Dobson's Bar & Restaurant
956 Broadway Circle
San Diego, CA 92101Neighborhood:
Downtown / Gaslamp
CalifornianPrice: $30 and under
Dobson's Bar & Restaurant
- 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
- 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: Available for buyouts, partial buyouts, private events, or intimate gatherings. For special events please contact Marcos Luciano 619-231-6771 X 101
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
Foodspotting photosSee all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
- Diners' Choice WinnerCalifornian
Dobson's Bar & Restaurant - Best Restaurants in Downtown / Gaslamp ›
Dobson's Bar & Restaurant reviews from OpenTable diners
49 reviews since July 29, 2014
- Ambiance3.8Noise LevelModerate
fit for foodies (24)neighborhood gem (21)romantic (18)special occasion (18)vibrant bar scene (11)great for lunch (9)notable wine list (7)good for groups (7)hot spot (6)late-night find (5)kid-friendly (1)Show More
- Unique specialsOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 11/22/2014As always, the food was exquisite. I planned our visit, and knew what I was going to order. However, the descriptions of the special dishes for the evening waylaid my plan. Instead, I ordered the salmon with the jalapeno cream sauce. Great choice! The sauce was tasty, with only a hint of spiciness at the end of each bite. (Truthfully, I wanted more of that spiciness!) My husband's filet mignon was cooked to perfection. We arrived about an hour earlier than our reservation, thinking that we could just have a drink at the bar if we had to wait. We fully expected that, but we were graciously welcomed and seated. All of the servers were friendly and well-mannered, as usual, and we made it to our after-dinner show with plenty of time to spare. Dobson's is always a treat!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Good food but pricey!OpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 11/22/2014We enjoyed the food, and service was great, but the wine list was very limited. Also it was shown as being 2 dollar signs ($$), so we weren't anticipating it being as expensive as it was and we were too casually attired (listed as "casual"). Finally, this is definitely not a place to take kids. They put up with ours extremely well (and although they did not have a kids menu, they made a great cheeseburger and chicken tenders/linguini alfredo), but I would not take them here again. Good location and valet parking next door for $10.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 11/15/2014Had tickets to Wicked Saturday Matinee. Looked for something we could walk to after the play online. The fact that Dobsons had been a local establishment for 30 yrs said something. The menu was a nice mix, and we love a good curry app. We always split our orders, seems to be way too much food anymore and it was just right. We started with the shrimp salad, was great our waitress wouldn't give up the recipe for the dressing. Then the mussels with the curry sauce, finished the mussels and all of the the sauce. For our entree we shared the T bone steak prepared perfectly medium rare. Nice presentation with the yummy mashed potatoes and squash. Told our waitress is was my girlfriends birthday, and she brought out a piece of the best chocolate cake either one of us had ever tasted. My plan was another stop for dessert, but was foiled by this palate teaser. It was over the top delicious. We came from Carlsbad, but will return. Met Larry Dobson, he seated us and was busy but a most gracious host.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great staff, fine foodKategozoutVIPDined on 11/8/2014We enjoyed our meal at Dobson's. The staff was friendly and helpful, the wine list was great, and the food was traditional with just a little twist to keep it interesting. We found that everything was tasty, but the service was a little slow.Special Features:
- solan1Dined on 11/8/2014I hadn't been to Dobsons for over five years and am happy to say that the food continues to be outstanding. I love the intimate atmosphere of the venue and the attentive attitude of all the servers. thank you for continuing to be a fine dining establishment in San Diego.Special Features:
- Dobson' aPitanmufDined on 10/29/2014This is our second time eating here both were very enjoyable. Our waitress Marina was delightful. Would have given her specifically a 5. My one complaint with service was that two out of four of us want to clams and didn't find out until after orders that they were out of them. Otherwise service was impeccably. Food was absolutely delicious . We will be back.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Nice DinnerJohnCDined on 10/25/2014My wife and I have eaten at Dobson's many times. We have never been disappointed. The atmosphere, the service and the food has been outstanding. It is what I expect from a restaurant of this level.Special Features:
- Classic DiningtheMildmanDined on 10/25/2014Dobson's is San Diego's iconic restaurant. Paul Dobson is the quintessential host. He never fails to make every guest feel like family. No place in town has the magical ambience and Old World charm of Dobson's. Don't miss the puff pastry mussell bisque and cognac. If the price fixe menu is offered go for it. Be sure to check out the photos of Mr. Dobson in the bullring ~ not to mention the posters. Whether you are dining before the theater, just looking for a romantic spot, or going to meet with friends for a cocktail after work, you will encounter and find yourself sharing a lifetime experience in a venue that has been a rendezvous spot for the elite of our community for decades. Dobson's is what a life well-lived is all about.Special Features:
- Theatre DelightJosephVIPDined on 10/22/2014We ate at Dobson's before seeing Jersey Boys. There was no stress as the waiters and management are attuned to the time sensitive situation of theatre attendees. Our waiter was informative and responsive - our dinner came in a timely manner and it was delicious. We even had time to linger and enjoy dessert! We will definitely visit again!Special Features:
- Pre-theatre dinnerDodgerDined on 10/22/2014We chose Dobson's because of proximity to the Civic Theatre. So glad we did. We had the Prix Fixe menu. My spouse had the crab cakes and the duck, I had the mussel bisque and the scallops. Everything was delicious. Our server, Michael, was extremely professional and gracious! We dined leisurely and yet made it to the theatre, a quick two block walk, quite easily.Special Features:
- I always enjoy my visit to Dobson'sPmsayreVIPDined on 10/21/2014I had a lovely meal with a friend before the theatre on a Tuesday night. I was pleasantly surprised to find very reasonable prices on the wine (by the glass) list for dinner. The food and service were great as always.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Really Nice!1BeautfulladyDined on 10/18/2014I have heard about Dobson's throughout the years! I had been there years ago before I think it ever became Dobson's. We were welcomed by the owner upon entering. Everyone had a pleasant smile and a nice greeting! We picked this restaurant because it was close to the theater that we were going to. The place is small but makes up for it in the sevice, the ambiance and definitely the food. We ordered the Brie and that was devine. I ordered the linguini fruta de mer and my date ordered the mushroom ravioli. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Both entrees were delicious. We skipped dessert because we were both full and didn't want to be stuffed to attend the show. Definitely a must go back!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2012VIPDined on 10/16/2014A true hit and great neighborhood gem. We are so glad to see that it is still here after all these years!Special Features:
- Great FoodAgusDined on 10/11/2014Every time we go back to Dobson's we enjoy the same quality and service and of course their excellent dishes.Special Features:
- Glacial ServiceReaderGirlVIPDined on 9/27/2014My husband and I went to Dobson's for the first time because it was near the theater. I made a 6:00 reservation and figured, with a five-minute walk, we'd make an 8:00 curtain with no stress. From the welcome--which was odd, as the couple in front of us were offered free champagne but we barely got a hello--to the sprint out of there without dessert because it had taken an hour and a half to get our entrees, it was all decidedly odd. I will say that my salad was perfect. But my husband ordered his steak medium and it came out blood-red with no time to send it back. Our server seemed distracted (didn't know the soup of the day) and we barely saw him. I don't think we'd go back just because of the long wait.Special Features:
- Excellent food!! Poor ServiceOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 9/26/2014Party of 4. We were greeted right away and seated. We were the only ones there at that time, but it took a good 5 min for our waiter to come to our table. When he finally did arrive he took our drink order and then we told him we wanted the restaurant week menu. Our appetizers and main course came out quickly but to clean up our plates and bringing out desserts our waiter was no where to be found. Finally he came out and cleaned our table and told us our desserts were on there way out but never came. Tables that were seated after we were received there desserts before us. We finally had to ask another waiter what had happened to our desserts. We also asked for our bill and still never saw our waiter.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2008Dined on 9/25/2014Was better when Paul Dobson owned. Service was spotty but food was amazing. Bisque is still special.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Foodie222Foodie222VIPDined on 9/22/2014Dobson's has suprised me again. I did not think they could get their mussel bisque any better back in the 1990's. But it seems they have. After a long absence I went back to checkout an old favorite chef Martin San Roman and an old favorite restaurant. I was not disappinted. The mussel bisque is absolutlry superb. As is their duck a l'Orange. My after thoughts were to compare them with good wine. They just got better with time. Can't wait to go back.Special Features:
- Delicious FoodDdo1Dined on 9/4/2014The complementary bread was delicious. Our filets and vegetables were delicious and well prepared. Service was very good.
- Nice surprise!kimaDined on 8/20/2014I had 5 people in my group and 2 were customers that I was entertaining. From the appetizers, to dessert....everything was wonderful! The house cabernet was very good as well.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Fabulous dining experience.buschman43Dined on 8/16/2014Paul 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.Special Features:
- LoboVIPDined on 8/7/2014We 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!Special Features:
- YummylunchfavDined on 7/31/2014I 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!Special Features:
- The following 447 reviews are from the Dobson's Bar & Restaurant reviews archive.
- Worthwhile!CostaVerdeDined on 7/26/2014We 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.Special Features:
- Most uncomfortable chairsLokiDined on 7/24/2014The 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?Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Fun but old schoolMermaidVIPDined on 7/18/2014Bar was full for happy hour. Food was good, service was good. Definitely had some traditional charm and an older crowd to go with it.Special Features:
- Dobson's never disappoints!PmsayreVIPDined on 7/16/2014I 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!Special Features:
- Uniquely Mussel SoupRaymondCDined on 6/17/2014The 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!Special Features:
- Excellent as alwaysbenhereDined on 5/31/2014This 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.Special Features:
- Dobson's for DinnerDelMarDinerDined on 5/31/2014The 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.
- JeffDined on 5/30/2014Fantastic ambience. Really enjoyed the service and the food!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Hate to write thisJohnVIPDined on 5/27/2014Been 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 groupSpecial Features:
- SuperlativeHowFreeVIPDined on 5/20/2014When 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.Special Features:
- DisappointedSteveDined on 5/10/2014We 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.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 5/10/2014Dobson'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.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Mussel bisque brings us backMikeDined on 4/28/2014We 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?Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Slug in Water GlassJaysReviewsDined on 4/26/2014When 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.
- Dobson's Bar & RestaurantPortcomDined on 4/18/2014A 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!Special Features:
- Mixed feelingsZoogirlsDined on 4/12/2014This 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.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- 47th Wedding AnniversaryButchvicDined on 4/1/2014Found this gem with my Open Table App, within a block of my hotel, turned out to be the PERFECT place to celebrate.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.