Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
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").
San Diego, CA 92101
Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 3:00pm; Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 12:00pm - 10:00pm
$30 and under
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Martin San Roman
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!!!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Dobson's is ideally suited for dinning before going to a play at the San Diego Rep. which is a half block away at Horton Plaza. There is even a parking garage next door to Dobson's. The food is always great and the service is alway great. Try the sea bass. You won't be disappointed.
What an EXCEPTIONAL EVENING as a "before the theater" relaxing dinner. First time for my friend. She was blown away. The woman I confirmed the reservation with on the phone was so helpful and I asked to meet her when we arrived. Everything about the service was perfect timing. The food was delicious and with ample servings, The Creme Brulee so o o creamy.
I have also been for lunch in the past and it is fun to sit at the bar. The bartenders are very sociable.
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