San Diego is the ideal city for a convention, conference, off-site meeting, or team retreat. When planning your organization’s trip out to this Southern California locale, you will likely be tasked to find a venue to host a corporate dinner. Lucky for you, this gorgeous city on the Pacific is bursting with diverse restaurants and venues, all at the ready to make your planning a snap. The Vendry has broken down some of San Diego’s finest private dining options to help you strategize for your next big corporate outing in sunny California.
Neighborhood: Little Italy
Capacity: 20 seated
Just about as quintessential San Diego dining as it gets, Fisher’s is a seafood paradise in the heart of Little Italy. High-quality seafood with Mexican inspiration abounds at Fisher’s, which has been a part of the culinary scene in San Diego since 1989. Plan your corporate dinner in their Private Dining Room, a completely secluded space featuring coastal design and seating for 20. A highlight of this private space is the ability to combine it with their palm-lined, outdoor patio. How do evening cocktails on the patio and then a fresh seafood dinner sound? We say pretty good.
Neighborhood: Oceanside, CA
If you are looking to impress your team or C-suite, you’ve come to the right place. Valle, in Oceanside, California, is one of the few Mexican restaurants in the United States to earn a Michelin Star. The short 35-minute scenic drive from San Diego is well worth it, as this approachable, yet elevated restaurant features fresh ingredients from California and favorite vintages from Baja’s Guadalupe Valley wine region. This gem is directly on the water, and their Private Dining Room offers complete seclusion while still garnering the vibe of the lively restaurant. Select a four-course tasting menu, all delivered by internationally lauded Chef Roberto Alcocer.
Neighborhood: East Village
Capacity: 18 seated
The Dali Room at Callie in the East Village is a truly intimate setting for all your private dining needs while visiting San Diego. Callie is derived from the Greek kallos meaning “the most beautiful”, which accurately describes this space. The provocative Dali Room features Moroccan-inspired carpeting and long, terrazzo tables, which feel like the perfect complement to the Mediterranean cuisine being served. The Dali Room is adjacent to the kitchen and boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the restaurant. Born and bred in the neighborhood, Chef Travis Swikard delivers his fare with the most San Diego authenticity out there.
Capacity: 41 standing, 35 seated
The private dining room a Juniper & Ivy has just been renovated and is awaiting your group. Swept up and away on the second floor overlooking the bar, this private dining room not only offers space for your sit-down dinner but also room for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres before your meal. Your associates will be blown away by this space that was once an abandoned warehouse. Southern California charisma is on full display at Juniper & Ivy, from the covered patio to the unique décor. James Beard-nominated Chef Anthony Wells is in the kitchen, serving up one of the most imaginative menus in all of San Diego.
Neighborhood: University City
The spirit of family is alive and well at Lucrezia La Jolla, an upscale Italian restaurant in the University City neighborhood. The private dining space at this hotspot is on the larger side – seating 40 – so this restaurant might suit all your needs if your group is bigger. Your associates might not be sure if they are in San Diego or the Amalfi Coast as they sip Aperol Spritzes and dine on woodfired pizza and other fare inspired by the intrigue of Italian summers. And if your group needs to get down to some business, the private dining room also has a large, presentation-ready television.
Neighborhood: La Jolla
Capacity: 197 seated
With configurable spaces, full-on ocean views, and private dining options for nearly 200 seats, it almost feels like George’s at the Cove was created for corporate dining. George’s event space takes up their entire first floor, and each private or semi-private room can be divided up in any way to your liking. The sweeping views of the Pacific are breathtaking, making this restaurant with its 35 years of stellar service a no-brainer in your event planning process. From a cocktail party to a custom, seven-course tasting menu, the event staff at George’s is prepared to make your corporate dining experience a smashing success.
Capacity: 85 standing, 65 seated
Celebrated restaurant. Animae in Marina has its own space completely dedicated to private dining called Nima. A minimalist’s dream space, Nima features natural stone, yakisugi-ita walls, floor-to-ceiling windows, terrazzo floors, and Zen-like greenery dripping from the ceiling. Natural light floods the private dining room during the day, then downshifts to moody and perfect once the sun goes down. Nima has a multi-purpose full bar, and a television if your team needs to present. The Asian-fusion cuisine offered at Nima from Animae is centered around a coal-fired oven and Japanese robata grill, offering your business cohorts a true one-of-a-kind dining experience in San Diego.
Neighborhood: North Park
Capacity: 12 seated
Rustic, warm, and refined, The Smoking Goat in the laidback North Park neighborhood offers French American fare complemented by the bounty of San Diego. Perfect for a team dinner of 12 associates or less, the private dining room at The Smoking Goat has an upscale farmhouse vibe with exposed brick walls and soft banquettes. The experienced staff here will help you create a custom menu, featuring dishes from Chef Fred Piehl’s imagination and drinks from local boutique wineries.
Neighborhood: Mission Bay Park
Capacity: 28 seated
Elegant and impressive, the Private Dining Room at Covewood Restaurant in beautiful Mission Bay Park can fit up to 28 of your business associates. Nestled in the popular Mission Bay Resort, this eatery conveys understated luxury. In addition to the breeze off the Pacific and the indoor/outdoor functionality, Covewood offers all three meals for your convenience. If you need to start the day with a breakfast meeting or take a break for lunch, the private dining room here will accommodate your team’s agenda. Treat your organization any time of day to these views and delicious coastal cuisine.
Neighborhood: La Jolla
Capacity: 56 seated
The Marine Room offers lots of semi-private dining options, but The Seahorse Room on the second level is truly an experience. Located on the southern end of this sizable restaurant, The Seahorse room includes five booths and tables, as well as those stunning ocean views, and room for 56. When you book The Seahorse Room, be sure to ask about “High Tide Dinners”, where the ocean serves as the meal’s entertainment as it playfully splashes up against the windows. A treasured spot in La Jolla since 1941, find out why The Marine Room lands on so many “best of” lists each year.
Neighborhood: Encinitas, California
It’s sunny California, so move your corporate event entirely outdoors! Just a quick half-hour drive from San Diego is the Pacific Coast Grill, a laid-back dining and visual experience right on the sands of the Pacific Ocean. There are two amazing private dining options at this elevated seafood restaurant. Select the downstairs Al Fresco patio that has room for 35, a sea-level patio with heat lamps, and light covering. Or choose the upstairs Patio that can seat 50 at casual long tables. It’s tough to make a wrong move at this charming spot that has been a favorite since 1995. And it goes without saying, plan your evening around sunset – you won’t be sorry.
You and your team have already landed in San Diego, so the easiest part has already been decided. But choosing the spot on where to host your corporate event or private team dinner can be more tricky. There are so many variables to consider. Before booking your private dining room, ask yourself the following:
How big is my party? Nothing can kill a vibe like stuffing a group into a room that’s too small. On the other hand, a room that’s too overpowering or grand for your group of 12 can feel unbalanced. Make sure to get an accurate headcount and find a place that’s just right.
What is the tone? Will this private dining experience be celebratory? Or is this more of a high-level, get-down-to-business dinner? Be sure to identify the evening’s objective before landing on a restaurant.
What is the agenda? If Google Slides are on deck, make sure you have adequate audio/visual equipment. If the restaurant doesn’t have what you need, ask them for a trusted vendor so any presentations go off without trouble.
What are the costs and fees? You will likely be given a budget for your private dinner. Be sure to ask about how the venue breaks down its costs (gratuity, rental fees, drink minimums, etc.) and get it all down in writing.
What is the cuisine? If your group is more on the adventurous side, pick a venue that matches their tastes. But always be aware of dietary restrictions. Be sure to let the venue know of any of those ahead of time.
What is the energy level? Do you want your private dining room to vibe off the vigor of the lively restaurant? Or would you prefer a more low-key room? The time of day, as well as the overall tenor of the venue, needs to meet your team’s feelings.
Discover the Best Private Dining Spaces on The Vendry
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