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: 12:00pm - 10:00pm

Sunday 4;00-7;00pm

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 Medina 619-231-6771

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

4.3

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.3

service

4.2

ambience

4.2

value

3.9

Noise

Moderate

84% would recommend it to a friend

Good for a Date (14)
Bar Seating (13)
Pre/post Theatre (12)
See All
Cozy (9)
Neighborhood Gem (9)
Special Occasion (8)
Fit for Foodies (7)
Happy Hour (7)
Good for Anniversaries (6)
Good for Birthdays (6)
Business Meals (6)
Great for Lunch (6)
Romantic (5)
Creative Cuisine (4)
Worth the Drive (4)
Late-night Find (4)
Handcrafted Cocktails (3)
People Watching (3)
Vibrant Bar Scene (3)
Authentic (2)
Casual (2)
Comfort Food (2)
Fun (1)
Gluten Free Options (1)
Quiet Conversation (1)
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743 reviews
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vip
 (San Diego)·Dined 2 days ago

Dobson's is truly one of the best restaurants in downtown San Diego. Of course, the Mussel soup with the pastry shell is out of this world. Filet mignon I had was outstanding as was the chocolate mouse cake.

Tags: Cozy, Good for a Date, Pre/post Theatre, Creative Cuisine, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined 2 days ago

Food was excellent! We had the muscle bisque and salmon. Everything was very tasty.
Service was ok. Our server was not very experienced, but it didn’t matter much because the food is to-die-for. I wish the servers were trained a bit better.

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food5
ambience5
service4
value5

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined 3 days ago

DON’T waste your money... their “famous” mussle bisk was exactly the same sauce they used for my husbands pasta... it was a bowl for me as “soup” and mixed with pasta as “sauce”.
Tight space, hit or miss service, BAD food...

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food1
ambience1
service3
value1

vip
 (Perth / WA)·Dined 3 days ago

Went here pre theater - felt like we were in a small New York restaurant - very nice atmosphere. Nice wine selection, we chose price fix menu option - ribeye steak was flavorful albeit a bit tough overall- salmon was excellent -

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined 6 days ago

Wonderful lobster and mussel bisque and exceptional seared scallops. Sea bass was also a hit
great before theater or opera.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience5
service5
value3

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined 6 days ago

We were disappointed with Dobson’s and here’s why:

1. Restaurant wasn’t busy, yet service was slow and took forever to get our lunch.
2. I ordered the Mahi Mahi special and at $22. it was a huge letdown. Had fishy taste and gave me heartburn.
3. Bread was served when we arrived and we were charged $1.50 per slice!! What??
4. Another guest was seated at the bar and talked at full volume to the bartender.
5. Plus his phone was dinging continuously during our entire lunch (texting). Maddening!
6. It’s mid January and all the Christmas decor is still up.

Not a good experience, in any way.

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food3
ambience3
service3
value2

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on January 13, 2018

Our waiter was terrible, but luckily the hostess picked up the slack. We won't go back.

Tags: Happy Hour
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food3
ambience4
service1
value3

 
 (Baja California)·Dined on January 13, 2018

We were going for a pre-Hamilton dinner. I have food allergies to onions and bell peppers (I carry an Epi pen and I noted the allergies ahead of time when I made the reservation). When the meal came there was a red bell pepper under the fish on the plate (I always check under my food first). The evening hostess/event coordinator immediately saw the look on my face, took the plate back to the kitchen, had them prepare a new meal and comped our dinner.
Having this allergy for over 40 years I often find my allergy foods on my plate while dining out and it is handled differently each time. In this case it was above and beyond. Not only did she comp the meal, she invited us back after the theater for free coffee and dessert!
This is now my favorite restaurant in San Diego. The food is really great too, but you can't buy service like this anymore! Bravo Dobson's!!!

Tags: Great for Lunch, Late-night Find, Good for Birthdays, Pre/post Theatre, Business Meals, Romantic, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on January 7, 2018

Dobson’s is one of my all-time local favorites. It’s a tradition to eat there before the theater. Their mussel bisque is covered in puff pastry and is divine!

Tags: Happy Hour, Pre/post Theatre, Good for a Date, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience5
service4
value5

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on January 4, 2018

Great for pre-theatre dinner. Service was slow, however - they had some staffing issues that night. Don't miss the mussel bisque - it is to die for as is the duck pate.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience3
service2
value4

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on December 28, 2017

The evening began magnificently, thanks in large part to hostess Medina (I think I remember her name correctly.) She is the perfect combination of "in the know" and friendly, attentive that one could hope for. It was interesting to hear of the famous folks who had just visited the restaurant without being pretentious.

The food was perfectly portioned and perfectly prepared. The bread is so magnificent, served in a big piece of warm, sourdough goodness. I haven't been to Dobson's in years, and now wonder why I have been away for so long. We will definitely be returning soon!

Tags: People Watching, Fit for Foodies, Bar Seating, Vibrant Bar Scene, Happy Hour, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Neighborhood Gem, Pre/post Theatre
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on December 27, 2017

This place is such a treat for those of us that remember the days of fine dining and great atmosphere. That’s something that seems to disappeared in the millennial. We’re going to find an excuse to drive 35 miles from Oceanside just to have this restaurant is our destination.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, People Watching, Cozy
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

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

Hadn't been there in years and years but it works great before a performance at the rep. Was pleasantly surprised with the food (sea bass and the halibut special). Both were moist and very tasty. Service was so-so - never came back to check on us but the server was pleasant enough. Such a small place that has seemed to survives for the decades it's been there. It does have an odd smell - if they could ever close for a day and completely clean it out it would be good but I do understand.

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food4
ambience3
service3
value3

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on December 16, 2017

The evening I went to dinner, the restaurant was completely booked. Consequently the staff were very busy and the service was not as attentive as usual. However it is always a pleasure to dine here!

Tags: Great for Lunch, Worth the Drive, Good for a Date, Creative Cuisine, Fun, Bar Seating, Romantic, Handcrafted Cocktails
1 person found this review helpful.
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on December 12, 2017

Great mussel bisque, also enjoy the muscles in curry. Love their bread.

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food5
ambience3
service5
value4

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on December 8, 2017

Terrible service - no service. Been here many times, over many years. On Friday, we had a 9:00 reservation. Showed up at 8:45, but the bar tender refused to seat us because he said they weren't busy, so they decided to close the kitchen early. I mentioned we had a reservation. He said "yeah, sorry". I asked what they hours are, and he couldn't give me a straight answer. Basically said it just depends on how busy they are. Bottom line, if you have a reservation past 8:00, do NOT count on them honoring your reservation. We decided to go to Cafe Sevilla and had a great time/meal.

1 person found this review helpful.
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food1
ambience1
service1
value1

 
·Dined on December 5, 2017

Dobsons was having a bad day when we visited last Monday. First, a line formed at the door and no one came to seat the guests. Apparently, the hostess didn't show. Then the server handed us a couple of menus and pointed to a table upstairs. The bread they served was stale. We ordered and the Chilean Sea Bass, normally a good choice, tasted like it had been defrosted in a microwave. It had a horrible texture and taste. My guest ordered a Ceasar Salad with chicken. They forgot the chicken and when we requested it, it came about the time we were finished. That was okay because it was inedible. The server handed us our food over another table and set of guests. It was a very disappointing experience for us for a special Christmas night out with a guest from out of town. Love Dobsons, but hope they dont have a lot of days like this or their future isn't very bright.

1 person found this review helpful.
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food1
ambience4
service1
value1

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on December 3, 2017

I hadn’t been in years. Didn’t realize Paul didn’t own it but the new other seems nice & on top of it. We sat between Ingrid Croce, Jim’s widow & her husband of 30 yrs. So cute. Food was great. Service was great. On the other table next to us we’re to past owners of Fios.
Good for you guys for attracting past restaurant owners of San Diego. And good restaurants.
My bf has never been there. He grew up in IB, i inCoronado.
We really had a good time. And great that you take Passport dining card.
Thanks again, Janice Rhea , Domani Salon of Coronado

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on November 19, 2017

Went in for the Mussel Bisque...perfect as always.

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Good for Anniversaries, Cozy, Good for a Date, Romantic, Fit for Foodies, Comfort Food, Special Occasion, Bar Seating
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food5
ambience5
service4
value5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on November 15, 2017

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
1 person found this review helpful.
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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
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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
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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
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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
2 people 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.

2 people 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
1 person found this review helpful.
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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
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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
1 person found this review helpful.
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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
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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

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