donovan’s prime seafood / downtown san diego

Last week I posted pictures of what I made for Jake for our 6th anniversary and this post will be about our anniversary dinner out!

Recently, LivingSocial ran a promo for Donovan’s Prime Seafood in Downtown San Diego and I couldn’t pass it up. It seemed like the a great opportunity to check out a fancy pants place and celebrate our anniversary all at once!

Our reservations were made with Open Table which I really like because it’s really easy to make reservations – plus, don’t have to call up and talk to someone, which is great for anti-social me.

We arrived on time for our reservations and they told us they were cleaning up a table next to the window for us and we waited in the bar.


[lavender martini – stoli vanilla vodka /lavender syrup / fresh lemon]

It was still happy hour so Jake and I got a couple of drinks. I got the Lavender Martini for $9, which is normally $15 (what). Jake got a rum and coke with Sailor Jerry, his favorite brand of rum.

The martini was light, refreshing and barely tasted like it had any alcohol in it which was perfect for me. The lavender is subtle and not overpoweringly strong and mixed in well with the vanilla vodka. I always prefer vodka martini’s, since I think gin is totally and completely vile.


During happy hour in the bar area, they also serve hand passed seafood treats and I was able to snag one from a passing waiter. It was some kind of light, white fish with a nice marinated flavor. I didn’t bother to ask what kind of fish it was. I think the martini was already going to our head.


While we sat in the bar, I started looking at our feet. For some reason, I needed photographic evidence of the size difference of our feet.

I love my sparkly laces.

We were seated soon afterwards at our lovely little window-side table. Later on, I would be wishing we had sat outdoors among the heat lamps…


We were brought a fresh, still steaming loaf of some crusty french bread. It was so nice to break it apart and see steam rising up out of it. Fresh bread makes me so happy!

The bread had a lovely, crusty crunchy exterior. Totally yum.


[classic wedge salad – $11]

Jake and I shared all of our food that evening and for starters I ordered us the classic wedge salad. For some reason, I just love wedge salads. They seem crunchier and more awesome plus they always have a good, healthy dose of bacon sprinkled on top. They’re usually served with blue cheese dressing (no exception here).

I’m a terrible girlfriend though, because A) I forgot it comes with blue cheese dressing and B) I forgot Jake doesn’t like blue cheese dressing. He said he didn’t mind it though because it wasn’t super chunky and it tasted a lot better than Kraft blue cheese dressing (obviously – I don’t eat Kraft salad dressing period).

See that red lighting in my photo above? Well, it just continued to get worse as the sun set as this red lighting was the primary source of lighting indoors. UGH.


[prime ribeye 16 oz – split plate – $52]

I had to resort to using my flash for the rest of the indoor photos since everything just looked washed out in red. Sigh.

Jake and I shared the Prime Ribeye. It was 16oz which is a ton so I was glad we shared it. Unlike at Flemings, you get sides with your meal here. This included fresh veggies (sugar snap peas and carrots) and your choice of potato (baked, smashed or au gratin). We went with garlic smashed potatoes.

The ribeye was cooked to a perfect medium rare. I really liked the flavor and cut of the meat. It had a rub/seasoning on it that I thought complimented the steak very well. It was very tender and juicy and I loved that they cooked it to the perfect temperature.

Jake thought it was a little salty for certain bites and he wished that an au jus came with it.

The garlic smashed potatoes were kind of disappointing to me since they were not very garlicky and needed a little more seasoning. I was thinking more along the lines of “mashed” instead of “smashed” so they were not totally creamy or mashed all of the way down. It was kind of like it was half-assed, but I know that’s what they were going for.


[mac & cheese with bacon – $11]

The mac & cheese was also just… okay. Not nearly creamy or saucy enough for my liking, it got kind of dry and had a very mild cheese flavor. Even looking back at this overbright photo makes me wonder where all of the cheese sauce is in this mac & “cheese”.

We still ate it though. It just seemed to me like they should have a better mac & cheese served here for the price and ambiance of the restaurant.


[shoestring fries with rosemary and herbs – $5]

I get this feeling that adding rosemary and herbs to fries makes them somehow “gourmet” and justified in hitching up the price. No matter. We got them and ate them anyway. Jake really wanted some fries. He was sad to see shoestring, his least favorite fry.

In case anyway was wondering, my favorite fry cut is crinkle cut.


[anniversary crème brûlée]

While the food didn’t blow us away, the service was very excellent and attentive and since I had indicated on our reservation that it was our anniversary, they treated us to crème brûlée for dessert. I was amused that they had stuck a candle in it, but it was a sweet gesture nonetheless and Jake and I blew out the candle together before devouring the dessert.

Jake had never had crème brûlée before and he ended up really liking it – in fact, it turned out to be his favorite part of the meal which is really weird since dessert is almost never his favorite part.

I enjoyed the crème brûlée as well, it was nice and creamy though fairly standard as far as crème brûlée goes. It was delicious and we ate every bite.


[jake & mary]

The service was excellent at Donovan’s and I wouldn’t hesitate on recommending it for a sweet, special night out. Just maybe don’t order the mac and cheese and you’ll be all set, since I did really like the steak a lot. Since I was sharing with my non-seafood eating boyfriend, I didn’t actually get to try much seafood. Oh well, maybe next time.

Donovon’s Prime Seafood
333 5th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 906-4850

Donovan's Prime Seafood on Urbanspoon

6 thoughts on “donovan’s prime seafood / downtown san diego

  1. Happy anniversary Mary! I totally bought the same deal.. figured it’d be worth it since I’ve heard differing opinions on the restaurant. Also, I can’t believe Jake has never eaten creme brulee!! It’s one of my standby desserts.

    1. Thanks, Vicky! Yeah, I read the Yelp reviews and it was a mixed bag, but I take Yelp reviews with a grain of salt and it doesn’t always really reflect the restaurant. We had a very lovely time with no issues with the service so it was perfect for us. Jake is not a huge dessert person, he would pass on dessert every time if it wasn’t for me! 🙂

  2. Happy anniversary! All the food looks so tasty; the red in the salad photo looks artsy. Our anniversary isn’t until December, so we’ll just have to go to Donovan’s for an un-candled meal; going to get the creme brulee no matter what.

    1. Thanks, Cathy! I’m glad you think it looked artsy! As the sun went away completely it just looked full on red and I couldn’t tell what I was eating in the photos anymore. Stupid lighting!

  3. We got the same deal, but haven’t gone yet. I like the Donovans in La Jolla; the service is excellent but the place is so dim, we resorted to using the iPhone flashlight app to read the bill. I’m looking forward to trying Donovans Seafood.

    1. Hi Sandy – This is the only Donovan’s I’ve been to. The service was very good here and it was weird with all of the red lighting but it was still quite nice. Hope you enjoy it when you get down to use your deal!

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