San Diego is a surfer’s paradise and the epitome of California dreaming, with endless sunshine, giant Pacific waves, stunning coastal cliffs, and the most epic sunsets on earth. The weather in San Diego is temperate and sunny, drawing humans and other members of the animal kingdom to its beaches.
The San Diego Zoo, La Jolla beach, and Sunset Cliffs Natural Park are the most popular natural attractions in San Diego, while the beautiful architecture and rich history of Balboa Park and proximity to Tijuana, Mexico, add cultural and historical significance to paradise.
San Diego’s natural beauty attracts families, couples, and large groups as a prime destination for weddings and other celebrations. Consequently, San Diego restaurants have plenty of group and private dining options to accommodate special occasions.
If you’re planning to coordinate a private event, there are various restaurants with private dining in San Diego with private rooms or larger private event spaces to hold any size group. I have compiled a list of the best restaurants with private dining in San Diego to explore and contact as you plan your wedding, corporate event, or intimate party.
Best Private Dining in San Diego
- Truluck’s Ocean’s Finest Seafood and Crab
- Ruth’s Chris Steak House
- Tom Ham’s Lighthouse
- Island Prime
- 333 Pacific
- Pacifica Del Mar
- NINE-TEN Restaurant & Bar
- Bali Hai
- Grant Grill Lounge
- Avant Restaurant
- Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
- ADDISON RESTAURANT
- Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
- Top of the Market – San Diego
- Mister A’s
- STK Steakhouse
Truluck’s Ocean’s Finest Seafood and Crab
8990 University Center Ln, San Diego, CA 92122
Located in La Jolla’s University Town Center in the beautiful Aventine shopping complex, Truluck’s Ocean’s Finest Seafood and Crab is a fine-dining seafood restaurant. Head Chef Brian Moran’s many years of experience in the fine dining steak and seafood industry shine through the perfect execution of hot and cold seafood dishes.
Truluck’s has two beautiful private dining rooms to fit various sized parties, with a special menu and wine list you can tailor with the restaurant’s event planner. While the menu has a few delicious prime steak options, seafood is the name of the game at Truluck’s. I recommend the Pacific Swordfish, a broiled filet with tomato, grape, mint, dill, and lime.
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Located blocks from the San Diego Convention Center and the bustling downtown business district, Ruth’s Chris Steak House is a fine dining steak and seafood bistro that uses the finest USDA Prime cuts of steak and the freshest seafood for a decadent multi-course meal. Their large, elegant private dining room seats up to 50 guests.
Ruth’s Chris Steak House menu has a wide variety of seafood appetizers like jumbo lump crab cakes and crabmeat stuffed mushrooms. Their dry-aged steaks are always incredibly juicy and full of flavor. I recommend the USDA Prime 16 oz ribeye served Oscar style with crab cake, asparagus, and bearnaise sauce.
Tom Ham’s Lighthouse
2150 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
Named for the late founder and owner of the historic Bali Hai -another restaurant on my list- Tom Ham’s Lighthouse is a high-end seafood and steakhouse located right on the water in a pristinely preserved lighthouse overlooking the West Basin channel. This beautiful restaurant has a giant outdoor patio to seat large parties wishing to enjoy a magical sunset over the ocean as they dine.
The food at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse has a Mediterranean and Latin influence, using ingredients and flavors from Spain and Italy to adorn their fish, shellfish, and steak dishes. I recommend their Paella, with saffron rice, fish, shrimp, chicken, chorizo, mussels, clams, peas, and peppers.
880 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
Located on the beautiful Harbor Island, Island Prime is a fine-dining seafood and steakhouse with incredible views of the downtown San Diego skyline across the bright blue Pacific. OpenTable voted Island Prime one of the best scenic restaurants in America, and head Chef Deborah Scott was voted Chef of the year by UT San Diego.
I recommend starting with their deliciously charred octopus appetizer with marble potato salad, Spanish chorizo, chimichurri, piquillo pepper, arugula, and romesco sauce. Chef Deborah’s specialty steak dish is the New York Au Poivre, a 10 oz USDA prime New York strip with maitake mushrooms and cognac peppercorn sauce.
333 N Pacific St, Oceanside, CA 92054
333 Pacific is a contemporary New American seafood and steakhouse located in the Townsite neighborhood with a beautiful view of Oceanside Pier. 333 Pacific has multiple dining rooms, an outdoor terrace, and a large outdoor patio, all available for meetings and private events of every size. You can also rent out the entire restaurant if your corporate event exceeds 200 people.
The creative combination of flavors and the stunning presentation of each dish elevate 333 Pacific dining experience. I recommend starting with the sweet chili calamari with crispy calamari, sweet chili-orange glaze, valencia orange aioli, radish, cilantro, and sesame. Their fillet trip with three 3 oz filet medallions lets you sample three different preparations, sauces, and garnishes.
Pacifica Del Mar
1555 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA 92014
Located in the Del Mar neighborhood, Pacifica is a favorite neighborhood seafood restaurant with a casual yet refined atmosphere and spectacular ocean views. Pacifica has five different event spaces for intimate family meals in the wine room or large private events in the outdoor patio or airy gallery room.
The menu at Pacifica offers New American fusion cuisine, drawing from Pan Asian, Mediterranean, and classic California flavors. I recommend the blue lump crab cakes with red cabbage slaw and miso-lime aioli. My favorite entrée at Pacifica is the sauteed northern halibut over sweet corn risotto with black trumpet mushrooms and wild arugula.
NINE-TEN Restaurant & Bar
910 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
NINE-TEN Restaurant and Bar is a fine dining cocktail bar and New American bistro in San Diego’s La Jolla neighborhood. Their excellent cuisine and the wine list have earned a Michelin Guide award for distinguished plate and the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. NINE-TEN prides itself on offering locally sourced produce from nationally acclaimed farms and the freshest Pacific and Atlantic catches.
Plating is a work of art at NINE-TEN, with each dish displaying a wide array of colors and perfectly placed dollops and flowery garnishes. I recommend the Jamaican Jerk Pork Belly with baby carrots, swiss chard, plantains, black-eyed peas, spicy jellies, and sweet potato puree.
2230 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106
Bali Hai is a trendy, boho-chic Polynesian restaurant on the northern point of Shelter Island. The circular building that houses a two-story dining room was originally a tiki temple that late found Tom Ham refurbished upon opening Bali Hai in 1954. Since its opening, Bali Hai has been one of the most sought-after venues for weddings, larger holiday gatherings, corporate events, or any other private celebration due to its unparalleled setting, view, and true tiki-style atmosphere.
Polynesian cuisine is seafood-centric and mixes Asian and tropical flavors seamlessly into colorful and flavorful dishes. I recommend the Bali Hai tuna poke bowl with avocado, seaweed salad, masago, and wonton to start. Their Korean fried chicken with onion, scallion, sesame seeds, and sweet sesame-soy sauce is a spectacular main dish.
Grant Grill Lounge
326 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101
Grant Grill Lounge has been a downtown San Diego institution since 1951, offering an innovative cocktail program along with a seasonal market-driven menu. The classy and luxurious dining room features rich wood finishing, sizeable white leather booths, and an intimate private dining room for special-occasion meals.
Lunch, dinner, and daily brunch menus frequently change according to seasonal availability. There is also a separate lounge menu with small, shareable plates, local and foreign wines, and craft cocktails. I recommend starting with the Maine lobster salad with sweet corn panna cotta, snap peas, leeks, and black truffle vinaigrette. For the main dish, try the coffee-rubbed lamb loin with spring pea puree and Hasselback potato.
1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
Located in the historic Balboa Park, Prado is a New American seafood and steakhouse located inside the hospitality building with beautifully ornate Spanish-tiled ceilings, exposed wood beams, and a large patio centered around a Spanish-tiled fountain. There are numerous private event spaces, including two ballrooms and a giant garden reception space.
The small yet refined menu has a diverse array of world flavors. I enjoyed the Kobe Beef Sushi Rolls with asparagus, wasabi cream, tobiko aioli, and ponzu dipping sauce as a starter. The Pan-roasted chicken with Anson mills grits, black kale, golden raisins, and a radish salad topped with tarragon velouté was a luxurious and hearty main dish.
17550 Bernardo Oaks Dr, San Diego, CA 92128
Located inside the beautiful Rancho Bernardo neighborhood surrounded by the green grounds of the Country Club of Rancho Bernardo, Avant Restaurant is a California wine country bar and contemporary California cuisine restaurant. Their accessible and creative California-style dishes come with the best-handcrafted cocktails, local craft beers, and the very best wines in a lively and welcoming atmosphere.
Their expertly curated wine list consistently wins the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. Their menu has a heavy southwestern and Mexican influence with dishes like Japanese sweet potatoes covered in mole with a mezcal flambe and corn masa cavatelli pork pozole. They also offer the highest quality Wagyu beef along with other wild game offerings like Elk tenderloin.
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
Located in La Jolla, right across from the famous La Jolla Cove, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood is a fine-dining seafood restaurant offering a wide selection of fresh seafood and raw oysters. The cozy lounge area at Eddie V’s is has a great cocktail program and a separate happy hour menu, and the restaurant’s giant floor plan has various indoor and outdoor group dining spaces for private events.
I always recommend ordering a shellfish tower for larger groups to sample the cold shellfish offerings. Eddie V’s shellfish tower includes Maine lobster, cocktail shrimp, half-dozen oysters, and jumbo lump crab. I recommend the steamed Hong Kong-style Chilean sea bass with light soy broth as a main course.
5200 Grand Del Mar Way, San Diego, CA 92130
Located on a small island of its own in the Del Mar neighborhood, Addison Restaurant is an upscale fine-dining restaurant specializing in French fare. Addison is the only restaurant in San Diego to boast the coveted two-star Michelin rating. Head Chef William Bradley has won the Culinary Master competition and received five-star ratings from AAA and Forbes.
The menu at Addison is a nine-course Chef’s tasting menu with recommended wine pairings from their extensive California vintage and imported wine selection. Their house-made sourdough with browned honey butter has to be one of the best things I’ve ever tasted and went wonderfully with their wild mushroom soup.
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
With a location in downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp District and another location in La Jolla, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar is a national chain of fine-dining steakhouses that originated in California. Founders and restaurateurs Paul Fleming and Bill Allen strive to create a warm, cozy, and classy atmosphere to enjoy the highest quality aged USDA Prime beef.
I recommend starting with their freshly made burrata with prosciutto served with charred Campari tomatoes, wild arugula, and toasted garlic crostini. To sample the best of surf and turf, try their prime Tomahawk steak with truffle butter lobster tails.
Top of the Market – San Diego
750 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
Located in the marina neighborhood over the water, with stunning panoramic views that stretch from Coronado to Point Loma, Top of the Market is a contemporary fine-dining seafood restaurant with a fabulous rooftop patio dining area. True to its name, Top of the Market brings the freshest fish from their own seafood processing and distribution facility that receives catches from the local Farallon Fisheries.
They utilize every cooking method for the fish on their menu, from raw bar to smoked, cured fish. I recommend starting with the smoked fish sampler served with crostini dill crème Fraiche and giardiniera. For the main entrée, I recommend the Alaskan halibut with fingerling potatoes, crispy bacon, shaved zucchini, mustard buerre blanc, basil, and dill.
2550 Fifth Ave 12th floor, San Diego, CA 92103
Located in San Diego’s Banker Hill neighborhood, right next to Balboa Park, Mister A’s is a fine-dining restaurant specializing in European cuisine. Head Chef Stephane Voitzwinkler is a German native whose European cooking techniques showcase French and German dishes using a healthy and fresh Californian approach. Along with delicious food, Mister A’s has a beautiful dining room with floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows and a large rooftop patio with views of San Diego’s downtown skyline.
The dinner menu features a slew of traditional French dishes like Escargots de Bourgogne, Mussels Provencal, and Prime beef tartare. I recommend their Norwegian Salmon Fillet with sauce moutarde, red lentils, and braised celery and apple.
600 F St, San Diego, CA 92101
Found in the Gaslamp district, STK Steakhouse offers the finest steak with meat from the Linz Heritage Certified Black Angus program. When you choose to do a private event with STK San Diego, you can enjoy both an elegant dining experience and a lounge area for the perfect evening. I found the restaurant to have the perfect atmosphere with a mix of classy and comfortable.
Of course, you have to try the steak when visiting STK Steakhouse. Their beef really is of the highest quality, and I, for one, could taste a difference. There are also many delicious butters and sauces to try with your steak, like their Truffle Butter and house named STK sauce. You can even get a sauce plate so that everyone in your party can try something!
My list of the best restaurants with private dining in San Diego offers a variety of fine dining establishments featuring an array of American, Pan Asian, and Californian cuisine to enjoy for your special occasions.
Each restaurant has numerous group and private dining rooms, banquet halls, patios, and rooftops to host intimate dinner parties, weddings, or large corporate events in classy, comfortable atmospheres with spectacular views of San Diego’s coastal beauty.
If you’re looking for more excellent dining options in San Diego, check out my list of sushi spots in San Diego.
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