A little wine & dine spot hidden between office buildings
The WineSellar & Brasserie, San Diego CA
9550 Waples St., Ste 115, San Diego, CA 92121
(858) 450-9557 www.winesellar.com
The WineSellar definitely is a seller ;) You'll be glad you find this place in the back of an office building. The front entrance draws you to a floor of wines out in display for sale. Upstairs is where the restaurant is actually located. Walking up the staircase, you'll see framed awards and published articles on the walls; it's quite impressive. You then find yourself seated in this surprisingly fancy restaurant with servers placing napkins on your laps and filling up your glasses with water. The menu itself consist of items that are unique such as the fois gras duo and escargot pot pie that my friend and I had ordered as appetizers. For our entrees, we had ordered the lamb duo and steak sirloin. The fois gras plate had 2 different types; one was very flavorful and fatty in texture while the other was more of a creme texture that wasn't very flavorful yet very settle. The escargot was baked perfectly in this pastry shell with carrots and lemon sauce (shown on the right). My rack of lamb was SCRUMPTOUSLY DELICIOUS! It wasn't overpowered with a lot of seasonings so you were able to taste the meat of the lamb which was JUICY and not gamey. It was just the way I liked it ;p My friend said it's probably the best lamb she have had. It was accompanied with a side of braised lamb, potato cutlets, and sweet figs. Everything worked well on my plate. My friend's sirloin was accompanied with a mushroom truffle sauce over a bed of greens and potatoes. The meat was tender and the hint of truffle made it addicting. My friend cleaned her plate and I cleaned mine. Our entrees were that GOOD! I think it was well worth the drive through the rain and the fancy smancy price ;p
JRDN'S at Tower 23, San Diego CA (Pacific Beach area)
723 Felspar St, San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 270-5736 www.
This is a place unlike any other bars/restaurants you'll find in Pacific Beach. Pacific Beach is known for casual beach wear, side-to-side late night beach bar/hookah lounge/restaurants that attracts the young and party people of San Diego. This place is different; it's PB's high class hidden gem. Across from the boardwalk of Pacific Beach sits Tower 23, a luxury hotel with JRDN's being on the first floor. Despite rumors of the restaurant being own by the famous NBA legend Michael Jordan, this place was named after the owner's son. I know... that disappointed me too. But this place definitely serves up a fabulous American cuisine menu; American food just got fancier here. Inside the venue, you'll find a sushi bar, plenty of tables for inside seating, patio seating with a fabulous ocean view, and a sit down bar that extends to the patio. The place has water theme throughout with soft lighting that captures the ambiance of the place. I've been here plenty of times. One of my good friends from Orange County claims this is one of his favorite spots to dine when he's in San Diego. I do have to say the food here is a little pricey $$$ but good food has it's price right? And did I mention they have an unless wine menu ;p I would suggest their lobster bisque, seared scallop, braised beef rib, and the pork shank. I can't emphasize enough on how good the food is and how presentation is always at it's best. You'll just have to try it yourself.
I'll GRANT you a wish if you take me to
Grant Grill, San Diego CA
326 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101-4812
(619) 744-2077 www.grantgrill.com
I've worked in Downtown of San Diego for quite sometime now and I pass by the Grant Hotel everyday wondering about the restaurant inside. The hotel itself is elegant and classy with chandelier entrance halls. Wouldn't you wonder about the fancy food they serve? So I finally got to try it with some of my dearest friends and the food was FANCY and definitely EXCEEDED my expectations. We tried it during Restaurant week so although the portions were smaller than the normal orders, we got to try some GOOD stuff. To start, we were given some cucumber puree in shot glasses just to cleanse our palettes. I got the quail appetizer which was served with a fried quail egg; the quail was cooked perfectly and so was the egg. My friends raved about the seared tuna and the bite that I tried was pretty decent. For our main dishes, most of us either got the buffalo or braised pork cheeks served w/ eggplant. I had ordered the braised pork cheeks and they were delicious; so tender I just picked it with a fork. I had ordered a side of creamed corn and it was my side/dessert before our desserts came out. There was a blueberry cake that had a texture almost like bread pudding served w/ caramel and walnuts. I fell in love with it! Since we were doing a September birthday celebration, the waiter brought out chocolate cake plate that had fruits and ice cream (featured picture on top) and it was a sweet surprise for all of us ;) My friend's date cake was okay and there was no raving about it. To finally end the night, our waiter brought some chocolate cookies to our table as a thank you for trying the restaurant and they were chewy brownie texture. I would totally go back there again; maybe for happy hour too ;p
You heard of the Wellington Steak but if you haven't tried it, you should come to the
Wellington Steak and Martini Lounge, San Diego CA (Mission Heights area)
729 West Washington Street, San Diego, CA 92103-1937
(619) 295-6001 www.
If you watched Kitchen Nightmares with Chef Ramsey, you ought to know that's one of his signature dishes is the Wellington Steak. However you won't find one of Ramsey's restaurants in San Diego and you won't find a Wellington Steak at an ordinary steakhouse; only place I've seen it on the menu is here at the Wellington Steak and Martini Lounge. This place was hard to find. There is no building numbers or signs; the only place the name of the restaurant can be found is on the frosted glass (shown on the picture to the right). The walkway is behind the glass and you'll find a door that opens to a small yet DARK room. The room has glass decor and chandeliers. Very romantic feel but very hard to see ;p When I walked in, I felt a little out of the place. The people that were dining there were in their 50s and business men and women having martinis. Because the place was small, it was easy to pick up other conversations at the tables by you . My brother and I were there for the food and didn't care of the crowd. We had ordered the spinach dip served with fried pita chips and it was so addicting that we couldn't stop eating it. I of course got my Wellington and it was interesting and good. It wasn't the best thing I ever ate but it was definitely a different way of eating steak. I was quite pleased ;) The dish itself is a filet mignon seared and then covered with a cream mushroom sauce with mushroom pieces, wrapped in a puff pastry, then served with another wine like sauce. The moment you cut into your pastry, the steam comes right out; it's pretty cool to watch. My brother had ordered either the Kobe Top Sirloin or Ribeye (I'm not sure) but he was satisfied with his entree. So yes they do serve other cuts of steak. Since the name of the restaurant has 'martini' in it, I had their cucumber martini and it was yummy ;p For dessert, I had ordered their fruit shortcake made with homemade biscuits and cream. Too good yet I was too full to finish it. Definitely share dessert if you dine here. And goodluck finding it ;p
Jazz it up at
CROCE'S Park West
2760 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 233-4355 www.croces.com
My all time favorite is Croce's Park West. It was originally located in the busy streets of Downtown but now has moved to Banker's Hill. Croce's known for their food and live jazz/blue music. Founded by famous guitarist Jim Croce and wife Ingrid Croce, this place can be seen as where the music is. Although you can hear the jazz music playing at your table, they have a separate side of the restaurant that is all about the entertaining jazz bar. The food is scrumptously delicious ;) Can't you tell from the pictures below? To start, their ahi appetizer served with mango and taro chips and baked brie with strawberry salad served with bread were good (don't eat the garlic). My seared scallops on asparagus risotto was PERFECTLY seared ;) My friend's pork chop was good. My other friend's meatloaf was good. My brother enjoyed his NY steak strip. My other friend enjoyed his seafood pasta. Who didn't like their food??? NO ONE. Then there was dessert and OMG is all I have say about their desserts. Everything from their Grand Marnier custard, chocolate cake, and poached pears were components of heaven ;p I love the new location; same great food and same great vibe.
Take me there
The Terra Restaurant, San Diego CA
7091 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92115
(619) 293-7088 www.terrasd.com
A quaint little restaurant found on El Cajon may take you by surprise. I've always considered this restaurant as a hidden gem in San Diego. I've gone here on a number of occasions from their Hilcrest location to when they moved to the current location. Being the pumpkin flavor lover that I am, I love their pumpkin ravioli on the menu as my appetizer; it's a seasonal dish by the way. I'm so glad I did because it was warm and filling; the sauce that accompanied it balanced off the pumpkin filling perfectly. I still don't know if I had started off my meal with a dessert or not with it ;p My friend's crab cake appetizer were stuffed with lumped crab meat (which is always good). The lobster mac n cheese entree is OUT OF THIS WORLD. I don't even try to replicate it at home because I'm sure I can never get it as good. It's a havarti and brie mac n cheese served with a sweet and succulent lobster tail. Their famous 4 hour pot roast was very tender and filling. Vanilla bread pudding was also good. I had a cigar as my dessert but it wasn't any ordinary cigar; it was a chocolate cigar! I'm glad I had it as my first cigar. It was a crunchy pastry filled with hot molten chocolate that fountains out as you break into it. Crunchy, sweet, and hot!
A new spin on American food is what this place is all about
Urban Solace, San Diego CA
3823 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 295-6464 www.urbansolace.net
After hearing so many people telling me how good this place is, I knew I had to try it. The place is big and has a modern decor inside the venue; the patio seating has a romantic French ambiance to it (probably from lit candles on the tables and the iron staircase in the back). The food was exquisite and had a unique spin on traditional American food. Take my 'Duckaroni' for example. The Mac 'n Cheese is mixed in with Duck Confit, mild blue cheese, roasted garlic, arugula, and scallions that to me had an oriental flavoring to it; it was like eating Chinese roast duck with macncheese. It was good and my friend and I finished the whole thing. My friend had their grilled cheese sandwich (made with four cheeses) with basil and tomato, served with a really creamy tomato-fennel soup. His meal was rich in taste and very comforting. Their drink menu has EVERYTHING for everyone. I'm definitely coming back here to try their other menu dishes.
Great Ingredients + Great Food Made From Scratch= Great Place
2736 Adams Ave 750 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92116 San Diego, CA 92101
So the first time I went to Cafe 21, I had met up my friends at the original location on Adams Ave. I had a sweettoothe that day and decided to satisfy it with the stuff French toast (shown on the left). It was yummy and filling. On my way to work recently, I drove by a place on Fifth Ave with the sign Cafe 21 on it. I called up the place and they said it was the same restaurant and menu so I decided to invite my co-workers to join me for lunch there. To my surprise, the place was much bigger and very well decorated with a rustic feel. The manager (or possibly owner) greeted us at our table and said all their food is made from SCRATCH, down to the bread ;p They serve both breakfast and lunch so we had a lot to choose from. We all shared the pound-cake fries with a chocolate raspberry sauce and that was our sweet highlight of our afternoon ;) My co-worker think they should highlight it on their menu with a picture of it. I believe 3 of my co-workers had their sandwiches; 1 being a PLT and 1 being pesto chicken. They said the bread was really good. The one that ordered the PLT was very specific about the ingredients that he didn't want and it came out just the way he ordered it. His side order of chips was freshly made and had a texture of kettle chips; you can tell it was made there ;p Another co-worker of mine ordered the italian sausage omelette and she claims the sausage taste homemade (I ordered it another day after and it was good). I had ordered the shrimp cake with poached eggs on top; they have a variety of cakes including crab cake, salmon cake, and turkey cake. My eggs were poached perfectly; my shrimp cake was hot and had visible shrimp chunks; all served on top of a creamy cilantro sauce. My dish was perfect! We were given a box of coconut macaroon cookies to go and those were FRESHLY MADE with layers of fresh coconut; some of us were fighting for them (okay not literally). Oh and let's not forget about their cool tea dispenser that my friend had got with his black tea order; too bad he couldn't take it back as a souvenir. And it's too bad we couldn't take the restaurant back with us ;p My co-workers were all commenting about how great their food was hours after lunch (one even looking up their dinner menu). We are definitely going back.
This place is quite fabulous
505 Laurel Street San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 239-2222 http://www.cucinaurbana.com/
This restaurant was previously known as Laurel since it's on Laurel street. But with a new name and new restaurant concept, expect nothing but fabulous. My friend and I came here for lunch and we were satisfied from the food to the service. We sat at the bar and our bartender knew not only her food menu but also her wine. To me, that is a must have in a restaurant; staff should know their stuff. We were recommended their Spring rigatoni pasta and it was amazing. The pasta was light and fresh; perfectly cooked with broccoli, peas, heirloom tomatoes, and pine nuts. It was not heavy at all and was delicious! And I have to say I really liked their mussels in a heirloom tomato broth with grilled bread. That says a lot coming from me because I usually never eat mussels because of their tough texture. The mussels here were like magic mussels because they were so fresh and soft unlike any other mussel dishes I've ever tried. We paired it with an order of fresh salad made with butter lettuce, asparagus, heirloom tomatoes, green beans, and peperchinis topped with grilled jumbo shrimp. For dessert we had their panna cotta with amaretta cherries. HEAVEN! We have nothing but good things to say about this place.
The Red Door
741 W Washington St, San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 295-6000 www.thereddoorsd.com
Went here on Monday with a good friend and I'm so glad we did. Half off wine bottles Mondays ;p What a good deal for a Monday night right? They have daily specials but we just happened to be there on a Monday. Their decor is quite charming. The staff was very friendly The food was just divine. The crabcake appetizer is good (a little on the smaller side). Their chicken roulade is stuffed w/ prosciutto and spinach on top of cauliflower puree; the plate is accompanied with pearl onions, little potatoes, and baby carrots topped with port wine reduction . This was a simple dish that tasted like a fancy one; the combination of everything on my plate was perfect. My friend had their garden vegetable plate and she said it was very yummy. The plate had a mascarpone parmesan barley risotto, snap peas, cranberries, toasted walnuts, puff pastry, and sauteed garden greens. Their mac n cheese is deliciously creamy. Their warm bread pudding is sweet enough. Their mini banana cream pie will satisfy your sweet tooth but portion is just enough so you won't feel guilty afterwards. My friend and I have both gone back in our own separate times and had their delicious brunch. Their brunch menu with bottomless mimosas is fabulous! I blogged about their breakfast menu in the Breakfast section; check it out for more details ;p
Want A Fancy Steakhouse In Sin City?
3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 414-1992 www.emerils.com/
This is one of Emeril's restaurants located inside the Venetian Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas. Fine dining is the perfect definition for this place. From the moment you walk in, you'll feel like you're a celebrity being seated by the hostess. This is a pretty big restaurant and it was packed when I was there with my family. We had a very nice waiter (who dressed more like a host) greet us at our table and gave us a detailed description of all the specials for the evening. Dinner rolls and butter came out warm and sweet (I think there was sugar on top of the dinner roll). I had ordered the truffle potato chips and I liked it; however, there was a mixture of parmesan cheese with green onions on top that I don't think went well with it. My brother's corn chowder was tasty according to him. For our entrees, we had the NY steak strip oscar style crab meat served with aspagus, Bone-In Ribeye topped with seared foie gras, and pork chops. We had order a side of creamed corn and sauteed mushrooms. My brother liked his NY steak but he wasn't crazy over it. My mom's pork chop was sent back for a little extra cooking time and the second time it came out, it was perfect. I was very pleased to see how fast our waiter was able to take the pork chop back and get it done for us. My bone-in ribeye was deliciously huge! I had it cooked medium rare and it was just that. The seared foie gras was heaven to me. I didn't think much of the mushrooms. The cream corn was really yummy; I guess that could be considered my dessert since I did not make it to banana cream pie ;( My steak was so big I couldn't even finish it. I think I will go lighter on the appetizers and sides next time so I'll have a little room for the banana cream pie that everyone raves about. Overall, I would say this was a good steakhouse.
Be on TOP OF THE WORLD
the restaurant on top of Stratosphere Casino
2000 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV 89104-2507
(702) 380-7711 www.topoftheworldlv.com
Ever have the feeling you're on top of the world? You can experience that feeling at this restaurant because it's located on top of the Stratosphere Casino, 800 ft above the Vegas strip. The view of the city at night is breathtaking. You get the romantic fine dining experience with the best view of the city; and yes it does come with an expensive price. Hey it's VEGAS! It's truly one of a kind experience. The restaurant slowly rotates 360 degrees to capture the whole city in 1 1/2 hours. The food was great. We had a big party and everyone liked their food. I got the escargot in a flaky pastry as an appetizer and it was delicious; I've never had anything in comparison to that since. My New York steak strip was cooked to perfection. My lobster mash potatoes (YES LOBSTER) was superb. My friends enjoyed their lobster bisque, veal shank, seared ahi tuna, and lobster ravioli. They all looked good and tasted good. At the end of our evening, we were able to go up to the viewing room and outside deck to take pictures. They also have a few rollercoaster rides on top for the risk-takers.
The FINEST and ONLY 4 star restaurant in Kansas City
200 E. 25th Street, Kansas City, MO 64108
I treated myself here twice because the food was DELICIOUS. The American restaurant is this fancy smancy restaurant where you typically dress up for an occasion. It has a very classy environment setting with no loud chaos. The view is of the whole city; not many places can say they have that kind of view. The executive chef creates this unique menu that combines ingredients that you don't often find in other restaurants. This place is like some place you see in the movies and want to throw your money down and try it for at least once in your life. Their menu consist of appetizers, meat entrees, seafood entrees, and dessert. From the menu, you can pick to have3-9 dishes of ANY of the items for a prixe price; you can mix and match and have all desserts if you want ;p Their menu changes daily so of course I had to go try everything that I wanted to try before heading back home. I had 4 course meals both times I came here. I fell in love with their 'Fois Gras' (goose liver pate) the first time that I ordered it again the second time. I have a unique taste liking for pate and someone had mentioned to me that I should try 'fois gras' and it WOW me big time. I had a filet of their skatewing (from the stingray family) and it was so delicate yet cooked perfectly; never have I tasted a filet like that before. I also had their lamb and they served it in two ways and so I had two corners of lamb that didn't taste like it came from the same kind. Their alaskan king crab appetizer was fresh and juicy; it left me wanting more. Chocolate dirt gummy worms were crafted nicely and wasn't too sweet. Banana foster created by our table side tasted so good that I wished we had all ordered one. My friends had ordered the butternut squash soup, braised oxtail, and roasted chicken and they all tasted very well. We were given a plate of fresh made candy both times to end our nights and they were yummy. Try this place once and experience something you never had in your life before.
Don't fall into your dinner just because it's on the Niagara Falls
Milestones Grill & Bar inside Marriott Gateway on the Falls
6755 Fallsview Blvd
Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada
When you visit Niagara Falls, everything revolves around that breath-taking view of the water. Marriott Gateway on the Falls got that concept down and situated Milestone Grill & Bar inside the hotel on the Mezzanine floor; right where you want that view as you're enjoying a nice dinner. I'm glad this restaurant was in our hotel and I had no idea upon arriving here ;p I don't really mind if it's a chain either. The trip to Niagara Falls was a little long; my friend and I flew to Buffalo NY from San Diego CA and was stuck in an hour long traffic ride going through customs. You can bet we were hungry once we got there. After settling into our hotel, my friend and I took a short elevator ride downstairs and had our first meal at this restaurant. Not only did it have amazing views of the water, the food was fabulous, the staff was friendly, and we had the best seat in the house for the firework show they had that evening celebrating a Canadian holiday (and for our arrival). It was the best way we could have started off our trip; I could have not asked for more. Did I mention their restaurant was featured on Top Chef Canada and the menu consist of chef inspired dishes featured on the show? The spinach dip served with fresh chips were simply addicting!!! Their fried calamari was good. Their steak served Oscar style was made just to my liking. And my friend's pasta was also really good. We absolutely loved the signature bellinis here; we even came back a second night just for the bellinis (and no we're not alcoholics). There's not that many fancy restaurants in Niagara Falls but if you can only have one, give this place a try ;p
Stumbled upon this fancy steak house
The Bungalow, Newport Beach CA
2441 East Coast Highway, Central Coast, CA 92625
(949) 673-6585 www.thebungalowrestaurant.com
Found this place on accident while working in Laguna. Thought this was going to be a casual place but it was more fancy than we expected. This place is more on the dark ambiance, leather booths, and pricey steak cuts side. I enjoyed my meal even though it averaged to be around $70 per person. But we had 1 appetizers, 2 entrees, 1 side order, and a glass of wine. With that said, I don't think the price is bad at all. My co-worker who usually doesn't eat red meat had order a rack of lamb and she liked what she got. I ordered a ribeye steak and it was cooked just the way I wanted it and it was delicious. I had ordered my first truffle macaroni and cheese here and that's how I've been hooked to order that everywhere I go. Portions were big so you won't leave hungry. Together we had a good meal here so if you're in the area, try a fancy steak dinner here ;p
The famous Ruth's Chris Steak House
11582 El Camino Real, San Diego, CA 92130
(858) 755-1454 www.
Ruth Chris has 2 locations in San Diego. One is located in Del Mar and the other one is located on Harbor Drive. I went to the Del Mar location. I don't usually have a craving for steaks but Ruth Chris was definitely a good steak place. Served out of the oven on a hot plate, you'll find your steaks cooked to your liking yet very rich in flavor. They offer a variety of cuts and you can add sides/ toppings to your entree. This place can break your budget though if you go often. Average steak is $40+. I do have to say portions are small yet thick. So if you enjoy a petit filet mignon dinner from time to time, try Ruth Chris ;)