In San Diego, the best thing to make for Thanksgiving is reservations

Give thanks that these chefs are doing the cooking

By Lois Alter Mark,

Spending time in America's Finest City is reason enough to be thankful. Having some of the best chefs in the city cook Thanksgiving dinner for you without even having to clean up afterwards? #grateful

Here are ten San Diego spots that will teach you the true meaning of Thanksgiving.  

Park Hyatt Aviara Resort Golf Club & Spa

Choose between multiple buffets or sit-down dinners for Thanksgiving — Photo courtesy of Park Hyatt Aviara Resort Golf Club & Spa

What you’ll be thankful for: From 10:30 am to 2:30 pm, California Bistro and Argyle Steakhouse will host their annual brunch buffets.

The menu features sweet items like pumpkin pie French toast with roasted pumpkin-mascarpone filling, along with Corn Flake and white chocolate crumble.  Or try something more savory like orange, thyme and clove brined slow-roasted free range turkey and pear, dried cherry and cornbread stuffing. $89 for adults, $32 for kids.

From 5 to 9:30 pm, Vivace and Argyle Steakhouse offer a multi-course menu featuring holiday favorites. $68-$78 per person.

What Executive Chef Pierre Albaladejo is thankful for: "I’m thankful to be a chef, and for all the fulfillment my profession has brought to me. I’m thankful to have a great team who has been with me for so long and I’m thankful to be part of this community who has given me so much appreciation for life."

L’Auberge Del Mar

Enjoy an autumnal dessert — Photo courtesy of L'Auberge Del Mar

What you’ll be thankful for: Kitchen 1540 lets you experience a coastal Thanksgiving filled with both traditional and not-so-traditional dishes. Enjoy a three-course menu including Blue Hubbard squash bisque, traditional roast heritage turkey with sage bread pudding, maroon carrots, pole beans, cranberry compote and whipped potatoes.

Or try beef tenderloin with roasted root vegetables, whipped potatoes and wine merchant sauce, and a sweet ending like goat cheesecake with pumpkin butter or dark chocolate ganache. $89 for adults, $25 for kids.

What Executive Chef Nathan Lingle is thankful for: "I’m thankful for the joy, love, hope, serenity, kindness, generosity, truth and compassion that surround my life, and the people I have the opportunity to interact with."

Urban Plates

Urban Plates is serving up delicious dishes, for dine-in or to-go — Photo courtesy of Urban Plates

What you’ll be thankful for: Urban Plates will be open from noon to 8 pm, serving a special menu featuring all the classics. In keeping with the restaurant’s commitment to food quality, antibiotic- and hormone-free herb roasted turkey breast will marinate and cook slowly overnight to be hand carved to order.

It will be served alongside raw cranberry orange relish, gravy, two sides and grilled focaccia bread. Locally-sourced traditional sides and made-from-scratch desserts will complement the festive meal.

What Executive Chef Jim Cannon is thankful for: "I'm thankful for time spent with friends and family enjoying our beautiful city. I’m grateful to spend Thanksgiving Day with my extended Urban Plates family as we celebrate this wonderful season of giving with our loyal guests and special holiday menu. To have the opportunity to bring the UP commitment of providing quality food and choosing good to those celebrating the holiday together makes it all worth it."

Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa

Find traditional fare as well as a Cali Baja twist — Photo courtesy of Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa

What you’ll be thankful for: The Cali Baja Thanksgiving Feast, served from noon to 5 pm, lives up to its name with a creative holiday menu that highlights classics like truffle butter mashed potatoes and butternut squash and apple soup, plus locally-inspired dishes including shrimp aguachile and jalapeño chimichurri grilled farmer’s market carrots with apricot chamoy. $75 for adults, $30 for kids.

What Executive Chef Michael Poompan is thankful for: "I’m thankful to have made a home in beautiful San Diego with my amazing and supportive wife and daughter, and for the opportunity to cook in a city where I am able to find culinary inspiration from the diverse ingredients sourced from the farmers, ranchers and artisans of Southern California and Baja."

Fairmont Grand Del Mar

Private dining room at Addison at Fairmont Grand Del Mar — Photo courtesy of Fairmont Grand Del Mar

What you’ll be thankful for: There are so many delicious options at this Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond luxury hotel – and all of them give your family access to outdoor games and face painting on the Aria Lawn. The Clubhouse Grill offers a bountiful buffet from noon to 4 pm and 5:30 pm to 8 pm; $65 for adults, $30 for kids.

Amaya features a three-course menu of fall delights, from noon to 8 pm; $85 for adults, $30 for kids. And at the award-winning Addison, Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef William Bradley presents an eight-course tasting menu from 5 to 8:30 pm, showcasing a selection of Thanksgiving-inspired dishes. $235 per person, with a $200 supplement for wine pairings.

What Chef de Cuisine Bryn McArthur is thankful for: "I’m most thankful for my family, friends and kitchen team. Having just moved to San Diego, I’m grateful to have a team that feels like family. It makes exploring local flavors and influences all the more gratifying."

The US Grant Hotel

A buffet or multi-course menu awaits at Grant Grill — Photo courtesy of The US Grant Hotel

What you’ll be thankful for: You can choose between the all-encompassing Thanksgiving Buffet, accompanied by live music, in the Presidential Ballroom from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm or opt for a more intimate celebration at the AAA-four diamond Grant Grill from 4 to 9 pm.

The buffet offers carved roasted turkey breast accompanied by both traditional and unique spin-offs of sweet and savory fall sides and desserts. $97 adults, $87 seniors, $39 kids. Grant Grill’s holiday dinner is $97 per person for four courses plus amuse bouche, $132 with wine pairings.

What Executive Chef Mark Kropczynski is thankful for: "First, I’m thankful for always being blessed with good health and the health of my family. Second, I live on the bay in San Diego and get to enjoy all the offerings the Pacific Ocean can provide. Third, I’m grateful to have this job as an Executive Chef in a beautiful historic hotel. I’m lucky to work in a field I enjoy and never could have imagined doing this when I was young."

Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa

What better time to enjoy a buffet than on Thanksgiving? — Photo courtesy of Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa

What you’ll be thankful for: The Thanksgiving Buffet, served from 9 am to 4 pm, features honey thyme-glazed turkey, prime rib, a chilled seafood station and a variety of breakfast items including cinnamon swirl brioche French toast and made-to-order omelets. It also includes two glasses of sparkling wine, mimosas or signature cocktails. $75 for adults, $35 for kids.

What Chef Chris Isdo is thankful for: "I’m thankful for having a family that values tradition in terms of the food on the table. We have a slew of family recipes that have been closely guarded and meticulously passed down through the generations, the most notable of which is a banana, marshmallow and walnut salad topped with a sweet mustard dressing. It’s been served every year for over five decades! I do always 'borrow' a few dishes to share with our guests at Estancia, like the apple and sage stuffing and smoked giblet gravy."

Bellamy’s

Thanksgiving at Bellamy's is sure to satisfy — Photo courtesy of Bellamy's

What you’ll be thankful for: From noon to 5 pm, Bellamy’s will host a three-course dinner, consisting of crispy seafood & cream cheese ravioli, Chef Jonathan’s Thanksgiving Plate and table sides to share including herb stuffing, creamy bacon potatoes and sautéed mushrooms.  It all comes with your choice of dark chocolate cake, Bellamy’s pumpkin pie or a Golden Delicious apple tart for dessert. $45 for adults, $15 for kids (with a kid-friendly menu). 

What Executive Chef Jonathan Freyberg is thankful for: "I get to do what I love for a living. I live in beautiful San Diego, so the weather is always perfect and I have ready access to the best produce. I have the best children a dad could ask for. Add in the Bellamy's team, and I have so many reasons to be thankful!"

Nick & G’s

Get in the harvest spirit at Nick & G's — Photo courtesy of Nick & G's

What you’ll be thankful for: A special three-course meal features butternut squash bisque, your choice of herb roasted turkey with garlic mashed potatoes, green beans, almond maple fig stuffing, marshmallow crusted yams, cranberry relish and savory garlic, or pan roasted rib-eye with three cheese scallop potatoes and sautéed asparagus in a wild mushroom Cabernet sauce.

For dessert, choose between pumpkin pie or Granny Smith apple cobbler. $46 per person.

What Executive Chef Brian Freerksen is thankful for: "I’m thankful for having the opportunity to create and develop a new restaurant concept, which is my passion. One of the most fulfilling moments is seeing someone smile after they enjoyed a meal our team at Nick & G’s created. I have two families here in San Diego and I couldn’t be more blessed: one at my home and one in the kitchen. Additionally, it’s wonderful to be part of the culinary scene in San Diego, which is constantly evolving and expanding."

Viejas Casino & Resort

Savor a traditional Thanksgiving meal at Viejas — Photo courtesy of Viejas Casino & Resort

What you’ll be thankful for: There are three great restaurants to choose from and you’d feel lucky to eat in any of them.

The Buffet, which is outstanding on any given day, adds smoked bone-in breast of turkey with port wine demi-glace, and bourbon honey glazed ham with currant sauce to its carving station, along with lots of holiday sides and desserts, making it a win-win. $49.99 per person.

The Cafe is serving a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for $25 per person, and the AAA Four Diamond Grove Steakhouse raises the bar with roast ballotine of free range turkey, natural jus lie prosciutto and a selection of sides and desserts, for $45 per person.

What Executive Chef Larry D. Banares is thankful for: "As a chef working and living in San Diego, there is so much to be thankful for. Our beautiful climate, unique eco-system and diverse ethnic make-up inspire creativity. The proximity and access to fresh local ingredients allows us to create innovative, cutting edge food while paying homage to both cultural and culinary traditions. I am thankful for my family, my craft and for all who share in the love of enjoying good food."