Riviera Supper Club and Turquoise Room gives do-it-yourselfers a reason to eat outside the kitchen. Like a classy backyard without the tuxedo-clad bug zappers, the restaurant serves platters of raw filet mignon, pork spare ribs, and bratwursts for diners to cook up on an enormous, indoor communal grill. Yet much of the guesswork is taken out of the equation: every steak is USDA Choice, every rack of ribs comes pre-seasoned with a dry rub, and every side dish takes shape in the kitchen under the eye of skilled chefs. And those same culinary masters can also handle the rest of the cooking if guests desire to stay away from the heat—the menu also includes entrees of slow-braised pork and roast chicken.
This family-style grilling experience is just one facet of a two-sided coin. The Turquoise Room stirs up a different sort of nostalgia, harkening back to the age of lounge singers and strong cocktails with a mid-century bar. There, glasses of Pimm's Cup and martinis served with blue-cheese-stuffed olives offset bacon-fat popcorn and garlic bread topped with sauteed onions. To further the club experience, live bands of every genre play in the space throughout the week.
Once the home of Wyatt Earp's gambling hall and saloon, Georges on Fifth also holds the distinction of being the most photographed building in the Gaslamp Quarter. Today, the venue casts off the sounds of tinny pianos for the aromas of Zagat-rated dishes, each painstakingly crafted by executive chef Jose Kelley. The flavors of certified Angus beef, Snake River Farms Kobe beef, and USDA Prime cuts heighten beneath port-wine and Jack Daniel's demi-glaces, and fresh, flaky seafood in the form of scallops, halibut, and salmon don equally delicate notes from herb-infused oils. With Chef Kelley's wine list made up of more than 50 West Coast and international varietals, diners can find a pleasing accompaniment to any dish.
Inside the celebrated eatery, romantic lighting emanates from ornate chandeliers and dances on exposed brick walls, wood accents, and the piano player's solar-powered hands. Portraits of San Diegans dot the interior walls to showcase the work of artist John Wismont, who held the Guinness Book of World Record’s title of “Most Prolific Portrait Painter” for nine years.
Argentine restaurant Puerto La Boca is named for the colorful La Boca neighborhood in Buenos Aires, an area originally settled by Italian immigrants. So the restaurant fits naturally into San Diego's Little Italy, even if the focus is on Argentine-style grilled meats. Tasteful wood-framed art and Argentine photos, as well as tall wood wine racks showcasing the collection of wines from Mendoza, accent the dining room tables set with beige linens. There's also a bar with live music on Fridays as well as sidewalk seating beneath the blue awning at the restaurant's entrance. The beefy grill menu includes succulent Argentine cuts including the asado de tira (Argentinean short rib), picaÌ±a (culotte steak) and lomo (filet mignon). Halibut "Mar del Plata" in a Roquefort cream sauce with mashed pumpkin is also a signature dish. Those seeking a taste of the restaurant's Italian heritage will appreciate the selection of pastas and pizzas.
The concept of the South in evidence at Luc's Bistro is expansive, including not just down-home American comfort foods but historical influences from French, Creole, and Cajun cuisines. In an airy room that's a little fancier than the location tucked away off busy Poway Road might suggest, servers deliver plates accented with spicy touches such as paprika mayo or peppered bacon. Breakfast bites include Cafe du Monde beignets and eggs benedict with ham and homemade hollandaise. For a lighter lunchtime offering, diners might try the crab-cake sandwich or simply suck the helium out of a balloon. Dinner entrees range from Atlantic salmon to old Southern standbys such as country-fried steak and shrimp and grits.
Nestled inside Harrah’s Rincon Casino and Resort, the full-service spa relaxes weary bodies with the popular Swedish massage style. Gentle kneads and soothing strokes unravel muscle knots tied by stress and devious boy scouts practicing for their merit badges. Throughout the service, clients soak in relaxing vibes, which emanate from the interior’s many bamboo trunks and rich wooden accents. Once tension is relieved from active duty, clients emerge feeling limber and rejuvenated.