In the mood for a night of great food, conversation, drinks, and relaxation amidst the hustle and bustle of Downtown San Diego? Come enjoy an evening at Osetra at the corner of 5th Avenue and E Street. Their menu portrays some of the finest culinary creativity of today’s restaurant scene. Osetra hosts a happy hour six days a week, has an extensive award-winning wine list, and offers banquet facilities to help plan any special event you have in mind. Cocktails are savvy, hip, sophisticated, and hand crafted. The restaurant’s ambiance is romantic and cozy, yet maintains a trendy city hotspot feel. Take your taste buds on a culinary adventure of masterpieces at San Diego’s Osetra.Read More ...
Situated in the heart of Downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, at the corner of Fifth Avenue and E Street, is Osetra. With a nod to the highest quality caviar in its name, Osetra stands as the epitome of premier seafood. The menu showcases rich imaginative flavors that maintain an air of simple sophistication. Osetra’s ambiance is quiet and intimate, and feels like a getaway in the middle of the city. This downtown landmark was established in 2003, and brings the upscale chic trendiness of the Manhattan and Vegas restaurant scenes to San Diego.
My guest and I arrived at Osetra on a cool Tuesday evening and were immediately greeted by the restaurant’s general manager Sara Arjmand, who promptly introduced herself and escorted us inside to see the wine tower and its angels who “fly” about the 3-story structure retrieving bottles for the restaurant’s guests. She also took us on a tour of the main dining room and the bar. Since the bar was still hosting happy hour, my guest decided to order Osetra’s signature cocktail, The Fire Breathing Dragon, while I opted for a cool glass of their Non- Vintage Gruet Rose Champagne from New Mexico. The Fire Breathing Dragon cocktail is hand crafted with Habanero -citrus infused Seagram Vodka, shaken with fresh orange juice, a dash of triple sec, and then served in a uniquely shaped glass. This drink is loaded with flavor, spice, and innovation. The heat of the Habanero is balanced by the citrus of the orange juice and the overall cool temperature of the drink. Guests are in for a treat as they wind up and taste both hot and cold in one sip. My champagne was a beautiful rosy pink, crisp and bubbly with a clean finish. It was served in a chilled flute and paired well with each of my courses.
Shortly after admiring the restaurant’s décor with a color palette of the sea, which had dark cherry hardwood flooring with white linens and chair backings, we stood in awe the wine tower which holds the restaurant’s 5000 bottle wine collection. . Sara then escorted us to our table on the outdoor/ street front patio lined with ceiling heaters and tables covered in yellow and cream colored linens that were topped with flatware, flowers, and candles. Our server, Judy, came by with freshly baked bread that is made in-house daily and reminiscent of a home kitchen to ready our palates for the culinary adventure that was about to begin. Osetra’s menu features much variety and offers contemporary twists on classic dishes as well as a slew of signature creations that capture the spirit of world travels.
Our plunge into Osetra’s modern European, Asian, and American fusion-based cuisine began with their Seafood Napoleon. Boldly colored layers of lump crab, spicy tuna, and guacamole are stacked in a cylindrical fashion, drizzled with wasabi oil, and topped with a dollop of caviar. The spices infused into the tuna complemented the smooth texture and buttery flavor of the avocado, accompanied by the meaty and sweet tones of the crab. The garlic crostini served alongside the Seafood Napoleon added a new level of complexity to this simple, clean, and already zesty plate. Just as we saw earlier with the Fire Breathing Dragon cocktail, the coolness in temperature of this dish was nicely juxtaposed against the heat of its seasonings.
The next appetizer we sampled was Osetra’s signature Tempura Mexican Shrimp. The shrimp was cooked tempura style and served over a watercress salad, with a crisp flattened wonton garnished with mango chutney. This dish exemplifies the meeting of East and West, as Asian and Southwestern flavors combine. The shrimp were fresh, well cooked, and tender with an additional crunch from their tempura coating. The watercress salad, which sat beneath the layers of prawns and mango chutney, was refreshing with its colorful spring mix of greens and red and yellow pepper strips covered in a creamy dressing. The mango chutney contributed a citrus zing that tied the entire dish together. Osetra’s Tempura Mexican Shrimp is a fantastic starter for your meal, and its decorative structure wherein one can see all the ingredients used crates an astonishing presentation and feel.
Following these plates, my guest and I enjoyed the Spinach Salad consisting of organic baby spinach, strawberries, red onions, crispy bacon, and gorgonzola cheese with raspberry vinaigrette. The salad was presented simplistically in a white ceramic bowl, and was a light transition into our main courses. The bacon’s smokiness simultaneously countered and enriched the gorgonzola’s creaminess and the sweet coolness of the strawberries. In fact, the strawberry chunks along with the raspberry vinaigrette were a fun and unexpected twist to this classic salad. In one bite, we tasted something sweet, savory, smoky, crunchy, and creamy-- a unique ability for a single platter.
Next, we moved on to our pasta course, during which we were treated to a warm comforting bowl of Lamb Fettuccine that felt like home. The dish is prepared with in-house-made fettuccine noodles and lamb, green olives, mushrooms, and fresh mint. The ingredients are then dressed in a light red wine sauce that unites and enhances this menu item’s distinct and most subtle flavor notes. It was a rather developed dish reminiscent of the Italian countryside on a winter’s day. This pasta dish, served to us Tapas style, managed to be both gourmet and homey in one bite. The saltiness of the green olives mixed with the meatiness of the mushrooms, the coolness of the mint, and strips of lamb bathed in a red wine sauce, The Lamb Fettuccine was hearty, rustic, and simply warmed our hearts.
Our hearts grew warmer still when our seafood entrees arrived. Seeing as Osetra is known for their seafood, I happily indulged in the Yellow Tail while my guest’s taste buds were pampered by the Mahi Mahi. Osetra’s Yellow Tail is sesame seed encrusted, pan seared, and finished with a soy sauce reduction and wasabi that sits atop sautéed shoestring carrots and bokchoy. The dish was presented in a vertically stacked tower held together by two long wonton strips stuck through the center like wooden dowel support rods. The thick cut of Yellow Tail was seared just beyond rare so the fish was still pink in the center. It had the texture and tenderness of a medium rare cooked steak with an additional sweetness from the soy sauce reduction and sautéed vegetables. The sesame seeds coating the yellow tail’s exterior provided a toasted nut aroma and caused a synergy between the dish’s ingredients.
The Mahi Mahi I was citrus marinated, then pan-seared and served over lobster mashed potatoes and French green beans, and finished in a lemon brown butter emulsion with roasted almonds. The yellow, orange, and red colors displayed in the sauces on the plate were reminiscent of a tropical sunset surrounding an island of fish, lobster mashed potatoes, and French green beans. The Mahi Mahi was a full bodied fish that soaked up the citrus marinade and was soft on the palate. The lobster mashed potatoes were rich and fluffy, but not heavy. The French green beans buried beneath the layers of potatoes and fish surrounded by a citrus based sauce brought color and architectural support to the plate’s presentation.
Both the Yellow Tail and Mahi Mahi entrees conveyed a high level of care, respect, love, and passion for food. They exhibited a harmony of flavor, texture, color, and presentation. Each was as simple as it was complex. Nutty, sweet, creamy, citrus, and aromatic notes combined to provide exceptional balance. The colors were vibrant, fresh, and inviting, welcoming the diner to the dish sitting before them.
As our meal began to draw to a close, we looked over a dessert menu and settled on Osetra’s Gelato of the Day, we chose Pistachio, and their signature Pear and Cranberry Tart. The pistachio gelato was presented in a cocktail glass with pistachio nuts mixed in topped with fresh strawberry chunks and a sprig of mint. The gelato was a cool, creamy, and delicious way to bring our extravagant meal to a close.
The Pear Cranberry Tart, served on a square plate, was a sourdough tart filled with apricot jam, amaretto, almonds, and dried cranberries, and topped with pear halves. This tart is an Osetra original recipe, and it was displayed with mint, quartered strawberries, drizzled chocolate, and powdered sugar. It was rich, but not heavy. Instead, it had an airy quality in texture reminiscent of toasted shortbread infused with notes of fruit and cinnamon.
Overall, our experience was nothing short of spectacular. Parking was easily found in Horton Plaza’s structure off of 4th Avenue wherein ticket validation machines can be found. Street parking is more difficult, though it does exist. There are also several valet and park and pay lots located in the surrounding areas. The staff was friendly, welcoming, and attentive. Osetra is a fantastic venue to host a banquet, anniversary, rehearsal, business dinner, or simply a romantic date. The restaurant’s ambiance is elegant, classy, and enchanting with soft jazz music in the background. It truly captures the spirits of Sin City and The Big Apple with a Southern California and West Coast twist. Come check out Osetra and entertain your senses with invigorating and innovative flavors that entice your senses, pique your curiosity, and leave you happily satisfied. But be ready to try another masterwork of creative culinary genius, constructed by Chef Vincenzo Lo Verso and his staff.
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I am a chef by profession so this menu stood out to me and I was not disappointed. We got there 30 minutes before Happy Hour ended and they have an amazing happy hour. We were seated right away when we said we were ready for dinner and service was timed perfectly. I will take my family there when they come to visit.
Osetra is a must if you are dining in San Diego. The staff was great an the food excellent. Wine selection was very good. I highly recommend it.
I wouldn't have changed anything about the experience. Very good food, atmosphere, and service. The price is totally justified. Great restaurant.
The food is so good just to look at it. But the price makes up for it. You got to bring special people there, and not just because.
The mahi mahi served over a bed of lobster mashed potatoes was awesome! For a better deal and lots of variety, try the tapas menu for happy hour.
Went there with my wife on new years and it was a great experience. Food was excellent, price was fair and I enjoyed myself
We went here for restaurant week, meaning a fixed price and a fixed choice menu. The setting was very urban, very trendy. The service was normal/good. We didn't wait too long for beverages or food. The noise level was fine. The food itself was a bit on the sodium laced side of things. Overall, if I had to pay full price, I would have to pass due to the food not being worth that amount of money.
The food was great, but the service was poor. For the freight this place charges, they should have taken A+ care of us. Instead, I had to ask for some attention several times. 20 min to get the check and get my credit card processed was unacceptable.
Well the wine angel is cool and everything.... this place was recommended by a local hotel as one of the best places to eat in San Diego. I brought a friend, and restaraunt owner, and a few friends there for dinner. Our experience was so average it was unbearable. We dropped a grand and had average service, food that I could have made better at home, and a ho-hum atmosphere- cool lamps though.
The two points I gave Osetra were purely for service. The waitress was very attentive and recommended a very good bottle of Riesling. The host was also very courteous and seemed genuinely concerned for our well-being. The food on the other hand was bland and tasteless. Never in my life have I been so utterly dissapointed by the entire selection of dishes throughout the meal. The spicy calamari appetizer was nothing short of watery and awful. The $40 shellfish platter tasted like it had just been defrosted. Even the lobster was cold and insipid! The duck salad made me gag, literally, since it had pieces of disgustingly textured duck fat/skin. And finally the main dishes were pretty looking at best. Even the cheesecake was awful. 5 out of 5 people in my party were displeased. We were convinced the chef has no tastebuds and none of us will ever return. A disgrace really, considering Panevino, their sister restaurant is superb.
The hotel made a strong recommendation for this restaurant. We made reservations for Friday night. The weather was nice enough to be seated outside. We ordered soups for starters. The lentil soup was outstanding. I had the clam chowder. It was ordinary at best. We had salads and the best was the blood salad with oranges. We wanted to order scallops but they were out. We have the lobster ravs and lobster with risotto. Again, these dishes were ordinary. To make the dining experience lackluster our waitress left us to take other tables. After waiting a waiter finally came and explained the current situation. We were not impressed. After reading such great reviews, we were greatly disappointed in the entire experience.
Newly opened Osetra's was a real disappointment. Service was poor, food was medicore, and on-line reservations don't mean a thing to the restaurant. After waiting 30 minutes "for the best table in the house" we were seated at a table next to the exit door on floor two. On top of that the food was just o.k. No big deal. Over salted, uber-spiced shrimp comes at a high price. I've tasted better fish in a can.
This place is expense and filthy the bathrooms are horrible the service is ok note excellent as the price suggest. If your gonna spend this much go to Mortons, or Oceanaire where u pay 4 the service and the food.
I just returned from a Saturday evening dinner at Osetra. Our party of 8 had service that I'd expect more from, especially at these high-end prices. From the moment we stepped into the bar the help was missing a step. Here's how: 1. the bar's waiter asked two in our party for their drink orders without asking others for their requests. Those two were immediately served but the rest of us were never queried about our orders. 2. Our waiter was clearly preoccupied with a larger party nearby in the private room. He rushed our dinner orders before even asking if we wanted drinks. 3. When we asked to order cocktails first, he took the order of one of the men in our party (a Glenfiddich on the rocks) then left without taking any others. 4. When we aked if we could order the rest of the cocktails he said he didn't take cocktail orders and that he'd get the other waiter for that duty. (I'd never heard separating the duties for cocktails and dinner). 5. It took another 5-8 minutes until we could order our cocktails from the appropriate waiter, whereupon our sole order was delivered, but that order was incorrect (it arrrived as a Glenfiddich and water). 6. When we pointed out the incorrect cocktail order the dinner waiter yelled down from the second level to the bar below that the bartender had gotten it wrong. Bad form. To our final disappointment, the tip was included for our party of 8, at 20%. In our opinion the waiter would have received a 10% tip as a reflection of the marginal treatment we received.
Unbelievably disappointing for such an expensive restaurant. Interesting and unique decor and that's about it. They should try not to be so "hip" and concentrate instead on the food and service. My wife and I both had less than adequate dishes (how can you screw up sea bass??) Service was slow and inattentive (we waited 10 minutes before the waiter arrived and asked if we would like a drink and then he realized we never received a wine menu). Our glasses on the table were dirty and had to be removed. Served luke warm coffee and never got a refill. A final bill of $145.00 for two without tip was a major rip off. Bob Sherwin, Agoura Hills, CA
I had dinner last night at Osetra... What can I say, this restaurant was the worse... Rude service, poor quality food (still paid over $40 for an entree ) and overpriced wine list. This reminded why I should not dine in the Gaslamp....
My wife and I dined at Osetra on a Friday evening, one day after Valentine's day. We were looking forward to the evening due to the great reviews we had read on this site. We were seated at a 2 person table right near the upstairs railing where we were constantly being bumped due to bus boys and waiters moving past us.
We were greeted by a rather unfriendly waiter. We asked him to recommend a Chardonnay but he seemed to have no clue which one to suggest. Both my wife and I like a full bodied, oakey, Chardonnay. The sommelier did not provide much assistance either. Both my wife and I ordered the Lobster bisque. It arrived after about 30 minutes and was served at room temperature. The top of the bisque was skimmed over and the consistency of the bisque was similar to gravy thickened with flour. In addition, the bisque had very little flavor. It was certainly not what I had expected for $15.00.
The main course was the "Jumbo" Mexican shrimp stuffed with crab and lobster. They arrived at our table looking as if they had been sitting under a heat lamp for quite some time. The shrimp were also a very large disappointment. They were dry, lacking flavor, and the presentation was amateurish. By the time our main course was complete (after a few bites actually)we were anxious to leave and get away from the cramped table and people passing by all the time.
I asked for the check and the manager stopped by the table to inquire how our dinner was. We expressed disappointment with both the location of the table and the food. He commented that we should have raised an objection to the table sooner. I indicated that I did not want a discount, nor a free desert, we just wanted to leave. After not receiving the bill for about another 5 minutes, they brought desert to the table. We indicated once again we just wanted to leave. We felt like we were being held captive. In conclusion, I did not feel that the quality of the food was befitting the prices. I felt that the wait staff was inattentive. We deeply regret not visiting any of the tens of fine restaurants within a 2 block radius of Osetra.
The atmosphere at Osetra was nice and everyone enjoyed themselves. I made the mistake of ordering their surf and turf special. I should have asked for the price as the entree was not worth the amount I was charged. On the good side their Starters are nicely laid out. Back to the surf and Turf. The steak was nice and done to order. The lobster which was at market price was nicely set on the plate but was rubbery. for a $79 item I would have liked the lobster to melt in your mouth as I have had when out on the east coast. So a lesson learned it to make sure you find out what the pricing for the specials is before you order it. I would have sent it back if I knew it was $79 for the entree but I thought I would be nice thinking that the special would have been around the $40 range. If the price and lobster was better I would have been happy to leave a review that way.
I used to love this restaurant, but now everything has changed. I visited on a Saturday evening, but yet they didn't even open the upstairs area. All guests were overcrowded on the ground floor. They don't offer my favorite appetizer anymore, oyster rockefeller. For the main course, I ordered lobster ravioli which lacked in flavor. My husband ordered the special of the day, swordfish, which was almost well-done. When we explained the problem to the waiter, he said that we would have to specify medium to medium-rare to have it any less done. In a white table cloth restaurant with a specialty in seafood, this is unheard of.
Made reservations at least two weeks in advance. Specifically asked for indoor seating. When we arrived 45 minutes early we were told we would have to eat outside. We had a drink and left. To many other good restaurants to waste my time here.Based on this I do not recommend.
We pre booked a table for 10 through the concierge at the Marriott, who reconfirmed our reservation as we left the hotel. On arrival, our table wasnt ready, and took 45mins to prepare, we ordered drinks while we were waiting but the drinks didnt arrive. repeated requests from the maitre'd/manager and staff fell on deaf ears. All they seemed to want to do is pose around looking good but were unable to offer any service. The same happened once we were seated. Our appetizer arrivedbefore the wine waiter even took our order and when he did it was SLOW. Entrees arrived and were almost finished before the red wine appeared, even though I had ordered it at the beginning of the evening. Then the staff dissappeared, we had to learn over the railing to ask for service from downstairs, as an 18% service charge was added to our bill they didnt care about service as they were getting a tip anyway. The food was slighly above average but the staff left us with a very poor impression. Its a pity because we spent a significant ammount of money on top wines etc. Other restaraunts we went to in San Diego were all fantastic and I would especially recommend Laurel, great service and food plus terrific setting.
We came to Osetra mid-week, early in the evening to celebrate our anniversary. The restaurant was empty altho' we waited for our table... they were aware it was our anniversary. We were seated at an odd table right next to the kitchen door. I asked for another table and we were seated next to a woman dining alone, in an odd side section of the bottom floor. We ordered a VERY good bottle of wine, appetizer, salads, dover sole, oysters and dessert. Our waitress disappeared right after the appetizer, and we NEVER saw her again. Why? It appears (as we were told by the busboy taking care of us) that the restarant was sold out to a convention... we watched as buses pulled up and men and eomen poured in -- most wearing t-shirts, jeans and sneakers. The proceded to take over the whole joint -- standing around jostling our chair, yelling back and forth between tables and floors of the restaurant. We were literally thrown our food by a mixture of cocktail waitresses and busboys. We asked to see the manager and were told he wasn't available. Our very mediocre dinner cost well over $200 -- we got no explanation, no comped dessert, no apology -- NOTHING. If we had been told, when either making our reservation or when we entered that evening, we would have gratefully left and gone elsewhere... but we had no idea until we were well into our evening. We left as soon as we could. We called and wrote tothe manager and neer received any response. Osetra is not worth the money and will never get our business again -- we tell everyone to stay away!
When my entree was placed in front of me, I was nauseated by the overwhelming fish smell. I found the staff and the environment pretentious and gimmicky. Wine angels? How about spending some time training your staff how to select a wine instead. I will never return.
Buyers beware! We had reservations for dinner Saturday night. The service was beyond unacceptable. We ordered an appetizer and decided to leave immediately after the dish was brought to our table. The appetizer should have never left the kitchen. The tomatoes were green and not even close to being ripe. When we were leaving, the table behind us noticed and commented “we are right behind you”. They had an oyster appetizer that they said was awful. The staff never questioned why we were leaving and didn’t seem to care.
Please people do not go to Osetra Watergrill for dinner or ever! Horrible place I've ever been too. I am super upset
Waited twenty minutes and waiter failed to take our wine or food order. Nobody offered to help, even after we signaled waiter, bus boy and hostess numerous times. They only had 1 waiter to handle the first floor, which the hostess filled every table in a 15 minute time period. We got up and left and will never go back. Went to Greaystone, down the street and had a wonderful mealk and outstanding service. san Diego has too many great restaurants to waste your money or time at Ostera Watergrill.