Bertrand at Mister A's
One of San Diego's star restauranteurs has turned his attentions to updating a city landmark and with fabulous results. Bertrand Hug has done wonders for Mr. A's, now officially called Bertrand at Mr A's, updating the cuisine, decor and service. The new menu is a combo of American and French with entrees like miso-glazed sea bass, a lobster "fish and chips," and tuna carpaccio and sweet crab. Though black-tie has been replaced with casual elegance, fans of the old Mr. A's will appreciate that what was best about the restaurant remains intact: its prime location on the 12th floor of a financial building in downtown San Diego serving up beautiful panoramas of Balboa Park and San Diego Bay.
Bertrand at Mister A's
2550 Fifth Ave.
Blue Point Coastal Cuisine
The easily accessible Gaslamp District is near the convention center, and one of the first restaurants to grace the area was Blue Point Coastal Cuisine. Opened more than a decade ago, it is still among the very best places to sit and relax in a supper club bistro-style atmosphere. Steaks and fish dishes are among the offerings, which also include a house special lobster bisque (the secret ingredient is port) and raw oysters that change weekly. The black-and-white tile floor and booth provide a comfortable atmosphere that is both intimate and friendly. Expect a creative seafood menu culled from the freshest local catch. Enjoy, relax and gather with your colleagues for a great evening with this classic restaurant.
Blue Point Coastal Cuisine
565 Fifth Ave.
This casual restaurant in the heart of Old Town is a San Diego landmark that has entertained and fed diners for more than 20 years. Try the tasty handmade tortillas filled with delicious and savory meats and vegetables. Enjoy the indoor/outdoor seating and musical entertainment as you dine on traditional Mexican fare and try the wide selection of tequilas. Café Coyote is just steps away from the historic sites of Old Town, a great place to wander after dinner.
2461 San Diego Avenue
Café Japengo offers a sushi and Pacific Rim menu that is cutting edge and wide ranging. Shrimp and scallops with rice noodles, a whole striped bass Japonaise and roasted duck with tortillas will have your mouth watering in no time. The room is also one of the city's most stylish with marbled walls, bamboo trees and a sleek bar that screams for PIBs (people in black).
8960 University Center Ln.
For inexpensive, casual dining near the convention center shoot for Café Lulu in the Gaslamp Quarter. A hip, Bohemian atmosphere comes with a health conscious menu comprised of organic ingredients and no meat. Veggie lasagna, cheese melts, soups, and salads for lunch, eggs and waffles for breakfast come with some very inventive coffee drinks. Nab a table outside to watch the sidewalk action.
419 F St.
Taking its name from the candles that burn brightly in votives placed in tiny lanterns, romantic Candelas has served sophisticated Mexican fare for several years now. Expect fine cuisine with a good mixture of fish, beef and a vegetarian offering called Torre de Berengena, which is eggplant stuffed with cactus, tomatoes and bell peppers with a basil Dijon mustard sauce. Or try the beef strips served with jicama and pear slices, feta cheese and dressed with a chile piquin tamarindo y caramel sauce. A hearty choice would be the white bass encrusted with basil and mozzarella cheese served over mashed potatoes and vegetables dressed with a piloncillo sauce. A hot lounge next door offers the chance to unwind with dancing and listening music.
416 3rd Avenue
This rustic country-style kitchen and wine shop offers a sophisticated urban setting, reasonable prices, and a surprisingly inventive menu based on organic, local produce. The California-inspired menu of Cucina Urbana is based in Italy’s riches but with a distinctive twist. Executive chef Joe Magnanelli goes for the freshest, most interesting dishes, including a stuffed fried squash blossom appetizer and traditional grilled octopus. This is affordable dining in a cool, arty and unique room, part of the latest trend in San Diego—make it great, sophisticated and fun, but don’t make it expensive. Diners can opt to choose their own bottle of wine from the attached wine store. Local diners have become hooked on the family-style dining, a fun way to meet people and enjoy the meal with new friends.
505 Laurel Street
Great steak, great atmosphere, and great meals—that’s what to expect at Donovan’s, the downtown outpost of the flagship restaurant in La Jolla. The restaurant offers the same high level of service just steps away from the busy convention center, the city ballpark and the famous Gaslamp Quarter. Expect a vast menu that showcases USDA prime steaks as well as huge sides, such as creamed spinach, creamed corn casserole, giant onion rings, and large asparagus spears. Other classics are on offer here as well, with selections such as salmon and shrimp scampi for those who don’t want steak. All entrees are served with fresh vegetables and your choice of baked potato, garlic smashed potatoes or skillet-fried potatoes with sauteed onions and peppercorn gravy. Top it off with some classic desserts, such as creme brulee, New York style cheesecake or chocolate mousse, and you’re in heaven.
570 K Street
George's at the Cove
If La Jolla's George's at the Cove isn't the best restaurant in San Diego county, it's hard to say what beats it. Seared Maine scallops, warm mushroom salad, striped bass and beef tenderloin all come with organic produce from the famed Chino Farm in Rancho Santa Fe. Who knew peas could taste so good? If you're very hungry try the tasting menu, where you can sample a little of many things. Add a variety of wines to the mix. Book far in advance to snag a table with an ocean view and add romance to an unforgettable dinner.
George's at the Cove
1250 Prospect St.
Sometimes nothing will do but Italian and for some of the best pasta dishes in the entire city head to the Gaslamp's Osteria Panevino. The space screams New York with bare brick walls and tables set closely together. The food, authentic Tuscan cuisine, features everything from antipasti to homemade pastas in a variety of sauces, to meat and fish entrees, is terrific. If you can't decide on a wine try the themed trios of two-ounce tasting glasses.
722 Fifth Ave.
Tapas are the rage at Roppongi, an Asian-fusion style cafe that combines the flavors of Japan, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Korea, and India in a very tasteful way. Towering Polynesian dungeness crab stacks, chicken and porcini mushroom dumplings and Mongolian duck quesadillas are some of what's in store for the adventurous diner. If you are very hungry not to worry. There are also many traditionally-sized main courses from sea bass to duck confit. Lively, sophisticated and exciting...and the environment's not bad either.
875 Prospect St.