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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
  • Email: marcos@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 28 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
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerCalifornian
Diner Reviews
  • "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
  • "I had never tried the Chesse Foundue at this location, it is excellent!"
    Dined on 3/18/2014
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "Mussel Bisque! I crave the Mussel Bisque every time we get some cold weather. It's the Best! If you prefer the soup ( Lobster Bisque) without Mussels, they will make it without. Every dish I have tried was perfect. From the warm Sourdough Bread, Beef Carpaccio, Salads, Entrees and Desert. The atmosphere reminds me of some of my favorite places in San Francisco. It's cozy, in a good way, and has been one of my favorites for many years."
    Dined on 12/30/2013
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "Went to Dobson's before the Opera. As usual, it was fantastic. Good drinks, great bread and fine dining. Paul you simply rock a restaurant!!"
    Dined on 1/25/2014
  • "It was a perfect place to go before the theater and the mussels were awesome. The server was great about splitting everything so we each had more to experience without eating too much, and she recommended a great wine."
    Dined on 1/18/2014
  • "Get the Mussel Bisque. It is delicious. I have had lobster bisque many times but never heard of a mussel bisque. It was featured on the food channel so I decided to try it out. I expected it to be fishy tasting but it wasn't at all. I just have to say, YUM"
    Dined on 1/11/2014
  • "Just got back home to SD after 3 weeks of holiday travel. Needed a quiet date night restaurant and headed to Dobson's for a pre-show dinner. Had wonderful martini's and started with our two favorites - the Mussel Bisque and Roasted Beet Salad accompanied by hot sourdough bread. Followed up with the scallops and mushroom risotto (two more favorites) and a flirty pinot grigio. Fantastic start to a great night out! Dobson's is always a hit!"
    Dined on 1/11/2014
  • "Small, friendly restaurant with excellent service and food! Delicious warm bread to start with, nice variety of salads and amazing entrees. Our party of four each ordered something different and everyone was happy with their choices. Wait staff is friendly and accommodating."
    Dined on 12/27/2013
  • "We had a wonderful, pre-theater, meal on a Saturday night. Fabulous salmon special, perfectly cooked filet. Some of the best bread in town -- I have to stop myself from filling up on that!"
    Dined on 12/21/2013
  • "The food is good, but we really expect a little more from all the reviews on the food network"
    Dined on 12/13/2013
  • "Our first time at Dobson's and they were very accommodating. Trouble with the cab company made me call to delay our reservation and they were totally cool with that. Michael our waiter was fabulous. Steak was cooked exactly as we liked it and the scallops were delicious. Would go again."
    Dined on 12/14/2013
  • "Excellent foor, excellent service, courteous staff."
    Dined on 12/6/2013
  • "We went to this restaurant because we loved their steam mussels. But the mussels and everything else we order was substandard. The fish was over cooked and the risotto was tasteless. Quality control was not there."
    Dined on 11/30/2013
  • "Dobson's is a Gaslamp icon. The food did not blow me away, but it was good and at a reasonable price. The wines are affordable and they have a very good selection."
    Dined on 11/26/2013
  • "We visit San Diego at least once a year, this time we had an opportunity to share a dinner with family who won a trip to San Diego! We wanted a restaurant in the Horton Plaza area, this was a perfect location to meet. The noise level was perfect for visiting. The $35 set menu items were slightly over cooked, but the other 4 dinners were perfect. The hot sourdough bread was so good didn't even need butter!"
    Dined on 11/22/2013
  • "It was a few years since I visited Dobson's before. Brought some co-workers over for dinner and it was another magnificient experience of the variety of the menu, quality of the food, the friendly service and an amazing wine list. Is always been an enjoyable connection for me and left my co-workers very impressed."
    Dined on 11/13/2013
  • "My first time back in over ten years, and will be my last. Seating was very uncomfortable. Signature appetizer, Mussel Bisque, the puff pastry was burned. Seafood linguine, the shrimp and scallops were over cooked, tough and rubbery, and the white sauce was over cooked and sticky. Bartender substituted another brand of vodka for Belvedere without telling me."
    Dined on 11/8/2013
  • "Used to be very good, but both meals were very mediocre."
    Dined on 11/9/2013
  • "....and it got even BETTER?!! Yes it did, and I was pleasantly surprised ! Lamb to die for, and the Pork chop nodded the same! Save room for dessert, though, it is a challenge!"
    Dined on 11/1/2013
  • "Nice preparations, if somewhat formulaic. The reason I can't recommend was that all my wine chioces were unavailable, and the alternatives (by the glass) were pretty sub-par. Really, my first 3 choices?"
    Dined on 10/26/2013