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Party Size
For 2
Date
Sat, 4/21
Time
7:30 PM
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Booked 4 times today

Dobson's Bar & Restaurant

4.4
779 reviews
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$30 and under
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Californian
Top Tags:
  • Pre/post Theatre
  • Good for a Date
  • Special Occasion
Dobson's Bar and Restaurant is a hidden treasure in the heart of Downtown San Diego/Gaslamp Quarter. For the last 34 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").
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Private dining
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Californian, French
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Hours of operation
Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 3:00pm; Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 12:00pm - 10:00pm

Sunday 4;00-7;00pm
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Phone number
(619) 231-6771
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Payment options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Business Casual
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Executive chef
Martin San Roman
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Broadway
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Special events & promotions
Available for buyouts, partial buyouts, private events, or intimate gatherings. For special events please contact Medina 619-231-6771
Additional
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Wine

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.

View Private Dining Details
What 779 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.3
service
4.2
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
85% of people would recommend it to a friend
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5.0Dined on April 6, 2018

We had lunch at Dobson's on my father's 90th birthday. The staff was very accommodating since we had one individual in a wheelchair. The upstairs is not wheelchair accessible, but they moved tables together for us near the bar. The meal was great and they have a good assortment of beers.

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5.0Dined on April 6, 2018

Perfection!

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5.0Dined on April 1, 2018

Classic downtown spot for 30 years - PAul always does a great job and Michael was slingin' it behind the bar!

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4.0Dined on March 31, 2018

Great food, bit quiet for a Friday night

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5.0Dined on March 31, 2018

Nice quiet dining and attentive service along with great menu choices.

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5.0Dined on March 30, 2018

Dobson's mussel bisque is world famous. Downtown location is perfect for nearby theatres.

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5.0Dined on March 30, 2018

Love this place. Usually go before seeing a play downtown. Reminds me of NYC.

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5.0Dined on March 29, 2018

Great for downtown theater. Three in 5 minute walking distance. Food consistently good as is service. A French/ American mix. Most tables one flight up so if a problem specify downstairs and active bar(can be tight if having dinner) and drinks have good pour.

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5.0Dined on March 14, 2018

Mussel Bisque - must have!!! Everything was terrific as usual!!!!

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5.0Dined on March 13, 2018

THE FOOD, AS ALWAYS, WAS OUTSTANDING!
WHILE WE WERE DISAPPOINTED THAT OUR FAVORITE CHICKEN-LIVER MOUSSE WAS NOT AVAILABLE AT LUNCHTIME; WE OPTED FOR THE SPECIAL OF THE DAY: VEAL OSSO BUCCO.
IT, AND OUR WINE WAS DELICIOUS AND REASONABLY-PRICED. WE ARE ALWAYS HAPPY TO DINE HERE

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3.0Dined on March 11, 2018

Overrated. They sat us in a very small room(closet) by the fire escape. The room needed some TLC. Food was ok. Muscle soup was only ok. Very disappointed. We were vacationing in San Diego and walked by it and decided to make reservations. We were going to go to Littke Italy to eat but iwas raining so we opted to go closer to where we were staying . We should have gone to little Italy.

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5.0Dined on March 11, 2018

Great food but the restaurant is small and they squeeze you in. The food and service make up for it.

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5.0Dined on March 4, 2018

Tried and true, as always, very good. Walk to Copley Symphony Hall and Civic Theater.

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5.0Dined on February 28, 2018

As always, Dobson's provides good value and great food. Swordfish I had was wonderful!

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4.0Dined on February 28, 2018

We had a fine pre-Opera dinner at Dobson’s, complete with their famous Mussels Bisque, which is the absolute best soup/bisque that can be imagined. A unique preparation which is not duplicated anywhere else. My wife had 2 excellent appetizers and I enjoyed my scallops entree. Service this time was slow, unusual for Dobson’s.

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1.0Dined on February 22, 2018

Hi we planned this for a special night on our vacation

The restaurant is nothing special little ambiance which was destroyed by staff trekking through the guest dining area with carts of not sure what

The hostess was very nice the waitress did not listen basically she was an order taker

We cut our loses and left after the appetizer

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5.0Dined on February 16, 2018

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

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5.0Dined on February 15, 2018

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

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4.0Dined 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.

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3.0Dined 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.

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5.0Dined 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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5.0Dined on February 7, 2018

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

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5.0Dined 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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3.0Dined on February 3, 2018

Waited 40 minutes for order

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2.0Dined 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.

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5.0Dined 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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5.0Dined 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.

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5.0Dined 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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3.0Dined 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.

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4.0Dined on January 26, 2018

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

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4.0Dined 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.

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4.0Dined 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.

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4.0Dined on January 20, 2018

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

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5.0Dined 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.

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5.0Dined on January 19, 2018

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

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5.0Dined 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!

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5.0Dined 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.

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5.0Dined 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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1.0Dined 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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4.0Dined 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 -

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