With spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean paired with fantastic cuisine common at a number of San Diego's best restaurants, it's easy to find a place to celebrate a romantic occasion.
One of the most popular choices for a romantic dinner is literally nestled in the sand of La Jolla Shores beach. During high tides, waves actually splash against The Marine Room's windows. Go also for award-winning global cuisine by Executive Chef Bernard Guillas and Chef de Cuisine Ron Oliver. The restaurant first opened in 1941 and has been an integral part of the local fine dining scene for over 70 years.
Or, if downtown suits you, try Bertrand at Mister A's. If weather permits, reserve a lovely table on the patio to enjoy panoramic vistas of Coronado, the city's skyscrapers and more while jets fly overhead to land at the airport nearby. Unparalleled service and exquisite modern American cuisine with a French twist add to the experience.
Skip the view and focus on only each other... or perhaps a to-die-for beef Wellington. The aptly-named Wellington restaurant in Mission Hills sports a supper club vibe and a mean selection of martinis and craft cocktail favorites.
Just remember to make a reservation at these popular romantic dining restaurants in San Diego.
CUSP Dining and Drinks
If you are searching for the perfect place to indulge in a stylish and relaxed La Jolla dining experience look no further. CUSP, located on the 11th floor of Hotel La Jolla is newly-renovated with a fresh coastal Mediterranean-inspired menu that has an emphasis on seafood. Pastas and pizza doughs are made in-house as is the ice cream and a number of other favorites. Happy hour is a terrific value for both the food and drink specials, as well as the panoramic Pacific view during daylight hours. The cocktail list is massive complete with homemade juices and infused spirits. There is also a kids' menu. (8585513620)
At KITCHEN 1540, an award-winning restaurant located in the L'Auberge Del Mar, a comfortable and simple atmosphere complements the coastal harvest cuisine menu by Chef Nathan Lingle. Romantic diners should book a cozy cabana on the outdoor patio for a somewhat private dining experience. The restaurant features an open presentation kitchen, tasting table, a private dining room wrapped in wine-encased walls, and a cozy wine bar with 24 wines on tap. Guests can also opt to dine on a lovely outdoor patio, where they can enjoy the ocean breezes, a gurgling waterfall and hanging lanterns to set just the right mood. (8587936460)
Prado at Balboa Park
Picturesque Balboa Park, with its museums, lush gardens and performing arts venues, is on every visitor's itinerary. And at the end of a busy day exploring the park's many treasures, there's no better place to relax than Prado, where the eclectic decor blends historic charm with modern flair. The menu is a mix of traditional and modern as well, with options such charred Portobello carpaccio, adobo-braised pork osso buco, seafood paella, and grilled flat iron steak. Gourmet sandwiches and salads are a great lunch option. The patio is family-friendly for both lunch and dinner and they also have a great happy hour. (619-557-9441)
Poseidon prides itself on being fun for every age with a casual beach vibe. This is definitely true, but it's also a fantastic place for a romantic seafood dinner by the sand on their sizable patio. The entire restaurant has been recently remodeled to a chic, upscale-casual look. The menu has a Mediterranean flair. And, they're open for weekend brunch with fun favorites like macadamia-coconut french toast or huevos rancheros. At dinner, splurge on a lobster tail or something like the wasabi halibut with mushroom risotto and lotus root chips. They can prepare gluten, nut, shellfish and dairy-free options upon request as well. (8587559345)
Set within the fashionable and historic Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Ocean is an elegant yet comfortable space with stunning ocean views and contemporary decor. Chef de Cuisine Meredith Manee's menu offers coastal California cuisine that emphasizes local ingredients. Main courses American Kobe filet with black garlic purple potatoes, seared duck breast or vegetable Wellington. The dinner-only restaurant is also known for its exceptional wine menu. A mix and match first, second, main and dessert 4-course menu is also available. You might see guests in flip flops but smart casual attire is recommended. Note that the restaurant is closed on Sundays and Mondays. (619-522-8490, 800-468-3533)
Proprietor Bertrand Hug's French restaurant is the kind of place – even in the days of more casual dining – that you still want to get dressed up for. A favorite with visiting Hollywood stars and world-renowned chefs, it offers unabashed elegance, irresistible gourmet dishes, intimate rooms with warmly-lit fireplaces, exquisite hand-woven tapestries, and starched white linens. The menu's delicacies change with the seasons and can include oven-roasted stuffed quail, sauteed John Dory, crispy veal sweetbreads, and a pan-seared beef filet topped with bone marrow. Musical entertainment is featured in the bar nightly and live music Wednesday through Saturday. A bar menu is offered from 5PM to 10:30PM. (858-756-3085)
Exquisite seasonal dining awaits at Addison, Southern California's only five star/five diamond restaurant. Appropriately located in the opulent Fairmont Grand Del Mar, Addison is certainly a special occasion spot. Be prepared for artistically prepared, modern French cuisine paired with a bottle from their extensive fine wine collection. Executive Chef William Bradley has wowed local and national critics with his elegant "farm to table" artisanal approach to cooking. The decor is glamorously European in design with dark woods and large arched windows offering up views of the resort's golf course. Larger groups can consider the private dining area full of richly upholstered chairs, carved wood detailing and vaulted ceilings. Addison is only open for dinner and the menu changes daily. Get dressed up and be prepared to enjoy a dining experience of a lifetime. (858-314-1900)
Perhaps best known for its setting right on the beach that is so close to the water the waves crash on the windows during high tides. The Marine Room also happens to serve fine, globally-influenced cuisine. Start with the signature lobster bisque, accented with enoki mushrooms, pancetta and yuzu cream. Main course highlights have included a trio of game (elk, ostrich and venison), fleur de sel-rubbed veal, and abalone-mushroom crusted barramundi. Impeccable service, attention to detail, and an award-winning wine list round out the experience. Check the special event calendar for high tide happy hours and dinners as well as other not-to-be-missed experiences. (866-644-2351)
Bertrand at Mr. A's
Bertrand at Mr. A's just might be one of the best places to enjoy a skyline view of downtown San Diego, Coronado, Balboa Park and Point Loma, with the occasional plane landing or taking off from the airport. The sunsets are spectacular and part of the reason why this restaurant is perpetually voted one of the most romantic places to eat in the city. However, its casual elegance is also welcoming to families. Leave your jacket and tie at home. Dressy jeans and business casual are now appropriate here. American cuisine is on the menu though dishes change based on seasonality of locally-sourced ingredients. Chef Stephane Voitzwinkler also infuses his Alsatian German upbringing into dishes such as spaetzel and house-made sausage. Hearty dishes are balanced out by more healthful California cuisine. Shawn Barker, the in-house mixologist can also whip up a specialty cocktail to compliment the view and menu. (619-239-1377)
About Katie Dillon
Katie Dillon originally moved to the seaside community of La Jolla to attend UC San Diego. When the opportunity presented itself, she and her husband set off for a 7 year stint overseas as expats in London and Hong Kong. After traveling the world, they returned to the La Jolla sunshine, with a young daughter in tow.
Katie now writes a lifestyle site called La Jolla Mom and is the author of a book called, “Flying With Kids.” Her work can be seen on NBC San Diego, Red Tricycle, Yahoo! Shine and Have Family Will Travel, a Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts blog.
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