6 Scrumptious San Diego Hotel Restaurants
Red Fox Steak House (Lafayette Hotel & Suites)
2223 El Cajon Blvd. San Diego, CA 92104 (619) 297-1313
The dimly lit eatery is reminiscent of a good ol' boys club from the '50s when Frankie Lead Boots threw down a few Dewars with Switchblade Sal. Oddly enough, The Red Fox was originally an inn in Surrey, England until it was disassembled and shipped to America in sections for actress Marion Davies. The Tudor paneling, ornately carved fireplace and burgundy vinyl booths, were discovered decades later in a storage unit, and claimed their resting place at the Lafayette Hotel. The cuisine doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. There are no “specials for the evening” or balsamic reductions, just good, hearty, American food. An attentive wait staff serves dinner until 1 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Midnight on weekdays).
Glass Door (Porto Vista Hotel)
1835 Columbia Street San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 564-3755
The boutique, four-story hotel perched its trendy restaurant on the top floor, with views of Little Italy and the harbor below. Weekend brunch is too scrumptious to serve only on Sunday, so they’ve encompassed the two days prior as well. Indoor and outdoor tables fill rapidly as European culinary treats of smoked trout, mustard crusted lamb, and roasted pinenut cream pasta pagliara resuscitate tired taste buds. Plus, you gotta love a place where happy hours starts at noon on Fridays, adhering to the adage “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.”
McCormick & Schmick’s (Omni San Diego Hotel)
675 L Street San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 645-6545
Omni San Diego is the first U.S. hotel attached to a ballpark--the Padres' PETCO Park. Floors one, four, five, and six of the 32-story property pay homage to greats Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and more. Stop by the concierge desk and pick up a complimentary memorabilia guide. McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant is off the lobby and serves the gamut, from huevos rancheros and buttermilk pancakes in the a.m., to fresh seafood, streak and salads into the late p.m. The outdoor patio sports views (no pun intended) of a nearby promenade. Perhaps a good way to burn off some postprandial calories.
Sally’s Seafood on the Water (Manchester Grand Hyatt)
One Market Place San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 358-6740
Just five words--Jumbo Lump Blue Crab Cakes--say it all. Those with a penchant for the crustacean’s tender, white meat will salivate over the chunks, not shreds, filling these golden brown orbs. They’re only one of Sally’s gastronomic superstars. The Fanny Bay oysters in a grapefruit and vodka granita set the tone for Chef’s lobster pot-pie composed of tails, Portuguese sausage and boursin cheese covered with puff pastry. Bounty from the sea continues with a full sushi and sashimi menu, chased with a smooth sake. Special occasions warrant the Chef’s Table dining experience, located inside the exhibition kitchen, providing an opportunity to interact with culinary maestros.
The Buffet (Valley View Casino & Hotel)
16300 Nyemii Pass Road Valley Center, CA 92082 (866) 843-9946
Consistently named “best buffet” by local and national publications, Valley View has beat out a lot of competition from the myriad casino/hotels in San Diego. Live Maine Lobster is flown in daily as part of the 200 menu items the indefatigable chefs serve seven days a week. New York Strip, sushi, Mexican fare, insalata caprese, tuna stuffed avocados, a carve station, a salad bar with kalamata olives instead of canned, and endless desserts lure a steady stream of diners into the 500-person restaurant. Sign up for the Players Club and get a free buffet, usually followed by mailed coupons for the gratis feast throughout the year.
Manhattan of La Jolla (Empress Hotel)
7766 Fay Avenue La Jolla, CA 92037 (858) 459-0700
Empress Hotel is home to the New-York style Italian restaurant whose 32-oz., garlic, olive oil and lemon marinated lamb has won “Best Veal Chop In The World” from Zagat. Brick walls surround the understated, cozy bistro located in one of San Diego’s swankiest neighborhoods. Black framed, seductive acrylic paintings by an Argentinean artist, and a floor to ceiling wine rack preside over the white-clothed tables. The “inis” are all represented here - Linguini, scaloppini, and martini. Locals and celebs, like Jay Leno, and Robert Wagner, stop by to sip wines from all over the world and listen to live tunes by pianist Tad Sisler.