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

4.1

value

3.9

Noise

Moderate

86% would recommend it to a friend

Pre/post Theatre (20)
Good for a Date (17)
Cozy (15)
See All
Special Occasion (14)
Neighborhood Gem (13)
Bar Seating (12)
Romantic (11)
Fit for Foodies (10)
Good for Birthdays (10)
Happy Hour (9)
Great for Lunch (8)
Business Meals (7)
Creative Cuisine (6)
Vibrant Bar Scene (6)
Worth the Drive (6)
Good for Anniversaries (5)
Late-night Find (5)
People Watching (5)
Comfort Food (4)
Handcrafted Cocktails (4)
Fun (3)
Quiet Conversation (3)
Afternoon Coffee (2)
Authentic (2)
Hot Spot (2)
Local Ingredients (2)
Notable Wine List (2)
Gluten Free Options (1)
Healthy (1)
Seasonal (1)
Sunday Lunch (1)
Tasting Menu (1)
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763 reviews
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 (San Diego)·Dined 5 days ago

We were there for my son's birthday and it was wonderful. The food was great, and our waitress was awesome, thank you!

Tags: Hot Spot, Cozy, Neighborhood Gem, Sunday Lunch, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays, Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined 6 days ago

The mussel bisque is so delicious. This is why I go here.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Good for Birthdays, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on February 13, 2018

We discovered Dobson's Bar and Restaurant years ago, right downtown San Diego. Catering noon to business people and evenings to the Theatre just nearby. Food, especially the Mussel Bisque that I go for is wonderful! Service very very slow although Servers do their best. Allow plenty of time would be my suggestion and worth the time. We drive an hour, so you can see we do enjoy Dobson's.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Pre/post Theatre, Great for Lunch, Bar Seating, Business Meals, Vibrant Bar Scene, Cozy
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food4
ambience3
service3
value3

 
 (Orange County)·Dined on February 10, 2018

Liked the mussel soap and salads. This location is excellent for downtown where there is a shortage of upscale restaurants but it is tired. It just is not a very big or wide. The bar is a great place to drink and eat. Newer in places seem to be more attracted to other locations.

Tags: Business Meals, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience3
service3
value3

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on February 8, 2018

Cute restaurant near Balboa Theatre. Meal was excellent and can’t wait to go back to try the scallops.

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food5
ambience3
service4
value4

 
 (Phoenix)·Dined on February 7, 2018

I’m a repeat customer! Love their food and spirits! The mussel soup is a must!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Phoenix)·Dined on February 5, 2018

Shannon was a perfect host at the bar. She made a wonderful get together with a very dear friend perfect. Dobson’s is my go to restaurant when I am in San Diego.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on February 3, 2018

Waited 40 minutes for order

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food4
ambience2
service3
value3

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on February 2, 2018

We could not hold a conversation due to the downstairs noise even though we were two tables back on the mezzanine. Service was VERY slow, we got to our table at 6pm, ordered as soon as the waiter came but still had to rush out at 7:50 to make the 8 pm performance at the REP even though we had a question on the bill.

Tags: Afternoon Coffee
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience1
service1
value3

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on February 2, 2018

My date arrived, we had 30 minutes to enjoy a drink in the bar before our reservation time. We then went to a dinner of Sea Bass, one of their best item on their menu.
The service is always perfect. Dobson’s is very convienent
for the SD Rep play house in Horton plaza. Great evening!

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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on January 27, 2018

We made a reservation for restaurant week. Place was definitely crowded and noisy but hostess did mentioned it was like that due theater night and obviously restaurant week. Gave us a table inside second floor, it was a very small table so we asked to be seated outside and they quickly accommodate us there, it was an outside table but it was quiet, we had the street view and very private. Waiter came quick, offered us water, we choose our dishes, we picked a wine bottle, absolutely everything was amazing, service, food, wine, only complain was that my boyfriends dish was duck and he requested the skin crispy and it was not, but waitress compensate us by taking of the ticket tag one drink he had serve, I loved it, the food was what I read it was going to be, I personally was delighted with the specialty of the chef which is the filet mignon, I definitely am recommending this place and will for sure go back.

Tags: Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Happy Hour, Worth the Drive, Late-night Find, Romantic
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on January 27, 2018

This is not my first time at Dobson's. Great food and wine, service was wonderful, overall good experience despite that it was Saturday evening, crowded and our table was the one at the corner, hard to get out of the booth (I'm petite don't get me wrong), the table was approx 6 inches apart from the table next to us, so a little bit uncomfortable. We will go back but next time I will make sure we do not get that table.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on January 27, 2018

The food was fine and good, but not really worth the price. Nice old-school ambiance. Good location for pre and post theater dinners.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre
1 person found this review helpful.
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value2

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on January 26, 2018

Dobsons never fails to deliver excellent food and service. Reservations a must at the weekend

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Neighborhood Gem, People Watching, Good for Birthdays, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on January 26, 2018

It's wonderful to have Mr. Dobson himself escorting us upstairs to our table and then periodically checking in with us to see if all is okay. He's such a charming man. The food was excellent, as was the service (slow, but excellent; just imagine going up and down those stairs to the kitchen for multiple tables). The value is excellent if you have a Passport card. The only thing that could have made our meal better would have been if I would have parked in their underground parking for $5 instead of across the street for $16! There went my Passport card savings. :( I definitely plan to come back many times. This is a historic downtown restaurant.

Tags: Happy Hour, Fit for Foodies, Bar Seating, Comfort Food
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on January 25, 2018

Enjoyed Dobson's for the first time before the theatre the other night. The food was good and the service was excellent. We had a nice time.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on January 20, 2018

The weekend is always busy at this restaurant, booking in advance is essential.

Tags: Cozy, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on January 20, 2018

Outstanding quality and quiet dining experience. Made reservations prior to theatre and they were very accommodating. Cozy bar and good drinks prior to dinner.

Tags: Special Occasion, Pre/post Theatre, Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 19, 2018

First time at Dobson’s and was very pleased. Very friendly welcome and cozy and historic feel. Mussels were excellent.

Tags: Romantic, Fun
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on January 18, 2018

Had a wonderful evening with my daughter and my soon to be son-in-law.The mussel bisque is one of the best items soups I have ever had.I have been going to this place since 1985.My daughter and boyfriend are both chefs and they LOVED Dobsons.Service was over the top excellent!The fixed price dinner covered all the bases.We had a blast!

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Vibrant Bar Scene, People Watching, Good for a Date, Bar Seating, Late-night Find, Neighborhood Gem, Local Ingredients, Romantic, Fun, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on January 17, 2018

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
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on January 17, 2018

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 on January 16, 2018

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 on January 16, 2018

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 on January 13, 2018

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 on January 13, 2018

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 12, 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 12, 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 6, 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 3, 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 27, 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 26, 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 19, 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 15, 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
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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 7, 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.

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food1
ambience1
service1
value1

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on December 4, 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.

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food1
ambience4
service1
value1

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on December 2, 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 18, 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 14, 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
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service5
value3

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