Decoy Dockside

4.1
487 reviews
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$31 to $50
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American
Top Tags:
  • Scenic View
  • Waterfront
  • Great for Outdoor Dining
From serene lake views to cozy fireplaces, it’s #openseason at Decoy to celebrate the unexpected! We invite you to our peaceful lake side retreat to feast among the flora and fauna on a menu of new American cuisine inspired by the great outdoors and prepared by Chef David Warner. Grab a stool at our floating lakefront bar for a casual drink or sit down for a decadent meal among friends. However you choose to experience dockside dining, Decoy welcomes you to join our table.
Dining Style
Elegant Dining
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Cuisines
American
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Hours of operation
Breakfast Monday-Saturday 8am - 11am
Brunch Sunday 8am-2pm
Lunch Monday-Saturday 11am-2pm
Dinner Sunday-Thursday 5pm-9pm and Friday-Saturday 5pm-10pm

DOCK BAR downstairs dining : casual dining on the lake level with an all day menu
Monday - Friday 2pm - Close
Saturday & Sunday 10am-Close
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Phone number
(760) 653-3230
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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Executive chef
Chef David Warner
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Neighborhood
Additional
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 487 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.1based on recent ratings
4.1
food
3.8
service
4.5
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Moderate
83% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
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K
San Diego
9 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 4

We went for my husband's birthday. The hostess wished him a happy birthday, but the server did nothing. We weren't necessarily expecting a free dessert, but she didn't even put a candle on the dessert order or wish him a happy birthday! The hostess basically ran out to the table without checking to make sure we were close behind when she seated us at the table. I had to bsiically jog in heels to catch up. We were seated for a long time before the server greeted us. We had to ask for bread. The ceviche appetizer tasted sour (like there was too much lime juice). We flagged her down to take it away, since I had only taken a bite. It was still on our bill at the end. We had to point it out to her so she could give us the corrected bill. Not a good experience, but at least being seated outside by the water wad nice.

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S
San Diego
44 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great food and service, but on a Saturday evening sooooo loud, you had to shout to your party over dinner or miss most of the conversation.

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t
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great experience overall-I would highly recommend upstairs for any fine dining desire and downstairs for a fun social atmosphere.

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DB
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 5

The ambiance is great, the food is so so but the service is terrible. We have been to Decoy at least a dozen times over the past couple of months and keep going back for the beautiful views and nightly show of lights. But we always have to tell our guests we bring that the service is terrible. We had a party of 18 for a special occasion recently and it took over an hour just to get drinks. Doesn't matter how small the party, the service does not get any better.

Perhaps management is the problem? Just a suggestion. The good news is that the restaurant has a perfect location and the views are spectacular! Think with good service, you could turn over more tables and increase your bottom line. Perhaps a new crew is warranted!

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JA
San Diego
7 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

Went to Decoy to celebrate my daughters birthday. Table was ready and we were asked if we’d like to be inside or out. We chose inside not knowing there’s a light show over the lake during the evening. Would have appreciated someone mentioning that as we made our decision. Food was great. Started with the grilled octopus. Beautiful presentation and cooked perfectly. Entrees were he salmon, ciopinno, seared scallops and the short rib. All looked amazing and tasted just as good. The one drawback was the service. It was adequate at best. Drinks took awhile ( was not a busy night) waters we never refilled and they did bring a birthday dessert but with it the check. Never were we asked if anyone else would like dessert or coffee. I would highly recommend Decoy for a special occasion or just a nice night out if they step up their service game. Decor, view and food are all on point.

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s
San Diego
36 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 4

We pretty much enjoyed our first time there. Our waiter was especially nice and accommodating. We were disappointed that, with a reservation, we waited quite a while and then were seated in the back in a booth. Also, chilled champagne would be nice. It was always a little warm and my spouse saw that it was just kept on a counter, not in chilling buckets. Food is a little limited. Lots of breakfast items, but not too many savory items. Salad section was really nice.

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K
San Diego
18 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I didn't expect such a sophisticated yet laid back place in San Marcos! The place is beautiful, the food is wonderful and the portions are not skimpy. My only criticism is that they should bring you bread with appetizers and not just at the entre. Be sure to be there around 8:30 pm to see the light show in the lake.
I want to try downstairs at Dockside next! YUM!

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BB
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2018
Overall 2food 5service 1ambience 5

We have dined at Decoy a couple of times now - the food has been very good, the menu selection is broad and fun the service each time has been HORRIBLE. The first time was a team lunch we could not get service to save our souls when the food trickled out we often there was no serving utensils for condiments we had to ask numerous times for everything including beverages. Everyone I have spoken with expresses the same sentiments - "it is such a shame the service is SO BAD because the food and location are really good!" The restaurant has been open long enough they should have seasoned wait and kitchen staff. Unless I receive some acknowledgment or announcement that they recognize their poor service and have taken action to resolve - I will not recommend or return. It really is too bad!
Thank you for your time

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SR
1 review
Dined on September 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The view, the food, the service--it all was beyond my expectations. The prices prevent this place from being a part of our regular rotation, but it certainly makes for a lovely celebratory meal. We attended for breakfast and enjoyed a beautiful Vista accompanied by delightful (both to the eyes and to the tastebuds) food. Our waiter was friendly and attentive. Overall, we had a very pleasant morning.

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S
San Diego
7 reviews
Dined on September 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is our second time here. Love that it is on the water with boat action. Service in bar and dining room are outstanding. All meals we have had have been exceptional. They really nail their steaks. Can't wait to go back. Get there early because parking is at a premium.

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LM
San Diego
4 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We were 15 minutes late and out sweet Hostess held our window table for us. Medford was an excellent server! Meal (Caprese Sandwich) very, very good.

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UD
Sacramento
94 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Indicated this was our anniversary when I made the booking, but no one acknowledged this. Service was spotty; asked for our Caesar salad to be split on two plates and I had to ask the busboy to track down the salad after 15 minutes of waiting. The wine we requested was not available and the server did not make any suggestions for substitutes. The breading on the calamari was soggy. On the plus side our outdoor seating gave us a great view of the light/water show.

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MC
1 review
Dined on September 5, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Love love love! From the moment we walked in to the moment we left!!! We will definitely be back very soon!!!

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BM
San Diego
35 reviews
Dined on September 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a great evening celebrating our anniversary and received great service from Jace. The ambiance and food and drinks were perfect. We appreciated the complimentary dessert and boat ride around the lake after dinner.

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MM
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We loved Decoy’s new menu, the food was great. Jason our waiter was fantastic and knowledgeable about special diets. We were quite impressed overall. We will be back soon.
The restaurant is beautiful.

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JS
San Diego
10 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 2

Very disappointed in the service here. Hostess was curt upon our arrival 10 minutes early for our reservation. Told us to sit and wait for our reservation time. 10 minutes after our reservation time, I went to check whether our table was ready. Hostess didn't remember us checking in. There were many empty tables, so I am not sure what the issue was. Wait service was also very slow throughout the evening. Music was so loud we couldn't hear our own conversation. Even though the food was good, we will not be back.

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m
San Diego
9 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great table on the terrace, cocktails and heavy appetizers. Only down...while waiting in the bar for my group, rude group of people just plopped down and encircled me, and dumped purse on table right in front of me, so I couldn't put my drink down! Then talked loudly and incessantly. Didn't even ask if they were intruding. Got up with my drink and left to find someplace to wait. Fortunately found new couch and no one intruded. Staff super. Honored my reservation and gave us a great table on the terrace with wonderful view. Service excellent. Food and drink wonderful. Good things come to those who wait and put up with inconsiderate folk.

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DD
San Diego
1 review
Dined on August 30, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

My only criticism Is that the air-conditioning was too cold, so we changed to an outside table.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on August 27, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 5

Took way to long to bring the food out. Waited almost an hour for it to come out. But the waitress was amazing and comped half the meal. Great decor and vibe though.

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AA
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on August 27, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 2

I would have rated higher; however, my friends and I were plagued by two unrelenting flies throughout our lunch. This was indoors. I finally had to place my cloth napkin over my plate to protect my food.

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PK
1 review
Dined on August 26, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 1ambience 3

Food was outstanding.
Service was terrible. Slow, inattentive, we asked for things multiple times which were not delivered. Disappointing.

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H
1 review
Dined on August 26, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

This was our first experience at Decoy. The food was amazing. Services was not the best. Pretty sure the hostess forgot about us and had to ask for our table a few times, even though the restaurant was empty and we had a reservation. Had to wait to ask for fork after food came and salt and pepper. The beautiful view and delicious food is what made up for the lacking service. We will come back for sure.

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PC
San Diego
8 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 5

Do you like Lobster MAC & Cheese?
Don’t order it at Dockside Decoy. The mac was bow tie pasta, no cheese, bland pink sauce and a bite or two of claws. It was inedible. Other food ordered was ok -not great.

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SF
San Diego
6 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The view was wonderful, the service was great, as was the food. There is a light show over the lake at 8:30 which was really fun. The inside of the restaurant was absolutely freezing, and our waiter said that the restaurant had locked out the thermostats, so they couldn't adjust the temperature. That was our only complaint.

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H
San Diego
4 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 4

My wife, son and niece were there for dinner. The restaurant is attractive and comfortable and the help was pleasant. However the service that followed was extremely slow. Our biggest disappointment was the food. The prices are extremely high and the quality and quantity very marginal at best. 4 scallops for $36.00. A poor excuse for calamari and 3 dip appetizers with a few chips and pita wedges to share among 4 diners. Considering the extremely high prices we expected a superb dining experience which this was not. My wife and I are seniors who enjoy fine dining regularly and this was not at all what we expected. I would not dine here again or recommend it to my friends. P.S. we did enjoy the water show, it was lovely.

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ME
San Diego
7 reviews
Dined on August 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

First time there with a group of women for a birthday. The food was good and the decor is modern and spacious. You would not expect to find this type of restaurant in Lake San Marcos.
Definitely would return and I agree that this place is a hidden gem! The manager was very gracious and accommodating to our group since we were unaware they had canceled their Sunset special that evening. For that reason alone I give it 5 stars on customer service!

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NR
San Diego
1 review
Dined on August 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very nice place to eat with a great view. Had a birthday and anniversary lunch that was great.

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TL
1 review
Dined on August 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went to Decoy for my parents’ anniversary celebration. Our server was really hospitable, and that set a good vibe for the evening. Our table overlooked the lake, so we got to see several swans, paddleboarders, kayakers, and watch a beautiful sunset. Dinner was great! I had the Rainbow Trout. We really enjoyed the experience and look forward to returning.

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LL
Tahoe
3 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

Beautiful restaurant but the food lacked seasoning and was not served hot. The short ribs were tender but everything underneath them was cold. My midori sour did not taste like Midori at all, just sour mix. The color wasn't right either. The potential is there, just need to improve a few things in the kitchen. Location is nice, the restaurant is beautiful with all of the glass windows. Prices are too high for the quality of the food. Next time I would try the casual dining downstairs in the bar.

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SO
Orange County
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 4

I booked a reservation at Decoy after reading their reviews and seeing that they were within a short walk from our last minute overnight stay at Lakehouse hotel. The table was fine and as reported elsewhere, the ambiance is excellent. Service arrived quickly and was very responsive. I really enjoyed the corned bread and Mojito. The Salt & Pepper Calamari and Tomato Bisque was decent. I did think it odd that the Bisque arrived at the table "messy" in that it had splashed around onto the edges of the wide-rimmed bowl. Chef's are usually pretty anal about cleaning the plate edges for a great presentation. Hmmm. Wifey's Top Sirloin was very good as well as all of our sides.

Unfortunately, I had to send my Pork Chop back. It was well brined...very well brined. That, combined with salt on the surface, made it just unbearable. The service was excellent and they promptly took it back to the kitchen for a replacement. During my wait, I finished off all of wifey's leftover steak so I was basically full when my chop returned 15-minutes later. I took a bite and asked for it to be packed up. They had cut back on the surface salt, which helped, but the brine itself still made the chop too salty. I never finished the chop.

I'm sorry to say that we don't plan to return to Decoy.

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OT
San Diego
3 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 4

The service was horrible but the food was great!

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OT
San Diego
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Decoy is one of our favorite spots. Fabulous decor and view of Lake San Marcos. We live nearby so it is our ‘go to’ but it is a fabulous special special occasion spot as well as a neighborhood gem. The food is great. My favorite is the scallops. The charcuterie board is a great starter. The butter lettuce salad is yum. Downstairs is an outdoor bar and casual restaurant right on the lake.

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K
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on August 6, 2018
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 3

Reservation was for 6:45pm, they sat us at 7:00. We waited 10 minutes, to get a server to our table to get our drink order. He told us, he would be right there. He never came back, took him literally 10 minutes. We ordered appetizer, which was delicious. We ordered our meals & salads, we asked for the salads "To come out first". Time passed, we got our (3) Salads, then 1 minutes later our main-course comes. We send the steaks back. It was very poor service. We did not get out of there until 8:30pm. Also, during that extensive time frame, we only got out drinks re-filled three times. The Server made a "Carbs" comment, when I ordered the French Fries they never brought. Wouldn't recommend this to others, but the food was good.

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MK
New York Area
1 review
Dined on August 6, 2018
Overall 1food 4service 1ambience 4

This place has so much potential. It looks great, the food is actually really good but the service continues to be terrible. Hostesses are unprofessional, servers don't seem to be trained properly (or are unable to perform in an upscale casual dining environment).

Examples:
*Hostess- rude and snarky, unpleasant tone
*Server- "that wine is not sold by the glass". Me"but it is right here on the menu by the glass". Server- "Then we are out of it". me- ok, which is it then? (silence) Me- So what other red blends would you recommend? Server-"just what is on the menu". Me-head explodes
Example- Our appetizers and food went to the wrong table
Example- Server-"Would you like dessert?" My mom-"You mean aside from the one we ordered that was included in the summer menu?" Server- "Oh yeah, I forgot about that".
Example- Me- "Do you need to know how I would like that cooked?" Server- No we do it medium
Example- Me to next table "Did you guys ask for the bread?" Next table "No, they just brought it" Us- no bread
Example- served the soup with a tea spoon... At least eating kept me busy for a while

I could keep going....

We live in Encinitas and have been here four times now. Once was perfect, the other three including this time left much to be desired. Might have to give up. So why one star if the food was good as was the ambiance? Because the service is so poor that it negates the benefits, and other attributes. It's like what they say about people quitting their jobs... It's typically not the company, it is their direct Manager. Their conduit into the company. Similarly in this scenario the server and staff is that conduit, and it is killing this place!

Decoy please decide what you want to be...
Fine(ish) dining... Then please have the staff act accordingly
One and done tourist trap that is not for locals... Keep the status Quo

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OT
San Diego
9 reviews
Dined on August 4, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 3

I made the reservation with notes about this being a special birthday and called the hostess in the afternoon to confirm the notes were read and follow up. She could not have been ruder or care less on the phone. When we arrived for our reservation, we were sat at the worst location in the restaurant and only after we protested did we get a decent table- by far not the best view or nicest table. The hostess was of no help and blamed it on the server rotation. Are you kidding me?! The server Ryan tried but we were already in a foul mood, thanks to the attitude, excuses and lack of interest from the hostess (x2) unless that’s how they all are trained. Too bad too- will never be back.

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C
San Diego
40 reviews
Dined on July 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My husband and I met friends there for Sunday Brunch. I heard that this is a secret gem and it truly is. We enjoyed a mimosa brunch while watching boats on the lake. It's really a nice restaurant, great menu, wine selection but the best was the service! We also had a 30 minute boat ride included with our brunch and our waiter suggested if we wanted to take our beverage on board he would put it in a 'to go' cup! Needless to say we will be back!!

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RT
1 review
Dined on July 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved it! Great welcome by the front desk- a view that is wonderful- great wine list and easy parking — would recommend it to friends and colleagues

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FC
San Diego
12 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Decoy is a solid 4 star experience. Food is good not great, service is usually good, but not perfect, the prices are not too high, but there are reasonable items on the menu too, and Wednesday’s are half price bottles of wine. There are a lot of reasons to go here. The facility and lake view are very nice.

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E
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Decoy Dockside is a hidden gem on Lake San Marcos! Outdoor dining right on the marina. Food was excellent and pretty much in line with other restaurants of this type. If you dine there, they offer a free boat ride tour of the lake. Just fill up a glass of wine and have fun!

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OT
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined on July 11, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

We were there to celebrate our anniversary. The hostess greeted us and wished us a happy anniversary. That was it for the rest of the evening. The large parties in the room seemed to have great service. (There were two parties) There was plenty of staff attending those tables. It was a very slow evening. We waited to be greeted after being seated. Waited to be served. Waited to have our plates cleared. We decided to leave and have dessert somewhere else.

Note: Chipped plates shouldn’t be used. Menu pages were stained and worn. Today’s date is July 10th. I was expecting a summer menu not the fall menu that was in place the last time we came to visit.

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