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

Dobson's Bar & Restaurant

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.dobsonsrestaurant.com/
  • Phone: 619-231-6771x
  • 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: 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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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerCalifornian
Dobson's Bar & Restaurant reviews from OpenTable diners
35 reviews since June 26, 2014
Overall Rating4.2
  • Food4.4
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance3.7
    Noise LevelModerate
92% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (15)fit for foodies (14)special occasion (10)romantic (9)vibrant bar scene (7)great for lunch (6)late-night find (4)notable wine list (3)good for groups (2)hot spot (2)kid-friendly (1)Show More
  • Really Nice!
    1Beautfullady
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    I 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:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012VIP
    Dined on 10/16/2014
    A true hit and great neighborhood gem. We are so glad to see that it is still here after all these years!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Food
    Agus
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    Every time we go back to Dobson's we enjoy the same quality and service and of course their excellent dishes.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Glacial Service
    ReaderGirlVIP
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    My 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:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent food!! Poor Service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    Party 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:
    fit for foodies, kid-friendly, romantic, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 9/25/2014
    Was better when Paul Dobson owned. Service was spotty but food was amazing. Bisque is still special.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Foodie222
    Foodie222VIP
    Dined on 9/22/2014
    Dobson'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:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Delicious Food
    Ddo1
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    The complementary bread was delicious. Our filets and vegetables were delicious and well prepared. Service was very good.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nice surprise!
    kima
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    I 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:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fabulous dining experience.
    buschman43
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • LoboVIP
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Yummy
    lunchfav
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Worthwhile!
    CostaVerde
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Most uncomfortable chairs
    Loki
    Dined on 7/24/2014
    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?
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fun but old school
    MermaidVIP
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Dobson's never disappoints!
    PmsayreVIP
    Dined on 7/16/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 19 ratings-only reviews submitted since June 26, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.1
    • Food4.1
    • Ambiance3.7
    • Service4.3
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 443 reviews are from the Dobson's Bar & Restaurant reviews archive.
  • Uniquely Mussel Soup
    RaymondC
    Dined on 6/17/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent as always
    benhere
    Dined on 5/31/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Dobson's for Dinner
    DelMarDiner
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Jeff
    Dined on 5/30/2014
    Fantastic ambience. Really enjoyed the service and the food!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Hate to write this
    JohnVIP
    Dined on 5/27/2014
    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
    Special Features:
    special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Superlative
    HowFreeVIP
    Dined on 5/20/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointed
    Steve
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Mussel bisque brings us back
    Mike
    Dined on 4/28/2014
    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?
    Special Features:
    Romantic, special occasion, Vibrant Bar Scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Slug in Water Glass
    JaysReviews
    Dined on 4/26/2014
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Dobson's Bar & Restaurant
    Portcom
    Dined on 4/18/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Romantic, special occasion, Great for Lunch, Late-Night Find, Vibrant Bar Scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Mixed feelings
    Zoogirls
    Dined on 4/12/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • 47th Wedding Anniversary
    Butchvic
    Dined on 4/1/2014
    Found this gem with my Open Table App, within a block of my hotel, turned out to be the PERFECT place to celebrate.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointing
    Terzim
    Dined on 3/27/2014
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • What a difference!!
    Pegassus
    Dined on 3/22/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Family Tradition
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 3/20/2014
    Attending the opera and dining at Dobson's has been our family tradition for many years, and we have never been disappointed.
    Special Features:
    romantic, late-night find, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • I had never tried the Chesse
    JaimeVIP
    Dined on 3/18/2014
    I had never tried the Chesse Foundue at this location, it is excellent!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene, late-night find, neighborhood gem, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • It's hard to beat Dobsons
    BuntzVIP
    Dined on 3/14/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • nice dinner
    krasVIP
    Dined on 3/10/2014
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Too good to believe
    Pegassus
    Dined on 3/4/2014
    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!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Unexpected Gem!
    ScotRon
    Dined on 2/28/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list, romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful Evening
    hbwl4u
    Dined on 2/26/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    romantic, late-night find, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • It was listed under "Californian"
    Tessa
    Dined on 2/20/2014
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Valentines Day
    22LmGrv
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.