HelpiOS AppAndroid AppWindows Phone AppWindows 8 App

Make a reservation

Party Size
For 2
Date
Today
Time
7:00 PM
icon/ic_social_proofCreated with Sketch.
Booked 1 time today

Dobson's Bar & Restaurant

4.3
764 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$30 and under
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Californian
Top Tags:
  • Pre/post Theatre
  • Good for a Date
  • Cozy
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").
icon/ic_private_diningCreated with Sketch.
Private dining
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Cuisines
Californian, French
icon/ic_clockCreated with Sketch.
Hours of operation
Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 3:00pm; Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 12:00pm - 10:00pm

Sunday 4;00-7;00pm
icon/ic_phoneCreated with Sketch.
Phone number
(619) 231-6771
icon/ic_new_windowCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_paymentCreated with Sketch.
Payment options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
icon/ic_dress_codeCreated with Sketch.
Dress code
Business Casual
icon/ic_chefCreated with Sketch.
Executive chef
Martin San Roman
icon/ic_locationCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_neighborhoodCreated with Sketch.
Neighborhood
icon/ic_cross_streetCreated with Sketch.
Cross street
Broadway
icon/ic_special_eventsCreated with Sketch.
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 764 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3  based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.1
service
4.1
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Moderate
86% of people would recommend it to a friend
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
Sort by
Newest
Filters
BruceH (Vancouver)
1.0  Dined 3 days ago

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

Report
Helpful
OpenTable Diner (San Diego)
5.0  Dined 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!

Report
Helpful
MoxieBee (San Diego)
5.0  Dined on February 15, 2018

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

Report
Helpful
OpenTable Diner (San Diego)
4.0  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.

Report
Helpful
experiencedtraveler (Orange County)
3.0  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.

Report
Helpful
vipCMum (San Diego)
5.0  Dined on February 8, 2018

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

Report
Helpful
DannyR (Phoenix)
5.0  Dined on February 7, 2018

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

Report
Helpful
OpenTable Diner (Phoenix)
5.0  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.

Report
Helpful
Dinesout2much (San Diego)
3.0  Dined on February 3, 2018

Waited 40 minutes for order

Report
Helpful
MachiA (San Diego)
2.0  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.

Report
Helpful
vipOpenTable Diner (San Diego)
5.0  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!

Report
Helpful
OpenTable Diner (San Diego)
5.0  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.

Report
Helpful
OpenTable Diner (San Diego)
5.0  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.

Report
Helpful
OpenTable Diner (San Diego)
3.0  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.

Report
Helpful
OpenTable Diner (San Diego)
4.0  Dined on January 26, 2018

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

Report
Helpful
vipConnie (San Diego)
4.0  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.

Report
Helpful
OpenTable Diner (San Diego)
4.0  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.

Report
Helpful
OpenTable Diner (San Diego)
4.0  Dined on January 20, 2018

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

Report
Helpful
OpenTable Diner (San Diego)
5.0  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.

Report
Helpful
DesertTraveler2 (San Francisco)
5.0  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.

Report
Helpful
vipexlxplr (San Diego)
5.0  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!

Report
Helpful
vipRALdines (San Diego)
5.0  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.

Report
Helpful
Patita (San Diego)
5.0  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.

Report
Helpful
vipOpenTable Diner (San Diego)
1.0  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...

Report
Helpful
vipDavethediner (Perth / WA)
4.0  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 -

Report
Helpful
vipLiza (San Diego)
5.0  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.

Report
Helpful
vipOpenTable Diner (San Diego)
3.0  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.

Report
Helpful
OpenTable Diner (San Diego)
2.0  Dined on January 12, 2018

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

Report
Helpful
PTreat (Baja California)
5.0  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!!!

Report
Helpful
AmyB (San Diego)
5.0  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!

Report
Helpful
1
2
3
26