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Dobson's Bar & Restaurant
Dobson's Bar & Restaurant

Dobson's Bar & Restaurant Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.dobsonsrestaurant.com
  • Phone: (619) 231-6771
  • Hours of Operation: Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 3:00pm; Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 3:00pm - 10:00pm

    Sunday Closed
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Californian, French
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Wine
  • Special Events & Promotions: Available for buyouts, partial buyouts, private events, or intimate gatherings. For special events please contact Marcos Luciano 619-231-6771 X 101

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Broadway
  • Parking: Street Parking
A word from Dobson's Bar & Restaurant
Dobson's Bar and Restaurant is a hidden treasure in the heart of Downtown San Diego/Gaslamp Quarter. For the last 30 years, this has been the hot spot for business lunches and frequented by many local and nationwide celebrities. Paul Dobson, the namesake for Dobson's bar and restaurant, is one of America's few professional Bullfighters. The food is California cuisine with a touch of Italian, French, Spanish and Asian cuisine. One thing that both local San Diegans and Zagat can agree on is that this is one of the top restaurants in San Diego. Due to the limited seating and popularity, reservations are highly recommended. Owner Paul Dobson "works a room better than Sinatra", which explains why this "local tradition" downtown remains, "after all these years", a "high-powered, hobnob spot"; the Cal kitchen "serves up delicious, innovative food, along with old standbys" ("have the mussel bisque and think of heaven"). Continued
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Diner Reviews
  • "Paul Dobson is a rock star. Fabulous restaurant, menu and ambiance. Very small and romantic. Priced right. This is a "must" for anyone looking for a romantic escape. You won't regret it."
    Dined on 8/16/2014
  • "We ordered the famous Mussel Bisque en Croute! Declicious! Followed by a shared Caesar Salad with lovely anchovies and then main course was Scampi al Ajillo. Oh my gosh, the sauce was exquisite...garlic, white wine, mushrooms, butter. The best!"
    Dined on 8/7/2014
  • "I hadn't been to Dobson's in over 7 years, and I totally enjoyed the ambience for a nice leisurely lunch with a friend. We were there early enough to beat the lunch crowd, so that made it really nice. The waiters were very attentive and, of course, the food was fantastic!"
    Dined on 7/31/2014
  • "We visited Dobson's after seeing a show at the Civic Center. It's definitely within walking distance, and a great pre-/post- show dining spot. Service was excellent. We were greeted immediately by the bartender, and our waiter was very attentive. On our reservation, we had indicated we were celebrating our wedding anniversary and were offered complimentary champagne- a very nice touch. Overall, I would recommend this establishment. The service is great, and the food was quite good. One thing to note-- they are known for their mussel bisque, which is great, however, as with any bisque, it is quite heavy and filling. Definitely something to consider when ordering your entree. A very attentive staff will make the experience a great one."
    Dined on 7/26/2014
  • "The place is nice, the food is good, the service is friendly, and the chairs leave me in great pain. Are they trying to increase turnover?"
    Dined on 7/24/2014
  • "Bar was full for happy hour. Food was good, service was good. Definitely had some traditional charm and an older crowd to go with it."
    Dined on 7/18/2014
  • "I don't come here as much as I used to, but each time I eat here, I start planning my next visit! The food and service are always outstanding. Great for a business lunch, or just a drink with appetizers!"
    Dined on 7/16/2014
  • "The mussels soup is very unique and tasty - will highly recommend anyone who wants to try a different soup than the unique mushroom or clam chowder soup. I had a rack of lamb which was good too!"
    Dined on 6/17/2014
  • "This is our go to restaurant prior to concerts at the Balboa Theater. It never disappoints and having the opportunity to meet Paul Dobson when we walked in was a real bonus. Menu is well structured and can cover you whether you want to eat light or indulge. We did a couple of appetizers (beet salad and brie cheese in a pastry curst. Easier to check out their menu than for me to describe them). Wife did the filet and I had the yellowtail (and some of her filet). Everything was just excellent. Service is attentive. We ordered a bottle of Malbec and to us it was corked with a horrible musty nose. Even though our waiter thought it tasted OK, there were no questions and it was immediately replaced. Just a jewel of a restaurant in downtown SD. "
    Dined on 5/31/2014
  • "The food was good but the service was terrible. It took 1.25 hours after arrival to get our starters. Also, there were four of us at the table and they brought 3 starters together while the fourth person had to wait another FIVE minutes to get her starter (which was a salad and should take no time at all). Also, the same person had to wait about 3 minutes to get her entree as they brought three together but not hers. No real apologies were given. Probably will not be back again for quite some time. "
    Dined on 5/31/2014
  • "Fantastic ambience. Really enjoyed the service and the food!"
    Dined on 5/30/2014
  • "Been a huge fan of Paul Dobson An engaged owner who has created a legendary property. But this visit was a tragedy. If he were there I would have let him know. I've been there dozens of times. This time the la crema was warm, returned and no chilled available. Sea bass way undercooked and replacement was rubbery. Others noted scallops not hot. Server was told we had theater to attend, but was not attentive to constraint. Only good elements, the bisque and hot bread. Very sorry Paul. Hope you get on top of this. We won't be returning with our pre theater group "
    Dined on 5/27/2014
  • "When the owner and namesake, Paul Dobson, still cares enough to man the door during lunch, you know you will be treated well. The restaurant is small and quaint in a most charming way. I chose to sit at the bar and Mike the barkeep was helpful and delightful. Try the House Bisque. Really, it is devine. I also had a Salade Nicoise which was perfectly french in its construction. Everything else I saw delivered looked equally inviting. I went because of jury duty but I will take my wife back for dinner because it was special."
    Dined on 5/20/2014
  • "We had dinner at Dobson's as it had decent reviews & was close to our hotel. Just didn't come close to knocking off our socks as I had hoped; I picked this place to celebrate my birthday. We started with the steamed mussels. They were different in a curry sauce, far spicier than I expected but good. The mussels themselves were very good. I had the rack of lamb; it was okay but nothing to shout about & overdone. Paul the owner who "works the room" according to multiple reviews on various sites was there; didn't see him after he brought us to our table until we left. He seemed to spend all his time flirting with single gals. The place is pretty small & tables are VERY close together. Would we return or recommend to others: no. "
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "Dobson's at Broadway Circle is a jewel. Very Old World atmosphere. Our only complaint was that our server's presence was somewhat lacking. Otherwise, the food and wine were superb."
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "We had a very good dinner, but the star is the mussel bisque. Dobson's has a three course pris fixe on their web site, but our waiter seemed surprised that we requested it. Bisque, peppercorn steak, dessert for $35--why wouldn't we request it? "
    Dined on 4/28/2014
  • "When we were first served our water, we found a worm/slug climbing out from inside one of the women's glasses. We pointed it out to the waiter and requested a bottle of water. The waiter and owner both came to our table and were shocked but strangely never apologized once. The waiter also was not very personable and never walked us through the menu or specials. When the bill came we were surprised to see the bottled water on the bill. We requested they take that off since we only ordered it due to the slug in the regular water. Overall I was surprised the owner didn't comp some portion (drinks? her meal?) of the bill and never once did anyone apologize to any of us."
    Dined on 4/26/2014
  • "A San Diego classic! My wife & I have dined there since it opened in 1983. Paul Dobson, the original owner, is still putting out a superior product. We dined for my wife's birthday, and hadn't been there for almost 2 years. No drop-off in quality, friendliness and ambiance. Highly recommended!"
    Dined on 4/18/2014
  • "This is a quaint old restaurant that is quite small so the tables are in cramped quarters. The service was slow but the staff was very friendly and accommodating. The food was excellent and their mussel bisque was to die for."
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "Found this gem with my Open Table App, within a block of my hotel, turned out to be the PERFECT place to celebrate."
    Dined on 4/1/2014
  • "Took a colleague to Dobson's for a special lunch. The plus was that the service was very good. The minus was the food. The anchovy paste in my Caesar salad made it too strong to finish. The tuna sandwich was dry, with only a pickle on the plate for company. Used to think Dobson's was special; it wasn't this time."
    Dined on 3/27/2014
  • "I ate there on a Friday night lately and the noise level in the booth in the bar was awful but the food was excellent. We went back this Saturday and the bar was empty with only 2 people so all was quiet, the food just as good. Message: if you want to carry on a conversation don't go on Friday nights."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "Attending the opera and dining at Dobson's has been our family tradition for many years, and we have never been disappointed."
    Dined on 3/20/2014
  • "I had never tried the Chesse Foundue at this location, it is excellent!"
    Dined on 3/18/2014
  • "It's hard to beat Dobsons fro pre-opera or concert dining in San Diego. The food is quite good, the service professional and quick, and Paul Dobson is a delightful host. Oh, and did I mention that the mussels bisque en croute is about the best that can be had anywhere in the country? On this Friday, there was also a bunch of people at the bar obviously getting an early start on Paddy's Day having a lot of fun."
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "Went to Dobson's on our first night in San Diego. Food and service were good, not more. Meal was rather rushed even though the restaurant was not crowded. Best taste on the menus was mussel soup en croute."
    Dined on 3/10/2014
  • "The scallops were outstanding. The mussel bisque divine. My friend is disabled and they gave us a booth on the first floor so she didn't have to climb the stairs. Service was as good as the food. I'll go back!!"
    Dined on 3/4/2014
  • "What a find! A welcome from Paul at reception set the tone for a great pre-theater evening. Discreet attention from our waiting staff was followed by a splendid meal. We were reluctant to leave, Will certainly be back before our Calif. vacation comes to an end."
    Dined on 2/28/2014
  • "This happens to be my dad's last name. We rode the train down from O.C. and had dinner for my moms 80th birthday,she looks great and acts like 60 always on the go. We had a perfect dinner. We had the steak, scallops, salmon and the bisque soup. The Steak was very tender and yummy ! The scallops very firm and delicious . The salmon was so fresh and tender and the honey glaze was amazing, it created a light crisp outside layer on the salmon, and when you bit into it you could taste the honey and then the salmon, so tender and juicy.The hint of honey was perfect ! Dessert was a flowerless chocolate delicious as well . From our family to yours, WE SAY THANK YOU FOR A GREAT DINNER. All the staff was very nice and made our evening special."
    Dined on 2/26/2014
  • "It was listed under "Californian" restaurants so assumed it would be modern, fresh local foods, etc. It was very old and stuffy .. and we were surrounded by a very noise large group. Food was okay. It was our only meal in San Diego, so we were a little disappointed. Wouldn't recommend it .. I am sure there are better choices in the neighbourhood."
    Dined on 2/20/2014
  • "Fantastic Valentine's dinner. Excellent special menu as well as their complete full menu. We were seated expeditiously and promptly cared for from pre dinner cocktails to dessert! Comfortable, warm atmosphere. A quick walk or taxi from all downtown hotels. A San Diego treasure."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "the food was wonderful. It was very busy on Valentines day & I think there was an issue of short staffing that resulted in our needing to request plates & utensils & having to flag a server for after dinner coffee. Maitre D was very attentive and the food was excellent. This is a hidden gem outside the Gaslamp that I can highly recommend"
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "My husband and I took our dear friend Gerry to dine at Dobson's with us on Valentine's for a special reason. Her anniversary is Valentine's Day and she was recently widowed. We did not want her to be alone on this special day. The food was wonderful and we enjoyed the adventure of finding parking, then walking to the restaurant through the mall. It was worth the effort and we all enjoyed the special atmosphere of Dobson's. Our visit was actually a gift from my neice's husband in Oregon! I painted a picture for him to give her on her birthday last year and he bought the gift certificate we used. How he knew Dobson's was my favorite restaurant, I'll never know, but he hit the mark for sure! The mussell bisque never disappoints!"
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "My hubby & I met friends from out-of-town for dinner at Dobson's. We sat upstairs at a table overlooking the bar area. We have eaten there before and always had a good experience. Two of the four of us have February birthdays coming up very soon; and this was our only opportunity to celebrate together. Our waiter was aware of our birthdays and that we were short on time because of our friends' early flight out that evening. He made sure that we were served quickly and made our birthday celebrations a special occasion with two scrumptious desserts to share! Although I enjoyed the sea bass entrée, my favorite dish was the muscle bisque with puffed pastry topping. My husband, who is not too fond of muscles, tasted it and loved it!"
    Dined on 2/5/2014
  • "A long time SD resident suggested the restaurant. Had out-of-town visitors so thought this would be a good opportunity to try it. Easy to make reservations on-line and convenient parking next door. Ground floor ambiance was welcoming but when taken upstairs and seated in the middle of the area with guests facing the back wall, I was disappointed. Cheerful and efficient service. Saw set menu offering on web site but were not told about it or given the menu when seated. After asking for it, all 4 of us liked the offerings so ordered from that menu. Mussel Bisque was terrific for 3 of us and salad was enjoyed by the 4th. 3 ordered salmon but felt it needed seasoning. My pork was okay but accompanying pasta bland. Dessert was enjoyed by all."
    Dined on 2/1/2014
  • "There wasn't anything very special about this place. The service was decent, but not spectacular like Donovan's. It has cool history, but it seems like older places like this one ride off of the fact they are historic and do little to stay on top of their game."
    Dined on 2/1/2014
  • "We decided to eat here before seeing Patti LuPone at the Balboa Theater. Everything was perfect. We were greeted promptly and immediately taken to a table upstairs - I had the wild salmon entree, which was absolutely wonderful. My friend had onion soup and the lamb chop appetizer - she loved it. We had a very nice bottle of Pinot Noir for a reasonable price. I would definitely recommend this restaurant, and will be returning the next time I have something to do in downtown San Diego."
    Dined on 1/31/2014
  • "We love going to Dobson's. The food has always been good and the service excellent. The service was excellent this time but the food was over cooked. It was the first time for my daughter and son in law so that was very disappointing. His pork chop was over cooked as was our duck. Very dry! And my son in laws mussel bisque only had 3 very tiny mussels in it. It was more broth then anything else!"
    Dined on 1/31/2014
  • "We had a reservation through Open Table for a Wednesday night dinner ay Dobson's that was part of a bigger plan to celebrate a birthday and go to the Balboa Theater. FORTY minutes before we were to arrive, someone from Dobson's called to tell us that they had a large party, and they didn't have a table for us!! We were floored! They offered us seats at the bar - right :(. All very lame and totally ruined our plans. We ended at the Grant Grill and have a wonderful time there, but I'll never go back to Dobson's."
    Dined on 1/29/2014
  • "Our favorite spot for either pre or apres theater. Great food and impeccable service. The mussel bisque is the gold standard for this dish. We have never found better."
    Dined on 1/25/2014