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San Diego Quiet Time
Old 01-04-2016, 09:36 AM   #1
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San Diego Quiet Time

Hey Gang, DW and I are off to San Diego next week to escape winter for a little while. We've visited the area a few times before, but this is the first time we will be staying in the Gaslight District. We are planning to to visit several museums, say hi to the koalas at the zoo, see the symphony orchestra, go whale watching, wander Coronado Island, and maybe do SeaWorld (one of DW's inexplicable pleasures).

What I'm looking for are leads for QUIET restaurants and bars in the Gaslight District where we might eat our evening meals and have a glass of wine. Suggestions for other daytime activities are welcome, but I would like to have some place quiet to go to in the evening other than our hotel room. We are trying to do this visit without a car, so the geography is important.
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:16 AM   #2
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You can walk to the new library.
Eating dinner early (5 pm) means it is less crowded.
Try the other hotel bars/restaurants.

Enjoy!
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:20 AM   #3
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In crowded urban areas you can often only find quiet at a price. The bar at an upscale hotel is usually good, as is an expensive restaurant if you want to eat.

I am always on the lookout for restaurants where I can hear my dinner companions and they me, but the only ones I know cost enough that it is only an occasional pleasure.

Christmas Eve I had dinner with my sons and their wives at the restaurant in the downtown Four Seasons. Quiet, delicious meal and excellent wine, a happy pleasure enjoying crowd and $$$$$$. Luckily I was not picking up the check.

If I am downtown and I get a phone call that I want to hear, I head into a hotel lobby.

Ha
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:34 AM   #4
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In crowded urban areas you can often only find quiet at a price. The bar at an upscale hotel is usually good, as is an expensive restaurant if you want to eat.

I am always on the lookout for restaurants where I can hear my dinner companions and they me, but the only ones I know cost enough that it is only an occasional pleasure.

Christmas Eve I had dinner with my sons and their wives at the restaurant in the downtown Four Seasons. Quiet, delicious meal and excellent wine, a happy pleasure enjoying crowd and $$$$$$. Luckily I was not picking up the check.

If I am downtown and I get a phone call that I want to hear, I head into a hotel lobby.

Ha
I am more than aware of this, we have the same problems in the DC area. However, there are always a few exceptions (and they are becoming fewer). Around here the key seems to be eating at Chinese and/or Indian restaurants - even the less expensive ones seem to have avoided the idea that deafness means a good time.

But that's why I asked - a non-local won't know the exceptions, but perhaps someone in this well-traveled group has had a happy accident and found a place while vacationing or maybe there is someone who lives there who knows of a hidden gem. Also, I am willing to spend SOME money to get quiet.
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:48 AM   #5
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I hope you enjoy your stay in San Diego...certainly lots to see and do.


You may run into some rainy weather to first part of next week - we are getting a full week of on & off rain right now.


If you are focusing on the Gas Lamp district for dinners, I'd recommend being flexible in your dinner hours. Prime hours between 7-9pm will worsen your odds for quiet dining. Maybe a bit earlier 4-6pm?


I haven't been to the Gas Lamp to eat in quite some time, so my recommendations are based on general findings that early dinners are less boisterous.
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:56 AM   #6
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We'll probably aim for 6ish for dinner - right after dark. We are not night owls. Little Italy also looks to be an option, looks like it is an easy walk/trolley ride from the hotel.

It's not so much the "boisterous diners" as the loud music that many restaurants play that really makes it difficult for me. I can block out the mash of voices, but the incessant beating of the drums makes me physically uncomfortable. Plus, I just can't ignore music, especially vocals.
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Old 01-04-2016, 11:00 AM   #7
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When you are in Balboa Park to see the museums - stop by the Prado restaurant - it is very nice and reasonably priced. If it's a nice day and you're there for lunch - eat on the back patio - very nice.

If you can make it up to Hillcrest - Arrivaderci on 4th Ave near University is one of my favorite Italian restaurants. Not cheap - but very authentic and super yummy food. You can take the 3 or the 120 bus. It's about 2 miles up from Downtown - so you *could* walk it - but it's uphill going there.

If you like Blues music (not quiet) there is a small bar on G street between 4th and 5th called Patricks II. It's been there forever and always has great live blues.

The Grant Grill at the US Grant hotel is very nice. It doesn't have the "clubby" feel that it used to have prior to the big renovation a decade ago - but it's very nice. (Disclaimer - DH was one of many architects involved in the US Grant remodel/restoration... but the owners burned through architects like it was spare change.)

If I think of any more I'll come back and post them. You're lucky you're not here this week - for the first time in decades the forecast calls for a full week of rain. (Which we desperately need.)
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Old 01-04-2016, 11:02 AM   #8
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Forgot about Little Italy - I am a fan of Felipi's on India - unless you go early, you'll see a line extending out of the grocery store in front... it's a small pizza (and other stuff) restaurant that has been there for decades but has really good food.
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Old 01-04-2016, 01:02 PM   #9
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We ate at Dobson's a few months ago. The menu hasn't changed in thirty years (it was the in restaurant back then) nor has the clientele (who were in their 50s back then), but it was certainly quiet despite a full house. The Fish Market has a nice view. Neither of those restaurants are really cutting edge, of course, but the style now seems to be noisy "high energy".
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Old 01-04-2016, 01:16 PM   #10
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Not a food rec but on the tourist side check out the aircraft carrier Midway. Awesome stop if you can spare 4-5 hours at a min.
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Old 01-04-2016, 01:36 PM   #11
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Not a food rec but on the tourist side check out the aircraft carrier Midway. Awesome stop if you can spare 4-5 hours at a min.
This is on the "negotiations list." I would like to see it but DW is just about equally opposed to it. We'll see how the week fills up. I'm thinking that if we do a 3 hour whale watching excursion one morning we might be able to see the Midway in the afternoon because, "We're right here."
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Old 01-04-2016, 01:39 PM   #12
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Thanks Rodi and AllDone for the suggestions. Will run by DW and see what's what. Also, we found a new place called "Pushkin" with Eastern European/Russian cuisine. Any local knowledge on that one?
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Old 01-04-2016, 01:44 PM   #13
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If you like seafood - Try Anthony's fish Grotto before it closes - it's been there on the water since 1946 - but the port is ending their lease next year. I have fond memories of going there as a child on special occasions.

Another idea - take the ferry over to Coronado and have lunch or dinner at Peohe's.
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Old 01-04-2016, 01:47 PM   #14
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If you like seafood - Try Anthony's fish Grotto before it closes - it's been there on the water since 1946 - but the port is ending their lease next year. I have fond memories of going there as a child on special occasions.

Another idea - take the ferry over to Coronado and have lunch or dinner at Peohe's.
Concur rodi. I have been to both and second your rec.
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Old 01-04-2016, 02:07 PM   #15
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Peohe's is an excellent idea!

We got married on the beach in Coronado and walked to Peohe's for lunch afterwards. I think of Peohe's as the place to go for wedding anniversaries, but as far as I know, it's open the rest of the year as well.
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Old 01-04-2016, 02:50 PM   #16
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Peohe's is OK, but there is better seafood and food in general on Coronado. Peohe's is good for the view, but doesn't make the short list of recommendations except for the most touristy of tourists (all in my opinion of course, YMMV). There's very little good food value at the Ferry Landing, but there is a really good candied apple place and Lil' Piggy's BBQ is fun and pretty good. Candela's is a good bar over there, though the food is meh and overpriced.

If you want other Coronado food recommendations, please let me know - I've lived here for five years and spent a lot of time here before that (gf now wife has lived here 10 years).

Quiet in Gaslamp can be difficult, but a few good places that come to mind:

Greystone - very quiet, but good upscale steak place. It's been in the same location for like 15 years on 5th ave so it's doing something right. We like it, though it is pricey.

Cowboy Star (in east village) - another very good steak house (better than Greystone, IMO) with a nice bar, but again it's not cheap.

Blue Point Coastal is a good seafood place, no bands, but can be lively. Probably not at the hour you're thinking.

Osetra is pretty good Italian, no bands or music there that I'm aware of.

I'd second US Grant or upscale hotel bars (NOT the Hard Rock...) as good options as well.

I really like Seersucker, no bands but it'll be a lively place, especially the bar area at happy hour. Moderately priced but very good food and drink.

There are a few good wine bars down there that can be pretty quiet during the week. Marble Room is a good one, though I haven't been there in a while.

Lots of good options up in Little Italy, including my favorite coffee joint in San Diego - Bird Rock Coffee Roasters (their newer location). I don't go often, but enjoy it when I do!
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Old 01-04-2016, 02:59 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by jjquantz View Post
Hey Gang, DW and I are off to San Diego next week to escape winter for a little while. We've visited the area a few times before, but this is the first time we will be staying in the Gaslight District. We are planning to to visit several museums, say hi to the koalas at the zoo, see the symphony orchestra, go whale watching, wander Coronado Island, and maybe do SeaWorld (one of DW's inexplicable pleasures).

What I'm looking for are leads for QUIET restaurants and bars in the Gaslight District where we might eat our evening meals and have a glass of wine. Suggestions for other daytime activities are welcome, but I would like to have some place quiet to go to in the evening other than our hotel room. We are trying to do this visit without a car, so the geography is important.
Sounds great. Might have to do that again soon. It's been a long time (as have visits to Hawaii).
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Old 01-04-2016, 07:15 PM   #18
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Hmm, I'm heading to your area next week. I was going to apologize for the poor weather you'll find here, then I looked at the forecast and found out how cold DC is going to be!

For quieter places downtown / in the Gaslamp (not Gaslight), try Roy's at the Marriott, de'Medici, Bice, Operacaffe. I love Chocolat for desserts, but they also have crepes, sandwiches and maybe omelets. Searsucker, which was recommended by another poster, has some of my favorite food, but the noise can be deafening. Lunch there is a bit quieter.

In Little Italy, there's Po Pazzo, Prepkitchen and Indigo Grill (I haven't been there since they reopened after a recent remodel though). A few places are getting a lot of local press but I haven't been to any of these and can't speak to the noise levels: Bracero Cocina de Raiz by Javier Plascencia is probably the most authentic modern Mexican cuisine you'll find anywhere outside Mexico, Juniper & Ivy is very hot, as is Kettner Exchange.

In either of these neighborhoods, you can also find a good restaurant by walking along 5th Ave in the Gaslamp or India St in Little Italy and picking a place that catches your fancy. You won't choose a noisy bar, and anything else you find is likely to be pretty good.

If you do come to Coronado, you'll need a cab, but try Leroy's Kitchen & Lounge; or if you want to walk from the Ferry Landing, Tartine is also very good. Both have much better food than you'll find at Peohes, but without the view.
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Old 01-04-2016, 08:53 PM   #19
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If you want an awesome beer on tap, seek out "The Neighborhood", a walk from the gaslamp hotels. It was quiet when I was there...kinda dark, not at all formal. They had some beer you won't find anywhere else.
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Old 01-04-2016, 09:54 PM   #20
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... Bice, Operacaffe.... Searsucker, which was recommended by another poster, has some of my favorite food...

In Little Italy, ... Prepkitchen and Indigo Grill...

If you do come to Coronado... try Leroy's Kitchen & Lounge ... Tartine is also very good. Both have much better food than you'll find at Peohes, but without the view.
Yes yes... All of this.

Tartine is my favorite for coffee and european cafe-style breakfast. I've had dinner there a couple of times and it's been good. Leroy's is definitely in my top three on Coronado, and has one of the best changing craft beer menus around.
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