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Dining at the Prado

Grilled Chicken and Orechiette Pasta tossed with
pancetta, toasted pine nuts, red onion in a
gorgonzola cream sauce.

Copyright©2005 sandiego.com, Inc.

San Diego is bejeweled with a growing number of fine restaurants. While some cities find themselves riddled with national chains packaged for general presentation and San Diego has its share. However, San Diego is fortunate to host a number of families who know how to assemble true dining experiences that are pure San Diego. Bussalacci, Cohn, Hug, Ladecky, Morton. Those names, which you may or may not recognize, represent a core of great restaurants: Po Pazzo, Island Prime, Mille Fleurs, Roppongi, Zocalo Grill. Recognize those? If not, you should investigate.

For the moment, let's focus on the Cohn Family. Starting from a simple restaurant in East Mission Valley, they've grown to present some of San Diego's most remarkable restaurants in some of the most remarkable locations in town. In Hillcrest they operate the Corvette Diner, a fifties themed hamburger joint, and Kemo Sabe, the first home for master chef Debra Cook. In the Gaslamp Quarter, the Cohn properties include Dakota Grill and Spirits, Blue Point Costal Cuisine, Mister Tiki's and the Gaslamp Strip Club. In Little Italy, they have the Indigo Grill. In Balboa Park, they operate the Tea Pavillion near the organ pavillion and The Prado. The most recent addition to this jeweled crown is Island Prime on Shelter Island.

Grilled Skirt Steak Tacos marinated
in garlic, lime, chiles and chipotle
peppers, flour tortillas, cabbage slaw,
chimichurri sauce, charro beans and
spanish herb rice.

Copyright©2005 sandiego.com, Inc.

The Balboa Park experience of museums, science and technology exhibits and theater is a perfect setting for good food and wine. The Prado delivers. The Cohn's took it over just a few years ago and retained the character of San Diego. Open for lunch and dinner, the retaurant often packages themed dinners to go along with the plays at the Old Globe. The bar is decorated in a safari theme, chiming in with a visit to the Zoo. A large patio adjoins the main dining room. Below the patio on any given weekend - especially in the summer - you're likely to witness a wedding in the stone colonade ringed lower level.

The cuisine flows from the palette of Executive Chef, Jeff Thurson. It's eclectic mix of traditional American, Mexican and Asian food served in not so traditional forms. For lunch there is bacon wrapped meatloaf or grilled skirt steak tacos or a collection of pannini sandwiches. For dinner, you'll find adobo braised pork osso buco, sashimi grade Ahi served over a licorice risotto or the Prado's Earth and Ocean - a six once filet and giant shrimp.

The Cohn brand of hospitality suffuses all of their restaurants. Spilled wine gets a fresh glass at no charge, a prepared dish where you'd like an ingredient removed is no problem and you get the feeling that all the wait and hosting staff expect you to have a good time and enjoy it when you do. Whether you're out for an intimate dinner or you need a party catered in one of the various private dining rooms in the Prado complex, you're likely to walk away with a smile and an intention to return with more friends.

Details »
  • City: San Diego
  • Phone: 619-557-9441
  • Name: The Prado Restaurant
  • Address: 1549 El Prado