As you may have heard, we’re on a quest to eat at every San Diego restaurant featured on the Food Network TV show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives“. Hob Nob Hill was La Jolla Dad’s pick. We got there at 5:30pm on a Friday and there was plenty of street parking. The restaurant was not crowded, but there were plenty of octogenarians enjoying an early dinner.
The History: Hob Nob Hill has been in San Diego since 1944, though it’s name has changed a few times. That’s 60+ years of the beloved chicken and dumplings. Some customers have been dining there religiously for decades.
The Food: We received a generous basket full of freshly baked muffins and a cutting board with three mini loaves of bread. Loved the banana muffin and raisin bread. Entrees come with a nice sized salad of your choice or soup as a first course. Before we arrived, La Jolla Dad knew he was going to order the Roast Leg of Lamb. He chose french fries and peas as his sides. Guy Fieri ate the Roast Leg of Lamb on the show.
However, it almost looked fake when it arrived. I was prepared for the bright green mint jelly, but not for the entire dish to look like it had been under a heat lamp. I have to say, it wasn’t good. It was overcooked and cold.
I ordered the Cattleman’s cut of prime rib for $17.95, which was a lot of food. In contrast to La Jolla Dad, I received great value for money. A lightly dressed, delicious caesar salad was my first course. The prime rib was cooked as I would expect, and I loved the Au Jus sauce. A huge baked potato and a big bowl of peas were my side dish choices. It was enough for two people. I was dealing with La Jolla Girl and not able to stand up and take a proper photo of my plate.
Our server outlined dessert and I nearly jumped out of my seat when she uttered the words “coconut cream pie.” She came back a few minutes later, said it didn’t look good, and asked that I pick something else. I appreciated that, and promptly chose pumpkin pie. The slice was huge, heavenly, and topped with whipped cream. Overall, I was pleased with my meal. La Jolla Girl ordered the kids hamburger, which could have been plenty for an adult.
The Drinks: The wine is cheap. You can order a liter of house red wine for $15! La Jolla Dad said it was fine. I had a generously poured glass of Chardonnay for $7. La Jolla Girl ordered apple juice and asked for another. There was an extra charge for this, but I didn’t mind. Hob Nob Hill is good value is in the drinks department, definitely.
The Ambience: It may be the time of day, but we were by far the youngest people in the entire place, other than the servers. There were no children, though they did give La Jolla Girl a little jar of crayons and a big placemat to color. Kids are more than fine at Hob Nob Hill, though a screaming baby might wreck the ambiance. There is not nearly enough background noise to offset that.
The Recommendation: I understand why people like it, but am not sure I would go out of my way to go back. The service was good, the drinks cheap, and portions generous. The food just didn’t rock my boat and seemed a little tired. The corned beef profiled on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” looks awesome but wasn’t available on the day we went. I would have ordered that, for sure. Watch the episode.
The recipe for Hob Nob Hill’s Chicken and Dumplings is on the Food Network’s website.