Blue Wave Bar and Grill, tucked inside the Best Western Island Palms Hotel, boasts of all the delights coastal San Diego has to offer. Providing waterfront dining on picturesque Shelter Island, it serves as a tropically inspired destination with all the fitting accommodations. While selecting from any of the restaurant’s stunning breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, or visiting for its popular happy hour, diners can take in the pleasures of the restaurant’s lovely outdoor patio and views of the hotel’s private marina. Executive Chef Marc Brislin crafts a menu ranging from macadamia-crusted halibut to oven roasted Filet Mignon with shitake mushroom demi-glace and everything in between. Whether it be a sampling of one of the many appetizing small plates, an elongated happy hour in the lounge, or a sumptuous evening meal, Blue Wave Bar and Grill invites you to come and stay awhile.Read More ...
Picture yourself coming back to port after sailing; it’s still sunny and you don’t want to call it a day yet. Dock on the Blue Wave Bar and Grill’s pier, walk up the rustic steps and make yourself at home on the patio with a tangy cocktail as you lose yourself in the view of a thousand masts and the blue of the bay. If coming by land, as you walk into the lobby of the Best Western Island Palms Hotel and Marina, you’ll be greeted by the roar of the water falling free from a cascade set among green plants and palm trees reminiscent of a tropical Island. This entrance is a nice prelude to the Blue Wave Bar and Grill’s new South Pacific-inspired decor.
This charming restaurant offers indoor seating in a spacious room decorated with Polynesian carved wood motifs surrounded by large windows that invite in the breathtaking waterfront views. The 20 or so tables in the main dining room are set apart at a comfortable distance from each other to allow for private conversations. Adjacent to this space is a private area that can be reserved for large groups. On the patio, the panoramic view of the sky, the blue bay water, the palm trees, and the myriad boats and yachts frolicking on the water will transport you to instant serenity. The level of noise in both areas is quite moderate and the background music is conducive to quiet conversation.
The bar has a beat of its own; a popular room with TV screens, it is often bustling with business people on a break, tourists looking for a quick bite from the Americana menu, and sports aficionados in need of a score and a beer. Should the noise level rise, the handy door may be closed to avoid the over-enthusiasm from spilling into the quieter dining room. Maria Isabel, our hostess, shows us to a table in the main dining room where we are promptly greeted by our personable server, Tom.
Tom answers questions about the bar’s specialty libations and the selection of wines by the glass, and then shows us handsome menus for bar finger foods and a variety of refreshing drinks. I order a Shelter Island Iced Tea, the bar tender’s pride. My friend orders the Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio, which is available by the glass.
While we wait for our drinks we review the dinner menu, which places an emphasis on Polynesian-fusion creations. We get excited about the menu’s variety of ingredients like the soy and brown sugar vinaigrette of the adobo and the liberal use of tropical fruit in the dish preparations.
When Tom serves us our drinks we take a moment to savor them. My Shelter Island Iced Tea enters my palate in layers of sweet and sour sensations, then finishes with the punch of the master mix of rum, gin, and tequila. I take a taste of the Pinot Grigio and find that this white grape holds its own as it lingers in the mouth to disperse its fruity tones before it leaves slowly.
Tom returns with a large, slightly concave white ceramic plate presenting an unlikely duo of Hawaiian Pork Belly and Ahi Poke separated by a long strip of bright green banana leaf. The poke has been marinated in soy sauce and sesame oil. The slightly smoky background taste of the marinade is complemented by the sweetness of fresh chives in such a way that the smooth diced Ahi takes on the flavors like fish to water and the palate celebrates the magical union. The intriguing pork square is delicately glazed in pineapple juice and roasted. The caramelized and somewhat crisp skin contrasts with the buttery texture of the meat, but coordinate brilliantly as one bite. The plate is sprinkled with exotic lava salt, which turns out to be one of Executive Chef Marc Brislin’s favorite ingredients.
Between courses, Food and Beverage Manager Jess Diaz tells us about the transformations the restaurant has undergone since it was built in 1958. Of the several phases, one he recalls is when the present dining room was a sort of game room with pool tables and a popcorn machine -- a far cry from the elegant decor of today. Along with the remodeling, the Blue Wave Bar and Grill has also experienced transformations with the style and presentations of the food they serve. Chef Brislin is aware of an increasingly knowledgeable clientele made savvy by popular food shows on TV, and strives to satisfy these discerning palates.
This awareness certainly shows in the next two courses. The ti leaf pan-roasted filet of Sea Bass arrives on beautiful white china, resting on a bed of sticky rice beside a drizzling of tangerine oil. The golden brown filet is topped with a mound of green, peculiar little stems reminiscent of a blend between broccolini and asparagus. Luckily, Tom is there to explain that this exotic plant known as “Sea Beans” is found along the coast of Ensenada. We fork-slice into the tender fish to grab a bite of all these appealing elements. The slight tartness of the sea beans tames the sweetness of the tangerine oil, making a harmonious combination with each bite of the firm but flaky fish. The fruity tones of the Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio enhance the sweet and sour sensations of the dish.
We continue with the char-broiled New York Steak served with match stick russets and steamed asparagus. This dish takes the French dish of steak and fries, or “Steak Frites,” to the next level with the addition of a demi-glace, which is a sauce made by reducing herb-infused veal stock with red wine. I am seduced by the first bite: the knife cuts into the succulent steak, the fork secures the meat, picks up some fries, and sweeps through the sauce while my mouth waters in anticipation. The slight acidity of the demi-glace brings out the fresh beef flavor and the fries lend extra texture to each delicious bite.
Before we engage in this culinary pleasure I ask Tom to recommend a red wine pairing for the steak. He brings a 2005 Saint Francis Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma Valley. The berry undertones of this slightly oaked wine are a nice complement to the demi-glace. The wine carte offers Cabernets, Pinots and Merlots among many white grapes that emphasize the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, while honoring the up and coming areas of Oregon punctuated by a few Argentine varieties like the famed Malbec.
To end on a sweet note, Tom presents us with a Trio of Dessert Shooters, a presentation dreamed up by Chef Brislin to offer an array of sweet samples to the diner. One of the pretty glasses holds a sort of deconstructed Baklava with the pistachio and honey filling on the bottom and discs of crisp phillo dough adorning the top. A spoonful of the two elements has the effect of eating the traditional baked layers of this crunchy Greek favorite. The Key Lime Pie shooter is prepared with the crust in the bottom and the Hawaiian lime custard on top, and is garnished with a slice of caramelized lime. It is a sweet and tart delight that makes the taste buds cringe so slightly until the sweetness reaches them to finish the tangy effect. Last is the Tiramisu with cognac and espresso coffee, a classic favorite reminiscent of my mom’s desserts.
Executive Chef Marc Brislin brings all his experience, imagination, and talents into his menu and it shows in the presentation and the obvious skill of method and preparation. There’s nothing else to do but linger with the remaining wine, relishing the tasty experience we just had.
The staff smile a “see-you-soon” smile as we walk out, the bar is alive with lively conversation, the boats and yachts rest in their stalls, and the lights sparkle in the quiet blue bay waters inviting us to visit them again, and again.
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Woderful food, bar and ambiance. My wife and I loved it and plan to return on our next visit to San Diego.
WELL DONE AND QUITE PLACE FOR DINNER. STAFF IS EXCELLENT AND FOOD WAS GREAT.
Not crowded, great service with a good price. Would most certainly go again. Nice place to go for those not wanting a lot of people on New Years Eve!
Excellent meal through out, Great service and Awesome views!
If you have out of town visitors, or just want a relaxing place to enjoy a wonderful meal, definitely check out Blue Wave Bar & Grill! Every time I go, it's such a great experience...I guess that's why I keep coming back. If it's not too chilly, sit out on the patio and take in the view of Point Loma and the marina. Don't forget your Entertainment card - this is one of the few restaurants that doesn't punch it, so you can use it again and again. Their burger is delish, as is their seafood and pasta. Whatever you choose, you can't go wrong.
Prior to attending the concert at Humphrey's, my friends and I enjoyed happy hour cocktails and appetizers at the Blue Wave Bar and Grill. Couldn't have been happier - the food was delicious, not overpriced and the mixed drinks blended perfectly. Lovely view of the San Diego skyline from our window seats.
We celebrated our son's graduation at the Blue Wave restaurant. They did a great job handling our party, prepared special menu's, the food was excellent, everything was perfect. I know where we'll celebrating our daughters graduation!
We live in lakeside and it is always a treat to go eat at some of the local restaurants on the water. The Blue Wave has great relaxing atmosphere and a fabulous affordable menu. We wouldn't hesitate to make a return visit. Al/Jan Turner
Great food, great service, and great views!!! Doesn't get much better than that!
We had a wonderful time at the Blue Wave. The food was excellent and the window seat was wonderful. We highly recommend it.
The view is fabulous and the food is terrific, what's not to like?! Don't miss this great restaurant, especially good for lunch so you can enjoy looking out over the water and boats. Be sure to sit out on the patio if the weather is nice.
The food was excellent, the ambiance was excellent and the service was excellent! Can't wait to go back!
This is a nice restaurant, with delicious food and service. My husband had the seafood rissotto and he loved it.
I love going to concerts at Humphreys by the Bay, but it is very often impossible to get a dinner reservation there the night of a concert. So instead, I go to the Blue Wave Bar and Grill. I have found the service to be excellent, the location is great, and the food is very tasty. The Blue Wave is walking distance to the concert site at Humphreys, so I consider it a win-win when I have dinner there Blue Wave. Good location, good service, and good food!
Four of us enjoyed excellent food for outstanding prices. Loved being right on the water with a great view. We will return again and again.
We invited our dinner group of 35+ years to join us at Blue Wave. Although service was not up to its usual standards, the food was terrific and drinks delicious. We will be back.
Good, well prepared food and friendly service. The atmosphere is quiet with view of boats in the harbor. This is a restaurant where you can actually carry on a conversation and hear what the other person is saying. I would definitely take friends from out of town or meet friends here for lunch or dinner at this restaurant. Bonnie 5-13-2012
I loved and enjoyed the view of the marina and the value of the food. Expecially the lunch menu. Great food at a great price. For luncn I'd also try the burger. It's not just your basic hamburger. The bun is tasty and has a light texture, not hard and dry. The meat is flavorable and moist. The dinner menu is a little different but just as delightful. The Sea Bass is my favorite item on the menu. The bread is wonderful. It comes hot out of the oven. The staff is great and work very well with you when you have a deadline to meet such as a concert or show.
The restaurant was a decent place to dine, although it was a little less than what I expected. I ordered a macadamia crusted halibut, which was good but a little on the dry side but my girlfriend says her salmon was very good. The ambiance was ok, but if I were to do it again, I would rather be seated inside next to the window, at least we would have a view of the marina in peace. We sat outside and the first 15 minutes were fine and were enjoying ourselves, but outdoor seating is next to the hotel's pool where the guests got rowdy. What I thought was a calling sea lion turned out to be a guest in the pool, not that they're not allowed to be loud and have fun, just not what I expected at dinner. Other than that, the experience was enjoyable, the waitress as courteous as she was tried to position the heat lamps so that the two of us were not too cold.
The food prices were very reasonable for the location. My wife loved the scallops and my salmon was so-so, but the service and ambiance were great. All in all, we were very pleased.
I ate ate all my meals at the restaurant for a three day stay. I tried many of the dishes and they were excellent! Ambiance is very, very nice! Service is slow due to lack of wait staff. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for good food wanting a view of the Marina, this is the place to be!
Despite some wind and slight chill, the outdoor patio dining is always a pleasure, especially for lunch. The wraps, sandwiches, and pasta were tastely, with all lunch items around $10. It took longer to get the bill when the waiter disappeared, and it then it took two time to get the credit card amount correct since we used a coupon. Overall, a nice experience.
On your wife's birthday, you have to go where she wants. Seafood is never my first choice, but the salmon, scallops, and shrimp were absolutely fantastic. I will definitely visit the Blue Wave again in the near future.
The people were really friendly and courteous. Perhaps maybe too much. The food took along time to come out. I think we waited like 40 minutes from when we ordered to when the food came out. Despite that it was a good overall experience. AS I mentioned the whole staff was friendly and the food was pretty good. A nice place to walk around after dinner too.
The service was good and the food was great!
Most people don't think of Shelter Island as a dining destination in San Diego. However, if you are looking for very tasty food at quite reasonable prices, the Blue Wave Bar and Grill on Shelter Island is an excellent choice. We tried several appetizers and main courses and all of us were very happy with the preparations. All the dishes tasted great and were delivered in a timely manner by a very attentive and knowledgeable server. Our overall experience was excellent and we will return.
Quiet intimate restaurant with nice ambiance if you enjoy Marina views. California Casual. We will probably return. Salmon was a bit burned, but good otherwise.
Really enjoyed the ambiance and the convenience to Humprey's by the Bay b~
My husband and I were in San Diego for a local concert and loved the fact that we were able to walk to this restaurant from our hotel and then walk to the concert. They even have a "Concert Menu" with a nice selection at a very nice price. We had a wonderful evening!
Great view of the marina. Choice of outdoor or indoor dining. The food was excellent, I would definitely go there again.
Waitperson was excellent! Food was not as expected. We will be back due to service and knowing it was a preset menu and may not have been prepared to order.
We took some friends we hadn't seen in a while so we required time to talk and visit, great wine and great food. The ambiance was perfect, view of the boats bayside, candlelites, soft music, etc. Waiters could have been more attentive and quicker on the delivery and removal of dirty plates but overall, a great experience.
I chose the Blue Wave Bar and Grill to celebrate my 40th birthday as I wanted to try some place I had never been before. The location and ambiance was nice with a very pretty view. However, first off they didn't have our reservation on their books even though I had made it online 2-3 days prior. We waited 15 minutes for them to prepare a table. Once we ordered it took the server over 30 minutes to bring our appetizers and bread. Then, dinner came out a few minutes later and we weren't done with our appetizers yet. The filet mignon was just average. The halibut and New York strip steak was just ok and the ribs were boring, per my party's reactions. Dessert was good and probably the only highlight to the evening. Overall experience was just ok. Don't waste your money, we felt the food was overpriced for the quality we received!
Very average restaurant for the price
We were here on April 10/11 for dinner @ 6:30 PM. The restaurant was great,the views out standing except; When we made the reservation, we asked for a quite table, not by the bar,kitchen,heavy foot trafic or by the bathrooms, we were seatted right next to the glass door entrance into the bar and into the restaurant, and when the glass door was left open it was very noisy!!!! This is their idea of a quite table,not our idea!The waiter Dan, was superb!!!! We ordered the special ( Filet Manion ) Medium, it came 45 minutes later and the steaks were cooked Medium Well! Horrible, we sent them both back,the Manager came out and apologized, she offered to comp drinks or an appetizer,we choose the Shrimp Appetizer, fantastic! an hour has gone by and no ( RE FIRE ) entrees yet, the table across from us, the gentelmen ordered a steak as well, his was Well Done, he sent his back, the manager comped them 2 desserts, he waited well over an hour, we were all laughing at this point, what else are we to do, getting angry will not acomlish anything, when our entrees came out, they were smaller a little less well done than the last time, the gentelmen across his steak came out RARE, he couldn't eat much of it,he sent it back. Entrees took over 2 hours and they still were not cooked to order. Dessert:,my husband had the Cheese cake, it was ok he said, I had the Chocolate cake, FABULOUS! the couple across from us had Terimussi, and chocolate cake, they thought it was wonderful!! Did you know that the kitchen to the restaurant is behind the restrooms of the hotel, they bring the food through the hotel by the restrooms and into the only main entrance to the restaurant, no wonder our food was luke warm! The Asparagus was not even aldente,it was raw! The shrip cake was hard and like rubber! awful! Where is Chief Rahmsey when you need him! We will NOT be back ever again! Horrible. The views of the harbor were breath taking,the restaurant food was horrible! Good Luck!! Wayne and Jeanette