Donovan's of La Jolla

After the recent move from its UTC location, La Jolla's premier steakhouse is now overlooking the famous La Jolla Cove. In addition to picturesque views, Donovan’s Steak and Chop house offers a refined setting filled with upscale class and elegance. The menu showcases a variety of cuts of succulent USDA Prime steak, while offering a variety of other options from Australian rack of lamb to North Atlantic Salmon. Appetizers and salads tantalize the palate before the main course, while potatoes and vegetables—always complimentary—accompany each entrée. An award-winning wine list offers an astounding selection of both well-known and boutique wines across an equally varied price range, and gracious service, complimentary valet parking, and VIP treatment are the icing on the cake.

Refined and Unrivaled: Tantalizing Indulgence

Donovan’s Steak and Chop House is a true San Diego institution.  Since opening in January 1999, the restaurant has become a favorite of local celebrities, professional sports teams, business professionals, and anyone celebrating a special occasion. Although conveniently located in an ordinary office park in the UTC /Golden Triangle area, the restaurant is a destination—offering an elegant, secluded setting, service reminiscent of an elite supper club, and unrivaled steakhouse fare.

The transition to refined luxury begins not at the door but before it, with the restaurant’s complimentary valet. A towering, windowless door of dark wood stands at the entrance, adorned only with an embossed bronze plaque bearing the words: "proper attire suggested." Past a small alcove, the entrance opens to a bar and reception area, a surprisingly busy, bustling space. We entered to catch the tail end of Donovan’s daily happy hour and the bar was full of energy. Well-dressed guests seemed relaxed and jovial, enjoying after-work drinks and Donovan’s happy hour specialty: complimentary Kobe steak sandwiches.

We left the bar scene to the happy hour patrons and followed our host into the main dining room, which, while equally packed, was calm and serene.  Deep mahogany paneling and dim Tiffany lamps set the stage for elegance; low walls between booths were peppered with bronze Remington statues in a playful nod to the old west. White linens covered the tables, which were generously spaced, making every guest’s dinner a private, intimate affair. While the tables themselves were intimate, the restaurant itself was quite large, with seven different rooms and a capacity for over 300. That evening, each of the private rooms was accommodating a private party—business presentations, family reunions, and birthday celebrations are common.

We settled into our generous booth and felt at once at ease, surrounded by supple leather and white linen. We were instantly greeted by William, who along with Francisco and Matt would take care of us throughout our meal. All tables at Donovan’s are attended by not just one server, but a team of three, ensuring every crumb accounted for, every glass refilled. Yet the service remains unobtrusive; never once did we feel we were overly-waited on.

I eagerly picked up the wine list, whose 28 pages offer one of the best selections in the city. Donovan’s has been granted the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence—an honor bestowed on less than 10 restaurants in San Diego—for seven years in a row (2000-2007). The list offers a truly dazzling, worldly array of wines. The selection ranges from everyday to special occasion, with each bottle hand-picked to accompany the cuisine. I was impressed by the “wines by the stem” selection alone; it ranged from familiar to surprisingly high-end, allowing guests with exquisite tastes to be satisfied with just a glass. French, Italian, and California wines were particularly well-represented, with half bottles as well as bottles and large-format offerings.

I settled on a glass of Hill Family Estate 2005 Carly's Cuvee Chardonnay. The Hill Family makes excellent wines and this was no exception: barely oaky, it was bright, round, and almost fruity, and promised to pair well with our starters. My date's cocktail, a Hendrick's Martini, gave a surprisingly similar satisfaction, thanks to the subtle complexities of Hendrick's gin. Satisfied even before we were sated, we turned to the menu, eager to begin our meal.

Executive Chef Martine Venegas, who has been with Donovan’s since its 1999 opening, offers an array of varied and creative starters, adding a bit of variety to the classic steak house meal. We settled on two: the Bacon-Wrapped Scallops and, upon Manager Steve Josefski’s eager recommendation, the Seared Cajun Lamb Chops. They arrived, of course, exactly at the same time, our team of servers simultaneously placing the plates on the table.

The Bacon Wrapped Scallops were a feast for the eyes: four plump scallops in a pool of broth, each enveloped by a thick ribbon of smoky bacon and topped with a crispy sprinkling of blackened fresh herbs. Amid the quartet rested a medley of stewed sweet tomatoes and onions, and below lay a pool of light tomato-wine broth. Each pale scallop afforded at least three bites, our knives sliding effortlessly through the premium meat to carefully divide both scallop and bacon. Each bite was sublime—mild, silky scallop mingling with sweet, smoky bacon and a burst of fresh tomato flavor.

It was only after several mesmerizing bites that we moved on to the Seared Cajun Lamb Chops, as the playful presentation was urging our attention. Four dark chops leaned like toppled dominoes against a half baked potato, which, standing upright, was hollowed out and filled with creamy buttermilk dressing. The first bite was awakening: a rush of meaty lamb followed by a second burst of spice. Tender doesn’t begin to describe the texture—the crisp, perfectly seared, spice-coated outside gave way to nothing less than moist, succulent velvet.  I almost wished I had ordered the lamb entrée.

Our mouths lingering over flavorful starters while anticipating entrees to come, it was time for a refreshing interlude. Donovan's Chop House Salad fit the bill perfectly. Creamy blue cheese dressing covered crisp romaine and silky Bibb lettuce, mixed with sliced hearts of palm, diced cucumber, tomato, bell peppers, and carrots. As if to ensure decadence even in a salad, blue cheese and bacon crumbles garnished the dish. Each bite was creamy and refreshing, the clearly-fresh vegetables bursting with moist flavor.

It takes little to spot Donovan's flagship entree on the menu: USDA Prime Filet Mignon. The filet appears not once, but seven times, offered in three different sizes, with three different accompaniments, plain or pepper-crusted. Needless to say, it took little to persuade us to order this steak, although we did waver on the preparation. All three combinations—an 8 ounce Filet paired with Shrimp Scampi, Portobello Mushroom, or Bacon-Wrapped Scallops—were tempting, but ultimately we decided on a classic: the 10 ounce Filet accompanied by a baked potato.

For our other entree, there was little hesitation. If USDA Prime Filet Mignon is the crown jewel of the land, its counterpart, the crown jewel of the sea, is Australian Cold Water Lobster. Donovan’s plump, oversized lobster tails are baked, rather than steamed, adding a dimension of flavor to the already succulent crustacean. Of the four complimentary potato accompaniments, we selected the lightest: the garlic smashed potatoes.

The wine list, which can contain anywhere from 450-700 bottles at one time, changes weekly, hand-picked by General Manager Steve Josefski and Sommelier Andrew Bushnell. Their approach, "buy by feel," not only results in an excellent selection that matches any combination of dishes on the menu; it means Donovan’s has personal relationships with many wineries on its list. Rather than being pressured into selecting from among the 500+ bottles that evening, we opted for a recommendation from the sommelier. Professional and gracious, Steve gladly suggested a 2004 Stephen Ross Pinot Noir from Bien Nacido Vineyards.  It was perfect—medium bodied, it had a noticeable complexity that faded to a smooth finish, and really opened up to both the steak and lobster.

And then there were the steak and lobster. The Australian Cold Water Lobster tail was gorgeous—commanding the plate and bursting out of its shell.  Just as I was lamenting how much damage I would do the presentation, William deftly removed the lobster from my plate, and with one swift motion, removed the meat from the tail. What was left was a gloriously large steak of lobster meat, which I could gloriously eat without destroying presentation. The lobster was succulent and supple, the pale white flesh eagerly absorbing a clarified butter sauce to reach decadent heights. The garlic smashed potatoes, a whipped combination of potato skin and flesh were creamy but not overpowering; the accompanying baby carrots and snap peas were clearly fresh, crispy, and sweet.

While I was marveling at William's skillful move with my lobster, my date was receiving the royal treatment from Francisco, who was dressing his potato. Holding a tray of accoutrements, Francisco was carefully spooning toppings onto the large Idaho spud, pausing before each spoonful to ask my date’s approval. Plump balls of butter melted instantly, covered by a layer of creamy sour cream, delicate chives, and, of course, bacon.  While I was at first distracted by the showy spud, it did not steal the show; the regal 10-oz. Filet was enviably gorgeous. Charred to black on the outside, the filet cut to reveal a thin ring of brown and an elegant pink center. The contrast between the blackened interior and velvety interior was stunning; indeed it is Donovan's forte. Steaks are prepared in a 1600 degree oven, ensuring a solid sear and short cooking time. Juices are sealed in, steaks cooked to perfection.  Each bite was better than the last.

When your meal consists of filet mignon and lobster, dessert hardly seems necessary, yet we saw no reason to cut our indulgent meal short.  The Triple Chocolate Brownie was a sweet tooth’s dream: white and dark chocolate woven into a moist, almost fudgy brownie surrounded by a pool of chocolate truffle sauce and buried beneath a slightly melted scoop of vanilla Häagen Dazs. It was a wonderfully playful end to an astoundingly elegant, refined meal.

On the way out, we paused in the tiny alcove between the bar and the exit. Elegantly appointed with two wingback chairs, a small lamp and table, and framed autographed photographs, it afforded one last moment of calm before stepping out into the night. Like the sports figures and celebrities whose autographed photos filled the walls, we agreed: Donovan’s had our seal of approval.

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Restaurant Info

  • 1250 Prospect St.
    La Jolla CA 92037
  • Address: 1250 Prospect St., La Jolla CA 92037
  • Cross Street: Ivanhoe Avenue
  • Location: La Jolla & UTC | La Jolla Village
  • Cuisine: American | Steak |
  • Cost: $$$$ | Expensive | $75 - $100
  • Category: Fine Dining
  • Star Rating:
  • Reservations: Recommended
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Meals Served: Dinner |
  • Parking: Street | Valet Parking |
  • Payment Options: VISA | Amex | MasterCard | Discover | Diners Club | Cash |
  • Corkage Fee: 20.00 | Two Bottle Max
  • Staff: Victor Rivero | Matre D'
    Debbie Shepard | General Manager
    Barabra Ardilla | Host
    Debbie Shepard | General Manager
    Janice Roussel | Event Coordinator
    Sal Reynoso | Executive Chef
    Mike Dulin | Sommelier
    Mike Dulin | Manager
  • Phone: (858) 450-6666

Business Hours

Monday
Main Dining Room | Dinner 4:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Happy Hours 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Tuesday
Main Dining Room | Happy Hours 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Dinner 4:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Wednesday
Main Dining Room | Happy Hours 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Dinner 4:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Thursday
Main Dining Room | Happy Hours 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Dinner 4:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Friday
Main Dining Room | Happy Hours 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Dinner 4:30 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Saturday
Main Dining Room | Happy Hours 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Dinner 4:30 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Sunday
Main Dining Room | Dinner 4:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Happy Hours 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Features

  • Full Bar
  • Private Room
  • Takeout Available
  • Winning Wine List
  • Wheelchair Access
  • Valet Parking
  • Happy Hours
  • Personal Wines Allowed
  • Lounge / Bar

Occasion

  • Romantic Dining
  • Dining Alone
  • Business Dining
  • Meet for a Drink
  • Quiet Conversation
  • Special Occasion

 


F.A.Q. - Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, all ages are welcome at Donovan's of La Jolla.
Yes, there is also a Donovan's of Downtown which is located in the Gaslamp Quarter of Downtown San Diego.
No, Donovan's La Jolla does not serve lunch.
Yes, Donovan's of La Jolla does have a full bar.
Yes, Donovan's of La Jolla offers complimentary valet parking, as well as a private lot for self-parking.
Please refer to the restaurant's Info Page for corkage fee information.
Yes, Donovan's of La Jolla does have wheelchair access.
Yes. The restaurant offers 6 unique private dining rooms.
The dress code is business causal. Shorts, t-shirts, beach and athletic wear will not be permitted.

Menus

Dinner Menu

  This is a sample menu only. Prices and availability may be subject to change.


Appetizers

Salads

USDA Prime Steaks

Classic Entrees

Side Dishes

Dessert


User Reviews

best steak in america  

Incredible service, amazing food, outstanding atmosphere. One of the best dining experience of life.

Realy good  

This place is really good! the place is huge, the service is wonderful, and the food is excellent. The atmosphere is really good (you can hear yourself think, unlike mortons, but I think mortons food was a tad better). It’s not as expensive as you would think too. Maybe $10 more per item then say outback, and 100% better. A+

Realy good  

This place is really good! the place is huge, the service is wonderful, and the food is excellent. The atmosphere is really good (you can hear yourself think, unlike mortons, but I think mortons food was a tad better). It’s not as expensive as you would think too. Maybe $10 more per item then say outback, and 100% better. A+

Great place  

Very good service. Great atmosphere. Well worth the price.

The Best  

Unquestionably the best!!!!!!!!!!!

Best in San Diego  

We have been to almost every upscale restaurant in San Diego. Donovan's is by far, hands-down, the best. The service is outstanding; the atmosphere elegant but not stuffy. Their fillet medallions with blue cheese are exquisite. My husband and I would think of nowhere else to spend our wedding anniversary.

Great place to eat  

I was very pleased with everyone who waited on us.The food was great.

You must try Donovan's  

This is undoubtedly, the best restaurant for steaks in San Diego. It is well worth the price. Both the food and the service just can't be beat.

Perfect  

What a gorgeous restaurant, classy upscale decor with fabulous food and the best service. Just be prepared to pay top dollar and dress for the occasion.

Very Friendly  

My husband's favorite place to go for steak is Donovan's. Their food is wonderful, especially their filet mignon medallions (one of their specials). But what I was most impressed with was the excellent service. The servers were extremely friendly and not stuffy at all. I hesitate sometimes when going to an upscale restaurant because I don't like stuffy waiters. They make me very uncomfortable. But at Donovan's I was very pleased with how nice and down-to-earth they were. I definitely recommend Donovan's.

Excellent Dinning Pleasure!  

Service was Wonderful! Excellent section of wines. Entrees melted in your mouth. Our family celebrates every Christmas Eve w/Donovan's.

Great Steak  

Ate at Donovan's for the first time last Friday. The service and food were excellent. The selection of single malt scotch is one of the best I have seen.

Wonderful experience!  

We went with another couple and had the most delicious meal (medallions of beef)! The service was friendly, knowledgeable and timely. We dine out a lot and I cannot think of a place that surpasses this experience, and most do not even come close. We can't wait to go back!

Incredible  

We have been to Donovan's at least half a dozen times. The food melts in your mouth and the service is wonderful! It is our favorite place to go to celebrate special occasions. Thank you for making us feel special!

IMPECABLE EXPERIENCE  

I booked our reservation based on the reviews online....I was not disappointed!!!! Victor, Phil & Meagan were outstanding with their service, the food was fantastic. My husband had the Filet & I had the prime rib....without a doubt, the BEST prime rib I ever had. All other prime rib dinners will pale to comparison. We would come back in a heart beat!!!!

Great for Special Occasions!  

I love Donovan's. The service is impeccable and the food has always been terrific. I've gone there for several special occassions, with only one bad experience (bad waiter). All the other times, I've had the best in service and steaks, which is what keeps me coming back. My boyfriend and I much prefer this to Ruth's Chris.

Great Ambience  

This place was great!!
1. Parking - easy, close, unlimited
2. Location - UTC area is easy to get around, not like downtown, or even La Jolla
3. Service - awsome... there had to be 5 people waiting on our table. They even seperated the duty of filling our water and the person who cleans up the crumbs in between courses!
4. Overall the food was GREAT. Few small hiccups though - first I got the onion rings a la carte just because I like onion rings, and they did not live up to expectations unless one really likes those huge frozen ones you can get at Costco. Also, the brownie fudge sundae had a brownie that I swear tasted like they were cooking for a weightloss program.
5. Oh, and the noise level was very agreeable, which is to say at a low level. In the end I really liked the place. So far I've been to Georges on the Cove, Cafe Japengo, Mister Tiki Mai Tai Lounge, and of course Donovan's - I would say I liked Donovan's the best, as an overall dinning package/experience.

 

Do yourself a favor if you plan on dining at Donovan's. Plan on staying for the evening, arrive early to enjoy the bar, stay late for the ambience. Table service is among the best in San Diego. Professional prompt and unhurried. The staff believes in what Donovan's has to offer and it is demonstrated through their care of the customer. A great place for couples and when you return bring some friends! And do yourself another favor: dress! Certainly not a place for overpriced jeans.

Excellent Experience  

Thursday Feb 12, 2009 About the finest dining experience I have ever had. Short wait at the bar, 7 minutes. Got a booth without remembering to ask. Entire restaurant and bar were full, in spite of the recession. No problem with medium rare vs medium well. I ordered lobster entree and my girlfriend ordered lamb chops, which were cooked exactly medium rare, as she ordered. Waite persons were fabulous. Could not possibly have had better service. William was our main waiter, of three. Will definitely go again. Donald Choice and Yvonne Alexander; San Diego

Great steak  

My chop was wonderful. The potatoes were excellent, and the portion was enough for two more meals. I had the 16 ounce chop.

Donovan's of La Jolla  

The entire staff was extremely efficient and very friendly. The food was oustanding too. This was the best restaurant experience we've had in years!

Great for Anniversary  

We had an excellent dinner at Donovan's on our 15th anniversary. The staff was very attentive but did not interfere in any way. The food was very good and done exactly as we liked. The atmosphere was better than what I had expected when I first arrived. The complimentary valet service is very nice, but I wasn't sure when we entered and to the right was the bar area. However, once we were at our table, there was no issue with any bar noise at all. I am hoping to go there again the next time we are in town.

The Best Restaurant  

I went to Donovan's of La Jolla thhis weekend and the food and service was extraordinary. It was my husband's birthday and they surprised him with a Creme Brulee with candles. I had a wonderful night.

DONOVAN'S WAS MORE THAN WE EXPECTED!  

Our dining experience was outstanding...food, atmosphere and especially the company! My wife and I had a wonderful time...the wait staff was punctual, polite and on the ball the whole night. If you love steak, please don't miss this great dining experiance!

terrific  

best steakhouse in san diego

Awesome food & excellent service!!!!  

My husband & I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary recently and had a wonderful meal & the service was excellent. Would recommend this restaurant again & again.... Kathy in Ramona

Amazing Night Out!  

If you are looking for a special place to celebrate any occasion, Donovan's of La Jolla is the place! What a fantastic experience and the service is outstanding. The macaroni and cheese is the best my husband and I have ever had. You will not leave this restaurant disappointed!

Excellent food; friendly & accommodating waiter  

Excellent food; friendly & accommodating waiter; excellent ambiance.

Pricey, but worth it  

The whole experience was outstanding. The big room is noisy, but we sat in the smaller section which is recommended if you want to talk (and hear each other). Try the fix menu, which is a bargain. We had the Porterhouse 20oz, and it was done to perfection.

dining at donavans  

excellent service. best steak ever.made us feel important.

excelente  

It was great. We enjoy very much, the wine and prime rib

Popularity comes with reason  

I wasn't sure what to expect from Donovan's; great restaurants forget why they became great. Some start off with a great dish and with time that dish loses quality because of conformity. Of course, in a sense. However, my experience at Donovan's was incredible. Great service, amazing food and awesome ambience. The hosts, waiters and bus boys always had a smile and treated you like a celebrity.

Donovan's  

I'm generally a big fan of the shoreline eateries in La Jolla for obvious reasons. Donovan's, however, I will make an exception for. It is a classic restaurant, but good steaks and a great adult beverage selection make it work. You might miss the sunshine, the sea, and the breeze, but if you're there with the right people it's a great place to be.

5 Star Steak House  

One of the better wine lists in San Diego. Excellent service and relaxing atmosphere.

ALWAYS A GREAT EXPERIENCE  

OUR FAMILY ALWAYS HAVE ENJOYED THE DONOVAN'S EXPERIENCE. FOOD IS FANTASIC AND FROM THE TIME YOU DRIVE UP IT STARTS THERE AND GETS BETTER & BETTER. EVERY ONE IS WARM & FRIENDLY. WE HAVE ENJOYED OVER 50 VISIT'S AND EACH ONE HAS BEEN A RESTAURANT WE CHOOSE TO BRING FAMILY & FRIENDS TOO. ALWAYS A GREAT EXPERIENCE. RUTMAN FAMILY

Donovan's of La Jolla experience  

This restaurant is first class, the professionalism among the waiters is outstanding. They are their constantly making sure you have everything. They pamper you so much you can't help but return for another outstanding meal.

Wonderful experience at Donovans  

Everything was wonderful from the time we pulled into the driveway to when we received our meal.

Wonderful First Time Experience  

Service at the valet was fantastic. Felt welcome as soon as I entered. Wonderful bar and quick to be seated in the Charger area. Excellent prime rib. It was enormous and expertly cooked. The three waiters that took care of us really helped us as first time customers. Great ambiance - quiet, but still able to talk normally. Wonderful experience all around.

Amazing  

Great food, big portions and the service was wonderful!

Always one of our favorites!  

The food is first class, the ambiance is lovely. It's a relatively quiet restaurant and creates a fantastic dining experience. It's always a memorable evening. While it's a tad bit on the pricy side, it always seems worth every penny. The service is always ranking among the best. We had a gentleman named Bobby this time, and he of course didn't fail to live up to the dining experience expected when at Donovan's. We keep coming back for the over all superior dining experience.

Service, Service, Service  

It was the best service that I have received anywhere. Courtney and Tiffany took the time to talk to us. They made us feel like we were old friends. The steak was perfectly cooked. They gave you a steak knife, but you could have cut it with a butter knife. The garlic mashed potatoes were the best that I have ever had. It was a wonderful evening.

Excellent Quality Service.  

I was amazed by the variety of their Wine List, really.... The Service was very professional. The Food (Steak) was good too, although the bread is very important part of gastronomy, therefore I'd suggest an improvement there. Thanks.

Great Steak  

We went to Donovans on NEw YEars eve to celebrate our 2 year anniversary. The food was amazing. Best peice of steak I think I have ever had. The atmoshpere was somewhat stuffy. The service was pretty dang good. The cheesecake was better, in my opinion, than the Cheese Cake factory. All in all, we sponet $225, after tip, which makes it the most expensive meal I have ever had. I think I may go back on a non-holiday when I have a better choice of a menu.

review  

donovan's overall appeal is apparent from the second you walk through the door, but on this occation while still excellent, i left with something to be desired based on their prior reviews... food was way to rich, service seemed a bit lost, and while still acceptable when rated as the number 1 steak house, i expect to see why their number 1...dont get me wrong their great, but when i go somewhere thats supposedly the best thats what i expect...

night outt  

find food but maybe adding some Windows would be nice because the restaurant seems very closed in.

Great Ambiance & Food  

Loved the location and ambiance, our waiter was exceptional and the food was very good. I would definately go back!

Great Steakhouse, Phenomenal Service.  

The wait staff (of which we had four all to ourselves) took very good care of us. There wasn't more than 3-5 minutes between check-ins. They kept our drinks topped off and our table clean. And our waitress helped personalize our wine selection based on our menu choices. The meal itself was as expected from a 5 star restaurant. The steaks were cooked to specification and seasoned to absolute perfection. I ordered the Rib-eye and the wife had a NY Strip, both where out of this world. The side dishes however were OK at best. We had the seasoned veggies and the Garlic Smashed Potatoes and though they were good, they were nothing to write home about, and definitely sub-par for such an "expensive meal." But in the end the service, the steaks, and the wine selection is easily reason enough to have us coming back for more. I highly recommend this restaurant, just know the sides will not "Wow" anyone.

wine?  

The meal and service was very good. The wine selection fair and way to pricy.

Pretty Good  

The good: The steak was good, but not great, it was a little on the salty side. I was provided with a generous serving of sides though which I enjoyed very much. Also, they gave us a complimentary dessert for my girlfriend's birthday which I thought was a nice touch. The not-so-good: For as much as I paid for my steak I would've liked a more intimate, less crowded setting. It was fairly loud in the restaurant as well. Overall it was a nice meal, but there may be better places out there if you're looking for a "special" night out.

Overrated  

I don't understand why people rave about this place. Compared to Rainwater's, I have this to say: too noisy, worse service worse food. If you want steak, there are better places.

Overrated  

Disappointed with the service; not what I expected from "USA's top 10 steak restaurants." Although professional and impartial, I expected more of a friendly and attentive service. I ordered a rare ribeye but was cooked medium rare; my girlfriend's filet was ordered med. rare but received it rare. However, the sides were great; great accompanying the steak. I wish they had a more extensive appetizer/salad menu but it was limited. The dining room started to get loud, really loud. Nice exterior atmosphere but the loud noises did not make for an intimate setting. Overall: I went here because I've always wanted to try Donovans (so did my girlfriend as her birthday dinner) but unfortunately, she hinted that we should have went to Ruth's Chris instead. Bummer....

review for Donovan's of La Jolla  

It could have been better if the wait was not so long. I had a reservation and I can't see any reason for myself and my date to wait 45 mins. after the expected time.

Overpriced  

The steak I ordered was overcooked. I ordered the 14 oz Filet (for $51!) and told the waiter that I wanted it to be slightly red on the inside so he recommended going with Medium Well as the steaks generally speaking were undercooked. The steak had no redness to it. I'm pretty sure I could have cooked a better steak at home. Everything else was good though.

Nice, but not that nice  

A very impressive place to take your clients. However, if you want a romantic place to eat, yo can do better for the price.

Over-pricked  

Service was good. Food was just OK. I don't see the significant increase in service or food to justify the markedly higher prices. You'll have a better experience at Flemings. Complimentary creme brulee was nice touch for birthday celebration.

Not that impressive  

We went to Donovan's to celebrate our anniversary. We had a reservation for 8:00pm and were not seated until 9:15. What is the point of making a reservation if you have to wait an hour to be seated! The restaurant was very noisy and crowded. They lobby and bar area was not big enough to accommodate all the people waiting for a table so everyone was kinda packed in there like sardines.

When we were finally seated, we were taken to one of the back dining rooms which was crammed full of tables. It felt like everyone was sitting on top of each other. If you are looking for a nice romantic setting this is not the place to go. It was really crowded and uncomfortable. My boyfriend and I both ordered steaks medium well. My boyfriend's came out correct, however, mind was completely rare. So rare it was still cold in the middle. I'm usually not one to complain or send food back at places, but this time I had to because it was totally inedible for me.

The waiter was really nice and apologized for the mistake. He took the steak off my plate and left the potatoes and vegetables so I would at least have something to eat while I waited for my steak to come back. The waiter brought my steak back a few minutes later with a new serving of potatoes and vegetables. He asked me to check it to see if the steak was cooked to my liking...it was still very much on the rare side. So he took it back a second time leaving me with more potatoes and vegetables to eat. On the third try my steak was finally cooked the way I had ordered it. It was again brought out with a new helping of potatoes and vegetables.

By the time I actually got the steak I ordered I was so full on potatoes and vegetables that I couldn't eat very much of the meat. For being a steak place they sure seemed to have a hard time cooking a steak to order. The waiter was very apologetic for the inconvenience and comped us dessert and the cost of my steak. Over all we were pretty disappointed in the whole experience. I would not go here again.

Donovans  

The steak was nothing special. The service was excellent, the management was horrible. The food was over price. We sat at the love seat where everyone can stare at you while you were eating. That was awkward. I do not recommend this place and I had better food at a lesser price.

Not As Good As It Says  

Steak and lamb chops are not the way you requested.

Extremely disappointing  

Expend your money some where else. Buy a steak at the grocery store and throw it on the grill, it will taste 10 times better than Donovan’s. Good appetizers must say, our server was extremely polite but slow.

Terrible phone skills  

I tried to make an online review this am. I received the email around 3:00 pm that they were denied. I called the restaurant and was told they had a 5:30 or 8 pm available for Friday PM. I spoke with my friend to confirm and called back 2 minutes later. I was told only 8 pm was available. I accepted the 8 pm reservation. Well 8 pm on Thursday night comes around and I get a call asking where I am. I respond I reserved for Friday night. The young lady, Summer I believe was her name, was very rude and stated no way as they book up a week in advance. I explained that I had called previously and no one mentioned this. I would have made other arrangements. Now it is too late to make other arrangements. I chose this restaurant because every one said it was great. It has left a bad taste in my mouth and I haven't even been there yet. I ended up with a 8:30 reservation. Luckily I like to eat late.

Poor and Disappointing  

I went to Donovan's for a special occasion. I had expected great things. While the service was excellent, the steak was tasteless. I have heard other people comment that the steaks at Donovan's are not as good as Ruth Chris and Lawry's. They were right. Someone in my party said that Outback steaks tasted better. Spend your money elsewhere.

Disappointing  

The staff were unattentive and pretentious. Food was average at best. Not worth the price. George's, Fleming's, Rainwater's, and Ruth's Chris are all much better choices.