Vela
Vela
  • Address:
    Hilton Bayfront
    1 Park Boulevard
    San Diego, CA 92101
    Neighborhood:
    Downtown / Gaslamp
  • Cuisine:
    Contemporary American
    Price: $30 and under

Vela

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.velasandiego.com/
  • Phone: 6193214284x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Breakfast Monday - Friday 6:30am- 11am
    Saturday & Sunday 6:30am- 12:00pm

    Dinner Sunday - Saturday 5:30pm - 10:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: American, Californian, Contemporary American
  • Executive Chef: Neil Dandekar
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Smoking Area, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Private Party Facilities: To make arrangements for private or semi-private dining; or for groups of 12 or more, please contact our Restaurant Manager directly.
  • Private Party Contact: Barrett Rickman 6193214207x

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Harbor Drive/Park Avenue
  • Parking: Valet
  • Parking Details: Three hours of complimentary self-parking also available.
    Complimentary valet while dining for Vela Society members.
A word from Vela
There’s something special about the coast that draws people to want to live near it, travel to it and celebrate it. One lives for satisfaction and finds it in simple things. Throughout the world’s coastal resort destinations eateries thrive on the finest products, grown locally where “from farm to fork” is a way of life. At Vela, diners will enjoy the freshest meats, daily caught fish, locally grown market produce and home baked desserts with casual excellence.


Vela’s focus is on the use of the freshest, seasonal, local and sustainable products available to achieve modern interpretations of classic culinary traditions from the most desired coastlines of the planet.


From breakfast to dinner, Vela will surprise you at every turn.
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Vela reviews from OpenTable diners
14 reviews since May 1, 2014
Overall Rating4.1
  • Food4.1
    Service4.3
  • Ambiance4.1
    Noise LevelModerate
85% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
scenic view (9)special occasion (5)good for groups (4)notable wine list (3)fit for foodies (3)great for lunch (3)great for brunch (3)kid-friendly (3)romantic (3)great for outdoor dining (2)late-night find (2)neighborhood gem (1)vibrant bar scene (1)Show More
  • Delightful birthday dinner
    VickyF
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    We chose to celebrate my birthday by going to San Diego Symphony Summer Pops at the Embarcadero. Since the Hilton Bayfront is such a short walking distance, it made sense to have dinner there before the concert. This turned out to be a terrific plan! The food and service were outstanding. I loved the cioppino (a starter on the menu, but enough for an entree) and my husband enjoyed the flat iron steak, especially with the chimichurri horseradish. Very pleasant experience!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, scenic view, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good Food Great View
    Cbake88
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    We had a great table with a great view and the food was amazing. Very tasty and I loved the presentation, all the way down to the dessert. I would recommend Vela to my friends and family for sure.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • loved it
    thecamman
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    I recommend everyone to stop great food beautiful view loved the shrimp alfredo and salmon..and breakfast was delicious
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, scenic view, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • July 4th Buffet
    Buffet
    Dined on 7/4/2014
    The only option for food was a buffet that we are told on the phone would have vegan options. The food selection was horrible, undercooked, cold, and very few options. The only healthy thing they had was salad and it ran out right away so we couldn't even have that. The service was good and the view was great for the fireworks, but, I was really surprised at how awful the food was.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • No all it was cracked up to be
    Funfoodie
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    A lot going on at Vela - but mostly the service was terrible. Server could not remember what we ordered, brought the wrong drink order, etcetera. The host was not inviting upon arrival, not one person said "hi". Also it was dirty - on the floor beneath our table was dried, crusty food - not something from that day - it was old enough to be shriveled and falling apart from movement under the table legs from a vacuum cleaner. Probably will not return.
    Special Features:
    scenic view, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Pleasantly surprised
    Rudi2011
    Dined on 6/10/2014
    Given that most hotel restaurants are over-priced and over-hyped, I had low expectations when I made a reservation at Vela, but I was unexpectedly surprised by the quality of the food and service. Despite the fact that the breakfast prices at Vela are inflated (as in most hotels), I found the dinner menu to be much more reasonable. If you are looking for a good restaurant right on the San Diego harbor, definitely keep Vela in mind.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Your average hotel restaurant
    Tdalec
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    The food was good -- actually, the duck comfit was as good as any I have had in Paris -- but despite views of the harbor, the decor was blah and the service lackidazical.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Birthday Dinner
    Steve
    Dined on 5/9/2014
    Made reservations via OT & learned that Vela is a 1000 for dinner.point place! We were recognized upon arrival as celebrating a birthday & were taken to a nice window table. Would have had great view except clouds decided to roll in :( Service was very good -- thank you Michelle. We started with bruschetta & pita bread and hummus. Both were very good. I had the lamb shank with polenta for my main course. DELICIOUS! The lamb was very tender, flavorful & fell off the bone. The polenta was the best I've had anywhere including when we lived in Italy. My wife wasn't very hungry so chose the Cioppino from the starter section. It was pretty good sized & she said it was great. We then enjoyed a special birthday dessert compliments of the house.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • ok but not great
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009VIP
    Dined on 5/7/2014
    food was ok - I was expecting better and the desert was just awful and we tried all of them. the drinks were great and the flavored tequilas really great. Our server was awesome and we had a great time, just would have been great if the food was better
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 5 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 1, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.6
    • Food4.6
    • Ambiance4.4
    • Service4.4
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 184 reviews are from the Vela reviews archive.
  • Inconsistent
    AeginaVIP
    Dined on 4/15/2014
    The hostess was lovely, but the waitress was inattentive (we never got bread and waited ages for our dinner plates to be cleared.) My arugula salad was very tasty (although missing the promised hazelnut crunch), but my Baja Seafood Boil was overcooked and overpriced. I had to remind the waitress of the Kids Eat Free policy (although, in her favor, she did immediately correct the oversight.) Potential for a really good restaurant here, but not quite living up to it yet.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Hours to get dinner
    Mp46
    Dined on 4/5/2014
    Three hours for dinner and we were only one if ten tables in the place. Food was not really good. This more of a coffee shop in a hotel, trying to be a dinner place. It had a nice view, but couldn't see it because the lighting was too bright in the room. Overall, I will not come here again unless I need a bagel and I am staying at the hotel.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Unexpected fine dining
    Mary
    Dined on 3/22/2014
    We had a wonderful dining experience....ambiance, food, and service. We were staying at the hotel, so I went to the Vela early to ask for a window seat. The bartender was opening up and was most hospitable, telling me that he'd endeavor to get us a window seat. When we did arrive, he remembered me and said he was successful and that the hostess would seat us.
    Special Features:
    scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • First Vela Experience
    TravelingGirl
    Dined on 3/11/2014
    New to San Diego, I opted for dinner in the hotel after a long day of travel. I tried Vela and was happy to find that not only did it have a great view but it was clean, servers were efficient and friendly, and the food and wine were delicious. I had the Creme Brule for dessert and it was amazing! I highly recommend this to anyone staying at the Hilton Bayfront or anyone on the area looking for a relaxed, but elegant dining experience.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very pleasant experience
    LisaB
    Dined on 2/27/2014
    I typically choose a hotel with an onsite restaurant for convenience. Being so close to the gas lamp, I wonder if Vela is overlooked for local options. After a long conference, I decided to stay in, Vela did not disappoint. Our server was attentive in the right moments and offered good sugesstions from the menu. I'd return to Vela my next trip to SD.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great!!
    Guero
    Dined on 2/15/2014
    Everything was perfect from hostess to food. Thank you would go again
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Decent place. OK for last minute
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    The place was decent enough. Wouldn't really recommend it for Anything other than a nice place to eat for hotel Guests. If you're not staying at the hotel, you could Do a lot better for the price
    Special Features:
    scenic view, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Made special occasion more special
    SDshooter
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    I chose Vela for their Valentines Day special, and am SO glad that I did! I was seriously shocked that the place wan't crowded, especially after experiencing the restaurant. The service was attentive and terrific (thank you Adrianne!). The food was to-die-for! We enjoyed a butternut squash ravioli appetizer, a champagne-grapefruit sorbet, and as entrees seared main diver scallops and roasted duck breast. The food was positively exquisite! But then the dessert plate came out. It was not just a dessert, it was a variety of chocolate, mousse, creme brulee, "cotton candy," and more! (I had to share a picture of it on Facebook.) WONDERFUL experience! I can't wait to go back. Thank you to Vela for making a special occasion that much more special!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great restaurnt
    smitty25
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    Went here with my girlfriend for Valentine's day and we had the duck and it was great. Had the ravioli as the first dish and it was great, so good that I used the excellent bread to soak up the sauce.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • First meal in San Diego
    karen
    Dined on 2/4/2014
    This was an easy destination but after dining there, I feel I wasted an evening in San Diego. The food was tasteless , both items I ordered. I really wonder who was actually preparing the food.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Pleasantly satisfied
    Charlie
    Dined on 1/31/2014
    The entire staff made our date very welcoming. Our waitress made wonderful choices for dinner. We were treated very well. Thank you for the excellent service.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Bayfront Dining
    Erudite1906
    Dined on 1/23/2014
    The view is great, the food was delicious and the service was first rate! Always great energy thoughout the hotel. I'll be back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • mixed bag
    annabanana
    Dined on 1/17/2014
    We dined early on a Friday night.and the restaurant wasn't busy, though there was a large convention in the hotel. Our server, Vanessa was lovely and checked on us often. We shared the bruschetta, which was awkward since we didn't have service plates. We shared a wedge salad which thankfully had been split in the kitchen. The featured menu item was local black cod. It was offered in 3 different preparations. We each had a different preparation. In each case the fish was outstanding, but the sides were lukewarm or cold. It seemed they sat waiting for the fish to be plated. We enjoyed the dessert choices that came in little mason jars. A bargain at $4. Would we return? Absolutely. We live locally and the free validated parking is a perk.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • fair variety of food items,
    agould
    Dined on 12/26/2013
    atmosphere is good, with a fair variety of food items, only one steak option. so if you happen to like flat iron steak over fillet mignon ( which I don't) service was exceptional. for the price and the ambiance however. I would have rather chosen not to listen to 3 different couples screening 2 year olds. with that exception fine dining should not be held in a preschool environment.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Christmas Dinner 2013 at the VELA
    BigGSouthernMD
    Dined on 12/25/2013
    The Hilton was an wonderful place to stay for the week of Christmas. Staff was nice, place is wonderfully clean. As to our 3 course Christmas Dinner at the VELA. Food was average, but tasty. Was expecting a little more for the main course. Filet steak was maybe 3 or 4oz that melted in your mouth. The Dungeness Crab Cake was size of a Silver Dollar. Was expecting chunks of Dungeness Crab meat in the cake. Wasn't happy with the size or taste. Our Daughters Salmon was huge and she said tasted wonderful.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very good food, terrible service
    CmsbeltVIP
    Dined on 12/21/2013
    The food was very good. The soup, salad, scallops, and black cod were all excellent. The cheeseboard is wonderful. Unfortunately, the service is not on par with the food. Even though there were only three tables other than ours, the server disappeared for long periods of time.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Overpriced
    RamblinVIP
    Dined on 12/17/2013
    $14 salad and a dried up piece of 5 oz. cod for $50. I'll pass next time.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Ran outa turkey on thanksgiving!
    Jeff
    Dined on 11/28/2013
    Painfully slow... Then they ran outa food. Yeah that bad.., and service was polite but bad. Took 30 mins just to get a bottle of wine, the wine wasnt sonoma either it was north coast.... Which is false advertising as north coast is one step above jug wine. What food we did get was edible.... But left hungry.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Oceanside Treat
    MCTravelerVIP
    Dined on 11/18/2013
    Went to Vela on a business breakfast. The breakfast buffet was high-end quality and great tasting food. I had the french toast and it was heavenly.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, scenic view, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Okay Dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 11/8/2013
    Bought the TravelZoo promotion - 3 course dinner for $58. Great value. The ambiance of the restaurant was mediocre. The views are supposed to be spectacular, but it was dark and foggy when we dined. Could not see anything. The lighting was way too bright and they were playing rock music over the loudspeakers - way too loud. The service is outstanding. Our waitress was extremely friendly and brought us 2 champagnes as she knew it was our anniversary. She was very attentive and helpful. The food was okay - good, but was it worth the 1-1/2 drive from north county for it? Probably not.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Celebrate
    Celebrationdiners
    Dined on 11/2/2013
    We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary and they made our dinning experience wonderful! They provided us with a bottle of Champagne for our special occasion. We loved it
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful food!
    KimC
    Dined on 10/30/2013
    We truly enjoyed Vela Restaurant! The scallops were some of the best I've ever tasted. Our waitress was terrific!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • excellent evening
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009VIP
    Dined on 10/30/2013
    The food was excellent and nicely presented. Our server Audrey and the staff were very attentive and welcoming.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • We love Vela...
    Princess1
    Dined on 10/17/2013
    This is our most memorable place for husband & I. he brought me here on 1st formal date. We came back for his birthday. Adrianne our server was the best. She was so sweet & made our night even more special. Food was great & ambiance. Always a gem to go back. From the moment you walk in it's as if we were family. Can't say enough about Vela. We love it!!!!!
    Special Features:
    romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Hosted a group of physicians
    Rick
    Dined on 10/13/2013
    Fair or average pretty much says it all. Everything from service to food was OK. We had a large group of 12-14 , but the restaurant was not terribly busy. After an hour in chair I had to chase the food out of the kitchen as many of our guests had just flown from the east coast and were very tired. Manager should have put two waiters on table this size. Food was not bad, just OK, as reviewed by a few attendees. Appetizer board of select cheese and meat was very good and a nice hit to start off.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, scenic view, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • perfectly prepared fish and seafood
    QualitySeeker
    Dined on 10/8/2013
    One entree was the cod and another the diver scallops and they were perfectly prepared. However, the accompaniments described were almost entirely missing. A tiny bit of mashed potatoes was spread on the plate like a bit of garnish, two tiny sprigs of broccolini, and two thin leeks no larger than a sprig of parsley, leaving the fish and scallops pretty much solo on the plate. Appetizers were tasty and nicely presented, but we did not care for the desserts. We took advantage of a discount coupon from Travelzoo; enjoyed our meal and the service was very professional. However, we would not return at full price for such skimpy entrees.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • We were in San Diego for a
    VAfoodieVIP
    Dined on 9/29/2013
    We were in San Diego for a conference, staying at the Hilton Bayfront - location of Vela - and wanted a quiet dinner on Sunday evening. It was superb! The food, the view, the service - the whole package. Our wait person Vanessa was very attentive which made everything all the better. Thank you for a wonderful trip , Vela and San Diego.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, notable wine list, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • 39th Anniversary Dinner
    39thann
    Dined on 9/28/2013
    I found the restaurant through Travelzoo. We hadn't been to the downtown Hilton and ballpark area for years. The food and service were excellent. The waitress treated us to two glasses of champagne to celebrate our anniversary and she couldn't have been nicer. We had the cheese board for the appitizer and the Black Bass and Scallops for entrees. Both very good. For dessert, we had the Berry PanCotta and they inscribed "Congratulations" on chocolate. The view was beautiful and we took a walk along the marina after dinner.
    Special Features:
    romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice Family Atmosphere
    Howard
    Dined on 9/19/2013
    Vela has a nice atmosphere for families and a nice view of the water.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, scenic view, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great overall experience.
    OpenTableUser
    Dined on 8/19/2013
    Food was very good, specially the black cod dish. Tried the seared albacore tuna, also very good, but was not a fan of the rice and corn that accompanied the dish. I thought it would be better served with grilled vegetables. Service was very good as well, and the wine suggestions were really on the money.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not bad. Fair view, service
    StateCollegeCajunVIP
    Dined on 7/20/2013
    Not bad. Fair view, service mediocre & food was OK
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate