Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.10mi
  2. Distance: 0.12mi
  3. Distance: 0.13mi
  4. Distance: 0.14mi

Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.10mi
  2. Distance: 0.12mi
  3. Distance: 0.13mi
  4. Distance: 0.14mi

About 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 33 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").

956 Broadway Circle
San Diego, CA 92101
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Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Californian, French

Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 3:00pm; Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 3:00pm - 10:00pm

Sunday Closed

Cross Street:
Broadway

Dress Code:
Business Casual

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(619) 231-6771

Website:
http://www.dobsonsrestaurant.com/

Executive Chef:
Martin San Roman

Additional:
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, 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

Private Dining

Dobson's proudly introduces our new Private Dining Planning Department! Your ideas and our expertise will create just the right menu. You can even rent the whole restaurant for your private event!!! For more information please contact us directly.

Dobson's Bar & Restaurant Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.4

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.4

service

4.5

ambience

4.3

value

4.0

Noise

Quiet

92% would recommend it to a friend

Bar Seating (15)
Good for a Date (12)
Neighborhood Gem (10)
See All
Cozy (9)
Pre/post Theatre (9)
Business Meals (8)
Special Occasion (8)
Romantic (7)
Great for Lunch (6)
Good for Anniversaries (5)
Fit for Foodies (5)
Happy Hour (4)
Late-night Find (4)
Quiet Conversation (4)
Authentic (3)
Casual (3)
Creative Cuisine (3)
Vibrant Bar Scene (3)
Good for Birthdays (3)
Comfort Food (2)
Worth the Drive (2)
Fun (1)
Handcrafted Cocktails (1)
People Watching (1)
Quick Bite (1)
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724 reviews
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 (San Diego)·Dined 6 days ago

On this occasion Dobsons was understaffed, my food had to be returned as it was cold and undercooked.

Tags: Good for a Date, Bar Seating, People Watching, Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem
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food3
ambience4
service5
value3

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on November 9, 2017

Dobson's is ideally suited for dinning before going to a play at the San Diego Rep. which is a half block away at Horton Plaza. There is even a parking garage next door to Dobson's. The food is always great and the service is alway great. Try the sea bass. You won't be disappointed.

Tags: Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on November 4, 2017

What an EXCEPTIONAL EVENING as a "before the theater" relaxing dinner. First time for my friend. She was blown away. The woman I confirmed the reservation with on the phone was so helpful and I asked to meet her when we arrived. Everything about the service was perfect timing. The food was delicious and with ample servings, The Creme Brulee so o o creamy.
I have also been for lunch in the past and it is fun to sit at the bar. The bartenders are very sociable.

Tags: Cozy, Creative Cuisine, Good for Anniversaries, Romantic, Pre/post Theatre, Bar Seating, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem, Happy Hour, Fit for Foodies, Good for Birthdays, Good for a Date, Handcrafted Cocktails, Business Meals
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on November 4, 2017

We have been there several times and have never been disappointed. The food is great.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Happy Hour
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on November 4, 2017

As always Dobsons delivers a fine dining experience. It can get very busy, so a reservation is always recommended. Not suitable for children

Tags: Late-night Find, Bar Seating, Special Occasion, Great for Lunch, Vibrant Bar Scene
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on October 19, 2017

Wonderful service from a Great waitress
Excellent food
Mussel Bisque is a must
Filet Mignon perfectly prepared

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on October 8, 2017

As always a delightful place to eat. Food is good and service excellent.

Tags: Cozy, Creative Cuisine, Casual
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

 
·Dined on September 30, 2017

Our dinners excellent. Service excellent. Decor excellent. This place is a winner. Reservations are a must for dinner.

Tags: Happy Hour, Worth the Drive, Bar Seating, Cozy, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on September 29, 2017

Food quality and preparation down from our last visit with the exception of the mussel bisque. It is always, always, always exceptional. The filet special was swimming in a gravy like sauce that did nothing to enhance the beef. The staff are very attentive, friendly and professional. This is our "go to" restaurant for theater night in town.

Tags: Good for a Date, Authentic, Bar Seating, Pre/post Theatre
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food3
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on September 28, 2017

I used to love Dobson's and have gone there for years. Not having been for maybe the last year, I was surprised at a couple of things. #1 They now charge $1.50 per person for their wonderful bread. When you're paying $38 for an entrée, you'd think they could throw in the bread that used to be free. A small issue but irksome nonetheless. #2 The Mussel Bisque which they are famous for tasted good but the puff pastry was so chewy, it was hard to cut it even with a knife. It used to be very flaky and easy to break off into the bisque, however, this was chewy and hard to cut off the bowl. The filet mignon was good but not over the top delicious. The Tiramisu was very strange; not like any Tiramisu I've ever had. I didn't even finish it. The best part of the evening was my martini which was delicious :-)
Dobson's did not seem like the special place it used to be and I probably won't go back. I would like to mention that the servers are excellent!

Tags: Bar Seating, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Romantic
1 person found this review helpful.
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food3
ambience5
service5
value3

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on September 26, 2017

Excellent food and service. Only low rating is that I believe the menu is pricey. Thoroughly enjoyed the meal and would return.

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food5
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on September 25, 2017

We went for lunch during Restaurant Week and thought the whole meal was perfect. Our NY steaks were cooked exactly to our liking, and we had a super wine. We wondered why we hadn't gone there sooner.

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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on September 25, 2017

Food was delightful and delicious. Burst of flavors. Wait staff was great.

Only issue was that we waited 10 min to get serviced. It appeared as they were still getting situated. Just opened , wait staff getting situated. Owner still tidy up the place. Once everything was done we finally got checked in and after that everything was good

Tags: Bar Seating, Fit for Foodies, Great for Lunch
1 person found this review helpful.
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
·Dined on September 23, 2017

The bread is worth the $1.50 it costs, have it. The mussel bisque with a puff pastry topping is divine. The food is very good, the service just OK. It is not fast. You will need to plan 2 hours before the show at Speckles. But the ambiance and food are worth it for sure.

1 person found this review helpful.
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food5
ambience5
service3
value4

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on September 14, 2017

The restaurant did not smell very good when we walked through the door. The mussel bisque was the best thing I ever tasted!!!

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience3
service4
value4

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on September 10, 2017

One of our Go To spots. We always try and make it before theater since it is an easy walk to the Covic Center.

The mussel bisque is a MUST and paired with steamed mussels and bread is all you need!

Service is great but NOT fast so leave yourself enough time!

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Comfort Food, Casual, Fit for Foodies, Authentic, Cozy, Bar Seating, Good for Birthdays, Good for Anniversaries, Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Romantic, Pre/post Theatre
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service4
value5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on September 10, 2017

Dobson's is a fine restaurant. We have been many times.

Tags: Bar Seating, Romantic, Pre/post Theatre
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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on August 27, 2017

Despite there being an open table opening that I took 10 minutes prior, when we arrived it was very apparent that the wait staff was busy to the point of being flustered. We waited a good while for our food, which wouldn't have been a big deal had they not been so visibly stressed. The food was great though and had dim lighting / romantic ambiance. It wasn't bad, it wasn't good enough for the price for me to go again.

Tags: Special Occasion, Pre/post Theatre, Business Meals
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food4
ambience4
service3
value4

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on August 24, 2017

Always excellent; never disappoints. The mussel bisque is amazing.

Tags: Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem, Bar Seating, Good for a Date, Vibrant Bar Scene, Quiet Conversation, Special Occasion, Romantic, Pre/post Theatre, Fit for Foodies, Good for Anniversaries, Business Meals
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on August 20, 2017

First of all the prices of the on line menu are incorrect. We usually go before the civic or the Lyceum theater. The new owners have really upped the prices. $36 for scallops, sea bass and the duck. Add to that, the charge for bread which has always been delicious but included with your meal. The men in our party had the pork chop ($30). My husband had to send his back as it was under cooked. On the plus side, they still have their famous mussel bisque, which is a meal with a salad. The service was very good. The wine list is still reasonable. There was talk of a remodel but it's the same as it's been forever, good or bad. Uncomfortable chairs if you're a big man.
We won't be returning due to high prices.

Tags: Bar Seating, Cozy, Business Meals
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food4
ambience3
service4
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on August 18, 2017

Shouldn't tell people it's a kid friendly place in the heart of Gaslamp with California fare, when it's obviously none of those things. Truly disappointing. Great for a special occasion as a couple. All others feel free to skip.

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food3
ambience2
service3
value1

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on August 17, 2017

Service was slow, and entree was not hot. Interior design was quaint.

Tags: Great for Lunch
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food3
ambience3
service3
value3

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on August 17, 2017

As we were headed to see "Evita" at the Rep which is virtually nest door, Dobson's was an ideal choice. the Food was good and the service even better. We had to call twice as traffic was unusually bad to advance our reservation. Both calls were pleasant and they were able to meet out late arrival schedule. They also offer 15% off the food portion of your bill if you are going to the Rep.

Tags: Romantic, Quick Bite, Late-night Find
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on August 11, 2017

If you love a neighborhood place with a NYC vibe, this is it. Food is always great. Wonderful for before theater/concert downtown.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food3
ambience3
service3
value3

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on August 10, 2017

I have been going to this restaurant for many years, since Paul Dobson retired, it does not have the same ambience. The music that was played while I was there was not suitable for this upmarket restaurant.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre
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food3
ambience2
service5
value3

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on August 9, 2017

25 years of patronizing Paul Dobsons special establishment. But.. Last 2 visits were very disappointing. Won't be back. Swordfish was overdone, tough. 3 orders with mine being sent back to exchange for very good sea bass. Inattentive service. Capped off by learning there's now a charge for bread! What!? Very sad.

1 person found this review helpful.
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food3
ambience3
service3

 
·Dined on August 6, 2017

My family and I truly enjoyed our dinner at Dobsons. The mussel bisque was amazing. Service was attentive and unobtrusive.

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Seattle)·Dined on August 5, 2017

A nice, friendly, "local" feeling place. The dining room upstairs was small and intimate. Our server was very pleasant and attentive. The food was all delicious, with a nice presentation. The fresh bread is served hot and moist. Try the short ribs - a different and slightly spicy approach to the standard. The wine list was a little limited, but had some good selections. Overall, a very nice evening.

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Bar Seating, Fun, Romantic
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on July 11, 2017

Cozy little restaurant, excellent food and service, reasonable prices

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on June 24, 2017

Excellent service and dining options were unique and well prepared. I'd call the atmosphere "old school", dim and cozy.

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on June 16, 2017

Always one of our favorite places to eat for special occasions. The staff is always friendly and the food is always amazing. We have teenagers and they love it as much as we do. We all get something different and Dobson's has never disappointed us. It has a bit of an old New York vibe; classy, comfortable and tasty!

Tags: Happy Hour, Pre/post Theatre, Good for Anniversaries, Cozy, Worth the Drive, Romantic, Paleo Friendly, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on June 3, 2017

Had to find a restaurant to dine prior to seeing "Damn Yankees" musical at the Spreckles theatre for opening night. Very convenient as it's just right around the corner. Definitely a hidden gem in the downtown area. I do have to say I wasn't impressed with the Chilean Sea Bass, it was a bit bland, not flavorful at all. Our server was average, but I think because it was a crowded evening, it was limited for server to be attentive. He knew we were going to see musical but was not accommodating to ensure we received our meals, coffee and dessert in a timely fashion so we can leave early enough to get to the Spreckles theatre on time.
That same evening there was drama with other guests unfortunately our server got caught up with the drama, not his fault, it looked like the guest had a cast/boot on that she had her leg stretched out which was basically in the middle of the aisle area near the dining tables and our server almost tripped. The guest was a bit overweight and the area we dine was a bit small for the guest.
On another note, Dobsons should look into participating in the Passport lifestyle where an entrée would be purchase one entrée the other free. You would draw more people. I would give it another try to visit the restaurant if I'm back again especially for any musical shows or concert at the Spreckles theatre.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Business Meals, Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Romantic, Neighborhood Gem
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food3
ambience5
service3
value3

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on May 30, 2017

Unfortunately Dobsons failed to deliver on this occasion, pre dinner theatre, mayvbe better next time.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre
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food2
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on May 24, 2017

Meh. First course, the bisque, which was good, took 45 minutes. Salad de France was very uninteresting. Had to go back to the wine list 3 times because they were out of everything we ordered. Was a lackluster dining experience for the price. Service was good but wait staff can only do so much with what is available. Do not recommend.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre
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food2
ambience2
service3
value2

 
 (New Orleans)·Dined on May 19, 2017

A must!! Everything from the first welcome to the last bite was extraordinary!
The ambiance is relaxing as we sat in the Mezzanine. The Muscle Bisque is not to be missed, as well as the steamed clams for an appetizer. We opted for seafood, and we had the Chilean Sea Bass and the Sea Scallops, and both were excellent. A beautiful setting for an outstanding meal.

Tags: Happy Hour, Bar Seating, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on May 18, 2017

This is not our first time at Dobson's, the food is great, the service is fantastic! Overall a great experience from the moment you get there you feel welcome, their service is very good, attentive and cordial as always. Food and drinks selection are excellent! They do not call their worlds famous mussel bisque for nothing. It is the best!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on May 13, 2017

Dobson's is that old school great food place with an intimate ambiance. If all you want is a fine dining experience - Dobson's.

Tags: Romantic, Business Meals, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on May 13, 2017

Everything was lovely. We sat in the little alcove for 2 so we had more privacy. The food was excellent with the exception of the Caeser Salad which was not chilled. it was room temperature. We told the waiter and he apologized and gave us a free dessert. We were served in a timely manner so we could get to the theatre on time.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on May 13, 2017

We had a great time, the food was awesome and the service was great, and we topped it off with a brownie and ice cream dessert and cappuccino. Everything was wonderful!

Tags: Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Orange County)·Dined on May 8, 2017

Love the Mussel Bisque! Food and service was outstanding!

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

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