be of interest while I'm in town. Any suggestions? I'll have a car so travel isn't a problem (other than the 5/805 merge nightmare). I know restaurant week is over, but if you would like to get together for a meal or glass or wine, let me know.

I know there aren't a whole lot of we San Diegans here in this forum, but last night kicked off Restaurant Week and I'm curious to know who's been where, how it was and what you thought.

A friend and I dined at Arterra last night.  I lived in the Bay Area for 10 years and One Market was one of my favorite places.  So, I was very interested to see how Bradley Ogden's Southern California outpost in a Marriott hotel rated. I am delighted to say that I walked away happy.

The apps for RW were a choice between a Point Reyes Station Blue Cheese Souffle w/ a Frisee Salad w/Pear, Apple and Sugared Nuts or a creamy Celery Root Soup garnished with Creme Fraiche and Meyer Lemon with a Lobster Ravioli floating in it.  Both starters were a hit.  The blue cheese souffle was etherally light, sharp and tangy, plus it was the perfect enhancement to the small salad.  The soup was very subtle and the lobster ravioli provided little bursts of fresh briny flavor to keep it interesting.

The two entrees offered were a Miso Glazed Black Cod and Braised Short Ribs Wellington.  We both opted to go with the short ribs. A puff pastry shell was filled with an extremely tender and savory melange of roasted mushrooms and rich, braised short ribs and topped off with two crispy strips of lean bacon and a few sprinkles of more of that luscious Point Reyes blue cheese.  The bacon was an inspired touch, but the blue cheese seemed a little out of step with the rest of the components of the dish.  My dining companion agreed but since we both dearly love blue cheese, it didn't really matter.  And besides, as part of a $30 meal, it was a heck of a nice entree.  There were some nicely roasted baby vegetables in a balsamic reduction/glaze rounding out the plate.

Dessert was a choice of either a Valhrona Chocolate Souffle Tart with Chocolate Tuile and Vanilla/Port Ice Cream, or a Toffee Crunch Date Cake with Coconut and Pear.  We both ordered the date cake, but one of each dessert was delivered to the table (the only service bobble of the evening).  We decided to keep the chocolate souffle tart so that we could try both desserts. The chocolate was beyond rich and decadent.  It was, in fact, so chocolately and intensely, insanely rich that neither one of us could do it justice and we ended up leaving half of it.  And the port/vanilla ice cream not so tasty. It had kind of a medicinal taste and didn't really do much to set off the chocolate in the tart.  The date cake, otho, was quite good.  It was moist, light and not cloyingly sweet as some date confections tend to be.  It reminded me a little of the date and macademia cake served by JSix which is really brilliant.

Arterra has an interesting wine list composed of almost all domestic wines.  There were a couple options from the Valle de Guadalupe in Baja, but everything else was from the U.S. Wine list prices run the gamut from pricey to extraordinarily pricey.  Normal menu prices are in the $9-16 range for starters and in the $27-37 range for entrees.

The meal accomoplished what RW is supposed to accomplish.  It made me want to go back and try the regular menu.  Unfortunately, Arterra is in Del Mar and I'm not, and I'm not sure how willing I am to fight traffic to get there. 

I've got Laurel coming up Thursday and Nine-Ten on Friday. So, any one else, what are your plans for Restaruant Week?

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Sure, I'd be willing to get together.

I do like Arterra. I've also been there for breakfast which was very well done.

I have not tried Cavaillon yet, nor have I heard much buzz on it. It may be deliberately flying below the radar to get any bugs worked out. Le Bistro Bastide (or maybe it's Le Bastide Bistro, I always seem to get it backwards) has generally been very well received. Comments during restaurant week indicated some unevenness, but the non-restaurant week comments have been far more positive. I have to admit I was a little surprised by what people thought a restaurant should provide for a $30 meal. But I digress...........the chefs at both these new places are Tapenade alumni and I like Tapenade a lot. Their lunch specials are some of the best deals in town.

For suggestions?

Nine-Ten (best desserts in town, especially the Panna Cotta)

Roppongi in La Jolla - go for happy hour. Their entire app menu is half price

Region in Hillcrest is rather a version of Chez Panisse in San Diego. Very fresh, locally grown or produced products, prepared in ways that let the ingredients shine. Slow Food member. And to be perfectly honest, the meals I've personally eaten at Region have been underwhelming, but the food my dining companions have been served during the same meals have been outstanding. I think the kitchen is somewhat uneven, but my opinion isn't shared by everyone. In spite of that, I really like Region and what they are trying to accomplish. Do not go for the "Trust the Chef", you can do as well, or better, by selecting your own meal, and the cost is about the same.

Terra Restaurant also in Hillcrest is one of the more under-rated and undervalued restaurants in San Diego. Very consistent and I really like the diversity of vegetables they serve and how well they prepare them. They've got a great little outside dining area and if you're looking for a good breakfast with an upscale feel but not the upscale price tag, Terra is it. Good coffee too.

A.R. Valentien at The Lodge at Torrey Pines One of the consensus top picks in the county.

The Gaslamp is, of course, choke full of restaurant in every price range and in every quality range. I've had good luck at JSix in the Solamar Hotel. Their braised short ribs were fantastic, and they've got a date macademia nut cake that was probably one of the best desserts I ate last year.

This link will get you to the home page for Laurel, Chive and the Kensington Grill. Laurel was one of the top places in SD but slowly declined. New ownership and a new chef have helped revive it. The meal I had during Restaurant Week was the best; terrific mussles, deliciously and exotically sauced (well at least for SD) Tai snapper. Chive is a consistent favorite. My experience at Kensington Grill wasn't so great (dessert was inedible).

Across the street from the Kensington Grill is Just Fabulous Desserts. Love this place. Lively and vivacious retro decor, nice casual menu, well done, well prepared and well presented. But the real claim to fame are the desserts which are, well, just fabulous. This is a real neighborhood place, not real high profile.

Cafe Chole

Parallel 33

Chilango's does some of the best Mexican in the city. It's on University between 1st and 2nd. Across the street is Ortega's, related to the Ortega's in Puerto Nuevo of lobster dinner fame. Ortega's has only been open a few months but has already garnered quite a few glowing reviews and endorsements.

And a few blocks down University to the East is Mama Testa's a unique taqueria serving 26 different varieties of tacos from different states in Mexico. They use only free range poultry and organic, hormone free meat and cookign from traditional recipes. This is not dumbed down Mexican food even though it's just a simple, ubiquitious taco. The interior is decorated with traditional Mexican folk art, all of it depicting some part of Lotteria game (similar to our Bingo except with symbols rather than numbers). The salsa bar at Mama Testa's is wonderful; it usually had 10-12 different salsas, all freshly made in small batches. And they recently received a 100% on their last inspection from the SD Department of Environmental Health, a rarity for any restaurant.

And if you're interested in funky, you can try The Vine at Niagra and Bacon in Ocean Beach. Interesting wines and a kitchen turning out some solid reliable food.

If you're interested in specific cuisines or specific parts of town let me know and I can probably provide a recommendation or two, or three.............and I didn't even get into all the Asia choices on and around Convoy St. in Kearny Mesa, they are abundant.

PM me when you get into town and perhaps we could find some time to meet and dine :smile:

Edited by kalypso (log)
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I had lunch at La Bastide today, the second time I've been there. The leek and potato soup was decent, and the salad nicoise (the typical Californian version with slices of rare fresh ahi) was very good. For dessert, I had the strawberry soup with raspberries and lemon sorbet, which I enjoyed very much. It's not not the South of France, but for the San Diego area, it's a find, especially for the money.

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Hi there Kalypso (any relation to Calypso's up in Leucadia?).

Thanks for the leads. When I home-exchanged for a month in La Jolla a couple of years ago I ate my way around town and especially liked the small plates at Fresh, La Vache (salads, blanquette de veau and cassoulet), Nine-Ten's bar sipping champagne and munching on their multi-colored chips or eating some Chino greens, Trey Foshee's tasting menu at George's or sitting outside on their bar level with a glass of Côte de Rhone and a bowl of smoked chicken/broccoli soup and Bread & Cie bread. I agree with you about Roppongi's for happy hour - their appetizers are outstanding - especially the woked black mussels with lemon grass and curry sauce, the mini baby lambchops, and the shredded duck quesadillas. And then there's the beer sampler at Karl Strauss. My all-time favorite in La Jolla was Tapenade since I am close friends with Philippe Verpiand who has since left to open Cavaillon which is the name of the town that he comes from here in Provence. My village is about 15 kilometers to the east. When I lived in San Diego, I used to go there every Sunday and bring friends or family or co-workers and just let him cook whatever and match the wine to the course and I am so looking forward to eating his food again!

I'm also glad to hear of some places that must be new since I've left - especially curious about Region since I used to go to Chez Panisse a lot when I was in Berkeley and really love Cesar's which is the Spanish tapas bar that one of the former manager's of Chez Panisse opened next door (named in keeping with Pagnol's trilogy - Water's daughter Fanny has a little cafe namesake down the road a ways). Sorry to hear your meals weren't great but the fact that they are a Slow Food member should give them a "support pass" good for a couple of times around.

Based on your description, I would definitely want to give Terra since I am always interested in good veggie dishes. When I was in Paris last month I bought a book (Legumes de Joel) that gives the best vegetable recipes of the chefs of Paris (based on the high-quality organically-grown veggies of M. Joel) along with amazing photos of their dishes and I'm looking forward to trying them out on some Chino items. I used to live just down the road from Chino's and remember with mouth watering barbequing bushels of their fresh-picked corn on 4th of July. And then, of course, there's Duckett's Bucket at the Fish Market not to mention their warm spinach, onion, feta salad. And Jeffrey Strauss' appetizer and dessert tasting platters at Pamplemousse, but I, too, digress......................

I was pretty disappointed with Parallel 33 the only time I ate there - so incredibly noisy and small and all of the foods seemed to lean heavily on the sugar side. Laurel, on the other hand, seemed to be pretty heavy-handed on the salt and snob. Maybe the new ownership has corrected both. I've never gotten to Chive and would really like to try it this time around. Same with The Lodge at Torrey Pines. Last time I was in town I took my mom to L'Auberge in Del Mar and the meal was surprisingly good. They had a new manager (from Italy) and he was in the process of updating their wine menu and gave me lots of great tastings so needless to say I have very fond memories of the experience. Ashamed to admit that I've have never done Mille Fleurs so I guess it's time to give it a whirl (got there too many hairs past our reservation time when Philippe Verpiand's wife and I were French-tasting our way around town to get ideas when he was in the planning stages of opening his place).

What do you think of Deborah Scott's places? I enjoyed the tapas at The Prado but was underwhelmed by Indigo Grill - each dish seemed to have everything but the kitchen sink thrown on the plate. I had heard she was opening a new one that specialized in sea food. Are they still doing cooking/tasting classes?

I have to admit that after almost a year in France, the place that sounds the best to me right now is Mama Testa's - I'm dying for some good old Mexican tacos and spicy salsa and a salted Margarita rim! Especially if the fixings are free-range/organic and traditional to boot! No matter how many corn tortillas and pinto beans and pounds of jack cheese I haul over here each time I come, it just never seems to taste the same. Ditto for a real Pho over on Convoy if you know of any good ones - the French Vietnamese really hold back on the spice and fresh veggies. I used to enjoy Le Bambou in Del Mar - they have a great tamarind fish dish and clay pot. And Spices up in Carmel Valley for Thai if they're still around.

Well, it's hitting the witching hour here and I need to get packing for my trip on Tuesday so thank you, once again, for the tips and I look forward to meeting/eating wherever. I should be unjetlagged by next weekend so let me know what works for you.

Ciao,

Barbara

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Hi Carlsbad. Glad to hear you enjoyed La Bastide. I checked the menu and it seems well-balanced and well-priced so I'm looking forward to giving it a try. By the way, I'll be staying at my mom's retirement place in Carlsbad (just off of La Costa Blvd.) so if you'd like to get together for a meal let me know. I usually go over to Savory a couple of times a week and get a glass of wine and an appetizer at the bar - the bartender Steve (if he's still there) is great and Pascal's cooking is pretty authentic Southwestern France. Barbara

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Hi BSK.

No I'm not related to Calypso in Luecadia :-). I used to breed and show pedigree cats (Maine Coon Cats). My cat Calypso had a pretty decent show career and she happened to be laying on my lap when I had to select a user name for with my ISP (this was a long time ago). Calypso with a "C" was taken, but it available using a "K".

I, unfortunately, live in that culinary waste land known as the "East County" so getting out to La Jolla and the North County is sometimes a challenge. Jack's is new in La Jolla, on Girard (or maybe Wall) I think. I don't think it's hit it's stride yet, but probably worth checking out if you're in the neighborhood.

Based on what you've written about "a glass of wine and an app" (I do that too :rolleyes: ) if you haven't tried Meritage in Encinitas in the Lumberyard it might be worth a go. A friend and I had a glass of wine and a quick bite to eat on their patio one evening before a chocolate class we were taking at Chuao. Not exceptional, but very pleasant and the food was competent. And do stop by Chuao for chocolates :wink:

I admire Deborah Scott's architectural capabilities with food. Her presentations are wildly over the top. I love the room at Kemo Sabe even if it does get noisy, but the food I can take or leave. I liked the food at Indigo Grill but haven't been back for a couple of years and I've heard reports that it's been uneven lately. Yes, she did open a new spot this summer.

Remember the old Rueben's on Harbor Island? That's the new resto. She took that old barn of a building and converted it into 2 restaurants. They did a lovely job with the remodel. Island Prime is the upscale side specializing in steak and seafood. Very pricey, competes with Morton's and Ruth Chris in terms of menu and check average. Opening reviews were generally good, word of mouth I've heard has been so-so with most of the complaints being that the quality wasn't matching the price, so therefore, the value wasn't there.

The other side of the restaurant is the C Level Lounge, at which I've eaten 3 times. C Level probably has the best view of the city, maybe better than Peohe's in Coronado. They've added an outside deck and every seat in the dining room has a pretty unobstructed view of the water. Interesting drink list and the wine list isn't too bad either. Food is casual with almost everything under $15. My meals there were shortly after it opened. Some things were good and some were rather mediocre, and my last meal was disappointing, but the view and ambience couldn't be beat. For a drink and an app, tho, C Level Lounge is an engaging place to while away an hour or two. Here's the link, I think for the Cohn Restaurant Group click on the link to Island Prime for more info.

I like Saigon House on El Cajon for pho (also their clay pto catfish), across the street from Hoover High, although there are any number of wonderful places on Convoy St. in Kearny Mesa. Spicy City has it's followers, including Jeffery Steingarten, the man who ate everything. I like Ba Ren though, which is just above hole-in-the-wall status. They do the best Sichuan chinese in the city. For Korean try Buga. For sushi try Sushi Ota in PB, Sammy's in the Convoy area or Sakura on Convoy as well.

Gotta run...............

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Thanks Kalypso for all the great leads. Sounds as if we eat similarly. I'm putting the finishing touches on packing and will be leaving Provence under the full Valentine's Day moon at about 6 a.m. tomorrow and arrive in SD at about ten p.m. I'll need a couple of days to dejetlag and spend time with my mom, but I'm open for just about anything after that. Let me know what will work for you. I'm hoping to have my computer up and running as soon as possible, but in case there's a problem, you can reach me at my mom's (760) 704-1161. Ciao for now. Barbara

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"Spices up in Carmel Valley for Thai if they're still around"

Yup, and they opened a branch on Mira Mesa Blvd, near 805.

editted because I meant to ask what you think of Japengo in the Golden Triangle area? (calls itself La Jolla, but its not).

Edited by Kouign Aman (log)

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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I'm in San Diego and currently going to Culinary School at a community college. My prefessor for my Pastry and Baking class is the Executive Pastry Chef of Arterra. His name is chef James Foran.

I've never been to eat at Arterra, but hear many good things about their food. It sounds like a place I would enjoy.

I'm excited that I have him as an instructor. I feel I have so much to learn from him. His teaching is laid back and very much into concentrating on cooking instead of lecturing for hours.

I was fortunate enough to bake his recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies, but with his ok, my team changed it up and made White Chocolate Cherry Macadamia Nut Cookies. They were really good. I think I should've added more dried cherries so I could taste them more, but they tasted like a cookie I would pay good money for. His recipe was a hit with the entire class.

I can't wait to go to Arterra and see what I've been missing.

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Grossmont?

Arterra is well worth the trip from the East County and worth the splurge on a student's budget :wink: The more you taste, the more you educate your palate and sense of what works and what doesn't.

But you'd better get there quickly. I heard an unverified rumor that Arterra has been sold and the chef is moving on. I sincerely hope the rumor is unfounded because I've have long been a fan of Bradley Odgen's restaurants and style of cooking. The dining scene in San Diego has made tremendous headway in the last few years, I'd really hate to see if loose one of it's better players.

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Arterra is fabulous! I have been there on a number of occasions and have enjoyed every meal. Another nice place is Fresh in La Jolla and always S'bicca in Del Mar (Dine upstairs at sunset)

La bastide is another story, we went there hoping for great things and the service was just appalling! It was not terribly busy but we sat for a full hour before we got the wine we ordered and waited another 45 minutes before the appetizer arrived. At that point we left because we were concerned that we might starve to death in a restaurant!

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Yes, I go to Grossmont. I think it's the best way to get a degree without having to pay for it. I would love to go to Le Cordon Bleu or CIA, but it's a well admired program that's very inexpensive. I can't go wrong.

I will have to confirm the rumor and ask Chef Foran if the restaurant will change hands.

I had class last night and he taught us how to bake rolls and baguettes. They were great. Very rustic, dark, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. I don't know what happened, but our team somehow killed the yeast because our rolls didn't rise. They also looked like they had little liver spots on them after they baked. Perhaps the yeast wasn't mixed well enough in the milk? I dunno.

I'll get back to you on the rumor. Let's hope its not true. I think we should take a class trip to Arterra. Maybe they would give us a group or student discount. Haha!

Edited by MellyMel (log)
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  • 10 months later...

Sassybat, I cant wait to hear how your meals are!

This from another San Diego thread.

Made reservations for restaurant week at Tapenade (old favorite, has a great $30 menu that includes a recipe from Les Halles that I’ve always wanted to try, “petatou”, a dish involving potatoes, fresh goat cheese and olives) and The Marine Room.  Cavaillon was also on the list but the $40 menu was not such a great deal I thought, and also 3 restaurants in the same week seemed like a bit much, especially right after holiday season.  So we will try Cavaillon another time.  And MODUS too!

My choices would be Vincent's Sorino's in Escondido, The Marine Room, and a couple others.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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  • 1 year later...

Its baaaaaaaack......

San Diego Restaurant Week 2008

If I had stomach enough and time (and a babysitter),

I'd be after these ones - new to me

* Trattoria Acqua

* Marine Room (oh the view)

* CHIVE

* El Bizcocho

and these, some old favorites, some fond memories out of my usual range

* Vincent's

* Bertram's at Mr A's (oh oh OH! the view! Is that BA's new jet?)

* Mille Fleurs

* Fish Market

* Bernard O's

And then, if there were still resources:

* Roppongi

* Arterra

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Its baaaaaaaack......

San Diego Restaurant Week 2008

If I had stomach enough and time  (and a babysitter),

I'd be after these ones - new to me

* Trattoria Acqua

* Marine Room (oh the view)

* CHIVE

* El Bizcocho

I'm on for Cavillion and 1500 Ocean.

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  • 4 months later...
  • 6 months later...

I'm going to be in town right when this event is wrapping up and it would be nice to take advantage of this promotion. I'm hoping someone can recommend a few restaurants participating in this event that would be suitable for a group of gals in their 20-30's in town for a girls weekend (there are 7 of us). We're staying in the Ocean Beach/Point Loma area, and I don't think we'll be taking the car that night (Friday), so someplace within a short cab ride would be ideal.

Thanks in advance for your help. :smile:

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Thee Bungalow is pleasant, and quite suitable, IMO.

There's something about the wine bottle pattern on the upholstery that sends a message of good times to be had.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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One of my friends made a reservation for pamplemousse.  i haven't been there in years--anyone tried it recently?

I haven't tried it recently either, but I do know several people that have gone for RW and no one has been especially pleased with it for RW. If you're going to go, my suggestion would be to go after RW.

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good suggestion, but that wasn't okay from a friend standpoint. we went and it was good. All 6 people were generally happy with their food. The truffle fries were fresh and very crispy, and two of the three items in the foie gras trio were quite delicious. Additionally, the service was vastly better than i remembered from many years ago.

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I thought I would kick this topic back up since it's nearing that time of year again:

San Diego Restaurant Week 2009

Best for its value at $30 for 3 course meal is Blue Point Restaurant on 5th downtown SD. I am going there tonight.

Most reliable for a great meal at $40 for 3 courses are

1. Market Restaurant (Via Dela Valle, Del Mar) - I will be there on 1/22/09 (they extended 1 week because they booked up really fast)

2. Mille Fleur (Rancho Santa Fe)

Need more recommendations, let me know.

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