Dobson's Bar & Restaurant

4.5
1083 Reviews
$30 and under
Californian
Dobson's Bar and Restaurant is a hidden treasure in the heart of Downtown San Diego/Gaslamp Quarter. For the last 37 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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What 1083 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.5
service
4.5
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
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OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food, great environment

LG
LindaG
San Diego
4 reviews
Dined on January 13, 2022
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I love the ambience in this restaurant, with the classic, old-world, sophisticated, and yet COMFORTABLE feel. And the song selections on their music playlist is PERFECT! Menu is a little on the pricey side, but for a special occasion, it’s totally worth it… and with top-notch service, as always!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Berlin
1 review
Dined on January 7, 2022
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Nice food very delicious and will presents

BJ
BlakeleyJ
San Diego
1 review
Dined on January 7, 2022
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Perfect little gem....so glad we found it....will be bacl

M
Mitch
San Diego
18 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2022
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Soup was delicious and my husband loved his steak. Very good service-place needs a little updating. Convenient place to Balboa Theatre.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great restaurant

Report
BB
BobB
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2021
Overall3food5service2ambience5

I' ve been going to Dobsons for years...I know Paul back from the Fred Bush days.

The place is still great - great food, great drinks... but this night the service was truly 3rd rate . Mixed up orders, long delays....just bad.

FL
FoodyLou
San Diego
11 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Service was excellent and our food, delicious!

DG
vipDavidG
San Diego
7 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything was fantastic. The service was great and the food was excellent!

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on December 30, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Very small place, but fairly good ambiance. Make a reservation. Did not rush us out. We had Caesar Salad, Mushroom Raviolis, and Chicken Marsala. For dessert...chocolate mousse cake. All good.
Good location for pre-theatre. Because of very limited space I don’t know how they would handle bigger parties. Maybe upstairs.

SJ
vipSalikJ
E. Tennessee
9 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

cozy 2 story bar and restaurant. From the moment we sat down service was instantaneous. Roger was on the job !. within minutes we had drinks and appetizers and food was delicious. Very eclectic decor and histories in pictures on the wall.

LC
LisasC
1 review
Dined on December 27, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Cozy and friendly atmosphere, excellent food, wonderful presenation the plating was artful! The service was exceptional and very professional while not stuffy. I was impressed by the reasonable prices and the cocktails were amazing! I would highly recommend and this is on the RE-DO list for me

W
Wunderlust
Jackson Hole
5 reviews
Dined on December 22, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a wonderful dinner in celebration for the holidays and birthday!

M
vipMom2
San Diego
12 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2021
Overall2food4service1ambience3

The food was good, however, the service was very poor. Obviously everyone is short on staff, but this was a bad experience. Patrons were actually walking out. I’m not sure they had a manager for the night and it was just chaos.

j
vipjake33
San Diego
65 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2021
Overall4food5service3ambience4

Very good food, service needs to get a tad better!

J
vipJohn
Central Coast
52 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2021
Overall3food5service3ambience5

The food was great when it arrived. However, be aware that it can take up to an hour to get the food and they did not have all the wines on the wine list. They were short staffed and also did not have enough wine glasses for all the tables. The staff tried as best as they could with the limited resources they had in this pandemic situation. I don't blame them and assume once we get past this pandemic surge, Dobson's will again be a great place for food and service.

T
Tapas
Seattle
6 reviews
Dined on December 10, 2021
Overall4food2service3ambience4

We enjoyed our apps and my salmon was good but the sea bass was Not good. Very disappointed.

FG
FernandaG
San Diego
1 review
Dined on December 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food

RA
RichardA
San Diego
16 reviews
Dined on December 8, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

What a great place! The waiters were a little busy, but overall they did a great job. The food was fantastic. We'll be back!

D
vipDonmcd
San Diego
11 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2021
Overall2food3service1ambience4

Food has declined since Paul gave up the restaurant. Service has gone so low that we will not return. Benn going regularly sine 1984.

KS
KarlS
Las Vegas
2 reviews
Dined on December 4, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Date night

CM
CarlsbadMom
San Diego
14 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service and wonderful food! We really enjoyed the ambiance of this small restaurant with the wood-paneled walls and pictures of the famous lawyers, media/newspaper writers, and presidents that have eaten there. We will be going back soon.

MF
vipMFenley
Los Angeles
36 reviews
Dined on November 26, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

We had a very enjoyable meal but there were a few minor misses that prevent a five star rating. Mussel bisque is every bit as good as they advertise (world famous). The French Onion Soup was less impressive. Scallops were tasty and well prepared but the accompaniments were disappointing. The rib-eye was undersized for the price. The dessert menu was uninspired. With all that said, the service was great, the food was generally good and the atmosphere was pleasant.

PA
PAULAK
San Diego
4 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Mussel bisque and french bread still the absolute best.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Indiana
1 review
Dined on November 20, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Anniversary

MB
MoreBiscuitsplease
San Diego
6 reviews
Dined on November 19, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience4

It was a great time to dine….1130……everything was easy and effortless.

p
phryno
San Diego
1 review
Dined on November 18, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Always a great experience, the space is reminiscent of small restaurants in SF or NYC.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
San Diego
3 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Let me just say that I hadn't been to Dobsons in 30 years, it was still lovely. And most of the food was fabulous. The mussel bisque and crab cake were divine. The lamb chops were worth every penny! I tasted the sea bass, I thought it was fishy and too small a portion. But the service was not the best, but it could have just been our waiter, we got our appetizers before we ever got our water, and we had to remind him to get it. We got one delicious slice of bread. But were never offered more.

S
vipSusie
Palm Springs
2 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2021
Overall1food2service3ambience3

There was a happy hour menu that we were not told about till after we ordered and were served.
Our dessert cake was stale as if it was old.

RN
RNRJ
1 review
Dined on November 16, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Brie appetizer was great! Shrimp linguine had good flavor, slight fishy taste, shrimp overcooked. Pork chop had great flavor, better of two dish, again slightly overcooked. Good service, tight space, a little loud, cozy feel.

d
delilah
1 review
Dined on November 6, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience3

The mussel bisque was phenomenal as was the truffle ravioli and sourdough bread. I would not however recommend the chocolate cake. They need a better selection of desserts.

AW
AmyW
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 5, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely one of the best meals we have had in years! I had a beet salad and wild mushroom ravioli, husband had mixed greens and a delicious ribeye. Fresh greens, ravioli was perfect in a great cream sauce, and the ribeye was perfection. Service was excellent, cocktails were well made. All in all a wonderful experience.

C
Carla
San Diego
5 reviews
Dined on November 5, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Such a great place. It was our first time there but we will be back. Highly recommend the mushroom raviolis. Their bread was amazing too.

VM
VonnieM
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great San Diego gem. Small but well executed menu.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 29, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Excellent food, attentive service and a special treat of live music!

b
beverlyk
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

A nice place to go with some class, old world atmosphere where you can have conversation and good food.

KK
vipKatherineK
Palm Springs
7 reviews
Dined on October 23, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was superb, the music was fun, the kids had a great time, we will return.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on October 22, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Wonderful food and service. This place is quaint and cozy. Always a great time!

JP
vipJerryP
Los Angeles
19 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We will never go to San Diego and not have dinner at Dobson. The food and service is beyond Fantastic!!!!

AA
AmyA
Seattle
1 review
Dined on October 16, 2021
Overall3food4service5ambience4

The music was WAY TOO LOUD for that small space!!!!!!

FAQs

Dobson's Bar & Restaurant offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (619) 231-6771.

Dobson's Bar & Restaurant is rated 4.5 stars by 1083 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.