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Party Size
For 2
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Booked 11 times today

Dobson's Bar & Restaurant

739 reviews
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$30 and under
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Top Tags:
  • Bar Seating (13)
  • Good for a Date (13)
  • Pre/post Theatre (10)
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").
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Private dining
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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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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Cross street
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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
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 739 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
  based on recent ratings
Noise · Moderate
85% of people would recommend it to a friend
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vipLiza (San Diego)
Dined 3 days ago

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

vipOpenTable Diner (San Diego)
Dined 4 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.

OpenTable Diner (San Diego)
Dined 4 days ago

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

PTreat (Baja California)
Dined 4 days ago

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!!!

AmyB (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!

vipJanKop (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.

LillianL (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!

Jefe (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.

vipHappy2comment (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.

OpenTable Diner (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!