Greystone the Steakhouse

658 5th Avenue, San Diego CA 92101
$$$$ Steak Editor's Pick Special Offer

From the traditional Italian oregano to soy sauce and tropical mango, Greystone the Steakhouse on 5th Avenue in downtown San Diego displays a variety of flavors which will please the simple diner as well as the food connoisseur. Great steaks, exotic game, hearty fish and home-made pasta are prepared fresh and skillfully. They even have an award winning wine list awaiting you at this fine restaurant. Come for the food and stay for the warm family style of service in an atmosphere that retains the charm of the old theatre in which the restaurant was built.

Greystone, A Family Affair With an Italian Flair

Review by

It is hard to decide which table at Greystone is the best.

The terrace at the front of the establishment is quite inviting for dining. Here, you can dine al fresco on white linens set with immaculate white china and sparkling stemware. The spacious dining room is split in three levels with 2 elegant staircases going down to one then up the other.

The graceful décor is reminiscent of the old theatre that it once was, with the stage now serving as the bar-lounge area. As I sit on the comfortable bar stool listening to the bar tender’s story, I imagine the burlesque performers dance while the boisterous navy and marine boys cheer them on. The bar/lounge area is lively with conversation and laughter. The giant paintings on the walls depict Chef Vincenzo Lo Verso’s pride and joy, “Skip to the stone”, a champion race-horse. These lively portraits make the place exciting with color. The two levels of the formal dining room are quieter in mood, with impeccable tables in elegant white and black. Soft music playing in the background creates a gentle ambiance. The upper floor offers several cozy spots for romantic dining, either by the fireplace or by the stylish rail.

Peter Busalacchi, the general manager, shows us the private dining room which doubles as a wine showroom and features its own fireplace. The room is perfect for large parties of up to 16 guests and business meetings since it is equipped with a large projection screen. The tables throughout the restaurant are comfortably spaced to allow for private conversation and plenty of elbow room. The staff’s polite demeanor makes my companion and I feel as if we were somewhere in the Old World. Gabriele, our server, gives us a menu and we marvel at the variety of dishes that reflect Chef Vincenzo Lo Verso’s international gastronomic skills. This menu boasts everything from pasta preparations of his native Italy to poultry and exotic game cooked to emphasize their natural goodness.

We are eager to read the wine list since we’ve seen the seven consecutive awards granted to Greystone by Wine Connoisseur magazine, all of which are framed in black and adorning a hallway near the open kitchen. The wine menu’s generous selection places an emphasis on Napa Valley whites and reds, but also features a nice assortment of French Champagne such as the classic Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin (1998) and Dom Pérignon, “Cuvee” and Domaine Carneros, sparkling wine from Sonoma.

While we read a list of almost 30 California Pinot Noirs  accompanied by a myriad of Cabernets and white wines from Italy or Argentina, our server comes to our table bearing two white platters whose aromas make our mouths water with expectation. One of the platters holds an appetizer of Sautéed Mushrooms stuffed with a mix of crab and bread crumbs which has been cooked in a chardonnay lemon sauce. As we savor them, we perceive that the tender and subtle sweetness of the crab meat has been infused with the tanginess of the lemon and the acidity of the wine in tasty harmony, the aroma of fresh herbs completes the pleasing effect. To accompany our appetizer, Gabriele suggests a glass of 2008 Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. The full flavor of this bright wine is composed of lemon tones and gooseberry aromas that are a good match for the lemon chardonnay sauce and balance the hint of piquancy of the tasty bites.

The other platter features the Greystone Salad, an arrangement of mixed baby greens, pears poached in red wine, stilton cheese and candied walnuts all tossed in a creamy lemon mustard vinaigrette. The feast of flavors and contrast of textures is a gift to the palate. The tartness of the greens in combination with the sweet crunch of the walnuts are emphasized with the citrus notes of the vinaigrette and complemented by the salty and sour creaminess of the stilton.

While we enjoy our dinner in the terrace, the banquet manager Veronica Goodwin talks to us about what it’s like to work at Greystone.  She tells us that she admires how Chef Lo Verso treats his employees as if they were his family. This creates an easy and enjoyable atmosphere which is apparent even to the guests who enjoy the old fashion friendly service as provided by the staff.

Our next dish is a pair of succulent Colorado Lamb Chops served on a bed of risotto and flavored with Swiss chard and basted in a pear infused Cabernet reduction, a sauce made by evaporating wine, herbs and butter until the flavors concentrate and a the liquid thickens. The chops have a perfectly browned exterior and a juicy tender interior. The plate is garnished with creamy crumbles of gorgonzola cheese. The sweetness of the pear infused wine reduction is a foil for the distinctive taste of the lamb, while the savory sour notes of the gorgonzola work to bring all the flavors to harmony in every bite.

Gabriele suggests a glass of Duckhorn Vineyards, Golden eye Pinot Noir 2006 from Napa Valley for this dish and again, he was right on target.  With its undertones of berries and vanilla as well as the subtle notes of chocolate, this wine agrees with the distinctive flavor of lamb and works in concert with the Cabernet reduction to achieve a palatable ending.

Our culinary experience is enhanced with a dish that is full of smoky, woody and sweet aromas.  Our dish of fresh Salmon came wrapped in crisp apple wood smoked bacon and boldly covered in a Pinot Noir and mushroom reduction. The beautiful filet was presented over a bed of creamy risotto cooked with kernels of yellow corn and the presentation was finished with lengthwise slices of caramelized bokchoy. The delicate and sweet flesh of the salmon is permeated with the smoky and salty flavor of the bacon and set off by the tanginess of the wine reduction. When combined with the slight bitterness of the bokchoy and the creaminess of the risotto, each bite is complete with sweet and sour tones and a diversity of contrasting textures lent by the crispiness of the vegetables and the smoothness of the salmon flesh.

The festival of flavors continues with a cut of Buffalo Tenderloin. For the leanest red meat you’ll ever find, this cut is juicy and even slightly sweet for game meat. It is served on a bed of mashed potatoes seasoned with garlic and Swiss chard. A rich port wine reduction basted the tenderloin which was garnished with dry figs and poached pears. The tender meat renders its juices as I slice into it. As the juices  mingle with the port reduction, I pinch softly into the flesh with my fork and sweep through the mound of mashed potatoes and chard. The result is a blast of flavors. The sweetness of the fruit complementing the bitterness of the chard, the tartness of the wine reduction, and the smoothness of the potatoes  were enfolding all the flavors of the tender loin.

We finish our dream of flavors with a pair of desserts that seem to represent the beauty, elegance, and taste of this lovely restaurant. Our Lava Cake is served crowned with a scoop of luscious vanilla gelato. Mama mia! Each bite of runny hot chocolate cake that contrasts with the smooth cold gelato is sweet and bitter as well as cold and hot. It is a dessert made in heaven. The Tiramisu is a pleasure of smooth and elegant layers of mascarpone cream and moist cake dipped in coffee and garnished with a dust of slightly bitter cocoa to balance the sweetness of the cream.

We have our sweets while taking in the atmosphere of a slightly warm late summer night, enjoying the view of people walking by. We decide that the terrace is the perfect place to sit on a night like this.  On our next visit, we will have to experience relaxing in the formal dining room, tasting more of the prize winning wines and perhaps trying some of those Italian specialties we are so curious about.


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Business Info

  • Address: 658 5th Avenue, San Diego CA 92101
  • Cross Street: G Street
  • Location: Downtown
  • Cuisine: None |
  • Cost: | Expensive
  • 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 |
  • Corkage Fee: 15.00 | Per 750ml bottle.
  • Staff: Vincenzo Lo Verso | Executive Chef
  • Phone: (619) 232-0225
  • Features: Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Takeout Available, Working Fireplace, Wheelchair Access,
  • Occasion: None,


Greystone the Steakhouse - Filet Mignon
Greystone the Steakhouse - Private Room Greystone the Steakhouse - Lobster by Greystone the Steakhouse Greystone the Steakhouse - Tartare by Greystone the Steakhouse Greystone the Steakhouse - Tartare by Greystone the Steakhouse Greystone the Steakhouse - Veal Chop Steak Greystone the Steakhouse - Tuna Roll Greystone the Steakhouse - Filet Mignon

Business Hours

Reservations Available
Dinner - Main Dining Area 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Happy Hours - Main Dining Area 4:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Dinner - Main Dining Area 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Happy Hours - Main Dining Area 4:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Dinner - Main Dining Area 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Happy Hours - Main Dining Area 4:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Dinner - Main Dining Area 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Happy Hours - Main Dining Area 4:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Dinner - Main Dining Area 5 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Happy Hours - Main Dining Area 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Dinner - Main Dining Area 5 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Happy Hours - Main Dining Area 4:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Dinner - Main Dining Area 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Happy Hours - Main Dining Area 4:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.


Frequently Asked Questions
0.7 miles; 3 blocks east, 5 blocks south
No, parties of 16 people or more need to choose a condensed version of the menu.
Yes. There is one private room.
Yes, all ages are welcome to eat at the restaurant. You must be 21 or older to drink alcohol or sit at the bar.
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Customer Reviews & Ratings

0.0 out of 5 stars based on 5 votes

Overall: 0/10
Food: 0/10
Service: 0/10
Ambience: 0/10
Value: 0/10
Dec 12, 2023
Anonymous User
The worst experience in San Diego. Poor and bad food, bad service especially the manager, who apart from being rude always tries to cheat customers with the bill ... in short the worst experience in San Diego ...