Corvette Diner is a San Diego institution now located in the Point Loma area of Liberty Station. It's a 50s diner the serves up shakes, burgers, fries and other comfort food by sassy wait staff dressed in poodle skirts. Kids love it not only for the retro decor, casual vibe and food, but there's a killer arcade called Gamer's Garage in the back with 50 games and opportunities to win prizes. Think skee ball, pinball, Guitar Hero and more. It's a popular place for birthday parties, too. Parents, there is a full bar as well as dedicated parking. All ages really do love it.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: This venue is perfect for a multiple family event as kids play games while parents sip Bloody Marys. They have a private room, too.
Katie's expert tip: It's tucked away in Liberty Station so ask for directions before you go.
This immensely popular drag eatery is a little outside-the-box but really fun. After entering, you will be greeted by 4 giant 14-foot martini glasses nicely covering the room's four columns along with sparkling fruit garnishes and colorful cocktail umbrellas. The stage in all its gold-framed glory of dramatic lights, guarded by two elaborately dressed leaf-winged female figures, adds to your visual experience. A "typical" night at Lips will include multiple bachelorette parties, several birthdays and more celebrated by the staff, too. Featuring a full bar including the famous Lips Frozen Cosmopolitan, it's is a great spot for a pre-show drinks or a late-night laugh. Special weekly events include "Bingo" on Wednesday, "Dining with The Divas" on Thursday and "Gospel Brunch" every Sunday (with unlimited champagne and mimosas).
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Laughs are guaranteed at Lips. It's outrageous and they can handle large groups with ease.
Katie's expert tip: You must make reservations in advance! It's that popular.
The Grand Del Mar is San Diego's most luxurious hotel and its restaurants do not disappoint. Amaya serves American cuisine with Mediterranean influences in a warm and cozy atmosphere that almost feels like you're dining in someone's elegant living room. Tables are well-spaced and service is top notch as are the views over the terrace to the golf course. Find all-day dining, a special weekend a la carte brunch and a Wine Spectator award-winning wine cellar available for private dining. Kids have their own menu. No jacket is required but it is definitely a fine dining experience. Example entree include Grilled Garlic Prawns with a pistachio and sweet pepper romesco and Rotisserie Veal Chop with gratin of asparagus and prosciutto.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: The 3,450-bottle working wine cellar seats up to 12 guests for an elegant, unforgettable experience.
Katie's expert tip: Spend some time exploring the gorgeous hotel before dinner. Or grab a nightcap and a spot on the dance floor at Club M.
Celebrity Chef Brian Malarkey of TLC's Mega Bites and Bravo's Top Chef, opened Searsucker in the heart of San Diego's trendy Gaslamp Quarter. His New American cuisine puts new twists on classic favorites. Specialties include Cheeks Goat Cheese Dumplings and Ribeye Tomahawk with cognac and horseradish as well as locally sourced seafood specialties like Baja scallops served with figs and Alaskan halibut. The menu changes daily to keep offerings fresh and fun. Guests pair these unpretentious dishes with local craft beer, handcrafted cocktails and a selection of one-of-a-kind wines from all over the world. If the food isn't enough to send your senses into overdrive, the decor just might. Searsucker has a mix of distressed furniture, big comfy sofas, and modern pieces.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: The upstairs dining room can accommodate 32 people with tasting menus, unique cocktail pairings, lunches, small plates & more.
Katie's expert tip: They can create a special cocktail for your group. The Del Mar location also has private dining.
A fashionable destination for dinner or drinks, Island Prime boasts enchanting skyline views, a wealth of trendy cocktails, and flawless service. The restaurant is sitting on stilts, resting over the San Diego Bay. Local celebrity chef Debra Scott's deft touch is in evidence with creations like hazelnut-crusted diver scallops with goat cheese and elephant garlic risotto cakes. Lobster lovers should indulge in the "Study in Lobster" which includes sherry bisque, lobster lollipop, and lobster roll on house made brioche. Perfectly grilled steaks are always a fine choice as well. C Level Lounge is more casual, but has a similar menu. Both restaurants have an excellent gluten-free menu.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Semi-private areas seat up to 75 guests, but both restaurants can handle up to 500 in a cocktail-style format.
Katie's expert tip: Try the ahi tuna stack with fresh crab, avocado, papaya-mango salsa & caviar.
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.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: It's on the 11th floor so the view is pretty spectacular with tons of natural light in the space, especially during the day. Seats 80.
Katie's expert tip: The earlier you go, the better as the view is absolutely spectacular through sunset.
Jasmine Seafood Restaurant is one of San Diego's most popular Chinese food restaurants. Guests can enjoy Hong Kong-style dim sum, choosing dumplings and more from pushed carts that come directly to your table. The traditional steamed and fried dumplings, buns, rice and desserts are offered family-style. The restaurant is large and can easily host an event as they even have tech equipment available. Those new to dim sum don't need to be worried about being overwhelmed, the staff is helpful and the portion sizes are small servings so you'll be able to sample a variety. Dim sum is served daily.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: The large round tables seat up to 10 but they have the capacity to even host large weddings, dance floor and all.
Katie's expert tip: Go hungry. Seafood is prepared fresh out of the tank.
Perhaps best known for its setting right on the beach, so close to the water that at particularly high tides the waves crash on the windows, 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.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Bring your group to a restaurant literally on the sand with intimate private dining space for up to 50.
Katie's expert tip: The Marine Room holds special events such as high tide dinners, a summer music series, and Monday night lobster. A great opportunity to watch the sunset and sample dishes is at Sunday-Friday happy hour.
Pacific Coast Grill's new beachfront location makes it one of the most scenic spots in North County to eat or grab a drink. The festive, al fresco patio wall borders the sand and the ocean breezes are as relaxing as you might imagine. The California cuisine menu is made with fresh, local and free range ingredients. Popular items include mussels, lobster tacos, and burgers with fresh-cut Kennebec fries. Gluten free and plenty of vegetarian options are available. PCG is can also host your next private party between the indoor Reef Room and a patio buyout. Reservations are accepted and highly encouraged, especially during peak times.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Reserve the patio space right on the sand for a festive sunset happy hour. It doesn't get any better than that.
Katie's expert tip: Pair a lobster taco with a margarita. You won't be sorry.
Dramatically situated on Prospect Street in La Jolla overlooking the blue Pacific, George's at the Cove combines exceptional cuisine and service with spectacular views from every level of the multi-tiered restaurant. Dine in the contemporary restaurant and bar indoors, dubbed California Modern; choose the Ocean Terrace, a great rooftop dining spot; or settle in at George's Bar, a casual dining destination. The menu, which specializes in California cuisine, reflects the use of fresh local ingredients and unique combinations of flavors to create a memorable dining experience. The restaurant also offers a creative, delectable dessert menu. If you can splurge, try Chef Foshee's TBL3, a 12-14 course extravaganza.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Multiple rooms and venues in the three-level restaurant can suit private parties of any size with customized menus and ocean views. Fantastic.
Katie's expert tip: Don't forget to order the famous black bean soup which happens to pair well with an order of fish tacos.