Thanksgiving in the Ashes

My heart goes out to all who will have to give thanks for their lives and families in restaurants this year instead of at home, as a result of the fires.

For whatever the reason, more and more people are choosing to eat Thanksgiving dinners out, so as usual, it's best to get your reservations in ASAP. The fancier the destination, the longer ahead you need to stake your claim. (Many top restaurants are already fully booked, and many require a credit card number, which will be charged if you're a no-show.) Save this article if you're looking ahead: Most restaurants open on T-Day are likely also to serve on Christmas Eve or Day, ditto New Year's, Easter, Mother's Day, etc.

As a result of the fires, many restaurants were not able to give complete plans for hours and prices in time for our deadline. Please call for any missing information. Restaurants are arranged by geographical area; you need not drive long distances while drowsy. I haven't eaten at all of them, so caveat emptor. The list includes numerous community favorites where the warm feeling is as much a draw as the fare. If there's nothing listed in your area or you're planning on a nearby getaway, nearly all large hotels, resorts, and gambling casinos unaffected by the fires offer Thanksgiving dinners, often as buffets. If you're in a restaurant-starved region, several suburban "family-style" chains (Boston Market, Marie Callender's, Mimi's, et al.) will also be serving a holiday menu of their customary quality.

Prices quoted below do not include tip, tax, or beverages unless so noted. "Kiddie prices" generally apply to children from 5--12; toddlers usually eat free. While most prices are for multicourse meals or all-you-can-eat buffets, a few buy only well-laden entrée plates.

Take-Home Fare

Enjoying ready-made feasts at home is a growing option. Choices range from buying side dishes and desserts, to purchasing a turkey that's more savory than a supermarket-roasted bird, on up to taking home the entire meal. The following places are all known for good cooking:

Barnes BBQ, 2625 Lemon Grove Avenue (at Cypress, tucked in the back of Liquor Mart Square), Lemon Grove, 619-462-9206. BYO Bird: Tote a fully thawed raw turkey to the BBQ, and they'll smoke-cook it for you for $1.25 per pound. You can pick it up on Wednesday, along with sides of cornbread, pies, veggies, etc. Call November 16--18 to reserve your smoking time.

Estancia (see La Jolla). Full turkey feast to go, whole bird serving 8--10 for $120, half-bird serving 4--7 for $70, extra pies $15 each. Order by noon November 18, pick up on T-day before 3:00 p.m.

Four Seasons Resort Aviara (see North Coast). Full feasts to go (10--15 pounds) $250 to serve 4--8, $408 for 7--10. Pick up on T-Day. Call 72 hours ahead.

Loews Coronado Bay Resort (see South Bay). "Turkey to Go" full dinner for five is $175; for 7, $225. Reserve 48 hours in advance.

Magnolias, Market Creek Square, 342 Euclid Avenue (off Market Street), Lincoln Park, 619-262-6005. No turkeys this year, but you can pick up sweet-potato pies, fruit cobblers, and side dishes to go. Call a few days ahead to reserve the pastries, and pick up all items on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.

Mardi Gras Café & Marketplace, 3185 Midway Drive, Loma Portal, 619-223-5501. Cajun-style marinated deep-fried turkey, $5 per pound ($4 per pound if you bring a thawed bird), pick up on Wednesday or early Thursday morning. Order up to a week before. They can also furnish Louisiana-style side dishes.

Pamplemousse (see North Coast). Gourmet takeout T-Day dinners for six people or more are available from this famed destination. Call for details. Order at least 48 hours ahead.

St. Tropez Bakery & Bistro, locations in Encinitas, Rancho Bernardo, Hillcrest, Horton Plaza, and Little Italy, call 858-404-0642 to order. You can get the whole megillah, including roast free-range turkey to feed 8--10 for $199, or to feed 12--15 at $299, with all the trimmings and choice of house-baked pies. Turkey and/or sides also available separately. Order 72 hours in advance, pick up Wednesday or Thursday at the nearest location, or get delivery for $50 more.

Savory (see North Coast). Order up a roasted turkey dinner serving 10--12. Call for price and menu. Phone at least 72 hours ahead to reserve your feast.

Eat-Out Feasts

North Coast and Gold Coast

Addison, Grand Del Mar, 5200 Grand Del Mar Way, Del Mar, 858-369-6032. New luxury restaurant, four courses $105, five courses $120 (no kiddie prices), noon--7:00 p.m.

Bellefleur, Carlsbad Company Stores, 5610 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, 760-603-1919. Buffet $40, $13 kids, 11:00 a.m.--6:00 p.m.

Chart House, 2588 South Coast Highway 101, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, 760-436-4044. Regular à la carte menu, turkey entrée $25, kids $10, 11:00 a.m.--8:00 p.m.

Dining Room at the Inn, the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, 858-756-1131. Champagne buffet in beautiful setting $60, kids $24, 11:00 a.m.--5:00 p.m.

Encinitas Café, 531 South Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, 760-632-0919. Full turkey dinner including dessert about $14, 1:00--8:00 p.m.

Four Seasons Resort Aviara, 7100 Four Seasons Point, Carlsbad, 760-603-3773 for all restaurants. Argyle Cafe (on golf course) 11:00 a.m.--8:00 p.m., and California Bistro 11:30 a.m.--8:00 p.m. Champagne buffet $85, kids $42.50. Vivace Restaurant, deluxe four-course menu with many choices $110, 4:00--9:00 p.m.

Karl Strauss Brewery and Restaurant, 5801 Armada Drive, Carlsbad, 760-431-2739. Regular à la carte menu, 11:30 a.m.--9:00 p.m.

La Costa Resort and Spa, Costa Del Mar Road, La Costa, 760-438-9111. Legends: buffet $65, kids $33, plus 20 percent gratuity, 11:30 a.m.--6:00 p.m. Blue Fire Grill: buffet $60, kids $25, plus 20 percent gratuity, 1:00--6:00 p.m.

Mille Fleurs, 6009 Paseo Delicias, Rancho Santa Fe, 858-756-3085. Three-course dinner by renowned chef Martin Woesle. Call for hours and exact price (about $60). Reserve ASAP, this one always fills up early.

Ocean House, 300 Carlsbad Village Drive (at Highway 101), Carlsbad, 760-729-4131. Champagne brunch buffet in a historic Victorian seaside mansion (under new ownership) $40, kids $25, little kids $15, under 3, $4, 9:30 a.m.--3:30 p.m. Traditional Thanksgiving dinner à la carte, $21 or less, 3:00 p.m.--midnight.

Pacifica Del Mar, Del Mar Plaza, 1555 Camino Del Mar (at 15th Street), Del Mar, 858-792-0476. Three-course dinner, choice of entrées, $36--$47, kids $16, noon--9:00 p.m.

Pamplemousse Grille, 514 Via de la Valle, Solana Beach, 858-792-9090. Chef Jeffrey Straus's three-course dinner with choice of entrées $55, kids $24, 2:00--7:00 p.m.

Paradise Grill, Flower Hill Mall, 2690 Via de la Valle (at I-5 off-ramp), Del Mar, 858-350-0808. Four-course menu $39, à la carte kiddie menu, 1:00--8:00 p.m.

Poseidon, 1670 Coast Boulevard (at 15th Street), Del Mar, 858-755-9345. Fixed-price sit-down menu with ocean view $40--$50, 11:00 a.m.--8:00 p.m.

Red Tracton's, 550 Via de la Valle, Solana Beach, 858-755-6600. Traditional Thanksgiving dinner $21 per person; whole turkey carved at table for $33 per person ($27 kids) for tables of four or more (reserve five days ahead), 2:00--9:00 p.m.

Savory, 267 North El Camino Real, Encinitas, 760-634-5556. Chef Pascal Vignau's three-course meal with choice of entrées $37.50--$43, noon--8:00 p.m., or à la carte meals, 3:00 p.m.--8:00 p.m.

Silks, Del Mar Hilton, 15575 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, 858-764-6060. Brunch, call for hours and prices.

North Inland:

Bernard'O, 12457 Rancho Bernardo Road, Rancho Bernardo, 858-487-7171. Live music, lovely room with live dinner jazz, three-course dinner with choice of entrée $20--$29, regular kiddie menu available, 1:30--7:00 p.m.

Café Champagne, Thornton Winery, 32575 Rancho California Road, Temecula, 951-699-0088. Choice of entrées, appetizers, desserts $45, kids $20, noon--5:00 p.m.

Centre City Cafe, 2680 South Escondido Boulevard, Escondido, 760-489-6011. Informal atmosphere, affordable ($10--$15 and under). À la carte holiday choices including turkey entrée, 7:00 a.m.--9:00 p.m.

Gordon's on the Green, Lake San Marcos Resort, 1750 San Pablo Drive, Lake San Marcos, 760-744-9385. Buffet $27, kids under 10, $12, 11:00 a.m.--7:00 p.m.

The Quail Inn Dining Room, 1035 La Bonita Drive, Lake San Marcos, 760-744-2445. Buffet in scenic resort $36, kids $18, 12:30--6:30 p.m. Family-style sit-down dinners in the Lakeside Room (with lake view), same prices and times.

Rancho Bernardo Inn, 17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive (at Rancho Bernardo Road), 858-675-8500. Ballroom champagne buffet brunch $48, kids $25 to age 14, a famously lavish spread, 11:30 a.m.--5:30 p.m. Veranda Bar and Grille, 858-675-8555, three-course meal $42, kids $25, 11:30 a.m.--9:00 p.m. El Bizcocho, 858-675-8550, four courses $68 adult, $105 with matching wines, kids $25, 2:00--8:00 p.m.

Rancho Valencia, 5921 Valencia Circle, Rancho Santa Fe, 858-759-6216. Four-course meal with several entrée choices in beautiful surroundings, price TBA (about $75), kids half-price, noon--7:30 p.m.

Temet Grill, Temecula Creek Inn, 44501 Rainbow Canyon Road, Temecula, 951-694-1000. Buffet $43, kids $18, 11:00 a.m.--4:00 p.m.

Wild Animal Park, Nairobi Pavilion, 760-738-5155 (call 10:00 a.m.--4:00 p.m.). Buffet dinner $30, kids $18, noon--4:00 p.m. Reservations required. Free entry to park for members; nonmembers must pay regular admission.

La Jolla and

Golden Triangle:

Arterra, San Diego Marriott Del Mar, 11966 El Camino Real, Carmel Valley, 858-369-6032. Three-course prix-fixe dinner $55, kids $15, noon--6:00 p.m.

A.R. Valentien, Lodge at Torrey Pines, 11480 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, 858-777-6635. Chef Jeff Jackson's three-course holiday dinner $75, kids $30, noon--9:00 p.m.

Estancia La Jolla, 9700 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, 858-550-1000. Chef Jesse Frost (formerly of Prince of Wales) presides over a champagne brunch buffet $45, kids $25, 11:00--3:00 p.m.; dinner 5:30--3:00 p.m.

George's at the Cove, 1250 Prospect Street, La Jolla, 858-454-4244. À la carte menu of chef Trey Foshee's seasonal specials in the dining room, entrées alone $26--$44; more casual, moderately priced menu on the sea-view Terrace, 1:00--9:00 p.m.

Jack's La Jolla, 7863 Gerard, La Jolla, 858-456-8111. Dinner in the Ocean Room, expensive, call for prices, 3:00--7:00 p.m. Dining room sold out.

La Valencia Hotel, Mediterranean Room and Whaling Room, 1132 Prospect Street (at Herschel), La Jolla, 858-454-0771. Four-course dinner $72, kids $32.50, seatings at 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. (later seatings sold out). Sky Room probably sold out.

Marine Room, 2000 Spindrift Drive, La Jolla, 858-459-7222. Chef Bernard Guillas's à la carte holiday menu with a close-up ocean view and adventurous cuisine, expensive (turkey entrée $32), noon--7:00 p.m.

Nine-Ten, Grande Colonial Hotel, 910 Prospect Street, La Jolla, 858-964-5400. Chef Jason Knibb rides the range at a four-course Thanksgiving menu with a choice of entrées $65 ($90 with matched wines), kids $19, 2:00--8:00 p.m.

The Shores, Sea Lodge, 8110 Camino del Oro, La Jolla, 858-456-0600. Family-friendly seaside atmosphere, buffet $41, kids aged 7--12, $19; under 6, $3 per year, 11:00 a.m.--7:00 p.m.

Torreyana Grille, Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, 10950 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, 858-450-4571. Lavish holiday buffet $55 includes glass of champagne, kids $18, 11:00 a.m.--7:00 p.m.


The Atoll, Catamaran Resort Hotel, 3999 Mission Boulevard, Mission Beach, 858-539-8635. Buffet brunch $47, kids $20, 11:00 a.m.--2:30 p.m. Buffet dinner $35, kids $14, 6:00--10:00 p.m. (Note: no catamaran cruise this year.)

Bahia Resort Hotel, 998 West Mission Bay Drive, Mission Beach, 858-539-7635. Champagne brunch buffet in ballroom $37, kids $19, 11:00 a.m.--3:00 p.m. Dinner in hotel restaurant $29, kids $18, 5:30--10:30 p.m. (Note: no catamaran cruise this year.)

Baleen, Paradise Point Resort, 1404 Vacation Road, Mission Bay, 858-490-6363. Brunch buffet in charming resort setting $65, kids $28, noon--7:00 p.m.

Bali Hai, 2230 Shelter Island Drive, Shelter Island, 619-222-1181. Family ambience, traditional buffet $32, kids $17, age 7 and under $9, 11:00 a.m.--8:00 p.m.

Blue Pearl Restaurant, the Dana on Mission Bay, 1770 West Mission Bay Drive, Mission Bay, 619-222-4198. Marina view, three courses with choice of entrée $13--$24, kids $11 for entrée only, noon--8:00 p.m.

Harbor's Edge, Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina, 1380 Harbor Island Drive, Harbor Island, 619-692-2255. Marina view, family-friendly atmosphere with holiday buffet $45, kids $21, noon--8:00 p.m.

Humphrey's by the Bay, 2241 Shelter Island Drive, Shelter Island, 619-224-3577. Champagne brunch with a marina view and live jazz $43, kids $17, 11:00 a.m.--4:00 p.m.

Island Prime, 800 Harbor Island Drive, 619-298-6802. Chef Deborah Scott's three-course menu $45, kids $20, two-hour time limit for eating, $100 credit card deposit for reservations, 1:00--7:00 p.m.

Jordan (JRDN), 4551 Ocean Boulevard, Pacific Beach, 858-270-5736. Four-course oceanside dinner with choice of entrée ranging from turkey to Maine lobster $45--$77, kids $TBA, 1:00 p.m.--8:00 p.m.

Kaiserhof, 2253 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard (West Point Loma Boulevard), Ocean Beach, 619-224-0606. À la carte entrée choices including goose for $15--$30 per entrée. Call for hours and specific prices.

Nick's at the Beach, 809 Thomas Avenue, Pacific Beach, 858-270-1730. Full feast on into the night $16, 11:00 a.m.--1:00 a.m. (Yes, that late.)

Nick's at the Pier, 5083 Santa Monica Avenue, 619-222-7437. Sit-down dinner $18, kids $TBA, 11:00 a.m.--1:00 a.m.

Red Sails Inn, 2614 Shelter Island Drive, Shelter Island, 619-223-3030. Traditional dinner $17, kids $9, 2:00 p.m.--11:00 p.m.

Thee Bungalow, 4996 West Point Loma Boulevard, Ocean Beach, 619-224-2884. Three-course dinner in cozy cottage, entrée choices including goose $40, kids $15, 1:00--8:00 p.m.

Tom Ham's Lighthouse, end of Harbor Island Drive, Harbor Island, 619-291-9110. Convivial buffet $31.50, kids $16.50, $9 under age 6, 11:30 a.m.--9:00 p.m.

World Famous, 711 Pacific Beach Drive, Pacific Beach, 858-272-3100. Right on the boardwalk, buffet $30, kids $10, 11:00 a.m.--5:00 p.m.

Mission Valley and the Mesas:

Butcher Shop Steakhouse, 5255 Kearny Villa Road, Kearny Mesa, 858-565-2272. Holiday buffet $28, kids $14, noon--8:00 p.m.

94th Aero Squadron, 8885 Balboa Avenue, Kearny Mesa, 858-560-6771. Traditional buffet including one glass of champagne in a fab faux-farmhouse with airport view $27, kids $14, 11:00 a.m.--8:00 p.m.

Tickled Trout, Ramada Plaza Hotel, 2151 Hotel Circle South, 619-291-6505. Price low/moderate, call for hours and details.

Valley Kitchen, Mission Valley Resort, 875 Hotel Circle South, Mission Valley, 619-819-1017. Full holiday dinner, inexpensive. Call for details.

Metropolitan San Diego:

Antique Row Cafe, 3002 Adams Avenue (at 30th Street), Normal Heights, 282-9750. Serving 6:00 a.m.--8:00 p.m., call for menu and prices (moderate).

Bertrand at Mister A's, 2550 Fifth Avenue, Uptown, 619-239-1377. A spectacular view, and chef Stephan Voitzwinkler's three-course dinner $54, kids' menu $TBA, 2:00--9:30 p.m.

Buster's Beach House, 807 West Harbor Drive, Seaport Village, 619-233-4300. Waterfront location, à la carte menu, call for prices and hours.

Cafe Pacifica, 2414 San Diego Avenue, Old Town, 619-291-6666. À la carte holiday menu including turkey entrée $19, kids' plates $5--$10, 5:00--10:00 p.m.

Crest Cafe, 425 Robinson Ave, Hillcrest, 295-2510. A community favorite, open 7:00 a.m.--3:00 p.m., continuous breakfast/lunch. À la carte menu $6--$14, no reservations (first come, first served). Note: closed Christmas Day.

El Fandango, Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, 2734 Calhoun Street, 619-298-2860. Whole turkey and trimmings $30 per person, you take home the leftovers, noon--5:45 p.m.

Hob Nob Hill, 2271 First Avenue, Uptown, 619-239-8176. À la carte holiday menu, with full turkey dinner including dessert $19, many other entrée choices about $17, kids half price, 11:00 a.m.--9:00 p.m.

Hornblower Cruises, tickets/boarding at 1066 North Harbor Drive, downtown, 619-686-8700 (you'll be "on hold" until your phone battery dies). Easiest to reserve online at www.hornblower.com. Thanksgiving champagne buffet afloat $70, seniors and military $65 (ID required), kids $42, 3:00--6:00 p.m. only.

Imperial House, 505 Kalmia (at Sixth Avenue), Uptown, 619-234-3525. Four-course prix-fixe dinner by Balboa Park, many entrée choices $28, kids $18, 11:00--7:00 p.m.

Johnny R's, 2611 El Cajon Boulevard, North Park, 619-291-8239. Special menu, À la carte, affordable ($10--$15), kiddie menu available, plus all-day breakfast, 7:00 a.m.--9:00 p.m.

Lael's Restaurant, Manchester Grand Hyatt, One Market Place, downtown, 619-358-6735. Unlimited champagne buffet $59, seniors $54, kids $28, 11:00 a.m.--7:00 p.m.

McCormick and Schmick's, Omni Hotel, 675 L Street (at Sixth Avenue), downtown, 619-645-6545. À la carte turkey dinner $20, kids $11, plus regular menu items, 11:00 a.m.--8:00 p.m.

Molly's Restaurant, Marriott Hotel, 333 West Harbor Drive (at Front Street), downtown, 619-230-8909. Four courses with choice of entrée (including vegetarian) $55, kids $25, including parking, 2:00--7:00 p.m.

Ole Madrid, 751 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter, 619-557-0146. Turkey or lobster entrée $12, available from noon onward. Brunch 10:00 a.m.--2:00 p.m., dinner 2:00--10:00 p.m.

Quarter Kitchen, Ivy Hotel, 600 F Street at Sixth Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter, 619-814-1000. À la carte dinner, turkey entrée $24, 5:30--11:00 p.m.

Rei Do Gado, 939 Fourth Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter, 619-702-8464. Brazilian skewer-grilled meats including turkey, plus side dishes. Lunch $26 (11:00 a.m.--3:30 p.m.), dinner (4:30--7:00 p.m., last reservation 5:00 p.m.) $44, kids half-price.

Sevilla, 555 Fourth Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter, 619-233-5979. Three-course traditional holiday dinner with Spanish touches, choice of entrées $28, kids $13, 3:00--11:00 p.m.

Terra, 1270 Cleveland Avenue, Hillcrest, 619-293-7088. Three-course holiday dinner with main-course choices including vegetarian entrée $39, kids $13, seatings at 12:30, 2:30, 4:30, and 6:30 p.m.

Westgate Hotel, 1055 Second Avenue, downtown, 619-557-3655 for any of the three venues. Buffet, Le Fontainebleau, Versailles Ballroom, and other rooms $59, kids half-price, 11:00 a.m.--4:30 p.m. Dinner, Le Fontainebleau, $59--$79, kids half-price, 5:00--9:00 p.m. Le Grand Café, fixed-price menu $55, kids half-price, 1:20--10:00 p.m.

Coronado and South Bay:

Coronado Boathouse 1887, 1701 Strand Way, Coronado, 619-435-0155. All-you-can-eat dinner with choice of entrée $35, kids $25, 2:00--8:00 p.m.

Hotel Del Coronado, 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, 619-522-8490 and 435-6611. Holiday buffets in both the Ballroom and the gorgeous Crown Room $80, kids $36, noon--6:00 p.m. 1500 Ocean and Sheerwater, regular menu with holiday specials, 5:00--9:00 p.m.

L'Escale, Coronado Island Marriott, 2000 Second Street, Coronado, 619-435-5000. Sit-down four-course dinner, choice of entrées plus dessert buffet $42, kids $20, 1:00--9:00 p.m.

Loews Coronado Bay Resort, 4000 Coronado Bay Road, Silver Strand, Coronado, 619-424-4000 ext. 6300. Mistral (formerly Azzura Point): regular à la carte menu with special holiday dishes added, entrées $19--$44, kiddie menu available, 5:30--9:30 p.m. Market Cafe: family atmosphere, brunch buffet $62, kids $31, 1:00--7:00 p.m.

Peohe's, Ferry Landing Marketplace, 1201 First Street, Coronado, 619-437-4474. Waterfront view, tropical decor, special holiday menu and à la carte, including turkey dinner $26, kids $10, 11:30 a.m.--8:00 p.m.

East County and Far East

Alpine Bread Basket, 1347 Tavern Road, Alpine, 619-445-0706. Call for prices and format. Noon--4:00 p.m.

Thornton's Irish Pub and Chophouse, 1221 Broadway, El Cajon, 619-447-5665. Live Irish music accompanies your hearty feast. Open 11:00 a.m.--9:00 p.m. Call for prices, details.

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