5 Top Places To Enjoy a Holiday Meal in San Diego

In hotels and on the beach

Besides family and gifts and time-honored traditions, the holidays have almost always been synonymous with food. A good meal is the hallmark of a holiday get together, often taking the most time to plan, prepare, and shop for. So if this year, it looks like the kids are spending the season with the in-laws, and your brothers and sisters are saving some travel dollars this year, take it easy with the meal prep and head to one of San Diego’s fine dining establishments. From buttered basted organic turkey and honey glazed ham to pumpkin soup and lobster risotto with toasted pistachios, the holiday menus at these restaurants are sure to satisfy while leaving you pleased as punch to be without dish duty.

Mille Fleurs

6009 Paseo Delicias

Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

(858) 756-3085

Located in Rancho Santa Fe, Mille Fleurs serves French Californian cuisine, blending traditional European dishes with a bit of West Coast flair. The warm, intimate dining setting features musical entertainment every evening as well as live music Wednesday through Saturday. This Thanksgiving Mille Fleur is offering a special a-la carte and four-course prix-fixe menu ($65), prepared specially by Chef Martin Woesle. Appetizers include duck liver pate and duck prosciutto served on toasted brioche with pink peppercorns and cranberry chutney as well as Soup of Musque de Provence Pumpkin, served with chervil and cinnamon croutons.  Entrees range from Alaskan halibut and oven-roasted Diestel Farm turkey to a duo of prime beef filet and hanger steak. Finish off with orange-chocolate truffles, served alongside a candied orange peel or try the apple strudel with vanilla sauce, dried currants, rum, and cinnamon. Mille Fleur also offers pet-friendly dining on their outdoor patio, so your four-legged family member doesn’t have to be left out of the festivities.

Bertrand at Mister A’s

2550 5th Ave

12th Floor

San Diego, CA 92103

(619) 239-1377

Excellent cuisine and one of the best views in San Diego, dining doesn’t get much better than at Bertrand at Mister A’s. The menu is overseen by Chef Stephane Voitzwinkler, whose Alsatian background and global culinary experience translates into dishes that are as well-seasoned as his background. The Thanksgiving menu ($59.50) at Bertrand features an array of delicate flavors, such as the tart Granny Smith Apples blended into the oven roasted butternut squash soup or the bite of the horseradish vinegrette in the multicolored young beet salad. There’s nothing like panoramic views to set the mood for a festive evening.

If you’re looking for a traditional turkey plate, Chef Voitzwinkler has an oven roasted bird on the menu, but if you’re looking to try something different, Thanksgiving offerings at Bertrand include 48 hour roasted braised beef short rib, pan seared “Loch Duart” salmon filet, and slow roasted Brandt Farm Prime Rib, among other selections. And in true holiday fashion, you can finish off your meal with a pumpkin bread pudding draped in toffee pecan sauce or with a slice of Julian apple tarte tatin.

Hotel Del Coronado

1500 Orange Avenue

Coronado, CA 92118

(619) 435-6611

Considered one of the most beautiful vacation destinations in the world, the Hotel Del has also been noted for its elegance and for its consistent attraction of some of the most well-known celebrities and socialites.Surrounded by pristine beaches and the glistening Pacific Ocean, there’s no place like the Hotel Del to celebrate a holiday meal away from home. Whether its Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner you’d like to forfeit your apron and oven mitts to, the Hotel Del is offering two holiday menus. Thanksgiving's menu ($92.50 for adults, $38.50 for children) will feature seasonal starters such as the persimmon and strawberry salad and the sweet potato and bacon salad. However, it is the comprehensive main course selection that really impresses. The chef’s composition includes duck confit and green lentils, shrimp and grits with chorizo hollandaise, and lobster mac and cheese as well as dry rubbed prime rib and smoked trout with marbled potato and dill caper aioli, among many other dishes.

The Christmas Eve menu will offer guests several courses of cheese and small bites, like the prosciutto and watermelon paired with cotta and feta and duck pate served alongside wide mushroom and cognac, salads, an artisan bread bar, soups, and a main course complete with entrees that range from rosemary leg of lamb to honey baked ham with a cherry glaze. Smoked trout with caramelized fennel and tomato braised veal meatballs are also just a few other culinary delights to be found on the menu.

Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa

9700 North Torrey Pines Road

La Jolla, CA 92037

(858) 550-1000

In true Spanish-style, the hacienda architecture of the Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, with its lush garden setting is a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy a holiday meal. To help celebrate Turkey day, Estancia will have a weekend breakfast buffet at Adobe El Restaurante ($38.95), which will later serve as the venue for a formal Thanksgiving dinner. The prix-fixe menu ($60 for adults, $20 for children) will include classic offerings such as butternut squash soup, butter basted organic turkey, roasted gravy, and pumpkin cheesecake. In addition, Estancia is also offering Thanksgiving-To-Go meals, which guests can pre-order, place cards included! The hotel is also featuring both a Hanukkah and Christmas Eve dinner.

On Saturday, December 8 the Estancia restaurants will feature traditional Jewish dishes, like leek latke with smoked salmon, as well as herb poached salmon served with butter lettuce. On the 24th of December from 5 to 10 pm, guests can enjoy a prix-fixe Christmas Eve ($60) menu complete with a broad range of dishes from pan seared venison with braised red cabbage to crab bisque and candy cane gelato. And don't forget about New Year's Eve! Complimentary champagne accompanies crab ragout, lemon grass skewered scallop & shrimp, and more ($60).

Red Marlin Terrace & Bar

1441 Quivira Rd

San Diego, CA 92109

(619) 221-4868

A San Diego, favorite, the Red Marlin Bar & Terrace, which overlooks the Mission Bay Marina, is scenic destination for both a romantic meal as well as a holiday treat. The Red Marlin is also offering several holiday menus, including dinner that is served on Thanksgiving as well as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. From 5:30 to 9 pm on November 22, guests can enjoy selections from an artisan cheese display, sample a variety of seasonal sides, such as San Diego clam chowder, ginger sautéed green beans and carrots, and clove and honey glazed ham. For dessert? Choose from pumpkin spice tarts, chocolate pear compote, warm apple cobbler, or cinnamon spiced cheesecake ($38 for adults, $19 for children).

For both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the menu will remain the same, prices included, offering a three-course meal where guests can choose between two options for their starter, main, and dessert. Handcut greens with warm roasted chestnuts and dried cranberry or roasted butternut squash soup with winter spices begin the holiday meal, while oven roast holiday ham prepared with buttermilk whipped potatoes and honey glazed carrots compile all of Christmas, culinary wonder on one plate. Slow-roasted prime rib with tri-color baby potatoes and grilled asparagus is the other entrée option, leaving Christmas diners ready for a sweet finish of either eggnog cheesecake or a white chocolate peppermint tart with candy cane dust.


— Sara Cardoza for JustLuxe